How Gen Z is enjoying sustainability in fashion.

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Influencers have made sustainability conversations home on TikTok, but brands have struggled to bring their sustainability initiatives to the forefront. Open platform sustainability-focused events, like this week’s Puma People Conference in London, are proving effective in engaging target audiences.

On Tuesday, Puma launched a first-of-its-kind event, the Puma COP, in the form of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The event attracted East London’s Gen Z with a focus on local BIPOC creators and communities. Online viewership and engagement was achieved through a dedicated Puma COP website.

All about sustainability was discussed at the town hall with dedicated panels from Puma and its supply chain partners. The audience was encouraged to ask tough questions and offer critique accessible through the Slido app, panel space and online via QR codes. Questions from the audience focused on how Puma is balancing profits against profitability, how it’s doing on Spec 3 releases and how a short-term focus on pleasing investors can get in the way of long-term sustainability goals.

The main theme of the event was how brands can connect directly with their audience while promoting sustainability efforts. The event brought immersive digital experiences, permanent product exhibitions and screen printing works. Puma also showed off the Re:Suede sneaker that debuted in April. Forbes found that 62 percent of Generation Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands and are willing to pay more for ethically produced goods. And Shin’s shipments aren’t going away, with many Gen-Z shoppers focusing on asking brands tough questions before buying from them.

At the event, Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden said that while the brand had done well – it scored higher than Kering and Levi’s on the benchmark BoF Sustainability Index – it still had a ways to go. We all know we haven’t done enough. The industry has done a lot. [of good] In the past few years, especially our suppliers, and we have changed. However, the only way we can continue to change is by collaborating with our competitors.

Event attendees said they wanted more interactive elements and clear information on Puma’s sustainability efforts. “if so [brands] They really want to engage people, then they just have to do that and make it more engaging,” participant Rachael told The Glossy. “Big brands will do anything to avoid being called. I’m looking at that. [Puma was] It was great to be willing to criticize in front of people at their own event.

According to Puma’s Chief Sourcing Officer, Anne-Laure Descour, the next generation has the right to be directly involved with brands. “Today is about cooperation, participation and maintaining a very positive mindset. There is a lot of goodwill, energy and ambition to fix what is happening. [in the industry]She said at the event.

Other brands are turning to Gen-Z workers for feedback. Italian footwear brand Golden Goose hosted its first ‘Move Forward Ideas’ in July, where employees across the company and its retail teams came together to brainstorm new ideas around sustainability.

Local brands such as Stella McCartney and Marine Serre have a direct advantage over European phenomena such as Puma, as they have been focused for a long time. Q&A events may become more popular as brands focus on speaking directly to their audience.

“Successful Gen-Z events are all about touching the community – leveraging a common connection or passion among a core group of people and translating those values ​​into real life creatively,” said Larry Milstein, founder of Gen-Z, a strategic partnership for Soho House and Sotheby’s Events. and marketing firm PRZM. He added that brands should now look to their Gen Z-focused events as opportunities to introduce hyper-local and social elements that bring unique experiences together.

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