The number of people shopping for secondhand goods has spiked in recent years – but for countless complex reasons, they are not ready to leave Boohoo haul. past
“Generation Z’s shopping habits could spell the end of fast fashion“; “Saves as rebellion: How Gen Z kills fast mode“; “Gen Z is leading the evolution in shopping that can kill brands as we know themThese headlines, and others like them, have peppered newspapers, business journals, and fashion publications for the past 18 months. And they were right, to a point. thredUP‘s 2020 report said the second-hand market will hit $ 64 billion in the next five years, eventually surpassing fast fashion by 2029 – and Gen Z and millennials adopting secondhand goods. faster than other age groups.
Reports like these are certainly reassuring as we get more exposed dark stomach fast fashion industry, but they ignore one fact that cannot be missed: fast fashion is booming. Arcadia will go into administration, Forever21 filed bankruptcy, and H&M made plans to close 250 stores worldwide it may seem to signal the beginning of the end for fast fashion but consumers are only raising the stick and heading for cheaper, faster e-commerce retailers.
Despite allegations of unsafe and unfair working conditions at the Leicester supplier factory, Boohoo continues to sell it up 45 percent between February and August 2020, amid the peak of the pandemic, the number of buyers increased by about a third, to 17.4 million. Around this time, the internet searched for “cheap clothes” jumped 46 percent, while Missguided saw sales of her swimwear increase 700 percent, and people are more likely to search for expensive clothing under £ 5.
Loss of a job and low incomes may be the answer to why some are embracing low-cost fast fashion brands like Boohoo, Missguided, and Pretty Little Thing, which sell items for prices. as little as 8p in his Black Friday sale. “The main reason I buy a fast fashion item is because of the price,” says author Zoe May. “Clothing that is made in a more ethical and local way is often so much more expensive that consumers like me can feel appreciated for making those moral decisions.”
17 year old Rosa agrees. “The biggest reason (why I shop for fast fashion) is because I have a very low income,” they say. “Another reason is that I’m a fat person so my regular size is XL, but I’m also autistic so I don’t wear that size because of sensory problems. I actually wear the 4 or 5XL most of the time and continuous mode excludes this size a lot. “
Jessie, 20, also cites sensory issues as a driving force for buying fast fashion. “I am autistic and certain substances can trigger sensory overload for me,” they say. “I feel like sensory accessibility is not something a lot of people consider when it comes to making ethical clothing accessible to people. Returns, especially free ones, are very important for me to find clothes that I can actually wear because I end up having to return a lot of things. “
From size inclusiveness to revenue, many have undeniable reasons for switching to fast mode. However, it is not only those who need fast fashion which is the reason for the booming of fast fashion. Many still buy even though they have the means to buy elsewhere, as beautifully illustrated when a model complained that his £ 18 Missguided jumpsuit had damaged his £ 60k Porsche.
“The ‘poor’ argument is intellectually dishonest,” the fashion writer wrote Aja Barber commented in 2020. “Fast fashion is a problem perpetuated by the middle class and the rich. The poor don’t collectively have the funds to keep this cycle very profitable. “
So why do so many continue to insist that they can’t afford alternatives to fast fashion when they make multiple purchases every month or week?
“People are not good at math, especially when they are impulsive,” says Kate Nightingale, chief consumer psychologist and founder of Psychological Style. “In addition, the emotional and psychological benefits of five or six quick suits can be different from one or two sustainable clothing. We need a different way to market sustainability that goes deeper into our souls and fulfills a desire other than just being environmentally friendly. “
“Clothes that are made in a more ethical and local way are often so much more expensive that consumers like me can feel valued for making those moral decisions” – Zoe May
Different desires may explain the many young people who do not sit firmly in one camp, instead shopping for second-hand and quick clothes to meet different needs. For Claudia, 26, fast fashion is about convenience, availability and price. “If I wanted a black roll-neck long sleeve top I could actually type it and (ASOS) gave me a choice. If I don’t continue there, where will I get the things I specifically want? “But his shopping habits have conflicted feelings. “If I’m going to buy it, it will be in my conscience. So now that I’m learning more, I’m like, “No, I shouldn’t be doing this, but I really like this boss!”, “He said.
“I do recognize the impact of fast fashion,” continued Claudia, citing human rights issues and an “environmental perspective” as pointers for shopping for secondhand goods. “It’s much better to give love to things that already have a little life, and are usually a little more unique too,” he said.
But for Claudia, used goods alone didn’t answer her needs. “I want to see the end of fast fashion, of course. I just feel like used goods are everywhere, ”he said.
25-year-old Madeleine agrees. “The reasons I shop for fast fashion are ease of access, time savings, and lower costs,” he said. “And I know it’s naughty because of its environmental impact, but the other reason is how easy it is to return items that don’t fit or don’t suit you.”
Like Claudia, Madeleine cites “environmental reasons” for shopping for secondhand goods, and she values vintage goods of a higher quality, buying jeans, shoes, and jumpers that are made to last. “I bought ‘vintage’ Pepe jeans from eBay for £ 12 and I guarantee they will last longer than I ASOS,” he said.
He recently limited his spending on ASOS after hearing how they treated their warehouse workers during the lockdown but questioned directly as a viable replacement for fast mode. “I feel that accessibility to fashionable second-hand items can be limited,” he said. “Sometimes it can be a scramble for cash and prices go up massively for what it is. Just look at Depop and the number of Y2K items and their prices. “
Taking into account the disconnect between Gen Z and millennials being pegged as generation ‘wake up’ who will save the world and they continue to invest in fast fashion, Nikolas Rønholt, a Masters student at Aarhus University, leaves for research problem. Working with her partner Malthe Overgaard, she interviewed consumers between the ages of 22 and 26, which included crosses between the Gen Z and Millennial age groups.
Offering participants anonymity allows them the freedom to be honest in their answers. “Liking clothes is the most important thing,” commented one participant. “Then I started compromising with my other beliefs. If I believe a shirt from (a fast fashion brand) is good, I buy it even if it’s not sustainably produced – also because I can get it for a cheap price. “
This reason is similar to that of Sam *, who chose not to give out their real name. “I really do shop fast fashion for selfish reasons,” they tell me. “I disagree with that and try to be environmentally conscious for the rest of my life. I use reusable water bottles and sanitary products, I don’t drive, and I avoid plastic if I can, but I do it even if it’s not a financial necessity. It depends on the choice. I want to be able to browse 500 skirts in one place and buy and try tons of them. “
Significantly, the anonymity that allows people to discuss discrepancies between their values and their spending habits also enables them. “With low prices, easy return policies, and free shipping, marketers have significantly simplified the consumer purchasing decision process. As a result, purchases that are completed online require minimal cognitive consideration from the consumer, ”said Rønholt.
“I really do go shopping for fast fashion for selfish reasons. I disagree with that and try to be environmentally conscious for the rest of my life. I use reusable water bottles and sanitary products, I don’t drive, and I avoid plastics if I can, but I do it even though it’s not a financial necessity. ”- Sam *
Nightingale notes how e-commerce brands take advantage of not only anonymity, but also on the psychological traits and needs of their target market. “We need to remember that Gen Z is currently at an age where they are still developing their identity,” he explained. “That means they need to try different views to find out who they are, who they want to be, and how people react to them in these various views. That, coupled with underdeveloped impulse control, makes them more vulnerable to many tactics that affect the subconscious and trigger impulsivity. “
Despite indulging in fast fashion, many consumers are aware of its impact and struggle to adapt their purchases to their values. “Clothing becomes more expensive if it is sustainable and that makes me ignore it, even though I know that I should probably buy it instead of a 30DKK (£ 3.63) shirt to sell,” one of Rønholt’s sources noted.
“It’s something that really upsets me,” said Rosa. “Fast fashion being the only accessible mode for me is actually not true because I am a climate activist and navigating that duality is weird.”
Ultimately, consumers want to see the changes that come from the brand. “Our findings reveal a paradoxical attitude among fast fashion consumers in the sense that even though sustainability is neglected in their fashion decisions, they still expect fast fashion brands to promote sustainability,” said Rønholt.
Nine out of ten Gen Z consumers believe that companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social concerns, but price – even when it’s not a necessity – continues to drive their decisions. So, it seems like it’s up to the brand to make sure every purchase is an ethical purchase. “It’s not a decision I had to make in the first place,” said Jessie.