Sustainable Fashion Campaign
Design for Social Service & Innovation
5 Weeks | Spring 2020
Conduct secondary research, followed by user research, on a self-proposed problem of interest, and design an intervention with an appropriate implementation plan
How might we encourage the average middle class young American (mid to late twenties) to buy their clothing in a sustainable manner?
There has been a large amount of backlash on the Fast Fashion industry as of recent. Consumers are starting to become more aware of the harms of this industry, but many consumer's purchasing decisions still have not changed.
So with this project, I looked at the individual consumer's current clothing purchasing behavior and how we can incentivize consumers to make more sustainable/ethical purchasing decisions. As more people make better decisions progress in this issue will be seen as a bottom up process, with each person contributing to an overall system of change.
I began this project by looking at the central stakeholders in the system as it exists currently, focusing primarily on the connection between sustainable clothing companies and my target audience.
I had some underlying assumptions about why consumers do not buy from these companies, so within this map I also brainstormed some potential solutions that could be implemented by certain stakeholders. I then challenged those assumptions with my primary research.
With my target demographic laid out, I began conducting interviews. With these interviews, I sought to understand current consumer purchasing behavior, the role that fashion trends and prices play on purchasing decisions, current consumer values, and their perspective on sustainable buying.
I conducted 6 interviews, then grouped similar answers and common themes I saw across the participants into 3 distinct personas. I then created user journey maps for each of these 3 personas using the data from my interviews.
Primary Research Insights
After developing the journey maps, I had 5 main insights from my research that drove the creation of my solution.
Based on the insights from my research, I wanted to tie together all my main insights into a 3 part solution that manifests as an online, interactive awareness campaign. The solution is meant to push the users to reevaluate what they value when buying clothing, with the primary goal to put whether or not the purchase is ethical/sustainable at the top of their decision chain.
Part 1: Reflection on Values
The first part of the solution has the user determine how important large issues are to them, then provides them with facts about how the fast fashion industry is perpetuating these issues. The main goal of this portion of the solution is to have the user directly tie their own values upon these issues, and then have them understand the overarching harms of the industry.
Part 2: Buying Decisions Comparison
The second part of the solution specifically ties those harms to products, comparing a product from a fast fashion company and a sustainable company, focusing on the hidden costs. It has two main goals - Justify the price difference, through the tangible differences in production, and to bring large issues to tangible items that user interacts with - pushing them to see the unintended harms of their purchasing decisions.
Part 3: Alternate Options
The third part of the solution gives the user actions to take to increase the sustainability of their purchasing decisions. The solutions range a span of options from new places to buy clothes, a new way to style oneself, and a new way to discard clothing. Each solution given works to target the needs of each user interviewed in a sustainable manner, giving them new purchasing options that they ideally will take now.
For the implementation of the solution, ideally, I would work with nonprofits that already exist in this space, such as Fashion Revolution and Fibershed, that already work to educate people about the impacts of the fast fashion industry. This could also be used by sustainable fashion companies as their marketing material, and a way to provide users with positive feedback that they are making the right choices shopping here.