Op-Ed Int. Seminar 2

Puma Buck

Int. Seminar 2: Fashion



Fast Fashion and the Consumers’ Choice

As a generation, millennials are the target of every marketing campaign due to their tremendous spending power, spending almost $200 billion in 2017 in the US alone. Many brands aim to understand the values and consumer identities of this generation in order to win over the dollars of this powerful demographic. Millennials hold an enormous amount of power, and that brands will do all they can to appeal to this generation.

Over the past few years we’ve watched fast fashion brands like H&M and FashionNova explode with profit due to their seemingly never-ending supply of new and on-trend garments. The emergence and success of these brands is due to their ability to cater to the needs of the millennial generation.

However, these brands also contribute to a very large ecological footprint, producing unimaginable amounts of waste from the ever-growing number of garments produced at the lowest possible price each day. The evidence that these brands are detrimental to our environment is readily available and often talked about. Millennials are aware of the ecological effects that these fast fashion brands have, yet they continue to contribute to their exponentially growing success.

One would conclude then, that millennials as a generation don’t value the ethical or sustainable soundness of a brand. This is, however, exactly contrary to the truth. Millennials collectively express tremendous concern for the environment and uphold ethical production as a principal value. With these values, this generation should completely avoid fast fashion brands as they show a complete disregard for their ecological footprint.

It is perplexing to consider this gap between a generation’s expressed values and their failure to act, or rather buy, in line with these morals. Herein lies the answer: millennials share a great concern for the environment, but not as great as their concern for appearing on trend.

As a generation, millennials possess an extremely impulsive behavior only satisfied with the newest, hottest trend. Fast-fashion exists courtesy of this behavior and thrives on the societal values of staying ahead of trend. The fashion industry as a whole values obsolescence and disposability, and fast fashion is simply an epitomization of our society’s taste for these values.

Therefore, fast-fashion thrives due to a twisted cultural paradigm that values social image over the health of our ecosystem. Industry only caters to and feeds into the values of the consumer. Ethical responsibility of brands and corporations is often discussed as a leading issue, but what is more to the point is to discuss the responsibility of the consumer. It is imperative that future generations of consumers realize the power that they hold in terms of shaping the industry.



Kim, Hyunsook, Ho Jung Choo, and Nam Hee Yoon. “The Motivational Drivers of Fast

Fashion Avoidance.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management. Bradford,

Pennsylvania: Emerald Publishing, 2013.


Annamma, Joy, John F. Sherry Jr, Alladi Venkatesh, Jeff Wang and Ricky Chen. “Fast

Fashion, Sustainability, and the Ethical Appeal of Luxury Brands.” Fashion Theory:

The Journal of Body, Dress, and Culture. Oxford, England: Berg Publishers, 2012.


McNeill, Lisa, and Rebecca Moore. “Sustainable Fashion Consumption and the Fast Fashion

Conundrum.” International Journal of Consumer Studies. Oxford, England:

Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.


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