A common issue experienced within the use phase of a garment's life, is the fact that most consumers wardrobes are either unworn or not worn enough; with the rise of trends and social media exponentially influencing the rate at which people buy and discard clothing, it’s no wonder sustainable businesses are finding it hard to maintain their ethos’ in this current fast-fashion climate. “Social media and the fashion industry are highly interdependent on each other. Moreover, social media and fashion have a significant relationship which means if there is an increase in social media by 1% it will lead to an increase in the fashion Industry by 20.6 %.”
It is clear to see that social media and fashion go hand in hand in terms of influencing sales and marketing. It could be inferred that if brand’s marketing strategies focused more on how much use their garments could potentially get, rather than the trend they were designed to follow, the overall impact of the garment could significantly decrease, and their use phase could be extended. Sustainable development pioneers 'RÆBURN' express that in their brand’s experience, the best method to tackling consumer attitudes toward both purchasing and garment care is “education and awareness via marketing, retail and events”. However, Kate Fletcher suggests that with certain garments such as: outer garments, suits, and knitwear, “the biggest efficiency gains can be made by improving design and production” rather than consumer care education (as these garments do not need to be cleaned as often). Therefore, posing the question as to whether it is necessary to educate consumers when it could be more beneficiary to create innovative design thus resulting in a greater sustainability gain.
On the other hand, “if customers can’t see enough value in modernising their consumption habits, then manufacturers or designers’ good intentions alone won’t shift their ground or make a change”. There are so many opposing views as to whether consumer education or design is most important, thus leaving me with the conclusion that they’re equally as essential to ensuring sustainable development. I believe that any method that plays a role in decreasing our environmental impact is worth doing. RÆBURN acknowledges that, “the momentum is there, and [they] have noticed customers asking the right questions and having the curiosity about sustainability. [However] It's a collaborative effort and not a one simple answer – [we need] to see more businesses making meaningful change to their systems e.g., increasing quality, less discounting, education and incentivising customers to prolong the use of garments”.