An investigation into the attitude and understanding of young consumers relating to sustainable fashion.
(2016) An investigation into the attitude and understanding of young consumers relating to sustainable fashion., no. 89.
Sustainability is an issue that has become increasingly important in recent years as a result of increasing consumer and industry awareness of social and environmental issues. Fashion retailers have utilised that growing awareness to market sustainable products to consumers. However, research has indicated that young consumers have are not been engaged with these products. In particular, young consumers appeared to lack knowledge in relation to sustainable fashion. Nevertheless, as fashionable and environmentally aware individuals, young consumers have been identified as a group that has great promise for engagement with sustainable consumption. Despite demonstrating potential as sustainable fashion consumers, it appears that there are numerous barriers that have negatively affected the attitude of young consumers towards sustainable fashion. Consequently, this study aims to explore the attitudes of young consumers towards sustainable fashion. The research investigates the understanding of sustainable fashion from the perspective of young consumers, as well as the influences and perceived barriers towards sustainable fashion. Analysis of the current literature on the topic revealed that there was a lack of research exploring the attitudes of young consumers from a qualitative perspective. Therefore, the study was approached qualitatively, with data gathered from semi-structured interviews with 10 participants aged 18-25. Interpretation of the findings revealed a lack of knowledge and awareness surrounding sustainable fashion had limited their engagement with sustainable fashion beyond second hand and vintage clothing. Overall the key barriers that were highlighted through thematic analysis were lack of awareness, price and fashion concern. Participants suggested memorable advertising and appealing to their personal style would positively influence their attitude and potentially encourage them to purchase sustainable fashion. The findings did appear to contradict literatures which suggested that young consumers are both fashion and environmentally aware. Despite this, on the whole it appeared that participants had a positive attitude towards sustainable fashion, particularly relating to recycled clothing. The research provided a current and deeper insight into the perceived barriers and how the participants suggested that these barriers could be addressed. Overall, the research indicated that if the perceived barriers were addressed, young consumers would represent a good opportunity for fashion retailers in terms of sustainable fashion consumers.