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Consumer Interest in Sustainable Fashion Mirrors Local Style

The benefits of sustainability are borderless, but interest in sustainable fashion varies country by country.

For its 2020 Conscious Fashion Report, global fashion search platform Lyst examined the online searches for more than 100 million shoppers worldwide from February 2019 to February 2020. In its results, the company found distinct trends in the sustainable product categories and keywords regions of consumers are searching for.

While online searches for women’s sustainable fashion continue to outpace men’s across the globe, Lyst’s data shows that consumers are searching for sustainable items that fit into their on-the-go metropolitan lifestyles.

As the home of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit and sustainable apparel brands like Knowledge Cotton Apparel and By Signe, it should come as no surprise that Denmark has seen the biggest year-on-year growth in searches for sustainable fashion, with searches rising by 114 percent. The highest percentage of searches, the report noted, are coming from Copenhagen.

In particular, Danish consumers are investing in eco-friendly denim—a trend that emphasizes the growing awareness around organic cotton, sustainable finishing and garments offering durability and longevity.

Mirroring Aussies’ active lifestyles, swimwear and sportswear are among the best-performing categories of sustainable fashion in Australia. There, online searches for sustainable fashion increased 110 percent, Lyst reported, with consumers favoring the term “ethical fashion” over “sustainable fashion.”

Berlin is proving to be the hotspot for sustainable fashion in Germany, where searches for sustainable fashion grew 53 percent year-over-year. While Berliners are seeking “faux fur coats” and “vegan leather jackets,” searches in the rest of Germany skew toward practical items like parkas and sneakers, Lyst reported.

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Perhaps boosted by Inditex’s pledge to use responsibly sourced fabrics by 2025, searches for sustainable fashion in Spain have more than doubled. Lyst’s data shows consumers are searching for eco-friendly sweaters and vegan products. Searches indicate that B Corp-certified fashion brand Ecoalf is a current favorite as well as Patagonia and Stella McCartney.

French consumers are seeking leather alternatives. In France, where searches for sustainable fashion increased 50 percent, Lyst reported that the most-searched terms are “vegan Dr Martens boots” and “vegan Veja sneakers.” Consumers are also searching for faux leather trousers—a trend inspired by the runway.

Function and sustainable fashion go hand in hand in Canada, where consumers are searching for eco-friendly parkas and jeans.

In Italy, where Lyst reports a 20 percent uptick in sustainable fashion searches, “eco fur” and “recycled fashion” are keywords to watch. Shoppers from the Lombardi region are the ones who drive the highest number of eco-friendly fashion searches, though Lyst’s data was compiled before the area was struck with COVID-19.

Dresses lead searches for sustainable fashion in the U.K. Fashion searches including the keyword “organic” are currently trending in the U.K. and are up 19 percent month-on-month, Lyst reported. “Second-hand” and “vegan” are also popular keywords among British shoppers.

“Vegan leather” and “vegan shoes” are trending searches in the U.S., which saw searches for eco-friendly fashion grow 15 percent. However, long coats and jackets are driving most product searches, Lyst stated.

And Russian consumers are warming up to sustainable fashion. With Moscow generating the highest number of searches in the country, searches increased 14 percent year-over-year. Russian customers are especially interested in organic cotton T-shirts and vegan leather boots.