Study: Gen Z wants sustainable clothes but buys fast fashion instead
Only one in six could name a brand that makes sustainable clothing.
By Lilli Humphrey via SWNS
Generation Z (those aged between 9 and 24) wants sustainable clothes but buys fast fashion instead, according to new research from the UK.
The study reveals a “clear gap” between the ideals and practices of young people when it comes to shopping for clothing.
There are growing concerns around social implications of the global fashion industry including exploitation of workers, child labor and inhumane working conditions.
Fears are also growing over environmental implications including pollution, waste, and excessive water consumption.
The global fashion industry is valued at around $297 billion USD, and is expected to increase beyond around $345 billion by 2025.
Researchers from the Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University, surveyed 56 university students aged 18 to 24, and four over 24, interviewing six in-depth about sustainable clothing – pieces of clothing produced without exploiting workers or animals and using low carbon emissions.
Nine in 10 of the participants bought fast fashion, and only one in six could name a brand that makes sustainable clothing.
Women are more likely than men to advocate for sustainable clothing, according to the findings that were presented at the British Academy of Management annual conference on Friday, September 2.
Researchers found that 63 percent of students agreed that they were concerned about the social implications of the fast fashion industry, while 48 percent said they were concerned about the environmental implications.
Only three percent said that they were not concerned about either.
Whilst being concerned about both social and environmental implications, 17 percent admitted to shopping at a fast fashion retailer each week, 62 percent monthly and 11 percent annually, with only 10 percent claiming that they had never purchased from a fast fashion retailer.
Less than half of those surveyed considered where and how their clothes were made before they bought them.
Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, are increasingly concerned for the planet, with 94 percent believing that action is needed relative to sustainability, according to the research team.
The participants who admitted to buying from fast fashion companies showed a gap between pro-sustainability ideologies and observed behavior.
Dr. Marc Duffy, who was part of the research team, said: “Generation Z are increasingly concerned for the planet, with 94 percent believing that action is needed relative to sustainability and that we need to come together to solve important issues.
"All participants had a negative attitude towards the term ‘fast fashion,' mentioning words such as ‘unsustainable, unethical and bad quality.'
“But the large proportion who admitted buying fast fashion demonstrates a clear gap between pro-sustainability ideologies and observed behavior.”
He added that the women surveyed: “Portrayed support for sustainable fashion by stating that they would be willing to pay more or even boycott unethical brands.
"All the women stated that they would be willing to pay more for sustainable clothing, whereas the males were not.”
By contrast, Dr. Duffy said the men surveyed showed a “lack of concern and knowledge around sustainable fashion."
However, he added: "Their buying habits were considerably more sustainable than females, purchasing fast fashion less frequently and sourcing clothes from more sustainable retailers.
"However, this was not intentional – they preferred these brands as they were deemed trendy and cool.”
The research team identified six key barriers to sustainable clothes shopping: price, lack of knowledge, lack of choice, lack of aesthetic choice, skepticism over business transparency, and social desirability.
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email [email protected] or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
The ‘perfect’ living room layout to improve your mood and well-being
“We become blind to rooms that aren’t working and it’s hard to see a problem when you’re in it."
Cancer survivor finally becoming a mom after friend offers to be surrogate
"I had hoped for so long to be a mom."
This is how ants spread all over the world
How ants evolved to become so ubiquitous has remained a mystery until now.
Drone footage captures boyfriend pulling off the ‘ultimate proposal’
"It was just perfect."
Daily pint or glass of wine doesn’t raise the risk of premature death: study
However, those who down up to a bottle a day are 61% more likely to die before their time.
- Health1 week ago
Women reveal reasons why they don’t exercise enough
- Food & Drink3 days ago
Family dinners are more important than you’d think
- Sports4 days ago
This is how far sports fans are willing to go for their favorite team
- Weddings4 days ago
Couple ditches their wedding dresses for matching sweatsuits
- Home1 week ago
1 in 6 Americans put off cleaning for at least a month
- Wellness1 day ago
Average American feels insecure 5 times a day: poll
- Animals4 days ago
This dog is so big people often mistake him for a pony or a lion
- History1 week ago
Early European farmers survived because they had lots of sex