Gen Z is Leading a Sustainable Revolution

Alan L. Johnson

In the article "Gen Z’s Passion for Sustainable Products Is Fueling the Shift Toward Streetwear" author says that:

Brands like Allbirds and S’well have stood out for their sustainable sneakers and water bottles. Those products partially derive their value from sustainability and eco-friendly materials, which young individuals have increasingly favored.

In fact, A 2017 study from NDP Group found that:

Gen Z is willing to spend as much as 10 to 15 percent more on sustainably produced clothing. Meanwhile, a Nielsen study from 2015 found nearly three-quarters of 15- to 20-year-olds would pay more for a sustainable product, compared to just 51 percent of Baby Boomers.

The article goes on to state that:

And as brands look for new ways to cater to Gen Z’s love for sustainability, they’ve begun to tap into streetwear, which has a reputation for sustainability thanks to its drop model, second-hand reselling and gender neutral looks.

Mary Zalla, global president of consumer brands at Lindor said:

Sustainability is an important principle for members of Gen Z. This is a group of people who lives life out loud; they like to value signal." “Sustainability is a value members of Gen Z hold dear and they want to project that through what they wear.

Sulima goes on to make a great point around the uniqueness and novelty of "drops" suggesting that they are very important to the future of retailers, but points:

If you’ve ever walked past a long line of kids standing outside a clothing store, you’ve most likely witnessed a manifestation of the “drop” sales model—a method popular among streetwear brands like Supreme and KITH, which announced Thursday a collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. Because the model of the “drop” produces a limited amount of product, whose resale potential imbues it with an evergreen quality, the buying of streetwear should, in theory, be considered a sustainable practice.

As the “drop” continues to generate hype, and streetwear further infiltrates the world of luxury, more established fashion brands are beginning to adopt this practice. Burberry, for example, will be releasing a series of “drops” in September, under the direction of its new streetwear designer hire, Ricardo Tisci.

It is interesting to note however that the article addresses the current "greenwashing" claims that have been made concerning current retail practices.

This transition, however, comes at a time when fashion houses are simultaneously facing criticism for sustainability claims that feel like greenwashing. It was also Burberry that recently came under fire for burning $36.5 million of unsold clothes last year, after touting a passionate drive toward sustainability on its website.

While proponents of "Sustainable Fashion" believe there is a resell market for clothes; can this truly make fashion "sustainable"?

A ThredUp study from earlier this year found that the resale market accounts for 5 percent of current apparel sales, and by 2022, projects resale apparel will capture about 10 percent of marketshare.

Gen Z may be driving demand for newer sustainable products, but are we creating a sub-cultural phenomenon of sustainability through fashion or a "Fashion of Sustainability"?

There certainly are many who believe it can and should be.

Read more here.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. Do you know where your clothes are made and from what?

Q2. Have you ever worn a sustainably made outfit?

Q3. What is your opinion of Sustainable Fashion? ​