How can fashion brands strike a balance between lower-impact behaviours while also catering to a youth market hungry for newness?
As extreme weather conditions from wildfires to flash floods increase around the world, it’s no surprise the threat posed by climate change feels extremely personal for the youth of today. A joint study by the UN’s Development Programme and the University of Oxford published in January 2021 found that 69% of teenagers globally believe climate change is an emergency. This eco-anxious cohort of activists want brands to show they are interested in protecting their future by shifting to proactive environmental strategies, but they also follow trends and crave newness. WGSN partnered with Copenhagen Fashion Week to discuss how fashion brands can balance achieving ambitious climate goals with catering to the youth consumer’s desire for trends.
“We’re seeing the recycled materiality aesthetic starting to become a huge part of fashion vernacular. When you first look at it, it does look really odd, but it will become very familiar. Sustainability, lower impact materials and more responsible making are all creating a whole new fashion aesthetic. And that's why, if you're a designer, it’s an incredibly exciting period because it's a massive design opportunity.” – Lorna Hall, Director, Fashion Intelligence, WGSN
“The opening brand of our Spring/Summer edition 2022 is (di)vision, they’re offering a deconstruct line where they utilise and rework used garments and textiles to give them new life. Leftover fabrics is a big thing, not only within brands but also with design students at the Royal Danish Academy. Younger people want to create from waste and existing materials.” – Gizem Arici, Sustainability Manager, Copenhagen Fashion Week
“Gen Zen and Millennial youth are looking to secondhand concepts to find uniqueness; hunting for vintage and rare items on social media, e-commerce and re-commerce platforms. Young consumers are completely rethinking traditional ownership. The DIY fashion trend is thriving on TikTok and Depop, a lot of young consumers are teaching viewers how to bring new life to old clothes, instead of throwing them away.” – Athena Chen, Senior Strategist, APAC, WGSN Insight