Showcase your purpose
Purpose, purpose, purpose – can you see through the bullsh*t? Show the genuine steps you’re taking to make the world a better place. Look at Toms, their ‘One for One’ initiative looks beyond profits and instead focusses on giving back to struggling communities by providing shoes, sight, water and safer birth to people all over the world.
73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, which means if your brand is genuinely good for people and the planet then consumers want to hear about it.
Now more than ever, consumers are looking past beautiful branding and flashy ads to truly understand the purpose of a company. Millennials want to support companies that are actively invested in creating a better future, and are pushing more than ever for brands to be open and honest about their sustainability.
By being transparent about your processes, practices and environmental initiatives, you can position yourself as a brand that these millennials trust, and as one that’s taking steps to safeguard the planet.
Don’t start until you’re truly making an effort, and use visual photos, infographics and video storytelling from your customers and entire company staff (not just the CEO) to tell people why you’re doing what you’re doing. Plus – show the things you want to improve on and vocalise any cock ups you may have had rather than sweeping them under the rug.
Market a lifestyle
Show your product in action and showcase how it’s fitting into sustainable lifestyles through images on your social media and website. Demonstrate to the eco-conscious fashion consumer that your brand cares more about the people wearing their clothes and their stories than the clothes themselves, buying your brand is merely a step towards the type of life those consumers want to lead.
Tell your story through social media
What Fast Fashion lacks is soul and stories. A pair of jeans is just a pair of jeans, nothing more, nothing less.
However, becoming a brand which communicates a deeper story enables you to stand out. This is more than just transparency about your supply chain. It’s being open about where the material is from, who made the garment and why that’s important to your brand.
Just look at Azezana, they’re a company who sell silk and cashmere scarves, but they’re not just any old scarves, they’re “skillfully handwoven by widows and women in need in Afghanistan”. These women earn a living through the production of these items which empowers them to live a life of economic independence and dignity.
Although not every product has such a strong story to tell, providing a richer background to your products is always possible. Take time on your social media channels, your labels and your product descriptions to be truly transparent and enable the consumer to develop a connection with your brand.
Don’t push trends, push finding your individual style
One of the biggest contributors to Fast Fashion is brands pushing new seasonal garms onto consumers. This is leading to mass pollution, huge amounts of waste and a massive environmental footprint. In fact, 74% of clothes bought are thrown away – this is 7.5 billion items in the UK, accounting for 30% of all waste! Trends generate this detachment with the consumer, by suggesting these items are disposable and only good until the next new thing comes along.
The eco-conscious fashion consumer is going to avoid fashion brands who push trends on to them and opt instead for brands who’re producing ethical, long-lasting items. Goodbye fast fashion, hello slow fashion!
Feeling like a pioneer? Let’s chat about how you can implement a clothing giveback scheme – where consumers don’t actually own their clothes, merely just rent them… or repair scheme to increase the longevity of your consumer’s clothes.
We’ve seen consumers picking up ethical garms and asking their friends why on earth it’s so expensive. What they don’t see is that the t-shirt they’re holding was produced by environmentally conscious carbon negative organic cotton from a farmer who was paid a fair wage. They also don’t see that the seamstress worked in an ethical factory which defended the rights of its workers, or that a percentage of the profits go to environmental charities. In the era of Fast Fashion when prices are being slashed, costs are being squeezed and health and safety is being overlooked, many people are unaware of the true costs of such fashion.
To conclude – as a brand who takes your social and environmental purpose seriously you have the opportunity to be an educator brand. Deliver transparency to your consumers, they will make this message contagious and because of your extra efforts, and concious consumers will shop better and have a positive ripple effect in shopping better.
Written by Rachel Mary Lou edited by Joss Ford.