In today’s economic climate, millennials hold more purchasing power than any other individual generation. On a large scale, the future of the fashion industry is in the hands of this single age group. This means that fashion companies are being held to a higher standard than ever before in terms of sustainability, ethics, and environmental awareness.
Here are 3 ways that fashion companies are winning millennials’ loyalty by way of the Conscious Fashion Movement:
1. Leading others to make better choices with social impact and peer influence.
One of the largest combatants of eco-friendly and ethical clothing production is cost. Since sustainable products tend to be pricier, many fashion brands have shifted their focus to targeting the environmentally conscious fan. “When brands place sustainability at the core of their identity and marketing, conscious customers can outwardly express their values through the clothes they wear,” apparel industry blogger Kristie Wang said in a recent post at Forbes.
More often than not, expressing said values won’t stop at clothing – but will continue with positive mentions or reviews of sustainable products on social media. This “Prius” effect is extremely beneficial to marketer. “People see you driving around in a Prius, and it gives you recognition as a person who is thoughtful about environmental or energy issues. People see you in your Patagonia jacket, and the choice of your clothing similarly signals and creates the potential for status and for the social influence effect,” Dara O’Rourke, founder of consumer evaluation app GoodGuide, told Forbes.
2. Staying positive, as positivity is key for conscious consumption.
In the same direction as the “Prius Effect,” consumers respond better to positive reinforcement for smart choices — as opposed to being shamed for shopping unethically. Campaigns such as Fashion Revolution strive to empower consumers by informing them on the benefits of conscious consumption instead of retroactively reprimanding buyers for their clothing choices. People are turning to Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites to spread the word of eco-friendly and moral products through hashtags like #WhoMadeMyClothes and #ethicalfashion.
3. Maintaining that honesty is the best policy.
No matter what question is being asked, O’Rourke explains that it’s always best for fashion brands to stay as transparent with the public as possible. Successful fashion startup Everlane is a prime example of a company with a policy of transparency that builds a culture of trust with consumers even before their first purchase.
In order to further propel the Conscious Fashion Movement, staying informed is essential. Retailers, designers, and consumers alike are responsible for the future of the fashion industry. As more companies adopt sustainable and transparent production policies, change will follow suit. As part of this culture of transparency, Everlane includes factory and base cost information for each of its products. “We know our customers are also rule breakers and questioners, so we hope this philosophy is palpable in the products and choices we make. And by all means, challenge us too,” the company says in its mission statement.
Learn more at Forbes.
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