Millennials and Gen Z are becoming aware of the massive ecological damage that fast fashion is having on the planet. It’s no secret that fast fashion has been responsible for a catastrophic level of environmental pollution. Overt use of raw materials, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are only part of the story. This circular buy, wear and toss behavior is impacting landfills and becoming a major carbon contributor. Fast fashion has also played a very dark role in contributing to black market trafficking of forced labor.
There is evidence the seemingly unstoppable growth of fast fashion giants H&M and Zara may be slowing, or at least changing. H&M plans to close 160 stores. The fashion giant was hit hard in mid-2018, after accumulating huge unsold inventory, forcing significant discounting to clear out the goods. The effect of this resulted in unexpected reductions in profits for the sixth straight quarter.
Contrary to the forces behind fast fashion, there is evidence of movement by consumers of all ages and demographics towards buying fewer but higher-quality basics that can be mixed, matched and re-worn, even with the addition of some great vintage accessories. Significant changes are underway—away from what’s trending and toward what’s stylish.