American Consumer Perceptions of Sustainable Fashion, Fast Fa ...

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A central question in the shift to a sustainable future in the fashion industry is how to achieve consumer adoption of environmentally sensitive and socially conscious products. For many sustainability-focused academics, pundits, and industries, there is an obvious and immediate need for alternatives to the current practices of pollution, resource squandering, social and economic inequalities, and contributions to global climate change that are perpetrated in the name of fast fashion. Why do consumers still overwhelmingly buy mass or fast fashion, as it seems far too simplistic to think that consumers are indifferent to these concerns? Results from a national 700-respondent survey indicate that many consumers do not understand the term “fast fashion,” or are unaware that there are problems with the way we make and discard clothing. If consumers do not know what fast fashion is, or what it represents, there can be little progress in consumer adoption. This article discusses the results of the survey and the implications for a conversation about educating the American general public on the negative impacts of fast fashion.