Trend Alert | Toward

Izzy Hall

A new fashion brand owned by a Gen Z entrepreneur is making a risky move in order to stay true to the company’s values. According to a recent announcement, the online retailer will only allow customers to make one order per month, with the aim of encouraging more responsible shopping.

Toward is a multi-brand ecommerce site that pledges to only stock products from responsible businesses. It uses a framework to rate brands based on factors such as transparency, workers’ rights, animal welfare and more. The retail startup strives to work with brands that are not just sustainable but take a responsible approach to all aspects of the business. Toward was founded by Ana Kannan, who started the company after graduating from college in 2020. The concept reflects the values of her generation, and brands featured on the site include Gen Z favourites such as House of Sunny.

While Toward appeals to Gen Z’s tastes and values, most of the products won’t be affordable to the typical young person living on the budget of a student or the wages of an entry-level job. The cheapest item of clothing currently listed is $49 (for a tank top or t-shirt). While Gen Z do aspire to own designer fashion, research has found that they only make up 4% of the luxury market. Instead, they’re more likely to turn to resale platforms to get their hands on the most sought-after brand names.

Toward is setting a positive example for others in the industry, but initiatives like this will need to be adopted more widely, including by mass-market retailers such as fast fashion brands, in order to have a real impact, and to make responsible shopping accessible to all. Gen Z are often seen as hypocritical for protesting climate change while still shopping from fast fashion brands, but the onus should be on the brands themselves to change their practices and support Gen Z in their desire to make more responsible purchasing decisions.

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