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Models don anti-plastic body paint on Barcelona catwalks

"F**k plastic", "eco is sexy" and "ocean lover". Just a flavour of the messages adorning the bodies of swimwear models at this year's 080 Barcelona fashion show.

Sustainablity took centre stage, as the fashion week’s strategy focused on quality over quantity, inviting international sustainable brands to join the show.

As well as international interest, more local companies like All Sisters, a Barcelona-based sustainable women's swimwear company that exclusively uses recycled fabrics, were promoting anti-waste actions. The start-up is leading the way for global brands, some of which have already started to take action either out of self-awareness or governmental legislation. Consumers, however, still need convincing.

One shopper, Victor Brouard, agreed that cheap clothes are bad for the planet.

“But sometimes if you want to have choice you need to choose between this and that,” he says. “So, I would choose the planet. But with my money I chose the other option."

Related | The sustainable womenswear brands turning bottles into bikinis

It’s a pervasive view across the high street. It would seem that consumers have a way to come to before fully embracing eco-friendly fashion and the price tag it’s often accompanied by.

"Generally I don't look for it [sustainable credentials],” says shopper Elena Rebolledo. “I usually buy at the average stores and I don't look for eco-friendly clothing. I am picky with cosmetics. Like checking if they have tested with animals. Like shampoos and so. But when it comes to clothes I don't take it into account."

During an Italian Fashion Chamber round-table in March this year, the McKinsey & Company consultancy said 70% of consumers were willing to pay a premium for items produced sustainably.

This was based on the responses of 90 department store shoppers in 25 countries responsible for €50bn in annual purchases.

Experts say the luxury industry could help raise standards that would put "downward pressure" on fast-fashion.