When searching for information about sustainability, most Italian consumers declared to trust third-party certifications, non-governmental organizations, and media sources. In a list of internationally popular fashion brands, 17 percent of respondents associated the Swedish brand H&M with sustainable supply chains. Additionally, 13 percent indicated the Spanish store Zara. However, based on the listed provided by this survey, the largest group of respondents could either not answer or not identify any of the brands with sustainable supply chains. Nevertheless, according to the 2020 results of the Sustainable Cotton Ranking, among apparel retailers based in Europe, H&M achieved the highest score. In the same ranking, the Italian fashion retailer Benetton Group S.r.l. ranked fifth. In fact, in its last report, Benetton provided additional information about renewable materials and energy they used in their production.
Even if discussions about working conditions and the environmental impact of the fashion industry are on the rise, the aspect of sustainability is still not a main driver when Italian consumers buy their clothes. A survey from 2019 revealed that the main factors considered by Italian consumers when buying clothes were prices, fit, and quality. When it comes to sustainable aspects, about 20 percent of respondents gave priority to the longevity of the product, whereas 14 percent were more concerned about the ecological impact. When asked about the reasons that restrain them from buying ethical and eco-friendly clothes, respondents in Italy identified different aspects. Above all, they pointed out the difficulty to discern eco-friendly brands, together with high prices and the difficulty to find such brands.
However, Italian consumers show a positive attitude towards this topic. Indeed, the majority of Italian respondents declared that clothing manufacturers should be obliged by law to consider ethical aspects in their production. Furthermore, the term “slow fashion” was known among 30 percent of Italian respondents. The movement supports purchasing less clothes for better quality. In fact, roughly 21 percent of those surveyed stated to have reduced their clothing purchase for ethical reasons, whereas 12 percent intended to do it. As a result, it seems that Italian consumers would be willing to make some changes to their shopping habits if provided with more information and affordable prices.