Advertisement

Investigating the Relationship Between Consumer Attitudes and Sustainable Fashion Product Development

  • Angharad McLarenEmail author
  • Helen Goworek
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter investigates the relationship between consumers and sustainable fashion products, revealing views closely intertwined with the product offering provided by clothing retailers and brands, through mutual influence. The chapter draws both from the literature and a research project, which aimed ‘to explore the technical, behavioural and strategic obstacles to implementing innovative and sustainable product development processes that could enhance clothing longevity’ (Oxborrow et al. 2017). Fashion retailers and brands can acquire information about consumer attitudes through formal methods organised by consumer insights teams, such as retailers’ regular online questionnaires to selected consumers and focus groups between buyers and consumers to discuss new product samples face to face. The information acquired by these methods is exclusive to the companies concerned however, and would usually be closely guarded, remaining with the large organisations who can afford to employ their own market research teams or consultancies, whereas our study comprises findings which are applicable and freely available to companies of all sizes and can therefore have a wider potential impact upon the fashion industry. The extant literature has identified a gap for an improved understanding of consumer perspectives on sustainable clothing (see, e.g. Oxborrow and Claxton 2016; WRAP 2012), which this chapter seeks to address by investigating views on purchase, maintenance and disposal of garments.

Keywords

Attitude sustainable clothing (new) product development consumer sustainability 

Notes

Acknowledgement

The primary research study discussed in this chapter is a DEFRA-funded research project EV0553 ‘Strategies to improve design and testing for clothing longevity’. Findings from this study were presented at the Design Research Society in Conference at Brighton University in June 2016 and the British Academy of Management Conference at Newcastle University in September 2016.

References

  1. Allwood, J. M., Laursen, S. E., De Rodriguez, C. M., & Bocken, N. M. P. (2006). Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of Clothing and Textiles in the UK. Cambridge University Institute of Manufacturing: Cambridge, available online at: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/resources/sustainability/well-dressed/.Google Scholar
  2. ASBCI. (2013). Caring for Your Clothes (3rd edition), Industry Manual from the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry: UK.Google Scholar
  3. Bain, J., Beton, A., Schultze, A., Mudgal, S., Dowling, M., Holdway, R., & Owens, J. (2009). Reducing the Environmental Impact of Clothes Cleaning. Final Report to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): London.Google Scholar
  4. Barnes, L., & Lea-Greenwood, G. (2010). Fast Fashion in the Retail Store Environment. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38(10), 760–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bide, M. (2012). Testing Textile Durability, in P. Annis (Ed.) Understanding and Improving the Durability of Textiles. Woodhead: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  6. Birtwistle, G., & Moore, C. M. (2007). Fashion Clothing – Where Does it all End Up? International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 35(3), 210–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carrigan, M., & Attalla, A. (2001). The Myth of the Ethical Consumer: Do Ethics Matter in Purchase Behaviour?’ Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18(7), 560–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carrington, M. J., Neville, B. A., & Whitwell, G. J. (2010). Why Ethical Consumers Don’t Walk Their Talk: Towards a Framework for Understanding the Gap Between the Ethical Purchase Intentions and Actual Buying Behaviour of Ethically Minded Consumers. Journal of Business Ethics, 97, 139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Centre for Sustainable Design. (2016). Farnham Repair Café, available online at: http://cfsd.org.uk/events/farnham_repair_cafe/
  10. Chiwese, A., & Cox Crews, P. (2000). Influence of Household Fabric Softeners and Laundry Enzymes on Pilling and Breaking Strength. Textile Chemist and Colorist & American Dyestuff Reporter, 32(9), 41–47.Google Scholar
  11. Cooper, T., Fisher, T., Hiller, A., Goworek, H., & Woodward, S. (2010). Excessive Speed/Short Lives: Attitudes to Clothing Longevity and Disposal, in V. Ceschin Zhang (Eds.) Sustainability in Design: Now! Proceedings of the LeNS Conference, Bangalore, India, pp. 728–737, Greenleaf Publishing Limited: Sheffield. Available online at: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/bitstream/2438/6726/3/Ceschin%20Vezzoli%20Zhang_2010_LeNS%20proceedings_vol1.pdf.Google Scholar
  12. Cooper, T., Hill, H., Kininmonth, J., Townsend, K., & Hughes, M. (2013). Design for Longevity: Guidance on Increasing the Active Life of Clothing, A report for WRAP: Banbury, available online at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Design%20for%20Longevity%20Report_0.pdf.Google Scholar
  13. Copenhagen Fashion Summit. (2016). Video, available online at: http://www.copenhagenfashionsummit.com/video/#video
  14. Defra. (2008). A Framework For Pro-Environmental Behaviours. Defra: London. Available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69277/pb13574-behaviours-report-080110.pdf.Google Scholar
  15. Department of Repair. (2015). Department of Repair, available online at: https://thedepartmentofrepair.wordpress.com/
  16. Dombek-Keith, K., & Loker, S. (2011). Sustainable Clothing Care by Design, in A. Gwilt & T. Rissanen (eds) Shaping Sustainable Fashion: Changing the Way We Make and Use Clothes (pp. 101–116). Routledge: London.Google Scholar
  17. Fab Labs UK. (2016). Fab Labs, available online at: http://fablabsuk.co.uk/
  18. Fisher, T., Cooper, T., Woodward, S., Hiller, A., & Goworek, H. (2008). Public Understanding of Sustainable Clothing, A Research Report Completed for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University. DEFRA: London.Google Scholar
  19. Fletcher, K. (2012). Durability, Fashion, Sustainability: The Processes and Practices of Use. Fashion Practice Journal, 4(2), 221–238.Google Scholar
  20. Goworek, H. (2009). Oasis Consumer Behaviour Case Study, in D. Jobber & J. Fahy (2009) (eds.), Foundations of Marketing. 3rd ed. McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Goworek, H. (2011). Social and Environmental Sustainability in the Clothing Industry: A Case Study of a Fair Trade Retailer. Social Responsibility Journal, 7, 74–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goworek, H., Cooper, T., Fisher, T., Woodward, S., & Hiller, A. (2012). The Sustainable Clothing Market: An Evaluation of Potential Strategies for UK Fashion Retailers. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 40(12), 935–954.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. H&M. (2016). Recycle Your Clothes, available online at: http://about.hm.com/en/sustainability/get-involved/recycle-your-clothes.html
  24. Hix, L. (2014). ‘Could the Clothes On Your Back Halt Global Warming?’, Collectors’ Weekly, available online at: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/could-the-clothes-on-your-back-halt-global-warming/
  25. Huckberry. (2016). 10 Year Hoodie, available online at: https://huckberry.com/store/shop/flint-and-tinder-10-year-hoodie
  26. Icebreaker. (2016). Why Icebreaker Merino? available online at: http://uk.icebreaker.com/en/why-icebreaker-merino/why-icebreaker-landing.html
  27. Just-Style. (2014). H&M Partners with Ginetex on New Care Label. Just-Style, available online at: http://www.just-style.com/news/hm-partners-with-ginetex-on-new-care-label_id120679.aspx
  28. Keep and Share. (2016). About Keep and Share. Available online at: http://www.keepandshare.co.uk/about/what-keep-share
  29. Laitala, K., Boks, C., & Klepp, I. G. (2011). Potential for Environmental Improvements in Laundering. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 35, 254–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Laitala, K., & Boks, C. (2012). Sustainable Clothing Design: Use matters. Journal of Design Research, 10(1/2), 21–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Langley, E., Durkacz, S., & Tanase, S. (2013). Clothing Longevity and Measuring Active Use. A Summary Report by Ipsos Mori for WRAP: London, available online at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/clothing-longevity-measuring-active-use
  32. Leeds Inspired. (2016). Leeds Repair Café, available online at: http://www.leedsinspired.co.uk/events/leeds-repair-cafe
  33. Less Waste. (2016). Repair Café, Fearon Hall, Loughborough, available online at: http://www.lesswaste.org.uk/events/repair-cafe-fearon-hall-loughborough/
  34. Low, W., & Davenport, E. (2006). Mainstreaming Fair Trade: Adoption, Assimilation, Appropriation. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 14, 315–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Matheiken, S. (2009). The Uniform Project, available online at: http://matheiken.com/uniform-project/
  36. McLaren, A., Oxborrow, L., Cooper, T., Hill, H., & Goworek, H. (2015). Clothing longevity perspectives: exploring consumer expectations, consumption and use, in T. Cooper, N. Braithwaite, M. Moreno, G. Salvia (eds.), Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) Conference Proceedings, 17–19 June - Nottingham (pp. 229–235), UK. Nottingham Trent University: CADBE. ISBN 978-0-9576009-9-7.Google Scholar
  37. McLaren, A., & McLauchlan, S. (2015). ‘Crafting Sustainable Repairs: Practice-based Approaches to Extending the Life of Clothes’, PLATE Conference, 17th–19th June 2015, Nottingham Trent University, available online at: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/7526/1/220771_PubSub2645_McLaren.pdf
  38. Mintel. (2014). Clothing Retailing UK. October 2014, Mintel Group: London.Google Scholar
  39. Niinimaki, K., & Armstrong, C. (2013). From Pleasure in Use to Preservation of Meaningful Memories: A Closer Look at the Sustainability of Clothing via Longevity and Attachment. International Journal of Fashion Design Technology and Education, 6(3), 190–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Oxborrow, L., & Claxton, S. (2016). Extending clothing lifetimes: an exploration of design and supply chain challenges, in P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia (eds.), Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 10, pp 3815–3830, DOI 10.21606/drs.2016.XXX.Google Scholar
  41. Oxborrow, L., McLaren, A., Cooper, T., Hill, H., Goworek, H., & Claxton, S. (forthcoming 2017) Strategies to Improve Design and Testing for Clothing Longevity, Report for Defra.Google Scholar
  42. Pedersen, E. R. G., & Netter, S. (2015). Collaborative Consumption: Business Model Opportunities and Barriers for Fashion Libraries. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 19(3), 258–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pink, S. (2005). Dirty Laundry. Everyday Practice, Sensory Engagement and the Constitution of Identity. Social Anthropology, 13(3), 275–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Repair Café, R. (2016) About Repair Café, available online at: https://repaircafe.org/en/about/
  45. Shaw, D., Hogg, G., Wilson, E., Shui, E., & Hassan, L. (2006). Fashion Victim: The Impact of Fair Trade Concerns on Clothing Choice. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 14, 427–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shove, E. (2002). Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience, Published by the Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK, available online at http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/sociology/papers/Shove-Converging-Conventions.pdf
  47. Smithers, R. (2012) M&S Launches ‘shwopping’ Scheme, The Guardian, 26th April 2012, available online at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/apr/26/marks-spencer-shwopping-scheme
  48. Sorrel, C. (2015) Send Your Old Clothes Back in the Box Your New Clothes Came In. fastco.exist, 12th May 2015, available online at: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3050214/send-your-old-clothes-back-in-the-box-your-new-clothes-came-in#1
  49. Toad&Co. (2016). Sustainability Update, available online at: https://www.toadandco.com/blog/tag/merino-wool/
  50. Tom of Holland (2015). The Visible Mending Programme: making and re-making. (online). Available from: https://tomofholland.com/about/
  51. Tomolillo, D., & Shaw, D. (2003). Undressing the Ethical Issues in Clothing Choice. International Journal of New Product Development and Innovation Management, 15(2): 99–107.Google Scholar
  52. UAL. (2003). No Wash Sweatshirt, available online at: http://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/839/
  53. WRAP. (2012). Valuing Our Clothes: The True Cost of How We Design, Use and Dispose of Our Clothing in the UK, A report for WRAP: London. available online at http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/VoC%20FINAL%20online%202012%2007%2011.pdf Google Scholar
  54. You Gov. (2012). Bored with Your Clothes? A report by You Gov for M&S, available online at: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2012/06/27/bored-your-clothes/

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Management SchoolUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

Personalised recommendations