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Why Gen Z Is Still Obsessed With Fast Fashion

Brands such as Shein, H&M, Forever 21, Zara and more, seemingly have a chokehold on Gen Z — despite the generation’s high value on sustainability.

Here’s why.

In ThredUp’s Global Data 2022 Consumer Survey, 1,989 people, aged 16-25, were asked questions about their shopping behaviors ahead of the back-to-school season, as well as their relationship with fast fashion. What they found was 1 in 3 respondents said they were addicted to fast fashion due to its low prices coupled with pressures of social media.

Forty percent of college students said they browse fashion sites or apps at least once a day, for instance, with 1 in 2 noting they watch fast fashion hauls on social media platforms weekly. Almost half admitted that it’s difficult to resist the temptations such brands have to offer. But there’s a price. Fast fashion brands are producing too much product at too low prices, which encourages consumers to buy and dispose clothes faster than ever.

In the report, 71% also said they would be buying new clothes, specifically planning to buy 12 new items, before heading back on campus. If they thrifted these items instead, 10 billion lbs of CO2e would be saved. That’s equivalent to 116 million planted trees, according to ThredUp.

The guilt, however, is weighing on Gen Z.

More shoppers are looking to shop more consciously, with 51% of consumers in the survey saying they want to quit fast fashion or shop less of it. In addition, 65% said they want to shop more sustainably for clothes this year that are better quality and from more ethical brands.

With that, ThredUp is taking action. Today, the online consignment shop launched a hotline in partnership with “Stranger Things” actress Priah Ferguson. When callers dial 1-855-THREDUP, they’ll hear Ferguson’s voice on the other line convincing them not to buy more fast fashion. They can also remain on the line to learn more about why fast fashion is harmful to the planet and how thrifting can be an affordable, sustainable alternative.

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