Sarah Portway from the Department of Human Ecology (Fashion & Textiles) presented a paper titled “Longitudinal Influence of Online Consumer Knowledge on Millennials’ Sustainable Clothing Consumption” at a joint conference with the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and Regent’s University London last week. Portway also met with university administrators to discuss broadening SUNY Oneonta’s campus-wide opportunities for study abroad at Regent’s University—please e-mail email@example.com if you would like more information about bringing your students to central London for credit!
The conference’s focus was on current sustainable fashion practice and research. The goal was to bring together academia and industry to propose solutions to the endless waste, sweatshops, and pollution that are a byproduct of the fashion industry. Portway’s most recent research is the first empirical attempt to examine the efficacy of online sustainable clothing activism in influencing behavior change. Though ‘sustainable consumption’ is an oxymoron, Millennial consumers have made small steps towards positive change by creating a market for farm-to-table food, fairly traded home goods, solar panels, and electric cars. In contrast, Millennials have also created a market for the cheap and disposable fashion made in sweatshops that is peddled by mega-brands such as H&M, Forever 21, and Zara.
While visiting London Portway presented her 2017 work with the activist organization ProjectJUST.com, and established new relationships with Fashion Revolution and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to begin measuring their impact in 2020. Portway hopes to translate her research into practical guidelines which increase the traction of sustainable fashion activist organizations such as Greenpeace Fashion Detox, Done Good, and Good on You because consumer pressure, along with changes in regulation and governance, can drive the fashion industry to change, for good.