Why even the pandemic couldn’t kill fast fashion

19 November 2020

The popularity of fast fashion and its negative impact on the environment is well-known. People are now more willing to behave sustainably but buying from fast fashion brands is an unsustainable habit proving hard to quit. It was believed that, due to lockdown, people had started to purchase less from fast fashion brands and behave in a more sustainable manner. However, after an abrupt fall, the latest data showed that online clothing sales have increased again. It seems that consumers are returning to their unsustainable habits. 

To explain people’s consumption behaviour, our founder Kate Nightingale takes into consideration the “mortality salience” of consumers (the awareness that we will die) and how, following this, people can either become more moral and pro-social or more impulsive. In addition to this, the economic impact of the pandemic have also influenced consumers’ behaviour. In fact, “In an economic crisis, people behave a little more rationally: they focus on quality, price, availability, on security and safety,” says Nightingale. Moreover,  “We’re seeing these contradicting motivations: on one hand, I really want to be thinking long term, but I can’t, because I don’t know if I’m going to survive. We’re constantly having this cognitive dissonance.” Our founder also explains that “the loss of fundamental control during the pandemic might cause more impulsiveness”.

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