Exploring the perceptions of climate-aware Generation-Z towards fast-fashion’s greenwashing for the climate crisis

Martha Paulina Bytof, Elaine L. Ritch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

The chapter explores young consumers perceptions of fast-fashion sustainability marketing. Emerging from the premise that Generation-Z are educated in climate awareness from a young age and are proficient in navigating the internet for information, recent research has started to fill the gaps of how they process concern for the climate-crisis or how this might impact on their consumer practice (Williams and Hodges, 2022). With discourse that the fast-fashion industry contributes significantly to the climate-crisis intensifying, young consumers may experience conflict between their knowledge of the consequences of the fast-fashion system and their desire to frequently purchase inexpensive garments. Fast-fashion retailers have acknowledged concern for the climate-crisis and increased their marketing of sustainable communication; yet, this has been accused of ‘greenwashing’ through ambiguous sustainability claims in an effort to appeal to sustainably aware consumers. Increasingly Generation-Z are calling out such claims; however, there has been little academic attention on how young people practice concern for the climate-crisis or how they view market responsibility for addressing sustainability. This chapter reports on ten qualitative interviews with Generation-Z to explore their perceptions towards the marketing of fast-fashion sustainability. The findings reveal apathy towards the fast-fashion sustainability marketing, emerging from their embedded awareness of the climate-crisis and an understanding of sustainable terminology, which led to evaluations that fast-fashion and sustainability were incongruent. The participants criticised neo-colonial capitalistic economics that focus upon growth rather than the climate-crisis and social equality, and disengaged from businesses considered as greenwashing by rediverting their consumer practice with tactics that include avoidance and boycotting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Garments Economy: Understanding History, Developing Business Models, and Leveraging Digital Technologies
PublisherSpringer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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