Changing Customer Behavior in Sustainable Fashion Industry

Changing Customer Behavior in Sustainable Fashion Industry

Mohamed Mohamed Elsotouhy (Faculty of Commerce, Mansoura University, Egypt)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2728-3.ch004
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There is no doubt that sustainability has turned to a hot issue in recent years for its significant effect not only for the fashion industry but also for several fields. Nowadays, most organizations have shifted from traditional business models to sustainability-integrated business models. However, few studies have focused on changing customer behaviour towards adopting sustainability. In this chapter, the author focuses on presenting the damaging effects of the fashion industry in all phases of production and giving a view on how marketers stir consumers to embrace sustainable fashion in their own lives. This chapter concentrates on quality rather than quantity.
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Sustainability has received much attention recently due to its ability to protect our environment from pollution caused by fashion industry. Producing and marketing a huge amount of fashion items have negative impacts on our environment (Thorisdottir & Johannsdottir, 2019). To be more specific, artisan tailors evolved the fashion industry in favor of multinational enterprises before its spread over various countries and continents (Pedersen, Gwozdz & Hvass, 2016). Fashion makes people more satisfied emotionally and socially as they use it to express themselves to their peers (Bertram & Chi, 2018).The industry becomes more complicated, international and fragmented and its core turned to the notion of continual consumption of new stuff while discard the old ones (Kozlowski, Bardecki & Searcy, 2012). The advent of fast-fashion changed the nature of fashion; meaning that to be fit in your social, individual must stay fashionable and wearing new trend clothes (Bertram & Chi, 2018).Recent fashion industries with more available resources, a short-life cycle, and over-consuming of a product have unfavorable impacts on society (Pedersen et al., 2016). Each year over 90 million of garments throw up in garbage, in UK alone people use 1.5 to 2 million tons of textile, while1.2 million tons of them go to landfills (DEFRA 2007). When these clothes cumulate over time, this in turn can causes fatal pollution in a long-term. One of the most effective ways to treat this issue is through sustainability.

Over 30 years ago, World Commission on Environment and Development stated that sustainable development will meet the needs of the present without harming any of future generation’s needs (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Sustainability means the balance among economic, social, and environmental needs of today with the need of upcoming generations (Wang et al., 2019).Since then, sustainable has turned to be a common trend in almost all arena and applied for products, services, and other approaches (Evans & Peirson-Smith, 2018). Focusing on sustainability in clothing, researchers started to treat fashion industry pollution through concentrating on sustainability. Kozlowski et al. (2012) paper provided a conceptual and analytical framework through conflating life cycle and stakeholder analyses as a way to develop responses for the fashion industry. Corporates with innovative business models are more likely to adapt sustainability, both of innovative business model and sustainability are found in organizations which have flexibility and discretion values in its root (Pedersen et al., 2016). Study of Yang, Song and Tong (2017) concluded that the most crucial areas in this field are disposal fashion in sustainable retailing, fast and slow fashion, green branding, and eco-labeling which focus on secondhand fashion, reverse logistic, and emerging opportunities in e-commerce. Regarding customer response, Grappi, Romani and Barbarossa (2017) analyzed how customer evaluates or responses to brands after Greenpeace’s 2011 Detox campaign which aimed to reducing toxic chemicals in the fashion industry. They found that customer’s evaluation of brand blame plays a mediating role between their attitudes toward brand and purchase intentions. The lack of comprehension of key green terminology in communication among user is problematic in fashion brand marketers, while these messages are often unclear; it leads to user frustration rather than positive decision making and action (Evans & Peirson-Smith, 2018). Jacobs et al. (2018) focused on two sides in sustainable clothes, one of them is about changing the attitudes and values towards sustainability, the other is about focusing on how firms make durable clothes available in their retail stores. Major researches focused on the same research domain which is theoretically broke up to fragmented approach that prevents the ability to address the systemic nature of sustainability, Thomas (2018) paper treated this problem by adapted critical realism as a meta-theoretical framework to corporate, link and extend the sustainability marketing field. However, although customer attitudes towards sustainable clothes have been grown more and more favorable in the past few years, the role of marketers in introducing clothes with environmental and socially responsible is still lagging behind (Jacobs et al., 2018). This chapter focuses on the pollution caused by fashion industry, and how can marketers affect the customer behavior to adapt sustainability.

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