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Gen Zers are ‘addicted’ to fast fashion shopping — despite claiming to care about the environment

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Tik Tok on the shop.

Gen Zers are addicted to fast fashion — despite claiming to care about the environment, according to a recent report from online thrift store ThredUp.

Despite a majority saying they want to shop more sustainably (65%), one-third of those surveyed by ThredUp said they are addicted to fast fashion.

Lottie Lashley, 25, said she used shopping as a coping mechanism to help her settle into her first year of university. The former shopaholic from London spent her downtime scrolling through fast-fashion websites, spending about $120 a month.

Gen Zers are addicted to fast fashion despite claiming to care about the environment.

AFP via Getty Images

“I would say it was an addiction to fast fashion,” Lashley previously said. “Seeing it, and needing to have it.”

The Gen Zer now considers herself a reformed fast fashion addict after coming to terms with the environmental impact of her shopping — but many of her peers have yet to be reformed despite claims of the generation’s eco-consciousness.

Gen Zers are more likely than any other generation to say that the climate crisis is their top concern. However, they continue to make up a large portion of fast fashion buyers despite the environmental impact of the industry being common knowledge among the generation.

The fashion industry, as a whole, is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 2% to 8% of global carbon emissions. It’s also on track to consume 26% of the world’s carbon budget by 2050 — and experts note that fast fashion is a major part of this.

“I feel like with Gen Z there’s sort of like dissonance where we say we care about sustainability, but then all of the Gen Z influencers who are influencing millions of people are telling us to go to these fast fashion brands that are only making things to be worn like three times,” Estella Struck, 22, who founded a marketing agency focused on sustainable brands, told Business Insider.

The fashion industry as a whole is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 2% to 8% of global carbon emissions and is on track to consume 26% of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Gen Z is using both their influence and buying power to support the fast fashion industry, with a third of college students describing themselves as “addicted” to their affordable and stylish shopping habits.

ThredUp even joined forces with “Stranger Things” star Priah Ferguson in 2022 to launch the “Fast Fashion Confessional Hotline,” a phone service designed to deter fast fashion lovers from impulsively snapping up cheap clothing.

Yet, the fast fashion industry continues to cram clothes into people’s closets.

“As a result of the constant bombardment of targeted advertising and the offering of online deals, young consumers like myself tend to buy on impulse more than ever before,” Melanie Parncutt, a Zoomer who works as a publicist at Otter Public Relations, told BI.

“It can be hard to break out of the cycle.”

Many Gen Zers are confessing that they feel guilty after excitedly opening their Shein or Fashion Nova packages, but blame the high cost of living and pressure to stay updated on microtrends for pushing them to buy.

Gen Z is using both their influence and buying power to support the fast fashion industry with a third of college students describing themselves as “addicted” to their affordable and stylish shopping habits.

AP

Fashionistas who want to update their wardrobes but remain eco-friendly can and are turning to thrifting and vintage shopping —  Instagram’s 2023 trends report claimed that Gen Z consumers are more “frugal and thrifty,” as many cite “climate concerns” as a major factor in opting for “DIY clothing” and “thrifting.”

But acquiring the latest press-on nail obsession or Ralph Lauren dupe is much faster and cheaper when clicking a few buttons on your phone from the TikTok shop.

“It seems like Gen Z are backed into a corner where we have to trade-off between caring about the planet or being fashionable,” Struck said.

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