The sustainable fashion movement is, without a doubt, making headway.

From fast fashion companies like Forever 21 filing for bankruptcy to the emergence and growing popularity of vintage and secondhand, jumping on the sustainability train is easier than ever before. Although, depending on where you are in the world, there’s a difference in how the movement is making an impact.

We want to explore what sustainable fashion means to consumers and understand its different perspectives around the world. Thankfully, Fashion Summit did a study focused on this very topic. The aim of the study was to inspire the younger generation to develop a sustainable mindset, particularly in Asian countries.  

Receiving more than 1,000 responses from five major cities — Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, New York, and Tokyo, the results are in:

The study found that the vast majority of survey respondents (78%) are concerned for the environment, but this isn’t necessarily translating to shopping habits. In fact, worldwide, only 13% of people say they are willing to pay more for sustainable fashion. Interestingly, in Tokyo, only 6% would pay a premium for sustainability, compared to 22% in Shanghai. Around the world, 64% of people support sustainable clothing, though far fewer — just 43% — think their society is supportive of the concept.

Supporting sustainable fashion is great, but what really creates the change in the industry is the actual increase in purchasing sustainable clothing. That’s why on Pildora, we will only sell garments encompassing all aspects of sustainability: ethical, environmental, and economic.

Shanghai and New York ranked highest for always considering sustainable fashion while shopping, yet London and Toyko ranked this as a lower priority. It’s also interesting to note how these cities define sustainable fashion. 

For Londoners, sustainable fashion is defined by the use of ethical and fair trade/labor practices; for New Yorkers sustainable fashion means high durability and quality products. Perhaps not surprisingly, Asian cities view technology for both product and packaging as the most important factor of sustainable fashion.

It’s safe to say that, until an official global definition is made, the idea of sustainable fashion may vary from country to country or city to city. One thing that is certain from this study is that young people are the key to sustainable fashion’s success. The youngest generations are interested in learning more about and spreading awareness of issues they deeply care about. 

We hope this “trip” around the world has given you a better idea about how sustainable fashion is being addressed and thought of by people of different cultures. And, with that, we’ll leave you with this question: How do you spread the word on sustainable fashion in your city?

*To learn more about the study and how sustainable fashion is making an impact globally, check out the summary of findings here.