ARE MILLENNIALS THE ETHICAL GENERATION?
It's no secret that Millennials are changing the world. Curious as cats, those of us who are old enough to remember Pokemon the first time around (but still young enough to love it again) are wandering the world in search of adventure – and on the way we've found new solutions to big problems. Together we've invented and exploded social media, flipping the internet upside-down and connecting billions of people to each other. Online and out there in real life, we've seen a world that's been exploited by old, unsustainable systems – and we've thrown out the rulebook to start writing our own.
Now the so-called Millennials are shaking up the fashion industry by voting with our dollars – supporting labels that are accountable to people and the planet.
“ One way or another, we’re a global generation – looking beyond our own backyards, hungry to understand the world we live in.”
Millennials are the best-travelled generation to have ever lived. We make up 20% of travellers, and compared to our parents and grandparents, we're at least 23% more likely to want to travel 'as much as possible'. And when we do travel, a lot of us are skipping the resort with the pool and going to those harder-to-reach, overlooked destinations where we can learn, grow and give back. One way or another, we’re a global generation – looking beyond our own backyards, hungry to understand the world we live in.
The upshot of all this roaming? We know the global effects of what we buy, and we're beginning to really understand what a difference conscious, sustainable consumption can make.
When we pick up that big-brand jacket, it's easier to see that there’s a story attached, sewn into every thread and button. More often than not, it's a global story: a young woman sewing on a factory floor in Bangladesh, a farmer growing cotton in Brazil, jeans being dyed and distressed in China. Every dollar we choose to spend has an impact that ricochets around the globe. Thanks to the links we've forged through travel and online, we can hear the globe screaming at us to be active, not passive consumers.
We know what needs to happen: accountable businesses enable us to be conscious consumers. A fashion world should give us the option to choose fair and sustainable, and to make that part of our identity. As the global generation, we know we can grab the world by the balls (figuratively, of course) and make that change.
“More and more, we're seeing companies that refuse to play by the old rules. They're accountable, optimistic and have nothing to hide.”
In a massive global consumer survey, Millennials made up more than half of the people who say they're willing to spend a bit more on brands who are socially and environmentally responsible. We've started opening our eyes and asking the questions: who made my clothes? Are they being treated fairly? Are these fabrics hurting the environment or my health? And some brands are starting to answer back.
The evidence is in – fair and sustainable manufacturing is no longer a fringe experiment. More and more, we're seeing companies that refuse to play by the old rules. They're accountable, optimistic and have nothing to hide. There's no reason why mainstream fashion can't do the same thing - no reason why we can't have beautiful, high quality clothes that don't exploit people or the planet. Why shouldn't we demand that fashion does the right thing?
Let's be honest: Millennials are pretty good at making our mark, and when we decide to make a change we sure as hell don't back down. We're optimistic about the future and we know how we want to change it for the better. But we're at our strongest when we act together. For every person who chooses to buy consciously, the momentum pushing for change only grows. So why wouldn't we?