The New Trend That’s Revolutionizing Fashion
Critically thinking about social issues and injustices in the day-to-day.
Challenging the phenomena to attempt to feed an insatiable hunger through consumerism.
Rethinking advertising “suggesting that materialism and the pursuit of possessions and owning stuff is what’s gonna make us happy”(1).
Choosing to not be part of the machine fueling fast, cheap, easy-to-dispose fashion.
Traditionally, brands have been able to take advantage of the consumer by marketing messages that empower them to buy. Between the marketing screen and the culture of privacy in the fashion industry, there has been a disconnect in values between the customer and the brand. Standardizing success solely by market growth, brands are designing, producing and selling product trendy enough to capture their audience, but disposable enough to encourage them to replace. This model to take-make-waste has changed the way people honor their clothes, money, and the resources and people involved in the process.
The Information Age
In 2015, Andrew Morgan’s The True Cost merged media and storytelling to share the stories of those paying the true cost of fashion—their lives. Revealing the implications of fragmented supply chains by interviewing victims of the Rana Plaza Disaster, following a young mother’s journey to fight for garment worker rights, and the seed-to-store’s story contaminating and financially exploiting farming communities. Catalytic combustion to the next wave of change in the fashion industry, The True Cost made known the significance of transparency and the role the new consumer played.
The New Conscious Consumer
A new generation of consumers is making it on-trend to be aware of what happens in the supply chain of the fashion industry. The emergence of the conscious consumer is that who participates in Fashion Revolution Week asking #WhoMadeMyClothes? They are making the switch to buy only 100% organic cotton and recycled raw materials. They value second-hand clothes as an avenue to extend product usage and dress against the grain. They lead conversations with their friends and families about the ramifications of fashion, using narratives like The True Cost and the Dhana Tribe to inspire. These are the people that are expecting the brands to address the issues in the fashion industry, rethink the trust given and the type of consumer they are marketing to.
A new standard for success is being driven. Brands are now beginning to recognize consumers’ interest in transparency as an invitation to vote with their dollar. Brands are taking it upon themselves to address wastewater implementing treatments. They are committing to reducing the 84% of textile waste that end up landfilled or incinerated (2). They are implementing circular fashion to loop materials back into the fashion system, innovating post-consumer textiles and selling used and recycled garments for the consumer to feel good about their purchases. Today, there is more need than ever for brand and customer value alignment.
The ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECT
Brands that are willing to use their platform as an avenue for advocacy and impact-oriented conversations are the ones that are promoting activism within the fashion industry and world. Patagonia’s mission to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature, reflect a company founded on value alignment. Founding their informal title “The Activist Company”, Patagonia supports grassroots activists, offers grants, fights for policy change and encourages employee and individual activism. A company that is committed to their vision, leading a conversation, platform, and future where the values of the activist can be shared through service and product.
The SOCIAL ASPECT
Brands are taking a stand by providing social through action in their supply and value chain, and those that aren’t are being driven by championing in the streets by the likes of “pro-fashion protestors”. Understanding the consumers is the part of the solution, Fashion Revolution empowers the voice of citizens in major fashion markets like the US and the EU to advocate for those less heard where hazardous garment production occurs. These conscious or woke consumers are pushing the envelope to communicate to brands what they value, demanding their clothes be made by people that are paid fair living wages and made in safe working conditions. That the process is not dangerous for the community or environment, and that these practices are made public through transparency.
Part of the movement, giving a voice to the unheard worker, Shamini Dhana, founder of Dhana Inc., believes, “it is my commitment to impact people and planet in a profound and positive way through our clothes. As one in six people on this planet work in connection with the apparel world…there is great concern that the magnitude of environmental destruction is not only immense, but the workers behind our clothes have been exploited for the benefit of brands to make a profit” (3). Dhana is founded on the ideals to unite humanity through the medium of fashion, using businesses in fashion is a force for good, aid solutions, and invite consumers to honor the importance of ethics and sustainability when shopping. Because by doing so, then can there be value alignment between brands and people.
Niche to Norm
The community of governance, brand, and customer are each affected by each other’s decisions. In an era when consumerism has drastically increased by 400% over the last 20 years, it’s time for the consumer to no longer be passive to the message being promoted. To start making their own decisions that reflect their values and beliefs. Brands are looking to consumer behavior to know what to make and how to sell it (1). Governance is being revolutionized by the people urging policy change. The future is the consumer and the future is the voice.
Shop, speak up, promote, endorse, and be inherently honest to what is true in all aspects of life. The people and planet are grateful for those rejecting them as disposable. Continue to let them be regenerated and honored by making incremental changes today, for a restorative tomorrow.
In a time we hope to see value alignment between brands and consumers, #WearOurValues and the road on this journey step out.
Brought by Dhana Inc
Additional Initiatives & Reports
Organizations, brands, the media and market research agencies have positioned themselves within the shift towards honest, fair and sustainable apparel. They are utilizing their resources and ability to drive conversation and pioneer innovation understanding the imminent threat of climate change, increasing population and consumption by 2030.
WearOurValues Report (available by end of 2018)