International Survey: The Future is Animal Free
Fashion trends shift as quickly as the seasons change, but longer-term, larger trends can be mapped through research. A study of 3,600 consumers, conducted by ISPO for the Italian Fur Free Alliance, looked at the trend in buying and wearing animal-free clothing, across a number of countries in the European Union. The research finds that the options for animal-free clothing products are growing in popularity by almost all measures. In addition, they are also increasingly seen as “trendy,” and preferable to animal-based alternatives.
This opinion survey of 3,600 consumers was conducted by ISPO for the Italian Fur Free Alliance. It looked at the tendency to buy “animal free” clothing – that is, clothing without fur, down, leather, silk, and wool – across six European countries: Poland, the U.K., Italy, France, Germany, and The Netherlands. The survey of adult consumers measured various types of “ethical sensitivity” to different kinds of uses of animals in fashion. The researchers found “a noteworthy ethical sensitivity” in Italy and France, with 81.1% of respondents saying they have an inclination towards buying animal free fashion products. Germans came in close behind at 80%, while the Dutch, Polish, and U.K. respondents clocked in between 72-79%. The researchers note that these numbers, taken together, “concretely demonstrate how ethical fashion is not merely a niche, [but] rather it represents the demand of a considerable segment of consumers, embodying an enormous growth potential.”
The survey also examined the respondents’ “awareness of the existence of alternative materials for those of animal origin; tendency to buy once informed; and the actual attitude towards the shopping experience.” The U.K., Italy and Poland showed the the highest level of awareness at about 20%. Interestingly, there was a significantly high overall tendency (78.6% average across all six E.U. countries) to buy animal free products, “if consumers receive basic information about the negative aspects typical in animal production (in terms of impact on the well-being of the animal, environmental impact).” Of various types of clothing products, respondents identified fur as the most easy to be substituted by alternative materials, followed by silk used for ties, shirts, and undergarments.
Discussing “the shopping experience,” respondents were asked about various aspects: “comfort (opinion on the preference of clothing products and footwear in leather or imitation leather); marketing (‘When I read the lining has “Real Down”, I think it’s only marketing and it’s not really a quality product’); availability of the product (‘If it becomes difficult to find articles of clothing with alternative materials, I will certainly buy those with materials of animal origin’); taste (‘If I like the article of clothing very Much, I don’t have any problems and I will buy it with materials of animal origin’); trend (‘Today using alternative materials instead of real leather or real fur is trendy, it’s cool’); health (‘The components of animal fur used as decorations for jackets and coats can contain poisonous chemical substances in concentrations dangerous for health’); and ethics (‘instead of buying an article of clothing with materials of animal origin, change stores or brands’). What the survey found was that “all countries interviewed had faith in the level of comfort found in materials of vegetable or synthetic origin, both for footwear (68% of Italians with an average of 56.5% in the 6 EU countries) and even more with clothing (76% of Italians with an average of 65.8% in the 6 EU countries).”
The survey findings show that “in general, alternative materials derived from vegetable or synthetic fiber are considered trendy, cool.” The researchers note emphatically that this growing trend in animal-free fashion represents a perfect opportunity “to orientate their commercial policies towards solutions that are ethically compatible, in which they can find the support of millions of consumers in the world who are already willing to buy Animal Free products.” As part of such conclusions, the authors describe an ethics rating system that could be used to inform consumers about what their purchases mean. For advocates, both in the E.U. and beyond, the findings are a great boost: animal-free fashions are trending, in some of the most fashion-forward countries in the world. The potential for advocates to promote animal free clothing, and the ethics behind it, has never been better.
ISPO research survey confirms: the future is Animal Free! The Italians and French (81.1%) stand out for choosing to purchase products free of materials of animal origin, followed by the Germans (80%), Dutch (79.1%), Polish (78%) and British (72.5%). On average 12% of consumers in the 6 EU countries are already buying Animal Free. The opinion survey, commissioned by Italian Fur Free Alliance member organization LAV, measured the tendency of the sample to buy Animal Free clothing items, that is, those without fur, down, leather, silk and wool, in the six European countries and shows a noteworthy ethical sensitivity on the part of the Italians and French: 81.1% is the inclination of both towards buying fashion products free of materials of animal origin, followed by the Germans (80%), Dutch (79.1%), Polish (78%) and British (72.5%).