US Attitudes to Fashion Industry & Sustainability

To explore the attitudes of American consumers towards the fashion industry and sustainability, Opinium surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2015 US adults. Here’s what we found:

  • Two thirds of US adults (66%) are concerned about the environment – but only 11% consider environmental impact a key purchase driver when it comes to fashion
  • Two thirds (68%) make fashion purchases based on price
  • Consumers would like to see fashion brands be more transparent about their environmental impact (37%) and would like to see them set sustainability targets (37%)

A third of Americans are concerned about sustainable fashion, but price is still top purchase driver

A third (31%) of Americans are concerned about fashion and sustainability, with younger Americans being the most concerned. Only one in five (20%) Americans ages 18-34 do not think about sustainable fashion, compared to 27% of Americans ages 35-54 and 42% ages 55+. However, only a small number are taking action to change their shopping habits and are instead looking to fashion brands to act on driving sustainable fashion practices.

Americans think the travel and fashion industries have the least sustainable practices, but genuine concern is low

Two thirds of US consumers (66%) expressed that they are concerned about the environment nowadays, and when it comes to which industries US adults believe to have the least sustainable practices, travel (37%) and fashion (27%) are the two most negatively perceived categories. Despite this, when asked about the most important factors when purchasing a fashion item, only 11% consider environmental impact, with price (68%) being the top-rated factor.

On top of that, over a third (36%) of consumers have never thought to look for ways or advice on how to shop for fashion items more sustainably. Furthermore, when asked how much they know about sustainable fashion, two in five (42%) said that they don’t know much about it.

Two in five want more transparency from brands about their environmental impact

When thinking about where the responsibility for driving sustainable practices lies, many consumers believe fashion brands could be doing more. Two in five (37%) would like to see brands be more transparent about their environmental impact and a further two fifths (37%) would like fashion brands to set sustainability targets. A third (32%) would like to see brands include more information about working conditions of garment workers, and over a quarter (28%) would like more information on labels detailing how the clothes were made.


The research was conducted on Opinium’s US Consumer Omnibus among 2015 US adults aged 18+ from September 20th – September 27th, 2021. Results have been weighted to representative criteria.

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