From July 22 to August 2, a sustainable fashion platform called CanU hosted Shanghai’s “Ulio: The Sustainable Fashion Exhibition”. More than 30 environmentally conscious artists, designers, and industry leaders were invited to participate in the event, which is one of the first of its kind in Shanghai. Visitors walking through the exhibition would come across a variety of climate-related questions, each starting with “Can You…?”.
In the “Can You Recall?” segment of the exhibition, archival pieces previously worn by renowned models, actors, and other celebrity figures were put on display to encourage visitors to see their wardrobes in a different light. According to CanU founder Dan Cui, the collection “aims to highlight the stories behind these garments and their emotional connections with their owners”. The exhibition hopes to inspire its visitors to rethink the second life of their old clothing based on its sentimental value, rather than toss it out and dismiss it as “out of season”.
The exhibition itself reflects a consumption shift towards sustainability in China, where, amid growing concerns about climate change, consumers in major cities are increasingly going green in their fashion choices. In fact, according to Daxue Consulting Green Guilt Report 2022, 77% of surveyed consumers are willing to spend 5-20% extra for sustainable fashion products. In addition, approximately 20% of upper-class consumers are even willing to pay double for environmentally friendly fashion.
Of these consumers, young people between the ages of 20 and 29 have been reported to show the most interest and awareness in sustainable consumption, whereas Chinese consumers of ages 30 to 49 in the growing middle class possess greater financial ability to afford a higher price tag in the name of sustainability. Many Chinese consumers who fall into this demographic are beginning to steer clear of fast fashion and are searching instead for domestic or foreign sustainable brands that use “greener” materials.
With green consumerism becoming more prevalent among Chinese Gen Z and millennial consumers, high-end fashion brands currently have the opportunity to ride the revolutionary sustainable fashion wave that is taking Chinese youth by storm.