The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, beaten only by the oil industry. Overproduction of cheap, fast fashion is having devastating consequences on the environment, including water consumption, raw materials, increased CO2 emissions and the amount of textile products sent to landfill which are not, or can’t be recycled.

Reversing this trend is a massive task. As well as commitment from brands and manufacturers, consumer attitudes also need to shift towards a more sustainable outlook- and younger consumers will be key to this. Generation Z, (also known as Zoomers), and born in the late 1990’s-2010’s are likely to play a key role in driving a more sustainable future.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 key ways Generation Z will support the shift into sustainable fashion becoming more mainstream.

  • Supporting sustainable fashion brands as consumers

Supporting more sustainable fashion brands and businesses will be essential in increasing wider consumer access to ethical fashion choices, giving consumers greater choice in the sustainable fashion space. Generation Z is ever more environmentally conscious, and importantly, they have increasing consumer spending power. Fashion brands, manufacturers and retailers will have to respond accordingly, and this combination of changing spending habits and consumer demand for more sustainable options will work to push ethical fashion into the mainstream.

  • Using social media to drive awareness of sustainability

Social media is increasingly being linked to fast fashion consumption, with influencers promoting brands such as Boohoo, NastyGal and PrettyLittleThing regularly in ‘hauls’ across social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. This constant drive for new content, combined with cheap pricing can make fast fashion hard to resist. But there’s also a thriving social community of influencers and followers dedicated to promoting sustainability and ethical fashion across these social platforms. This will potentially be huge in ensuring sustainability becomes not only more mainstream, but expected by consumers when choosing a brand. Gen Z has significant power in terms of this influence.

  • Embracing second hand and resale apps such as Depop, Vinted and Ebay

Generation Z are extremely comfortable buying items online and sharing this content socially. Second hand social selling apps such as Depop and Vinted have exploded in popularity. And this popularity is particularly highlighted on Depop, where each day, 140,000 items of clothing are made available to buy to the 15 million customers currently active on the app. Buying clothes second hand, reusing them and recycling them throughout their ‘garment life cycle’ is an important step in creating a true closed loop circular economy- reducing items sent to landfill as well as reducing raw materials required for making new items.

To wrap up

Increasing the sustainability of fast fashion is a massive challenge for manufacturers, brands and retailers. Consumer demand for more sustainable choices will be key in achieving this; and Generation Z are ideally placed to support this. Their demand of more sustainable options, increased spending power and social support of more eco conscious brands make them a key demographic to achieve real sustainability.

Textile Consult operates worldwide, consulting on a variety of management, training and sustainability issues within the textile industry. Contact us today to find out how we’ll work with you to find effective, sustainable solutions for your company.