The fashion industry isn’t providing millennials with sufficient choices to enable them to purchase more sustainable apparel, a new study suggests, adding that they are currently more motivated by ease of purchase and low prices.
While millennials overwhelmingly claim to embrace sustainability and believe they will drive social change, a survey carried out by LIM College in New York found only 34% are driven to make a fashion purchase because the apparel or accessory was eco-friendly and sustainably-produced. Instead, their purchase decisions are more likely to be influenced by ease of purchase (95%), price/value (95%), uniqueness (92%), and brand name (60%).
“Our research is very revealing about how millennials view themselves and future generations, and their ability to change the world,” says Professor Robert Conrad.
“Nearly 90% of the those surveyed agreed that, ‘Millennials and Gen Z will help create more sustainably-produced products by convincing businesses and governments to alter existing practices.’ An equal percent report they ‘would abandon a product or brand for eco-unfriendliness.’ This sends a clear message to the fashion industry.”
Yet while millennials would like to buy eco-friendly fashion, the industry is not providing them with sufficient choices that also meet their most important criteria for making a purchase, Conrad says.
“As we learned from our previous surveys of millennials, ease of purchase, price/value and uniqueness are their highest priorities.”
The study suggests that some of the disconnect between millennials wanting to buy and not buying eco-friendly fashion is the lack of fashionable eco-friendly choices that also meet their ease, price/value and uniqueness tests.
There are only a handful of eco-friendly youth-oriented brands – such as Anek, Everlane, Nudie Jeans, Patagonia, People Tree, Reformation and K.O.I. – and none have the scale or variety of fashion offerings to meet millennials’ requirements for ease, price/value and uniqueness, according to the college’s Dr Kenneth Kambara.
“The fashion industry is approaching millennials with what they want to offer, not what the millennials want. To capitalise on millennials’ desires to make eco-fashion purchases offerings must be new and different – unique from what other brands are offering – and truly deliver value. Think Zara with authentic eco-friendly and sustainable product offerings.”