Is shame a good motivator?

Have you seen the recent Rent the Runway campaign that declares Fast Fashion as “garbage”? While I have to acknowledge that the campaign is actually doing some good in society by giving consumers the ability to dispose off of their old garments in a more sustainable manner, it is missing some of the nuance that one would uncover if we asked what “fashion fashion” means today. Here’s the problem –

By declaring so-called fast fashion as “garbage” or as something that is “unwearable”, the campaign shames the very people it is trying to attract.

If you examine the meanings around “fast fashion” today, you’ll find that consumers are attaching meanings around sustainability, ethics, and quality already to the macroculture. This goes to show that the efforts of brands like H&M, Zara and others is paying off – i.e. consumers no longer assume that Fashion Fashion = Unsustainable. Of course, there’s a long road ahead, but that kind of blatant assumption is no longer made like it maybe was two or three years ago.

The second thing we also noticed running this quick search was that consumers who are buying from so-called Fast Fashion brands are concerned about “fitting in”. So likely, a lot of their motivation to care about sustainability is driven by the desire to avoid shame or embarrassment. In such a scenario, if you have a competitor making you feel shame, it’s only going to push you away rather than bring you closer to an alternative solution.

Which reminds me…

We recently published a new episode of our podcast, and it just so happens to be on the future of luxury apparel.

The future of luxury apparel: Season 2, Episode 2 of Why Meaning Matters.

Here’s a short snippet of our conversation from episode 2. If you’d like to listen and subscribe to the show, click here.

What do you want to research today?