In our latest FashMash Focus roundtable, we explored how we turn the sustainability story away from sacrifice and inspire positive change.
Doom and gloom, a sense of shame and guilt, even feelings of hopelessness and despair are all very real associations with the climate crisis. We know we need to inspire change, but a lot of the messaging surrounding action makes it feel so huge and so dire, that success seems near impossible.
Fashion fits within this narrative. Shifting shopping behaviours links closely to sacrifice - and that old drum of cognitive dissonance is a very real response. So… we sat down for our latest FashMash Focus roundtable to explore exactly this - what should climate positive storytelling actually look like? And how do we move sustainability messaging forward to drive true progress?
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation…
ON STRIKING A BALANCE
Doom and gloom is present because this is the serious reality of what we’re facing. However, there’s a balance to strike between communicating the extent of the crisis and having a blind sort of optimism that often leads to overt greenwashing. The fact is, the consumer is becoming more cynical about sustainable promises and challenging brands' behaviour. Legislation will also follow here soon.
ON CREATING DESIRE
‘Selling sustainability’ is somewhat of an oxymoron, but there’s a lot to be said for the work that needs to be done to make this new version of fashion more aspirational and desirable. We need to both reimagine the narrative of this sector - painting a picture to help shape it as reality - and ensure influence brings social currency. The other piece is to make it simple for consumers - they want black and white solutions, as highly complex as that is to provide.
ON SYSTEMIC IMPACT
With behavioural science as backing, putting pressure on the consumer alone to drive the change, is simply not going to cut it. Sustainable consumption should thus be viewed as a movement for systemic change, whereby the emphasis is placed on businesses and governments to enable it.
FashMash Focus is sponsored by Klaviyo.