Meeting the demands of Gen Z consumers might be difficult for fashion brands embracing sustainability practices.
NYTimes article “What do Gen Z Shoppers Want? A Cute, Cheap Outfit that Looks Great on Instagram” postulates that Generation Z prefers to buy inexpensive clothing from ultra-fast-fashion brands. The article surmises that Gen Z consumers gain instant gratification from a seamless transaction of a cheap outfit on their smartphone. The purchase on an outfit is not a one-time occurrence, rather for the typical Gen Z shopper, this is a daily practice. Fast production and consumption of inexpensive, single-use clothing are dramatically at odds with sustainable practices.
Meanwhile, many fashion and beauty brands are allocating funds to enact sustainable measures. A Glossy article notes, “As the fashion industry begins to reconcile its impact on the global climate crisis, some brands are putting their money where their mouth is.” According to the article, Allbirds, a leading shoe brand, is undergoing a self-imposed carbon tax. The carbon tax would mean that “if the average shoe produces 10 kilograms of carbon and it would require $0.10 per product to offset that amount.”
Fashion and beauty brands that want to have a social impact may have to increase their spend on production and subsequently increase their product prices. A more expensive, yet ethical piece of clothing might not prove favorable with the Gen Z consumer.