Educating Our Fashion Minds to a Greener Future
With April 22, 2023, or Earth Day, quickly approaching, this month is the perfect time to take the steps we can to be more environmentally friendly, which means digging a little deeper in asking yourself why you chose to buy something new. We know our clothes and consumer choices impact our people and environment. So, why do we still choose to buy what we buy?
Practical factors such as price points and size inclusivity are two main factors for why we may shop at certain stores or have brand loyalty. However, psychological factors also directly influence fashion and consumer behavior.
It wasn’t until fashion psychology became a buzzword in the industry that I honestly thought about why I wear what I wear. But it makes complete sense because fashion’s root purpose is the self-expression of who we are and what we stand for. That clear identity makes us feel connected and a part of a community.
Even though I would love to say my sole purpose in buying clothes is for self-expression, I can’t deny that the toxicity of fast fashion trend cycles and accessibility has affected my emotional, financial, and psychological factors of being a consumer.
Let's stop and think for a minute about our most recent fashion purchases. Why did you ultimately buy it?
Maybe it was the color or style, or because your favorite celebrity wore it and went viral on TikTok. Were you happy, sad, or bored when you bought it? Did you see a suggested advertisement and make an impulse purchase?
These are all legitimate psychological influences on our fashion purchases. Plus, with the marketing tactics of limited time offers and influencer endorsements fast fashion brands are leading with, that sense of urgency to make a purchase is boosted.
Fashion Psychologist Dr. Dion Terrelonge told The Sustainable Fashion Forum, “Shopping is fun and people like to feel good. Fast fashion allows people to do this with alarming ease and speed. Essentially, we as humans want to maximize positive emotions and minimize negative ones wherever where we can – this is to promote what we call Hedonic well-being.”
There is no denying that a new outfit can spark a good feeling of empowerment and confidence. But that feeling doesn’t last forever, mainly because the outfit is temporary, so is that enough to justify an entirely new purchase?
If that feeling is enough, you should make an investment. Investments can often be scary, but it shouldn’t have to be once you have spent time and effort evaluating that purchase and what it means to you. On the other hand, it’s time to start weighing in our core values and morals before purchasing.
As a consumer, you can play your role this Earth Month by taking the time to understand what ultimately influences your fashion choices and buying habits. Learning how to factor in the environment and our people is the first step to making a positive influence as a consumer.
For the fashion companies taking this April to move forward with their sustainable practices, they must also understand the psychological factors of consumers to create more effective environmental strategies and promote an engagement of consciousness within the community.
The next time you stand in front of your mirror putting together your outfit and attitude for the day, remember it is much deeper than what you see on the outside. There is a reason you chose the dress, shoes, and purse you did. You have the power to tell a story with your style that uses your fashion mind to create a greener future.
-As always, elevate your wardrobe with respected fashion and embrace the shift in style
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