There is no question that Gen Z has been labeled a passionate generation, especially when it comes to the environment. It’s a bright spot when you think about the future and how the next few generations will handle things like climate change and pollution. Gen Zers have grown up in such a way that they want to include sustainable practices in their everyday lives. For many, that includes simple swaps like reusable grocery bags and water bottles, metal straws for plastic straws, and natural household cleaners instead of chemical sprays.
The most interesting (and perhaps hopeful!) thing about Gen Zers is that they have also started to change the fashion industry due to their demand for sustainable practices. Gen Z has made it clear that it doesn’t want to support clothing companies with environmentally-harmful practices. So what’s next for the fashion industry? While we may not know exactly what to expect, we do know that fast fashion tycoons should be nervous.
Gen Z has buying power… and a conscience
Generation Z will soon become the second-largest generation in the world. Gen Z will take over Baby Boomers’ mantle at 67.17 million, and that represents a lot of buying power — and Gen Z buys with its conscience as much as its wallet.
A survey of 1000 respondents conducted in 2019 by First Insight found that a whopping 62% of Generation Z prefers to buy from sustainable brands. They are also 73% more willing to pay 10% or more for their sustainable goods.
Gen Z will take over Baby Boomers’ mantle at 67.17 million, and that represents a lot of buying power — and Gen Z buys with its conscious as much as its wallet.
Generation Z is also more likely to purchase upcycled products, and like all their generational peers, Gen Z values quality above all else — and quality is one aspect that sustainably-made products always takes the lead on. After all, sustainably-made products are built to last.
For Gen Z (and everyone else who is willing to do the research), information is just a mouse-click away. And because today’s generation is so savvy with the tech world, and so passionate about the planet, Gen Z is willing to dive deep into the details to learn more about their favorite brands and company policies before they decide to become customers.
Gen Z has not only come to know how to spot companies with unethical practices, but they are also highly aware of greenwashing, the practice of companies using eco-friendly words to describe themselves when they don’t actually offer sustainable alternatives. (Some of the most common greenwashing phrases include: recycled, organic, pure, natural). Because of this, fast fashion stores like Forever 21 have fallen out of favor with Gen Z because of their lack of sustainable practices and transparency within their supply chains.
Because of this, fast fashion stores like Forever 21 have fallen out of favor with Gen Z because of their lack of sustainable practices and transparency within their supply chains.
It has become nearly impossible for these brands and businesses to hide behind their buzzwords, forcing dozens of companies to either make better, more sustainable choices, or risk losing large percentages of their market.
Frankly, clothing companies are running out of reasons not to be more sustainable. The struggles for most major corporations in making the change includes a simple lack of resources and focus. In the fashion industry, for example, it can be difficult to create a fully-fledged plan to completely change how things have been done for decades. For those who do own a fashion brand, putting together a sustainability committee and assessing the financial risk your brand is placing on suppliers is a great place to start.