Three current issues that are facing the fashion industry

Throughout 2020 the fashion industry has suffered a major hit, with 43% of consumers saying they are less interested in buying things than before (Emotional Logic). This will have a greater impact on the global fashion industry on a whole, changing fashion, forever.

Designers and brands need to be current and adapt to time, trends and pay attention to consumer needs, and those in the industry who aren’t currently doing so, might not be around for much longer. At the moment, consumers are spending the majority of their time either in loungewear or activewear – lessening the urge to splurge in the retail world.

Millennials and Gen Z are the new generations of the consumer world, who have the biggest spending power in the up and coming years. The new generations are engrossed in the digital world, have access to more information and have different values than previous generations – therefore, creating issues within the industry. So, what are the three biggest challenges facing the fashion industry now?

1. Sustainability

Over recent years sustainability has been one of the hottest topics in terms of fashion because after all, fashion is one of the most polluting industries on the planet – according to One Green Planet. With fast-fashion taking over, clothes quickly becoming outdated, and being made with cheap materials it isn’t setting the world up for much hope. Although many brands are trying to incorporate more sustainable practices: from Stella McCartney who is one of the pioneers of cruelty-free fashion (no fur or leather) and offers sustainable alternatives such as, recycled textiles to Vivienne Westwood who said: “Buy less, choose well, and Make it last.” As a designer or brand, to become more sustainable is a lot more than using organic materials, Motif have said that “60-80% of the product impact on sustainability lies in the choices made at design and development stage.” For example, during the design and development stages, there is a much greater chance to reduce negative impacts and the cost of criteria implementation is greatly reduced.

Consumers are demanding a change regarding sustainability and it shows in their spending habits. According to a Nielsen Study, 57% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable brands because of their values and their desire to treat the world right.

2. Diminishing Pleasure

Oscar Wilde once said that, “In this world there are two tragedies in life: not getting what you want and getting what you want.” Throughout the pandemic, it has given consumers a chance to step away from their wardrobe and realise what they want to purchase, and what they need from their clothing.

In the beginning, all pleasurable activities start out enjoyable, and within a few minutes, we get used to it – such as shopping. If we purchase an item of clothing we want, we tend to find ourselves satisfied for a short while and then eventually bored of the product.

We live in a culture where replacement is so prevalent. We purchase cheap clothing, which is ‘on-trend’ and are designed to break and need replacing – with the next fashion trend. Consumers are fully aware of this and are conditioned to seek out the best price and continue the purchasing cycle, even if they aren’t fully satisfied. Although fast fashion is the ‘in’ thing, it isn’t very sustainable or making consumers particularly happy with their purchasing decisions, hence, diminishing pleasure. In the western world people have so many clothes, buying extra items no longer gives them a thrill.

Previously, in-store shopping is an activity that can stimulate feelings of happiness and experience some form of pleasure when making a purchase. However, given current circumstances shopping isn’t quite the same – when going to shopping malls or stores the appropriate PPE must be worn which is resulting in a poor shopping experience. For example, wearing a face mask, following arrows on the floor, queuing to enter a store and not being able to try clothes on really defeats the objective of going in-store to shop. Consumers are not getting pleasure from the shopping experience.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the way consumers shop altogether. With us currently facing a recession it is resulting in some people losing their jobs, or finding it harder to get promotions, or a pay rise – meaning they don’t have the money to spend on unessential items and making them more conscious of what and how much they are buying.

The shift in spending will change forever.

3. Less opportunity to dress up

Thirdly, less opportunity to dress up. As mentioned earlier, consumers are spending the majority of their time either in loungewear or activewear as they have been locked indoors for the past 4 months. Holidays, birthdays, and regular catch-ups have all been put on hold because of lockdown. No new outfits are needed to go out and celebrate in style because consumers have been wearing the same thing, day after day.

However, consumers are feeling the need to purchase the most fashionable stay at home loungewear to pop to the shops because after all clothing can change your mood. It has a dramatic psychological impact. Online clothing stores have been offering huge discounts to make sales, and it’s been working.

With restrictions being loosened, people are starting to go out more however, the majority of consumers don’t have the disposable income that they used to. You can just grab something from your wardrobe (even if you have already worn it!) and still have a great time.

Whether you need insight to adjust your strategies for existing brands to the new normal or are thinking about launching new products we can help you get it right. Emotional Logic is a specialist behavioural insight agency and we offer a range of cost-effective research solutions to ensure your strategy connects with the constantly shifting needs of the consumer. Please get in touch for a free consultation.

Free webinarSustainability: Do consumers really care?

Plastic packaging, sustainable fashion, going vegan - all make regular headlines. But how many consumers really hold those beliefs - and how many actually change their buying behaviour based on this?