27 November, 2021

Ethical Workwear? UK shoppers just want to be comfortable

UK shoppers are unlikely to choose workwear that’s been made sustainably over choosing comfortable garments, according to a recent survey.

In their survey, Alexandra Workwear asked shoppers to consider whether they’re more likely to purchase a product made sustainably than those that aren’t. The results show that shoppers would prioritise comfort, price and quality over eco-friendliness.

These results could be seen as a setback for sustainable clothing manufacturers that have built their brand based on those willing to pay a little more for a reduced environmental impact.

What do consumers want from their workwear?

The ethical workwear UK and Ireland survey results show consumers look for several things before considering a garment’s eco-friendliness.

When asked what their deciding factor for purchasing clothes is, UK shoppers chose ‘comfort’ (32.7%) then ‘price’ (29.5%) and ‘quality’ (19.7%), with a garment’s ‘environmental impact’ ranking fourth with just 7.1% of the vote. 

These results present a problem for clothing brands that lead with sustainability because their core product benefit doesn’t align with what most consumers are primarily looking for.

So what are customers looking for?

High-quality products at an affordable price seem to be the answer. When we look at what attracts consumers to purchase, quality comes in third (19.7%), just below price (29.5%), which suggests that most consumers are looking for value for money from garments. 

This is a slither of good news for eco-conscious manufacturers because when asked to define what ‘sustainable clothing’ means, ‘longer-lasting clothing’ was consumers’ top choice (27.5%). This suggests people believe sustainable clothing is of a higher quality than non-sustainable alternatives this gives eco-friendly manufacturers a new angle to push.

In the same survey, consumers were also asked how often they purchase new clothing, and 44.4% of the respondents answered with ‘at least once every three months’. This suggests a massive market for manufacturers who make the clothing that chimes with customer demands.

Therefore, if sustainable brands could create comfortable and durable clothing that competes on price while remaining eco-friendly, they’d be on the path to success.

Are any companies leading the way?

These survey results appear great news for Alexandra Workwear, a UK-based manufacturer of high-quality, low-cost, and sustainable nursing workwear for the last few years. Alexandra’s range of personalised nurse wear offers several tunic designs in the sustainably sourced Tencel fabric at a competitive price.

The Boyd Cooper range is a small part of a more comprehensive drive from Alexandra to widen its sustainable offering. Other products include a reusable theatre cap designed in partnership with the NHS and a new range of recycled polyester business suits due to launch later in 2021. 

Alexandra is having so much success with its eco offerings because it’s giving consumers what they really want – comfortable, low-cost and high-quality clothing – with an underpinning of good, sustainable practices. Other companies should take note because Alexandra’s products are the way of the future.


Claire James

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