In order to establish truly circular businesses, brands should help their customers deeply understand the environmental and social impacts of their purchases, acting out of transparency and responsibility. What style of communication should the fashion industry adopt to encourage behavioural change?
When we think about communication in fashion what often comes to our mind is runway shows, fashion bloggers, Instagrammers, red carpets and Hollywood celebrities. But today’s ecological crisis requires communication leaders and marketing departments to play a much more decisive and impactful role than in the past, to change people's habits. Indeed, fashion brands are crucial in teaching and guiding their customers to change their behaviors and attitudes towards sustainability. We need to build upon this influence they hold and help them use it well.
Too often we have seen greenwashing strategies making things even worse. This is why we need brands capable of leading by examples, not only by words. We need marketing campaigns, communication strategies and digital tools to help circular businesses promote transparency and awareness among different audiences. We need them to show what a real circular fashion economy looks like and persuade people to actively take part in it.
Fili Pari's case
Fili Pari has started a path towards sustainability based on the use of innovative materials, the creation of a short and geo-localized supply-chain, the enhancement of Italian artisan realities to preserve the excellence of the territory. According to Fili Pari, the direct contact with the customer is fundamental. Thanks to that, it is possible to communicate properly the project without intermediaries, sharing deep values while selling sustainable products.
This is why Fili Pari's products are only sold online, directly to the customer. Besides, as a young start-up, Fili Pari makes its own communication, starting from basic online tools. But Fili Pari is also growing fast, the competition is at high stake and there is the need to find alternative and more effective solutions to communicate its value.
The ability to emerge online of a small brand is very limited compared to large fashion companies. However, for the latter, innovating is more difficult because they are weighed down by rigid structures in which every small change requires a longer time frame.
Eventually, price dynamics of fashion do not give value to materials, work, environmental impact of production and many other parameters. Fifty years ago it was clear that a valuable product had a medium-high price range. Instead, today this parameter is out of phase with the power of the brand (in the case of large brands) and the consumer is fascinated by the accessibility that fast fashion offers. Even the time of shopping has changed. Today it is much faster and disconnected from necessities.
This challenge will involve students, communicators, journalists, web designers, educators, humanists, social scientists, economists, business leaders, marketers, influencers and everyone who loves storytelling. They will design new ways of reaching out to the public to convey the values and wonders of a truly circular economy.
For example, ideas could focus on:
- how to help clarify the social and environmental impacts of fashion for different segments of the public;
- how to sustain new circular fashion startups and businesses to raise awareness about the collective benefits of their ethical way of working;
- how to take the customer through the purchasing process, showing them the social and environmental value they can create thanks to responsible behavioral changes;
- how to convey the beauty of using innovative materials, often coming from waste or by-products of other industries, as a resource to create new attractive pieces of fashion;
- how to close the gap between real and perceived sustainability in fashion;
- how to communicate the supply-chain transparency;
- how to measure the environmental impact of each consumer during the purchasing process;
- how to create a deeper connection between the customer and the company’s supply chain;
- how to communicate brands' values, transfer them into customers and make them feel involved;
- what could be some activities to be made emerge on the web, with the available resources of a young startup;
- what marketing activities could be activated and what tools could help in building users' loyalty to the sustainable brand;
- how to convey to the consumer the awareness that a valuable garment necessarily has a higher and "right" price;
- how to return to a slower and more conscious consumption.
This challenge will be actively supported by Fili Pari's team.