Connecting with consumers on DEI and sustainability expectations in the fashion industry

April 27, 2023

Three women working on fashionable clothes

Diving deeper into our 2022 Higher Impact research, we explored consumer sentiments from across Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US in connection with five industries (Fashion, Health & Beauty, Travel, Grocery, and Auto) to better understand how they feel about the role of brands around the issues of sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

To consumers, fashion isn’t just what you wear but how you present yourself to the world

How do sustainability and DEI impact shifting trends and changing consumer opinions within the fashion industry? Fashion brands with strong DEI values resonate with consumers.

46% of respondents think it’s very important that fashion companies/brands they purchase from are committed to DEI.


See how brands like Iconi lead with their values and have inclusivity at their core.

Inclusivity celebrates everyone

Having great representation is an important way fashion brands can show consumers that they care about making an impact in DEI. Some of the ways that consumers believe fashion brands can show commitment to DEI is by using a more diverse array of models; catering to and accommodating different body types, shapes, and sizes; and making sure products are suitable for a variety of needs.

Consumers want to ensure that fashion brands are authentic about their commitment to DEI


About 1 in 3 respondents (32%) say they’re very likely to research a fashion brand’s DEI efforts on their own.

Consumers are looking for a brand that prioritizes sustainability


Over half of respondents (56%) want fashion brands to be more sustainable.


And 44% of surveyed consumers say they’ll do their own research on brands’ sustainability efforts before they commit to making a purchase.

Sustainability means keeping more than just the finished product in mind

Environmental protections and fair labor practices alike remain in consumers’ minds as ways fashion brands can pledge themselves to sustainability. According to surveyed consumers, sustainability in the fashion industry means:

Two women looking in their shopping bags

Low environmental impact

Women stitching clothes on machine and smiling

Fair working conditions

Women holding a black cloth bag

Recycling and using recyclable materials

Affordability and transparency can be obstacles for consumers looking for more-sustainable fashion purchases

When asked about the obstacles they face while shopping for more-sustainable fashion items, the top responses from consumers were:

Cost/products too expensive:


Lack of transparency around product pricing, manufacturing, labor, and materials:


Brands can take steps to build trust

With DEI and sustainability top of mind for surveyed consumers, here are some actions brands in the fashion industry can potentially take:

  1. Align purpose with action to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and DEI
  2. Center brand strategy on consumer needs to build trust and credibility
  3. Make sure customers connect with your brand story by showcasing sustainability and DEI efforts through channels and solutions like Amazon Ads Streaming TV, audio ads, and other multi-objective brand-building strategies.

Source: Amazon Ads with Environics Research, 2022 Higher Impact study, CA, DE, JP, UK, and US.