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Clothing & Footwear

Our wardrobe’s social and environmental impact is a game changer.


The fashion industry is booming, but it’s leaving a trail of harm behind, affecting people, animals, and our planet across its entire supply chain. While fast fashion represents its emerging darker side, there are brighter trends on the horizon such as sustainable fashion, slow fashion, fair trade, and upcycling/recycling.


This section explores these trends in the clothing and footwear sectors. You’ll discover insights from engaged consumers, as well as inspiring stories of ethical business success stories.


The fashion industry has long shaped our values and self-expression through innovative designs and materials. However, it is now facing unprecedented sustainability and ethical challenges. Consumers are increasingly aware of the industry’s social and environmental and now demand transparency, fair labour practices, and eco-friendly options. The 2022 Etikord survey found that 48% of ethically-driven European consumers actively seek more ethical clothing and footwear choices, compared to a 38% average in other categories.

Ethical fashion is therefore a beacon of hope amid the shadow of unsustainable practices. Sustainable fashion champions eco-friendly materials and processes, while slow fashion promotes quality over quantity, encouraging consumers to invest in timeless pieces. Fair trade ensures fair wages and working conditions, and upcycling/recycling breathe new life into old garments. Innovation is fuelled by the applications of new sustainable materials, including vegan & cruelty-free options, new technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and blockchain making sourcing and labour practices more transparent, and new design practices such as circular fashion design, zero-waste design and virtual design, promoting durability, recyclability and waste reduction.

Governments are stepping in with stricter regulations on supply chain transparency and ethical labour practices. The EU’s Strategy for Circular and Sustainable Textiles aims to bring transparency through digital passports. These efforts empower consumers to make informed choices and hold brands accountable. Shifting to sustainable fashion requires education but consumers still grapple with greenwashing, information and price gaps. The rewards will be however profound: a fashion industry that respects people, animals, and the planet, offering style and conscience to those who embrace ethical consumption.

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