Low prices aren’t fun anymore—consumers have reached peak happiness with clothing purchases!
Now I have to admit that this is not a headline I thought I would be reading in relation to the low cost, fast fashion sector so soon.
We've all seen the recent global reaction and demonstrations to 'climate change', and whilst this blog isn't about riding on the back of what's clearly an extremely vital movement this is my opinion piece which I hope helps to highlight that the way we're running the world doesn't have the level of sustainability we have come to know.
If we accept the view in the CNBC article (link below) we're being told by a 'Morgan Stanley' analyst no less that;
The only way apparel markets can grow is if clothing becomes more expensive, but he says that’s also unlikely to happen.
This is because (in his opinion) that consumers now own so many clothes that they are no longer happy WTF!!!
My view is that fast fashion has never been a long term sustainable business, in order to maintain growth required by investors means a constant tug of war between shareholder value, and the 'I want it now' fickle socially savvy consumer,and much less about environmental issues.
I say socially savvy because it's a combination of the numerous social networks the fast fashion companies are on that's helping to fuel the demand without any real perspective (or responsibility) of the hidden environmental cost, and/or solutions that are seen to be informing today's consumer.
Consumers today are being 'influenced' daily because of unprecedented access to friends, family, aspirational peer groups, and related paid for 'influencers' who are reinforcing a false sense of personal worth, all via free to use, free to access, on any device, anytime, anywhere via numerous social media platforms - GLOBALLY.
This behaviour isn't something that's new, it's just that back in the day it was all about the one to few, our 'social circle' was sparse.
I remember in my school days being pressured to wear the right shoes, shirts, trainers etc. We then get into the workplace and unless you're in a job that requires a uniform the pressure is also there.
Up-cycling and recycling is in its own way becoming a movement, I was once involved in a company that bought - refurbished - and sold your old media, and today your old tech, believe me it's a lucrative sector if you can get it right, but for planet earth is it still just kicking the can further down the road?.
Brands that still use social media as place to plug that next fashion buy by advertising and promoting themselves can also use the same platform to help with business transition, along with getting involved in the climate debate and helping to re-educate the 'on demand' generation.
To continue in this (excuse the pun) fashion requires a radical re-think from all retail companies, which should be focused on not just getting the upfront sale over the line e.g. 'recruit and forget', but how they can get involved in managing the 'after sale' opportunity for up-cycling, and recycling, they can do this by thinking about the collaborative downward supply chain with a 'recruit and nurture' mindset.
I'm not talking about hundreds of different kinds of transport moving items round the globe in order to recycle at some huge central distribution base, I'm talking about real sustainable initiatives that empower the consumer, the impoverished, and the many related issues impacting all of us in this climate change agenda.
They can do this by enabling and leveraging the 'gig economy', localisation, those working from home, or in poverty stricken parts of the world to get involved in the climate movement in a way that rewards everyone - there are many blueprints from entrepeneurs that can be used for collaboration - "where there is capacity there is opportunity".
But to do that they need to do the one thing that seems to be extremely rare, which is to learn to start to 'LISTEN'.
His theory is based on the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility, which states that “as consumption increases, the marginal ‘utility’ (or happiness) derived from each additional unit declines.” In other words, consumers already own so many clothes that each new item they purchase doesn’t spark happiness.