American adults have differing opinions on the rise of fast fashion, equally as likely to see it as a good thing as they are to view it as a bad thing, according to survey results from YouGov.
The July survey asked almost 6,000 adults whether they “think that the rise of ‘fast fashion,’ which allows trendy clothing to be designed and mass-produced quickly and inexpensively, is more of a good thing or a bad thing?”
Overall, some 23% share said they see it as more of a good thing, while a near-equal share, 22%, see it as a bad thing. The remainder either see it as neither good nor bad (36%), or are unsure (19%).
When sorting by age, the results show that the 30-44 age group is the only one in which clearly more see it as a good thing (29% share) than bad thing (24%). For all other age groups there’s near-parity, although the 65+ bracket is most neutral on the topic: half (51%) believe it’s neither good nor bad, versus 15% who view it as mostly good and 15% mostly as bad.
There’s more discrepancy in these attitudes when sorting by gender. Men are more likely to see it more as a good thing (25%) than as a bad thing (19%), while the opposite is true for women, who are more apt to see it more as a bad thing (24%) than as a good thing (21%).
The fast fashion industry is surrounded by sustainability concerns, which may contribute to wariness on the part of respondents. Some 79% of adults surveyed last year said that sustainability was at least somewhat important to them when shopping for fashion, apparel, and footwear, up from 51% who said the same a year earlier. Likewise, about two-thirds (68%) said they would pay more for sustainable products, compared to 56% the previous year. NielsenIQ data mirrors this increased preference, finding that consumers over the last 2 years have become more apt to purchase products or from brands that are sustainable.
Meanwhile, other results from the YouGov survey suggest that fast fashion could find a footing with some shoppers, but that others prefer more long-lasting clothing. The survey asked respondents if they “prefer to buy more expensive high-quality clothing that is made to last, or less expensive clothing that is trendy but not made to last?” There was a more distinct preference here, with almost half (48% share) preferring to buy clothing that’s more expensive but made to last, compared with 30% who favor clothing that’s less expensive but not made to last, and the rest (23% share) unsure. This preference was seen across age groups, though with the smallest gap among the youngest respondents.
Interestingly, given that men were more likely to see fast fashion as a good than bad thing, they were twice as likely to prefer more expensive clothing that’s made to last (52%) over less expensive clothing not made to last (26%). Female respondents expressed a similar preference, but with less of a gap (44% and 33%, respectively).