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The Rise of ‘The Minimalist Movement’

September 27, 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters

Something we can all relate to is the want for an easier life, in any way we can achieve it. Many modern consumers are finding one way of helping to have this is by limiting (or ‘minimalising’) their purchases, leaving brands to re-think how they can still connect with, or secure purchases from, their customer base. As a rise in ‘decluttered fashion’ is now starting to emerge in the Chinese market, will be see this more globally spread as we head into 2020?

What changes are happening in the Chinese market?

According to the Business of Fashion, independent fashion brands can now reach China’s ever-expansive consumer base more easily than ever before. DTC brands such as Everlane, Allbirds and Rothy’s have all been able to capitalise on new, sophisticated e-commerce solutions, as well as a younger generation who are keen for a ‘decluttered’ look. This demographic of consumer are now being targeted for this way of thinking, after largely being the recipients of ‘lots of stuff’ while growing up. This shift is now allowing more niche brands to gain a foothold in the growing market, with their transparency and high quality resonating with the consumer.

Will we see the same globally?

Alongside the diversifying in the Chinese market, this strategy is also proving to be making its mark in the West. There is now a freedom to spend on quality as opposed to quantity, as several social influences mean that minimalism in fashion buying continues to be a very hot topic. Consumers are now devoting their free spend towards experiences as opposed to materialistic items, and is now accounting for over 20% of household consumption in the US alone. It currently still remains unclear whether this is a temporary trend or permanent industry fixture, with aspects such as low income, domestic isolation and lack of transparency in supply chains all being possible contributing factors to the direction the industry is looking to head in. This provides an extra challenge for brands themselves, already potentially struggling in an extremely unpredictable time in the market. Incorporating minimalism into brand strategy could be a way to reach this type of consumer, perhaps offering advice as to how to buy from a brand or company in a ‘non-disposable’ way. Making products to last seems to be the most plausible way of creating brand sustainability – if the global economy continues to pick up, the idea of investing in the long-term won’t just be of interest to a consumer morally, but it will also be more financially viable. As the anti-consumption impulse looks to be long-lasting, both independent and larger brands alike have an opportunity to transform, maintain and create connections with the new educated, cosmopolitan consumer worldwide.

Photo source: Reykjavik Raincoats


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