10 May 2021

Maurizio Mazzanti lecture master MIBC International Business in China and master MIFL Made in Italy Fashion and Luxury Management

In marketing, as in life, numbers are important.

They are the most universal and objective tool to describe the phenomena that surround us and that perhaps escape us from the radar because they do not fall within the topics on which we are involved.

It’s very important to think about fashion in relation to the environment, this is because the clothing industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and it is due to the production processes and excessive consumption of this type of products: we have full cabinets and despite everything we spend money to fill them at the expense of the environmental costs of construction and disposal.

Within the industry in recent years, the awareness of being part of the problem has grown stronger and corrective actions are continuous, which is why we talk more and more often about sustainable fashion and the data that arrive are encouraging.

Positive numbers are those released in early October by Zalando, the German lifestyle e-commerce present in 17 European countries. Since the beginning of 2020 it has significantly increased its assortment of sustainable products from 27,000 to over 60,000 items and the share of active customers in these categories has more than doubled to 40% of the total.

In addition to these sales numbers according to an internal survey, 34% of Zalando’s customers said that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, sustainability has become even more important.

In addition, the company launched Zircle, the platform dedicated to the second-hand market in September, allowing customers to effortlessly buy and exchange second-hand fashion with the convenience of Zalando.

Sustainable fashion will also mean increasingly buying used clothes to avoid overproduction and environmental costs of disposal and encouraging numbers also come from a research carried out by Vestiaire Collective, second hand ecommerce, with Boston Consulting Group.

The indications in this insight suggest that the global second-hand market is likely to grow over the next five years at a compound annual growth rate of 15% to 20%, and some online retailers could potentially see 100% year-over-year growth.

Also from this research, a couple of numbers that give hope are the total value of the second-hand market, estimated in absolute between 30 and 40 billion dollars and that the share of vintage clothing in people’s wardrobes will increase from 21% in 2020. to 27% in 2023.

But more evidence than any other issue photographs the reality of things and it is Google Trends, which reports the interest in a topic based on searches. Worldwide the interest in sustainable fashion has grown steadily with a strong increase starting from 2018, both on the search engine and on YouTube, where, for example, already in 2018, there was an increase of 190% year over year in hauls video uploads with sustainability terms in the title. The hauls videos are those where people tell about the products they have bought, they are often associated with fast fashion brands but also in this case the trend is changing, in the hope that sustainable fashion is not a passing trend.


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