Conscious Consumerism: The Millennials and the Fashion Industry

Hello Our name is The Millennial

Hello Our name is The Millennial

Millennials also known as Generation Y, Echo Gen, or N Gen, those born in the 1980s-1990s who have a greater need for peer acceptance (questionable), more likely to switch brands quicker than other demographic segments (correct!), and enjoy the social aspects of shopping with friends (true) according to my Consumer Behavior professor and textbook. 😛

In a recent Business of Fashion article: Watch Out for the Millennials, they stated that Millennials account for an estimated $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending and influence consumer attitudes among Gen-Xers and and even baby boomers. But, the most important part is that they or shall I say we (I’m a 1992 baby) “have come to expect greater transparency about the food that goes into their bodies and they’re now starting to expect that same transparency in the clothing they put on their bodies.

I strongly agree to that. It seems like more of us are seeking transparency from corporations including fashion companies. We desire transparency and honesty! Fashion companies are going to need to change and think about social responsibility and conscious consumerism over global expansion and profits. There’s been a recent global trend towards corporate social responsibility and conscious consumerism because of the – let’s say it all together now – the Internet. With the Internet, people around the world are able to share the truth about how and where clothes are being made as well as who is making them. There are tragic stories about horrible working conditions, factory worker abuse, unthinkably low wages and also the damage that’s being done environmentally and to our bodies (chemicals, waste, etc).

What can we do?

Well, there are a lot of things (hopefully I can do a post about it later) but I specifically wanted to invite ya’ll to join the revolution. The Fashion Revolution.

At the end of April I had stumbled upon Susie Bubble’s (famous fashion blogger: blog here) Instagram photos about the Fashion Revolution Campaign #InsideOut. She had taken photos of herself wearing clothes from different companies (H&M, Topshop, James Long, Marni, and Club Monaco, etc) and wore them inside out stating “Who made your clothes?” and hashtagged insideout. I was so intrigued that I decided to research what the Fashion Revolution was all about.

Susie Bubble Instagram photos - #insideout

Fashion Revolution - Who made your clothes?Fashion Revolution - Who made your clothes?

What is the Fashion Revolution?

The Fashion Revolution was created after the catastrophic collapse of the Bangladesh factory building that killed over a thousand workers on April 24, 2013. “It is set to become a truly global movement, bringing greater collaboration across the sector and working in partnership along the entire supply chain. We will encourage people to start asking ‘who made my clothes?’ in order to initiate human connections throughout the supply chain. We want hundreds of thousands of people to make that gestures, which will, in turn, raise awareness within the fashion industry that they need to continue the process of change.”

Fashion Revolution seeks companies, brands and suppliers to commit to transparency. “Transparency means companies know who makes their clothes – at least where they are stitched as a first port of call – and then communicate this to their customers, shareholders, and staff.”

They invite fashion consumers to: 1) Be curious (Ask who made my clothes?), 2) Find out (Research!!!), and 3) Do something (shop from ethical brands, help raise awareness, start local campaigns)

Of course this change will not happen overnight and it is a big challenge many consumers buy blindly (me included!) but if we start making changes with ourselves, learning more about the fashion industry, and bringing awareness to friends and family I believe we can make a difference and bring positive change towards a more transparent and safe fashion industry.

Read more about it on another Business of Fashion article: Join the Revolution Against Mindless Fashion Consumption

Sources:
1) http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/04/op-ed-watch-millennials.html

2) http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/04/op-ed-rana-plaza-disaster-marks-turning-point-fashion-industry.html

3) http://fashionrevolution.org/about/why-do-we-need-a-fashion-revolution/

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