Are Millennials the Future Of Sustainable Fashion?

Words by Jody Hume | 1.17.17
Millennials may be the first generation to be worse off than their parents, but that hasn’t affected their spending habits. Studies have found that young people aged 20-34 are willing to spend more for high-quality, sustainably manufactured products from companies that are transparent about their business practices. Instead of buying low-cost items they’ll need to replace often, they think about their purchases in the long term, realizing that although they may pay more up front for well-made pieces, they’re saving money in the end. In short, they’re too poor to be cheap.
Already having surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest generation, millennials are forcing several industries, from transportation to fashion, to rethink their strategies as they try to appeal to a younger demographic. For our own research, we spoke with The RealReal’s resident 20-somethings, many of whom are able to afford designer pieces for the first time through shopping consignment. Whether it’s more accessible price points or being able to recycle  their valuable investments (and earn back their money) by reconsigning, The RealReal has empowered them to shop in a way that fits with their ideals and create the chic, long-lasting wardrobe they’ve always wanted. Read on to find out how their environmental concerns and their time with the company has influenced the way they shop.
“I’ve personally quit shopping at any fast fashion store, but it was really hard at first. A lot of them make pieces that look very similar to luxury designs (without the high price tag), and I would walk out of the store with a bag pretty much every time. And that was the problem. My wardrobe was about quantity, not quality. That’s why our planet is so contaminated and overwhelmed with clothing. So I quit for good. I now do most all of my shopping at consignment stores or thrift.” – Freelance Photographer Stevin Sesi , 24
I know that Instagram and Pinterest have influenced the way I display my clothes and beauty products, and minimalism is a beautiful visual trend that makes life a little simpler. It encourages me to buy less but focus on quality so my clothes can be the best representation of who I am, what values I have, and they last me a long time. There’s also something really liberating about being flexible and owning less when you don’t really know where life will take you next. Working at The RealReal has made me think about luxury in a completely different way instead of something unattainable. Knowing I can buy something nice and beautiful with my hard-earned savings and that I have the possibility to consign it later makes it seem like less of a financial risk, and rather a smart investment I have control over. – Editorial Intern Kaila Abruzzo, 24
“Lately I’ve been trying to build my perfect capsule wardrobe. I look strictly for classic pieces that I know will last me for years to come. I don’t have to constantly fork out money for a new outfit because my boots and trench coat are staple pieces — I know they won’t be out of style in a week. Working at The RealReal has also helped me recycle pieces in my own closet to make room for newer items at a great price. I refuse to pay retail!” – Assistant Copy Editor Brittany Dave, 25
“Since I started working at The RealReal, I’ve realized I’d much rather save up money and buy something that has resale value than buy 10 cheap items that fall apart after a few wears. I also love going thrift shopping because you find one-of a-kind pieces in fabric and patterns that aren’t made anymore, which makes outfits even more unique.” – Photo Editor Pilar Gonzalez , 25

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