Home Blog 2019 Sustainable Fashion is Being Influenced by Younger Generations
Oct 3, 2019

Influencing Up: The Younger Generation’s Impact on Sustainable Fashion

Subscribe to our blog

Like many of you, I’ve been inspired by the Global Climate Strike movement led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. As awestruck as I am with her, I can’t help but think what was I doing at 16-years-old to help mankind?  At that age, the only time I really thought about the climate is if it was too humid and my hair would frizz.  Today’s youth, on the other hand, are focused on the environment and social responsibility and the fashion industry appears to be listening.

The industry has been making strides on how ethical and sustainable fashion is being produced and marketed.  In a recent poll, 13% of consumers felt that sustainable fashion has become more stylish over the past few years, with the majority of 18-24 years olds in agreement*.  Sustainable and eco-friendly apparel was once synonymous with rough materials and drab colors, but today, brands like Everlane (+15% in dollars YOY**) are changing the perception of what sustainable apparel can be – they are focused on style and trends, while also touting their sustainable practices.   

It feels like every day I read about a new brand or retailer making some effort to contribute to the cause.  Whether it’s through production transparency, eco-friendly practices, or recyclable materials, brands are aligning with efforts that mirror their core values.  Authenticity is key here, especially with the younger consumer. Twenty-seven percent of consumers reported to have made a purchase specifically because they supported a brand’s social position***.  This trended even higher for younger consumers 18-34 (35%)***.

Although fashion has come a long way, there is room for more education on the sustainable efforts being made.  In a recent poll, 28 percent of consumers reported not knowing if they bought sustainable, eco-friendly, organic, or ethical apparel.  This trends higher in younger consumers (37 percent) ****.  Gen Z is a standout leader in this movement, and the oldest members of this group are just starting to enter the workforce.  With passion by their side, and a growing wallet, they will have a significant impact on the retail landscape in the future.

Many apparel brands have made great strides on the sustainability front and are authentic, but it’s vital that brands clearly communicate their efforts, especially to the younger consumers who hare having such an impact on the market. 

* The NPD Group/Civic Science May 2019
** The NPD Group/Checkout, 12ME Aug 2019
***The NPD Group/Omnibus May 2018
**** The NPD Group/ Omnibus May 2019


Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Apparel


Online Holiday Delights
Online Holiday Delights

Some Cyber Monday offerings were better than the weekend's in-store promotions - important to keep a "touch and feel" category like apparel top of mind online

New Holiday In-Store Impressions
New Holiday In-Store Impressions

Bearable Black Friday crowds gave one NPD analyst a new impression of the shopping event, and when it came to apparel, simple promos drove the most traffic.

VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications
VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications

The VSCO girl subculture took hold this summer and has created opportunities for products and brands in a variety of industries including apparel, beauty, fashion accessories, footwear, sporting goods and technology. We asked our industry analysts to weigh in regarding the implications and opportunities for their industries.

‘Tis the Season to Treasure Hunt
‘Tis the Season to Treasure Hunt

Off-price apparel sales are up, some retailers are expanding doors and moving online, and more consumers are planning on shopping off-price over the holidays.

Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.