‘Tis the season of many things – holidays, family, changes in weather and overconsumption. Forbes revealed that this Black Friday was the second-largest online shopping day ever, preceded by Cyber Monday last year, with online shopping sales up 20%. As Black Friday transitions into holiday shopping, the fashion industry thrives in its busiest time of the year.

Fast fashion brands grab consumers’ attention as they maximize advertising budgets, offer the best deals and promise speedy delivery. So, consumers continue to purchase products that fit their budgets and delivery time frames. Therein lies the problem: where do sustainable brands and conscious consumers fit in? Which comes first and how does real change materialize if this vicious cycle is perpetuated year over year?

The famous chicken and egg dilemma presents itself again. Whose responsibility is it to shift to a greener mindset? Is it eco-fashion brands jobs to offer sustainable products or is it conscious consumer’s roles to buy better? How can we change the dynamics of the happiest, yet most polluting season once and for all?

What can brands do?

A recent McKinsey study indicates that 63% of consumers care about a brands stance on sustainability and its supply chain. Mounting evidence puts the burden on brands to take steps to green their supply chains and offer environmentally friendly products. Over the last couple months, we’ve seen the list of brands responding to this shift grow. From Moncler to Kering, brands are pledging to tread lighter on our planet.
There is also an abundance of small and medium eco-fashion brands with robustly green supply chains. The reality is that consumers are used to low price points, fleeting trends and quick delivery times. Brands need to change consumer’s perceptions of their values and reveal their sustainability efforts. But will they do so if consumers don’t ask?
How do consumers fit in?

Consumers have spoken and brands have responded – 84% of people want to buy green products. But less than 10% of consumers actually make green purchases. Cost, greenwashing and lack of credible data are cited as deterring factors. So how do consumers expect brands to offer better products if they’re not buying them?

Aside from just voting with their wallets, consumers can take ownership of the role that their closets play. 60% of the carbon footprint of a garment comes from the use phase. It’s up to consumers to treat their clothes like they value them instead of just looking for the next sale. Consumers need to buy into the circularity that eco-fashion brands are designing for.

You’re wearing clothes, aren’t you?

Just like the chicken and egg debate, this could go on endlessly. The truth is though, we’re all wearing clothes so sitting out of this conversation is not an option for anyone. We’re all part of the fashion industry by default, so we must take ownership over our closets and choices.
We often forget but brands are not entities; they’re made up of people who are consumers too. It all boils down to each of us as individuals and the choices we make. Whether the choice determines a supplier for an apparel brand or a new jacket – each decision has implications. What we wear, buy and sell is a reflection of who we are. Make sure you like what you see when you look in the mirror!
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