Changing attitudes towards fast-fashion : A qualitative study of Swedish Generation Z and their increased ecological conscience

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: The fast-fashion industry’s effect on the environment becomes more of a critical subject as the industry grows and dominates the apparel industry. Fast-fashion is based on frequently pushing new trends to consumers in order to increase sold volumes. This has led to overconsumption and fashion waste where large volumes of unsold garments are burned each year. Alongside of this, the industry has begun to understand the importance of ethical conduct and sustainability to positively affect or minimally harm humans and reduce their overall impact on the environment. Generation Z are said to be a finely tuned ecologically conscious generation, whilst being frequent shoppers of fast-fashion. This has led to the purpose of this study, to see how Swedish Generation Z’s increased ecological conscience affects their fashion consumption. This will be found by examining how shifts in thinking affects their attitudes towards fast-fashion retailers and their willingness to purchase sustainable and ethical fast-fashion. This, with the intent of addressing the behavioral-attitude gap that exists amongst sustainable fast-fashion, where consumers want sustainable fashion but do not purchase it. To answer this, the empirical foundation was obtained through 20 semi-structured video-interviews via telephones to give an understanding of Generation Z’s attitudes and behaviors surrounding sustainability and ethics in fast-fashion. Conclusions drawn were that there was an awareness of sustainability concerning fast-fashion, but that it was not something that changed their behaviors so much as their attitudes. What was found was a strong attitude about ethics in fast-fashion as the majority of participants felt that they were in the dark about what happens in the supply chain, and that they could do nothing about it. If companies would clearly define why something is more ethical, it was found that the majority would be willing to change their behaviors, and purchase ethical fast-fashion. Sustainability that was something they were aware of, was lacking in fast-fashion but something they compromised for price, whilst price was not such a sensitive subject regarding ethical fashion.

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