Surveys conducted by the Global Poverty Project and by universities throughout the Western world — in places such as France, Wales and California — all point to increasing consumer awareness to negative social and environmental effects of the fashion industry.
And the leading brands are starting to respond – at least on the surface. Many fashion industry labels employ "green" and "ethical" marketing to target "conscious" consumers: H&M's Conscious collection, made of organic cotton and recycled polyester; Puma’s biodegradable InCycle Collection; Adidas’ Design for Environment gear; Uniqlo’s All-Product Recycling Initiative; Zara’s eco-efficient stores; and the Gap’s P.A.C.E. program, to benefit the lives of female garment workers.
Finding ways to increase consumers’ knowledge about the impact of clothes production is one of the main challenges for the fashion industry. Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute, has suggested a system similar to that used on refrigerators and air conditioners, where a label informs consumers about a product’s environmental toll. “It will educate us as consumers,” Kruse said. ”It will make us more aware that the product we are buying has a price in currency, but it also has a price for our planet.”