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Emotional fashion: an exercise in understanding what values drive youth generations’ consumer behaviors

Matheny, Rebekah; Lau, Tiffany

With social media and online shopping, brands have more opportunities than ever to emotionally connect and educate their customers. Brands are able to be more transparent about their sustainable mission and the lifecycle of their garments through these platforms. In turn, this provides customers transparent access to companies with shared values. As the Gen Z market continues to grow, the garment industry needs to address the disconnect between the sustainable values of Millennials, the deepening values of Gen Z, and that of their brands’ sustainable message. This paper presents an exercise in understanding why emotional connections to our clothing are created. The objective of this exploration was twofold: to understand how empathetic ties are formed, which could aid in designing more emotionally connective sustainable fashion, and raise awareness in the participants regarding their consumer behavior and its environmental impact. This paper presents a three-part study of Millennials and Gen Z. A balance of quantitative and qualitative questions provided for comparative analysis and individual expression. By understanding their philosophical relationship with clothing, business models can be designed to promote meaningful and empathetic ties between people and their clothing. As a secondary objective, these questions encouraged behavioral selfreflection but shows the potential of utilizing this study format as a creative tool.
Published in: PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment : 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-3125-9