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ThredUp debuts resources to support Gen Z hooked on fast fashion

By Jackie Mallon

16 Aug 2022

Fashion

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Today thredUp releases its Gen Z Fashion Report which analyzes the often contradictory behavior of Gen Z consumers. The cohort professes concern about the environment but its members are also the largest consumers of fast fashion. They express a desire to replace their fast fashion shopping with more sustainable habits yet social pressures stall their progress.

As a result a form of intergenerational warfare has emerged as older consumers now question Gen Z’s much touted eco-friendly credentials. But it is worth remembering that Gen Z is the only generation to grow up with the combined onslaught of fast fashion and social media as a feature of their lives. Aggressive marketing, insidious algorithms and the daily bombardment of viral TikTok hauls and Instagram Outfits of the Day take their toll, creating an insurmountable pressure on younger consumers to look on trend for every selfie.

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Both social media and fast fashion, invented by Millennials or older (Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Shein’s founder Chris Xu are both 38 years old, while Amancio Ortega founder of Zara is 86 years old), were designed to be addictive. According to recent data by thredUp, 1 in 3 Gen Z admit to feeling addicted to fast fashion. Older generations are essentially faulting young shoppers for becoming hooked on the culture of more that they helped build, all while crippling university debt, sluggish wage growth, and minimal possibility of stepping onto the property rung of the ladder set Get Z at unprecedented disadvantage in life compared to their scolding elders. Who is going to cut them a break?

This back-to-school season thredUp creates support hotline for Gen Z shoppers

ThredUp is hoping to do just that by teaming up with Stranger Things star Priah Ferguson to launch the Fast Fashion Confessional Hotline, a first-of-its-kind resource to counsel Gen Z away from fast fashion. Certainly, the statistics are alarming: 72 percent of college students say they have bought fast fashion in the past year with more than 2 in 5 saying that they buy clothes for events that they're likely to wear only once. 50 percent of college students watch weekly fast fashion hauls on social media and 40 percent scroll through fast fashion sites on a daily basis. However, nearly 2 in 3 fast fashion shoppers say they aspire to buy more secondhand fashion and sustainability is the primary reason they want to kick the habit. With fast fashion outlet Shein reportedly churning out close to 10,000 new items daily and younger shoppers right now investing in their back-to-school wardrobe, the hotline arrives at the perfect time. Its aim is to arm Gen Z with the resources they need to quit fast fashion for good and embrace lasting sustainable shopping habits.

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Just dial 1-855-THREDUP and the Fast Fashion Confessional Hotline will offer callers the chance to confess their fast fashion sins and get the support they need to make the switch to healthier shopping habits. On the other end of the line Ferguson's voice will be heard immediately putting the caller at ease by making her own fast fashion confession. The caller will be able to learn about why fast fashion is so bad for the planet and how thrifting can be an affordable, sustainable, fashion-forward alternative. Callers will also have the opportunity to choose from a selection of thrifted fashion curated by Ferguson.

60 percent of fast fashion items are produced and thrown out in the same year, reports thredUp. This back-to-school season the average Gen Z shopper plans to buy 12 new apparel items. But if every Gen Z shopper swapped those 12 new items for thrifted ones, it could collectively save nearly 10 billion pounds of C02e. That’s equivalent to planting 116 million trees.

Now that would be starting the semester off with top marks.

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