According to a survey commissioned by fashion and textile trade association Skillfast, the vast majority of consumers think there should be a regulated standard for ‘green’ clothing – though far fewer said they would be persuaded to buy clothes simply because they wore that ethical standard on their sleeve.

Fashion and the textile industry have had a checkered reputation when it comes to social and environmental performance, with the sector plagued by tales of sweat shops and problems with intensive monoculture agriculture and ‘clothes miles’.

3,000 consumers were quizzed on their views, with 75% saying they thought a green label would be useful.

Only 35%, however, said that they would be more likely to buy environmentally-friendly clothes.

Most (82%) said they thought fashion and textile students should be taught about ethical and environmentally sustainable production – an area employers say is not being addressed by universities and colleges.

Tim Sunderland, author of Skillfast-supported research into the sector’s sustainability performance, said:

“Some fashion manufacturers have really taken the sustainability agenda on board, and are using their green credentials as part of their brand positioning.

“But our research shows that to “go green” successfully, employees across the whole company need a thorough understanding of the manufacturing production process – and these skills are hard to come by.

“If employers are to meet consumer demands on green manufacturing in the future, we need our colleges and universities to do more to build the skills pool on sustainability.”

Sam Bond

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