Oct 9, 2018

Opportunity for progressive brands as fast fashion becomes the new plastics?

written by Alastair MacGregor

Last night’s compelling BBC documentary https://bbc.in/2OHqGaj presented by Stacey Dooley might be the first of its kind to take the true environmental and social impact of fast fashion to a mainstream national audience, and surely signals a shift in public sentiment.

The fundamental point is made in the documentary that “it’s not that people don’t care, it’s that we don’t know, we’re not informed”, as demonstrated through canvassing the opinions of consumers on the UK high street.

Consumer preferences are already beginning to shift, and whilst there’s a long way to go before consumers are fully aware of the impact of their fashion choices, momentum is accelerating and it seems only a matter of time before fast fashion is viewed in the same way as plastics are now seen; how long can it be cool to wear something that, whilst cheap and trendy, carries with it a hidden environmental and social cost? Even the fashion bloggers in the documentary, a key part of the fast fashion system appeared to be remorseful when shown the problem! Surely it can’t be long before these influencers come to the fore to play a key role in shifting consumer attitudes.

The route to change must be better education of consumers, and particularly young consumers who represent the key target market for fast fashion brands.  To be fair to the fashion industry, not all brands are as evil as depicted in this documentary.  Many are committing to action and making changes to their supply chains and business models.  It’s just not happening fast enough.  We need an accelerant and we need it now.

That accelerant is education.  There is a huge opportunity for brands that become more transparent, that work with their consumers to design more sustainable garments and that demonstrate through this a true commitment to establishing a sustainable fashion industry.

Those that move fast and that tap into the heightened social and environmental awareness of young consumers will be rewarded handsomely.  Those that fail to act now to engage consumers will become corporate landfill.

To reinforce the significance of the opportunity, next week, InSpring will launch the results of a survey of over 400 hundred young people from around the world, sponsored by C&A Foundation and in partnership with JA Worldwide, that illuminates clearly the action and choices this core consumer demographic wants to see their favourite fast fashion brands take.