Green apparel, previously the purview of high end shoppers and new mothers has entered the mainstream, driven by demand by eco conscience young consumers. Though the fashion industry thrives on planned obsolesce, younger women, in particular, are finding ways to find a middle ground between consumerism and green living.
“Gen Y and the Millennials are really driving this trend,” says Barbie M. Casasus, senior director and consumer strategist at Iconoculture, based in Minneapolis, adding that 20- to-28-year-olds represent about $520 billion in buying power and say they are willing to pay more for organic and fair-trade products. “And they’re pretty passionate about it. While it’s a category that is still in its infancy, the demand is growing.”
Eco entrepreneurs have an opportunity to play a part in this growing trend by focusing on this younger demographic and understanding their needs. “Niche brands”, says David E. Wigder, SVP of Digitas “can find success promoting greener clothing.”
Notoriously fickle teens (Millennials) are driven by advertising and big brand names, while Gen Yers, now in their 20s, are the ones more likely to seek out small specialty brands to meet their needs. Deciding which segment of the market to serve is key to developing a sound marketing strategy to reach this group.
Iconoculture Global Insights recognizes 4 distinct green fashion consumers:
The Living Green consumer, who has embraced the whole concept of the environmental lifestyle and is driven by dedication, purity and awareness. “She is the most likely to be eating organic foods. She’s finding new ways to use her old clothes, shopping vintage and thrift shops, and buying clothes made of recycled fabrics.”
The Core Fashionista, “who is looking to build up the green in her fashion portfolio,”. While this shopper wouldn’t be caught dead in a hemp dress or tire-tread sandals, “she is rethinking and redefining her sense of style and eco-chic. She sees herself in a power position, and isn’t a slave to any trend. She’s picking and choosing, looking to make small modifications.”
The Walking Green consumers, “driven by wanting to belong to a greater community. These are trend followers.”
The Spending Green profile, the shopper who buys green clothes because “that sense of exclusivity and entitlement are important to her. She embraced green when it was still very much a luxury category, and she intends to keep it that way. For her, buying green connotes luxury, not any kind of sacrifice.”
Are you pursuing one of these niches? How do you see your brand appealing to thes new green fashion consumers?
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