With London Fashion Week poised to kick off this Friday, Oxfam is encouraging fans of fast fashion to forgo their frivolous shopping sprees and instead get their fix by buying second hand this September.
Research from product information management company inRiver reveals consumer attitudes to sustainable fashion lie around cost and quality – proving that brands and retailers must make it a priority to effectively communicate eco-values and appeal to what is important to their eco-conscious consumers.
Oxfam’s ‘Second-hand September’ campaign has put the test to consumers; 90% of UK consumers say they would be willing to purchase a product clearly labelled as ‘upcycled’ or ‘100% recyclable’, less than half of that number (43%) would actually be willing to pay a premium. This increases to 51% for London-based shoppers, who are the most willing to pay a higher price for recycled products.
The responsibility is increasingly being put on companies to be transparent about its sustainable practices, as almost two thirds (62%) of consumers admit they would stop using a brand if it was found to be detrimental to the environment.
That said, while one fifth (20%) of consumers are committed to purchasing only sustainable products, product information detailing the sustainability and environmental impact would make 7 in 10 (69%) Brits more likely to purchase.
Steve Gershik, CMO of inRiver explains: “While many consumers will be taking advantage of second-hand September, retailers shouldn’t overlook the opportunities it provides them with. Shoppers will continue to buy, but will do so more consciously; seeking sustainable, long-term fashion items that may have less impact on the planet. Brands and retailers can harness this demand and the earn eco-conscious consumers’ trust by being transparent and providing clear product information detailing the sustainable elements of the product.
Gershik continues: “Fast fashion retailers failing to disclose the environmental impact of their practices may struggle to obtain new customers during second-hand September. The benefits of integrating more sustainable practices go beyond second-hand September, but it might be the push retailers and apparel manufacturers need to change practices and policies.”
The news comes as Oxfam looks to shake up the retail business, opening a ’mega store’ on the outskirts of Oxford, looking to change the way charity shops operate. The new store brings together hundreds of donated items, with everything from fridges to the latest fashion spread across the 18,500-sq ft warehouse at Oxford Business Park.
Oxfam’s trading director Andrew Horton said the store, which is a first for the charity, was "better than I ever imagined". Horton called the superstore, which also includes a drive-through drop off for donations and cafe, as a ’treasure trove’ which he hoped would also become a "comunity hub for Cowley", allowing community groups and social enterprises to use dedicated meeting spaces, while interactive workshops, activities and talks will take place regularly in-store.