Fashion customer behavior

Sustainable fashion. Slow fashion. Fast Fashion. Hand-made this. Upcycled that. Fancy brand names, vegan clothes, zero waste garments, new collections here, local producers there…

We hear about these a lot. Do you? Is it something you come across in your social circles?

People from our study claimed to get their information about fashion and the industry practices mainly from social media – Instagram and TikTok in particular.
They follow various influencers, such as Fashion Revolution profile, but also individuals adding content within the topic. That’s the way they get in touch with fashion. With designers. A click, a few swipes and they are in.
How much of what we read on social media is verified information though? Is there a way to find out? And if not. Where to search then? 

Act of shopping. How do you feel about it?
Are you excited about the purchase and about ransacking those colorful clothing racks lined up? Diving through the new collections, trying the feels of different fabrics, combining the clothes while trying them all on, imagining where you would wear them… A date? School? Walking the dog?
Or do you see yourself in that group of people who get quite anxious when walking into the mall?
The artificial white lighting, the changing rooms where you can see every single wrinkle on your body, even some pimples that weren’t there before! Tons of items stacked in piles everywhere, you can feel the sweat rolling down your back already, people all around you, in a pumped mode of a shopping rush… (been there!)

It turned out the respondents of this study were leaning towards the less shop-enthusiastic stream. They would agree to feel a sense of pleasure after the purchase, but the act itself seems to be a punishment for the majority of them. 

What makes you decide what to buy and whether to buy it?
Our respondents were quite meticulous about deciding whether there is an actual need behind the purchase, the simple desire to own it – was not enough. 

So, when you hold a piece of clothing… before you buy it. What do you think about? Take a second to listen to that evaluation process. What comes up?
Our respondents choose clothes mostly based on the material quality and the price of the product. Which can be tricky with sustainable fashion, where the prices are slightly higher, as the materials done in a sustainable and fair way are naturally more pricey than materials done by fast fashion chains.
Buying a sustainable piece of clothing is a certain investment, where we support the environment, local producers and we (hopefully!) end up with a long-enduring garment that will please us for years to come. 

Imagine an ordinary day, it’s sunny outside, fairly warm weather and you sit on a bench somewhere where there are people walking by. Are you there yet?
Okay, now… Look at their outfits. Are they saying anything to you? Can you tell what the person was going through when putting them on? Are they trying to say something?
Now look at yours. What are your clothes telling the world? What could the lady sitting across from you understand about you from your outfit? Does it matter to you?
It matters to 90% of our participants. They feel the need to express their daily moods, subculture preferences or attitude through their clothes.
All of that, while not leaving their sense of originality behind. 95% percent of them do not want to simply blend in. They want to belong within a social group, but in their own way, having their own style, helping them find who they truly are in this fast changing world. Apparently clothes can help us with our self esteem, improve our confidence and support us on days we feel a bit shorter than we actually are. Have you ever felt boosted by your clothes? Have you ever felt the need to put some specific colors or pieces on, because you needed it that day? Welcome to the club then!:) 

Fast versus slow. Exploiting versus sustainable. Cheap versus investment. Is there a bridge between these two worlds?
Imagine a world where all fashion is done sustainably, locally, slow, we wear it for a long time, new collections are done once in a few years.
Or a world where we go in the direction we stepped into. Factories and fashion industries booming exponentially. Cheaper, faster, more accessible. MORE! Horrible conditions. Waste. Child labour. Toxic chemicals in both, the human and the Earth skin. Is that manageable? 

If your answer is yes. Then.. for how long? We breathe the same air and drink the same water on this planet. All of us are in this together. From the very first strain of fabric, through the person showing the outfit on a night out, to the very last landfill manager. 

Our respondents have various opinions about the fashion future. Some brighter, some less. Most of them see a path, where sustainability and fashion could share the same roof. But they claim that our consumption preferences would have to shift radically. On a big-scale. Societal one.
Are we in?

If you are a fast fashion enthusiast. Can you imagine a way to shift towards slow sustainable fashion? What would be the turning point for you? When or why would you decide to spend more on the local transparently manufactured clothing?