Empirical studies have traced a recent surge in fast fashion to a heightened consumer appetite for cheap, on-trend ‘buy now wear now merchandise’. After noticing this consumer behavior in my college-aged friends and classmates, I became motivated to research how Generation Z approaches the fast fashion industry. Demographic research identifies Gen Z as the most environmentally conscious generation overall, but has not yet isolated consumer behavior as its own indicator. As today’s college students prepare to inherit a climate crisis, their relationship with the textile industry and its 10 percent contribution to global carbon emissions is understudied.
This summer, I carried my interest in fast fashion to an internship with a Massachusetts-based non-profit called ThreadED: Fashion for a Future. ThreadED’s mission is to resell high-end clothing donations and invest all proceeds in need-based college scholarships for students in the Boston-area. Because their mission implicitly gives back to Gen Z students while also keeping clothing out of landfills, the ThreadED business model presents a useful case for studying Gen Z consumer behavior in fashion resale.
The goal of my ongoing collaboration with ThreadED is to bring their model of clothing recycling directly to college campuses, by way of both clothing drives and pop-up campus thrift shops. My Implementation Plan summarizes the empirical research that informed ThreadED X University initiative and marketing strategy in expectation of these pop-up shops.