Each week, we’re highlighting thoughts, insights and observations from Colony Group team members on what inspires them at work and in their personal lives. In this instalment, Social Media and Account Manager April Backhouse shares her thoughts on encouraging consumers to make ethical choices when deciding on their next fashion purchase.
Slow fashion is changing how we buy.
In recent years, the fashion industry has had to adapt to significant changes across transparency in manufacturing, design, sustainability and ethical business models. In a way, marketing in fashion can almost be seen as a form activism, promoting the key features that promote the company’s ethos and practises in areas like animal cruelty, environmental impact and manufacturing processes. A watchdog organisation called Fashion Revolution (fashionrevolution.org) has already made an impact and are the marketing champions behind the creation of several compelling ads that are increasing consumer awareness and changing the fashion world. Industry icon Patagonia is still one of the leading brands to encourage people to consider the effect of consumerism on the environment by repairing, reusing and becoming more sustainable in their fashion needs.
The online world is dominated by consumers who are ready to absorb information and buy on the spot. This has forced the fashion industry to drastically evolve their social media marketing strategy by starting to shy away from promoting “fast fashion” and instead highlighting the transparency, sustainability and ethics of their business practices, allowing consumers to understand how their purchase is being utilised by the company.
There is always one clear distinction between fast and slow fashion – slow fashion creates a lifestyle for the consumer as a way to become part of a collective conversation about change and ethical choices. But how can you spot it? When browsing through your favourite brands, take note of the emotional connections they are trying to invoke in you. Is your brand promoting ‘New’ collections every two weeks? Are they embracing an ‘organic” or ‘ethical’ range? These lifestyle brands will supply transparent information on their manufacturing, hires and materials used to create their product and will create a place where you not only spend your money, but also become part of a larger network of like-minded individuals. Traditional consumption is turning into purposeful consumption through a generational conversation around topics like the need to lower emissions, global change and sustainability.
Marketing is about promoting a brand’s ethos above their products. It is ultimately to ensure their consumer feels understood rather than targeted. We need to start understanding how the fashion world impacts our consumption of unnecessary pieces. On your next browse through your favourite brands, take a closer look – are they invoking a lasting relationship between you and their brand? Do you know where your money is going to be invested? At the end of your day, the product you purchase only increases the current operations of the company you choose.