Camryn Rosenstein

Breaking News: Sustainable Fashion is In & Fast Fashion is Out; Constructions of Sustainable Consumption in Fast Fashion Advertising

April 6, 2021   /  

Student Name: Camryn Rosenstein
Major: Communication Studies
Advisors: Dr. Nii Nikoi & Dr. Ahmet Atay

Dr. Melissa M. Schultz Sustainability and the Environment Award (Honorable Mention)

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the pivotal role advertising plays in fast fashion consumption and shaping young consumers ideas and values about the fashion industry, fast fashion, sustainable consumption, and sustainability. This study contributes to limited research into greenwashing and consumer perceptions and attitudes towards sustainable consumption. Moreover, this study highlights the increased relevance of the sustainable fashion movement in mainstream society. The researcher recruited 30 college students to participants in focus group sessions and individual interviews. An H&M advertisement and a video clip from a documentary, The True Cost, were shown to participants, so the researcher could examine how participants evaluated the advertising message about sustainability and what their interpretations revealed about their perceptions and attitudes of sustainability and sustainable consumption. In addition, the researcher performed a rhetorical analysis on the same H&M advertisement to illustrate the rhetorical devices H&M used to greenwash. Major conclusions of this research include the finding that while all young consumers had strong environmental values and comprehension of sustainability, engagement in sustainable habits and behaviors were gendered. In addition, the participants understanding of capitalism and corporate structures, suggest that greenwashed advertisements may be unsuccessful in persuading young consumers of sustainable claims made by fast fashion brands.

Camryn will be online to field comments on April 16: 10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST 6am-8am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon).

57 thoughts on “Breaking News: Sustainable Fashion is In & Fast Fashion is Out; Constructions of Sustainable Consumption in Fast Fashion Advertising”

  1. Camryn, congratulations on your award. This is such an important topic, and I thought your findings about the gender gap with sustainable fashion were especially interesting.

  2. Great project Camryn. Congratulations! Has your IS had an impact on your consumption practices?

    1. Thanks Dr. J! It definitely has, over the last seven months I have bought one “new” thing and a few second-hand pieces. Obviously the pandemic has had a lot to do with my shopping habits, but I think writing my IS allowed me to practice what I preach.

  3. Cool and important project, Camryn! I can see some ties to our W course! Congrats on completing SR IS!

    1. I definitely agree! I absolutely loved the class, it is so weird that that was three years ago.

  4. Congratulations, Camryn! This is a very interesting project. I see direct ties to cognitive psychology, specifically the way we evaluate information. When we are confronted with advertising, we tend to use our fast-processing system . Those “facts” seep in without us really thinking about whether or not the claims are true. Have you thought about ways we might be able to prevent Greenwashing ?

    1. Thanks so much Dean Griffin! Yes, I thought quite a lot about how we might be able to prevent greenwashing over the course of this project. What I’ve come to realize is that there is only such an extent to which consumers can help. I think the best thing we can do as consumers is educate ourselves on greenwashing, so that we may identify when an advertisement is greenwashing. In addition, the more people recognize that greenwashing is happening, the more (i’d like to think) people would be advocates for change – whether that be in discussion form, article form, or even in a boycotting of shop form.

  5. A timely look at fast fashion. Congratulations on completing your I.S. and your upcoming graduation.

  6. Did you come across any fashion brands that you felt used honest sustainability information in their advertising rather than greenwashing? Were those also gendered? Interesting and timely work, thank you for sharing.

    1. Since I have had a long standing interest in sustainability, I have spent many hours scorching the web for “honest” sustainable brands. Unfortunately, in this project I did not have enough time to go into a real time example of honest sustainable advertising. However, in my personal research I think there are several sustainable brands that are honest in their advertising. For example, Girlfriend Collective, People Tree, Christy Dawn, Kotn, Chilote Slippers, EntireWorld, Amour Vert, to name some. Girlfriend Collective started out only producing clothing for women but now their garments are unisex and their advertising is reflective of that. EntireWorld, Kotn, and Chilote are unisex as well and I think do a good job targeting a non-binary audience through their advertising materials. The rest of the brands are geared towards women’s’ clothing and therefore target women in their advertising.

    1. Thank you Stephanie, it does seem so long ago and now we’re graduating! Congratulations on your IS!

  7. Congratulations on completing a thoughtful and well-researched Senior IS! I’ve learned a ton from following your progress this year. Do you have any recommendations for those of us who love fashion and want to resist the tide of greenwashing?

    1. Thank you Lynette, I am so glad I got to work with you this year! If you love fashion like Lynette and me, I think there are several ways to engage in conscious habits. It all starts with the way you think about sustainability and there are so many different comprehensions one could have. I believe taking good care of the clothes in your closet so that they last longer is a great way to enact sustainable values. Doing your research can also be very helpful because not all sustainable clothing brands are as expensive as Reformation, I would recommend checking out the website Good On You. Good On You has a directory of many brands that are fast fashion and sustainable fashion. Have a clothing swap party with friends (socially distanced of course) — get as much wear out of the clothes you already have.

  8. Congratulations on your award, Camryn! This is such important research and definitely gave me some perspective on my own shopping habits. I’m sure your research will be used to make positive change in the industry!

      1. Congratulations Camryn! This is such a thoughtful and interesting project and I’m glad I got to be a small part of it! Your presentation was very well explained and I learnt a lot. I’m so proud of you and I can’t wait to see all you do in the future!

  9. Hi Camryn – I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this summary of your project. The gender differences are not surprising but make evident the need to close the gap in fashion responsibility. Congratulations!

  10. Nice work, Camryn. As a current freshman, your I.S. was very helpful in helping me to realize what an I.S. should look like and some ideas for my own. It is very interesting!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Ellen, thank you for taking the time to look at my presentation. Good luck with the rest of your Wooster career!

  11. How’s it going today? Have you been giving friends and family lots of advice based on your research? Do they now think about consumption differently?

    1. It’s going well (No COMM 325 students yet though)! Yes, I sure have been. I hope they think about consumption differently now!

    1. Thanks Jenelle! I loved yours and am excited to learn more about it as well. Congrats, I am so proud of you!

  12. What a timely and interesting topic you’ve chosen! Were you interested in fashion when you were younger?

  13. Great job and congratulations on completing IS Camryn! I really appreciated how you balanced the necessary fault and blame regarding the fast fashion industry with corporations, while still informing and giving knowledge to us individuals about ways to feel better about contributing to a healthier and more sustainable environment. Really well done!

    1. Thank you so much Gian! I’m so glad that that is what you got from the presentation, it was certainly what I was going for. Thank you for taking the time to watch, I hope you are doing well!!!

  14. Cami! Great work! I am wondering — how do you see yourself using your research as you go further into your career?

    1. Thank you so much Lil! Yours was incredible, I hope you do more research with it in the future. It depends, at the moment sustainability officers are popping up at different brands yet sustainable advertising has yet to make its mark. If I had the chance to work for a fashion brand or corporation, I would like to use my research to create honest, transparent advertising campaigns that are non-binary and diverse in race, ethnicity, and size. Advertising needs a big change, ALL consumers deserve to see people who look like them in campaigns.

  15. Fantastic job, Camryn, and congratulations on your award! Over the course of this year, I have learned so much from your research, your interest in this topic, and the issues you explore and think about more generally involving the fashion industry and advertising. You have expanded my vocabulary and definitely have affected how I think about my purchases, and not just with clothes, but with everything. Congratulations on a job well done! Important work that I hope you will continue!

    1. Thank you so much Bruch. The last year has been such a treat, you’ve seen me at my best and my worst, thank you for your endless interest, enthusiasm and support throughout the writing of this thesis – I am so incredibly grateful.

  16. Congratulations Camryn!!! I found this to be a very very interesting topic – especially the implications gendered advertising has on male and female commitments to sustainability. Sending hugs!

    1. Thank you so much Shankar, thank you for taking the time to view my presentation. Sending you hugs right back and all the good luck for the rest of your semester!

  17. Cam- you have had a sense for fashion ever since I met you. Your work is great and I look forward to seeing what you do after college!

    1. Thank you so much Mad!! I loved yours, congratulations, cannot wait to see you in a few weeks!

  18. Congratulations on your award and this major accomplishment Camryn! I have really enjoyed seeing your topic unfold over the past year and it has really helped me gain a better perspective about sustainable consumption. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future!

    1. Thank you so much Lily! I’ve so appreciated your continued enthusiasm and support throughout the year, it means so much! I can’t wait to see yours next year and to see you in a few weeks!!!!

  19. Awesome study Camryn, congrats (again)!! Such a relevant topic for this time. I hope keeping your IS in my mind in the future will help me make more of a conscious effort to keep my buying habits more sustainable!

    1. Thank you so much Brooke! I really appreciate you taking the time to learn more about my IS. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you this semester, and I can’t wait to see your work next year!

  20. Camryn, huge congrats! Its been so much fun to watch you grow over the 4 years, and I’ll miss being in class with you. Thanks for sharing this important work with the world!

  21. Congrats Cam! Sustainable fashion is such an important and interesting topic. I loved watching your presentation.

  22. Incredible project Camryn! Congratulations on this huge accomplishment, I am so excited to see what you continue to do after graduation. Sending lots of love!

  23. So great to hear you talk about this important work, Camryn. This is such timely research especially as the pandemic further exposes the implications of greenwashing on the lives of garment workers in the Global South. Congratulations!!

  24. Excellent work Cam! The fast fashion industry needs to be dismantled and impactful work like this is the way to achieve that. Congrats on a wonderful project!

  25. Congratulations Camryn! This is such a thoughtful and interesting project and I’m glad I got to be a small part of it! Your presentation was very well explained and I learnt a lot. I’m so proud of you and I can’t wait to see all you do in the future!

  26. This is an incredible I.S. Cam! I’m so proud of you and the work you’ve done. You are extremely deserving of our award. Congratulations & I can’t wait to see you soon!

  27. Such a good I.S Cam!! Congratulations on all of your work and accomplishments!

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