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How fast fashion shows the disparity between what consumers want and buy – Sourcing Journal

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A year ago, it looked like Covid would have finally been the only opponent strong enough to thwart fast fashion, the category known for cheap and cheap ‘disposable’ clothing. Opinion titles about the fast end of fashion: closures led to a drop in demand for new clothes, clothes were piled up in warehouses, and consumers suddenly seemed to realize that they didn’t need new clothes every time. every two weeks. Creators are welcome the idea of ​​not competing with endless deliveries of fast fashion. Regularly, it seemed, discussions focused on better quality, better working conditions and a more sustainable fashion industry.

Cut last month, and the Wall Street Journal article on Shein, which spotlighted the online Chinese fast-fashion retailer that has become a darling of young consumers.

Now, it should be noted that 64% of all fashion shoppers, and most consumers under 35 (54%), say they would rather buy better quality clothes than more fashionable ones, according to the 2021 Cotton Incorporated. Lifestyle monitor™ Poll. And more than a third of all shoppers (35%) say sustainability and environmental friendliness are important to them when deciding what clothes to buy. In addition, the majority say that cotton clothes are the most durable (78%), the most quality (71%) and last the longest (56%) compared to clothes made of synthetic fibers.

Perhaps knowing that consumers have these interests and preferences, Shein has an entire page on her website devoted to “Our products / Our planet. Here he talks about sustainable fibers and production, noting that he uses dead synthetics and only produces 50-100 pieces of each new product, which seems reasonable. Until, for example, we click on, Women’s Clothing, and there are 229,530 products priced at $ 2 (for, say, a tight skirt Where halter top) To $ 146 for a down coat that converts from full length to waist. It also offers more than two and a half times more clothing made from synthetic fabrics than from natural fibers such as cotton, silk and wool (462,406 produced compared to 173,918).

In a report, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that 60 percent of all clothing is made from synthetic fibers. Additionally, the IUCN report states that 35% of microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans comes from washing synthetic textiles in household laundry. The tiny microfibers break away from man-made fibers like polyester, which are discharged during the wash cycle and have been discovered in lakes, rivers, oceans – even tap water. This is the case whether it is virgin polyester or spun from recycled bottles.

Recycled plastic clothing has gained some support in recent years. But it won’t make its debut in the collections of Ron Poisson, co-founder and designer of premium denim and sportswear brand Cult of Individuality, as well as HVMAN, the brand’s new high-end streetwear line.

“Sustainability and environmental issues are obviously very important,” Poisson said ahead of his Spring ’22 show in New York City in an interview with Lifestyle monitor™. “We didn’t go into any kind of recycled bottle clothing pieces. We are, however, very concerned about the environment. Denim manufacturing was an environmental issue, so because I’m a partner in factories in Asia, we worked to change that. We have ozone machines that we buy (for long lasting washing effects) and laser machines so people aren’t sandblasting and sanding by hand. It is more respectful of the environment and also more respectful of workers.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people use recycled plastic, not because they’re trying to be eco-friendly, but they’re trying to do marketing work like greenwashing. It’s not my thing. I’m not using this as a way to convince you to buy more from me. I just do this as a personal effort so I know what I’m doing is contributing to other people on a larger scale, ”said Poisson.

But fast fashion brands don’t hesitate to promote sustainability on their websites. For example, among the 25,000 articles and more Pretty little thing offers on its site, 366 are made from recycled fabric.

Veteran fast fashion brands H&M and Inditex (Zara) recently signed the International Agreement for Health and Safety in the Textile and Clothing Industry, which was appreciated as a small step for the industry by Maxine Bédat, founder and director of The New Standard Institute, an organization in environmental and sustainable non-profit for the fashion industry.

“This is a long way from solving the problems associated with fast fashion but it shows a serious and legally binding commitment to make improvements in a specific area (building safety),” Bédat said in an interview with Lifestyle monitor™. “The new generation of fast fashion players – Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, Shein – haven’t made any such commitments. It doesn’t paint a picture of an industry that has evolved. In fact, it shows a completely industry. unbalanced; an industry powered by fossil fuels, producing disposable clothing without considering the impact it has on the planet or on the people who make and distribute it.

And these brands have flourished since the start of the pandemic. Charles Zhong, CEO of Azazie, the online wedding retailer, launched the sportswear brand Blush Mark during closure, since weddings and special events have been canceled. Glossy reported last year that the newcomer has seen sales increase 200-300% every month since launch. Atlantic reported that super-fast fashion brands Asos, Boohoo and PrettyLittleThing all saw significant growth when they closed last year, especially since they didn’t have to deal with the hurdle of locations physical.

” In times of crisis, consumers don’t stop shopping», Says the article. “They just limit their shopping to affordable pleasures.”

With the help of major players like Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and Primark, the global fast fashion market is expected to grow from $ 25.09 billion in 2020 to $ 30.58 billion in 2021, according to a Research and Markets report. It is expected to reach $ 39.84 billion by 2025. The report attributes the market growth to young consumers who are “drawn to unique, fashionable and affordable clothing.”

This appeal to shoppers under 35 is ironic, given that among those aged 13 to 34, nearly 7 in 10 (67%) say they would rather have less better quality clothing than more. lower quality items. , according to To watch™ research. In addition, 75% of respondents say that quality has “become more important to me over the past year in the clothes I buy”. This is significantly higher than the percentage of people aged 35 to 70 who feel the same (67%).

Yet when asked where they buy most of their clothes, Gen Z and Millennial shoppers choose fast-fashion stores significantly more than their older counterparts (11% vs. 2%), according to the To watch™ research.

This buying behavior doesn’t seem to end with the pandemic either, as the majority of consumers under 35 (65%) say they plan to buy clothes from places like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo all. as often (48%) or more (17%) than before the Covid strike, depending on To watch™ data.

Certainly, modern life has played a role in the choices young buyers make. London-based environmental charity Hubbub found that 41% of 18-25 year olds feel the need to wear a different outfit each time they go out. Worse yet, 1 in 6 people don’t feel like they can’t wear an outfit after it’s been seen on social media.

As Patsy Perry, a senior lecturer in fashion marketing at the University of Manchester, said in a United Nations article even before Covid was shut down, it would be unrealistic to expect consumers to stop large-scale purchases.

“In the future, I would expect to see more development and wider adoption of more sustainable production methods. “

Cotton Incorporated is a global resource for all things cotton. The research and promotion organization continues its nearly 50-year commitment to providing expertise and information on all aspects of the global cotton supply chain: from dirt to shirts and beyond. Additional relevant information can be found at CottonLifestyleMonitor.com.

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