Millennials are moving from buying fast fashion clothes from brands like H&M and Forever 21 towards durable brands such as Patagonia and The North Face. Previously, a person wearing clothing from one of these brands conjured up images of mountain climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Today, the same clothing can be found on Millennials hanging out at coffee joins (yes, beards optional), or out simply running errands. Currently, Millennial shoppers are more focused on clothing that is long-lasting and considered “practical fashion” rather pieces purely for fashion’s sake.
This has led to a spike in the number of brands like Patagonia or The North Face that are catering to, and that Millennials are attracted to. These no-nonsense brands that pride themselves with a sense of purpose and durability are now speaking Millennial shoppers’ language.
Why Millennial Shoppers are Choosing Practical Fashion
The recession has certainly left its mark on Millennials, making them more conscious of their spending habits. For one, it has led to increased popularity of outdoors-style brands that are simply built first for practicalilty.
During difficult economic times, people throughout history have fallen back to purchasing more practical and durable clothing, rather than spending on more fashionable, but cheaply made, items. Millennials are no different.
Changes in the economy have proven to impact the way Millennials interact with fashion. Although fast fashion brands provide the newest trends with bargain prices, they often don’t compare to high-quality outdoorsy brands that are rugged and purposeful in the eyes of Millennials.
Outdoor Brands Millennial Shoppers are Drawn To
Key brands leading the way in purposeful fashion include Patagonia, The North Face, Fjällräven, Dickies, and Birkenstock. Here is why Millennials are attracted to these “practical fashion” brands and what they stand for.
Sales for Patagonia have skyrocketed over the last 10 years as Millennials seek an authentic brand showcasing an outdoor lifestyle. Patagonia has prided itself in being an “anti-consumerist” company, marketing against cheap clothing and clothing that has negative impacts on the environment. It famously ran the ad “Don’t Buy This Jacket” because of the environmental costs associated with its fleece jacket.
The North Face has long been viewed as the brand for the mountain climber and intense outdoor enthusiast, providing all things outdoors and camping. But that has slowly changed course over the years. The North Face is no longer clothing you just see on the mountain, but fashionable clothing Millennials can sport just about anywhere.
Fjällräven started out in Sweden making backpacks for kids, evolving to a backpack favorite of Millennials around the world. It wasn’t until it launched in the U.S. in 2012, that Fjällräven became the fastest growing brand in outdoor lifestyle clothing. Fjällräven is proud of its durable clothing and backpacks. They don’t believe in fast-changing trends but rather on offering products that can be purchased for many seasons, even years and not just a few months.
Dickies has been around since the 1920’s and has been a symbol of quality and sturdy clothing of the American worker. It has evolved from clothing seen on a laborer, to skaters in the 1990’s and now into fashion retail spaces such as Urban Outfitters.
Birkenstock a German-based company, is most recognized as the practical and non-fashionable sandal. The sandals have long been supportive of one’s feet yet unattractive to wear. That is quickly changing with Millennials making them fashionable and an essential part of their wardrobe. Birkenstock USA’s CEO, David Kahan says that every few years the Birkenstock sandal becomes fashionable again without having to pursue the changing trends.
These brands share a common theme. They don’t care about their “cool factor,” but rather about the durability and functionality for their consumers.
Millennials are taking notice by embracing these long-lasting and authentic brands, proudly wearing them in style.