Sustainable Fashion Promotion in Poland: How It Impacts Brand PR?

The current state of the fashion world is evident to everyone. In response to the omnipresent fast fashion, the concept of sustainable fashion has gained strength. In the face of growing environmental and social awareness in Poland, sustainable fashion is on the rise. However, in addition to its environmental impact, another crucial aspect of sustainable fashion promotion is the reputation of the brand. How does communicating sustainable development affect a brand’s PR in Poland?

Table of Contents:

  • Sustainable Development in the Fashion Industry – What Does It Really Mean?
  • Polish Attitudes Towards Sustainable Fashion
  • Promoting Sustainable Fashion – Impact on Brand Image
  • Brand PR and Sustainable Development – the Greatest Challenge

Sustainable development in the fashion industry – What does it really mean?

One of the most pressing topics in recent years is the impact of fashion production and consumption on the environment and climate. This issue is not only being discussed by consumers but also by non-governmental organisations and international bodies (e.g., through the adoption of the Fashion Industry Climate Action Charter).

Sustainable fashion is an approach to the design, production, and sale of clothing that minimises its environmental impact and considers the working conditions of employees throughout the supply chain.

In practice, this typically means:

  • Increasing consumer knowledge and encouraging them to make informed choices (e.g., through company blogs).
  • Raising awareness about social issues in countries where clothing is produced (e.g., in Africa or Asia).
  • Sourcing materials and resources for clothing production from sustainable sources.
  • Expanding the range of eco-friendly or sustainable materials and accessories.
  • Developing technologies that reduce the physical footprint of stores and warehouses (e.g., virtual fitting rooms).
  • Mitigating deforestation and water and soil contamination risks during clothing production.
  • Reducing waste and supporting upcycling, recycling, and circular practices.
  • Enhancing the durability and quality of clothing.
  • Offering new services like clothing rental.
  • Implementing fair social practices.

According to Poles, what features indicate that a product is environmentally friendly?

Polish attitudes towards sustainable fashion

To understand how the promotion of sustainable fashion can impact a brand’s image in Poland, we first need to consider how Poles perceive this term. Surprisingly, social awareness about sustainable fashion is not high in Poland. Few Poles understand what sustainable development means in the fashion industry.

A study conducted by Accenture indicates that the level of ecological awareness in Poland is low. Only 10% of respondents rate their knowledge as very good. 42% cannot identify what they think is missing in the pro-ecological efforts of fashion brands.

Interestingly, Poles unknowingly support sustainable brand actions.

Research shows:

  • 44% of Polish consumers always or often read the composition of clothing products.
  • Approximately half of consumers can assess the environmental friendliness of clothing and footwear based on their composition.
  • A staggering 76% of Poles would choose products that minimise their carbon footprint if given the opportunity.
  • About 58% of consumers believe that the durability and quality of clothing are important.
  • 60% of Poles consider brand transparency on ecological issues important.

Of course, the situation is not as rosy as it might seem:

  • Only 20% of Polish respondents seek information about a brand’s sustainable development initiatives during clothing purchases.
  • For over 90% of Poles, the most important factors in clothing purchases are price, brand (51%), and fashion trends (50%).
  • Only 7% of surveyed Poles consider certifications of materials used as the most important criterion for clothing purchases.

Promoting sustainable fashion – Impact on brand image

So, how does the promotion of sustainable fashion affect a brand’s PR in the Polish market? To a significant extent, it has a positive impact, even though the current influence is not drastic.

The most significant advantages include:

Increased attractiveness among environmentally conscious consumers:

Communicating and promoting sustainable fashion demonstrates that a brand is socially responsible and environmentally conscious. This increases its appeal to customers who prioritise sustainable development issues.

Standing out among the competition: The fashion industry is highly competitive. A strong focus on sustainable fashion can help a brand distinguish itself from those that do not prioritise this aspect.

Better customer engagement: Customers engaged in sustainable development in the fashion industry tend to be more loyal to brands that actively contribute to environmental protection and social responsibility.

Positive media relations: Media often show interest in stories related to sustainable initiatives. Effective promotion can lead to positive media coverage, not just in fashion outlets.

Brand PR and sustainable development – the greatest challenge

Promoting a sustainable brand, beyond the communication challenges and the need to educate consumers, is associated with reputational risks. This primarily concerns accusations of greenwashing, where a brand makes false claims about sustainable development solely for publicity. Such actions can harm a brand’s credibility if its pro-environmental efforts are not genuinely integrated into daily practices.

Greenwashing is one of the most common reasons for skepticism about sustainable fashion in Poland, as indicated in a survey titled “Consumers’ Adaptation to Sustainability in Fashion,” developed by Vogue Poland and BGC. Respondents also complained about lower quality compared to “traditional” counterparts and higher prices for environmentally friendly products.

Promoting sustainable fashion in Poland not only addresses environmental and social challenges but can also be a crucial element of a brand’s PR efforts. Whether you are just entering the Polish market or already operating in it and need public relations support, please contact us.

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