The positive impact of Gen Z on sustainable fashion

Generational changes comes with more ethical demands

Awareness in the rise and fashion is one of the key industries that needs an urgent change. Gen Z is certainly having a positive impact when it comes to making sustainable fashion trendy.

With its far-reaching negative impact on the environment, the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, topped by the oil industry. Overproduction of cheap items of clothing, use of synthetic polymers and plastic materials, huge water consumption, and an increase of carbon footprint are just some of the ways how this industry pollutes the earth. 

However, with the rise of the so-called Generation Z, things may change for the better. 

The consumers belonging to this age group aren’t interested in simply buying, owning and piling up fashion items. Instead, they are genuinely interested in how the clothes are manufactured and carefully select fashion brands who share the same beliefs and convictions as they do. 

Their fresh and confident approach might just be what this industry needs. The positive impact of Gen Z on sustainable fashion can already be felt in many respects. 

positive impact gen z sustainable fashion

Raising awareness of sustainability

As the consumers are becoming more ecologically conscious, their shopping needs and wants are considerably changing which in turn significantly influences and shapes the fashion industry. Generation Z isn’t interested in clothes produced in fast fashion. They demand more starting with the transparency of their favorite fashion brands. 

While they want to know exactly which raw fabrics are used and what the manufacturing and shipping process looks like, they are most interested in whether the product is sustainable and made of eco-friendly materials and are often willing to pay extra if the desired item meets these requirements. 

Some brands are making these clothing items of reusable components presents a fun and exciting challenge for the designers allowing them to come up with appealing and unusual designs at more than an affordable price.

As the gen Z constitutes a hefty part of the consumer base in the fashion industry, other brands will have to follow in their footsteps and begin producing sustainable merchandise to ensure their place on the market in the future. It is no wonder, then, that a contemporary MA degree in fashion design teaches its students the basic principles of not only project and business management but also strategy planning which may prove to be crucial in making the world of fashion as innovative as its main consumers want it to be. 

R sustainable fashion show edinburg reinvent upcycled designer @aureliefontan.design
Incredible sustainable coat made from cable ties by 4th year Fashion student @aureliefontan.design
Model @annikawilder 
Photographer @photobyduncanholmes 
RSFS 2018 Cycles

Introducing the concept of ethical fashion 

Apart from being loyal to only those brands who manufacture environmentally friendly products thus actively participating in waste reduction, generation Z is also staying faithful to those whose code of business ethics and professional convictions align with theirs. By doing so, they are slowly introducing what is now known as ethical fashion. This newly established concept reflects in buying tenable fashion pieces while at the same time paying close attention to the brands’ business policy and whether they are showing support for the members of their community or some charity organization. 

One such brand is Birdsong who is widely known for its inclusion of women’s organizations as well as migrants in their manufacturing process. Another example is Outerknown, which, aside from creating sustainable clothing and planting around 10 trees for every item purchased, is also taking care of and empowering the workers involved in the manufacturing process. Still, there aren’t many companies joining this movement. But with the powerful gen Z and their effective and extensive use of social media, ethical fashion is expected to prosper shortly bringing about a profound effect on the fashion industry as a whole. 

Meanwhile, a small number of ethical companies are publicly praised. The most famous form of lauding is certainly the list of companies that care published annually by People magazine. 

Deciding to become more eco-friendly and take part in creating fashion more ethical and humane is not easy since it can backfire if the brand doesn’t hold their end of the bargain. If generation Z doubts even the slightest in the brand’s authenticity, transparency or respect of the basic human rights, they will immediately bring down the wrath all over the social media which will unquestionably lead to the company’s bankruptcy and ultimate downfall. 

R sustainable fashion show edinburg reinvent upcycled designer @micol_zardi
ECA Product Design Student @micol_zardi She utilised bubble wrap, a packaging material that would eventually end up in landfill, to comment on the extensive use of synthetic materials in fashion in lieu of natural ones. “I was … triggered by the fact that there is such a fuss on trying to find organic and local food, because we want to know what we put in our bodies. Why isn’t this attention also for what we wear and protect our body with?” Photo by @theodor.ms RSFS 2018 Cycles

As Generation Z is taking over with its new and environmentally conscious shopping habits, the fashion industry as we know it will experience a positive shift. Seeing how much this industry is harmful to the environment, followed by the increase of ecological awareness, the people from the fashion world will have to know how to play the market and meet its demands. 

Starting from manufacturing sustainable pieces of clothing that are of high quality and affordable as well, being completely honest and open about the nature of the processes behind an item, to giving back to the community and preserving their authenticity, the brands will have to go through major changes. All thanks to the positive impact of Gen Z, which will surely be maximized in the years to come. 

This post has been written by the guest blogger Jennifer Materson with the help of the team of editors at Ourgoodbrands.

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Jennifer Masterson

Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a lifestyle blogger and senior content strategist at Spread the Word Solutions, having a keen interest in a wide array of topics related design, fashion and travels. In her leisure time, she likes to immerse herself in a good book and try to satisfy her perpetual wanderlust.

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