Nature Sustainability - The Motivation-Impact Gap in Pro-environmental Clothing Consumption
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Nature Sustainability - The Motivation-Impact Gap in Pro-environmental Clothing Consumption

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Summary: The motivation-impact study throws light on whether sustainability in fashion brands has an impact on consumer purchasing decisions, and what motivates the customers to make such decisions. Such data can help retailers and manufacturers to improve their supply chain and understand the gap between attitude and impact to enable a greener approach.

The fashion industry makes up for 2-3% of global emissions. Based on the research conducted, consumers have a positive approach toward sustainability in fashion, but green fashion makes up less than 10% of the entire fashion market. The affordability of fast fashion brands has created a paradox between the acceptance of sustainability in the fashion industry and the lack of actual purchasing behavior known as the attitude–behavior gap.

behavior gap

Psychological Factors Linked to Environmental Impact

Fashion is often used as a tool of self-expression by consumers, where the motivation to be trendy prevails over their motivation for sustainable fashion purchases. This has led to a conflict between the desire to purchase and efforts to stop overconsumption due to a lack of understanding of environmental sustainability. Moreover, factors including price and brand status are important elements in fashion.

Even for consumers who are aware of ethically manufactured products, the impulse for new and trendy clothes trumps their awareness. The role of fashion as a function vs a social media influence, status symbol, and familiarity with fashion products also add to the conundrum.

Psychological Factors

Sustainable Consumer Behavior

Consumers who have developed this awareness about the principles of sustainability are moving toward conscious clothing. Ethically manufactured clothes with the benefits of fast fashion are the only way brands can sustain themselves in the long run, but the lack of social support and high prices are still bottlenecks to achieving this goal.

Some sustainable fashion brands are trying to address the conflict by creating environmentally and socially responsible clothing. However, even with these options available, many consumers still experience a conflict between their desire to be fashionable and their desire to reduce overall consumption. This conflict often leads to less impulse buying, as consumers are more thoughtful about their purchases.

Since consumers associate sustainable sourcing of materials and improving fair wages with higher prices in fashion, the price of the product can be a barrier because even these self-aware consumers may not be able to afford it. Furthermore, elements such as personal style, trends, and availability also play a role in purchasing these fashion products.

Sustainable Consumer Behavior

The Impact of Fashion Brand Sustainability on Consumer Decisions

Sustainability in the fashion industry is easily defined by the below factors:

  • Organic—Organic products made from natural sources without any toxic pesticides or chemicals
  • Recycled—Recycled apparel made from used clothing
  • Artisan—Products that support ancestral and artisanal skills
  • Vintage—Second-hand clothes and up-cycled clothes that have been given a new life
  • Vegan—Products that do not contain leather or animal products
  • Custom-made—Bespoke clothing to encourage slow fashion design rather than mass-production
  • Locally made—Products that require less transportation and contribute to the local economy

Now that sustainability is emerging as a megatrend, fashion brands have begun to use keywords such as "eco-friendly," "organic," "natural," and "environmentally friendly" in their marketing messages. Although brands benefit from this clear communication about their sustainable practices, a lot of them are guilty of greenwashing, which is a practice of misleading advertising, using eco-labels and logos. The challenge is to convince consumers about the benefits of sustainable fashion and encourage informed buying decisions.

Fashion Brand Sustainability

Does attitude reflect in purchasing behavior?

The important factors affecting consumers are the quality and longevity of clothing, which is ranked first followed by the price of clothing; ranked at the bottom is fashion brand, which is considered the least important factor when buying. The second least important factor is the sustainability of a particular product. This suggests that the sustainability of fashion brands is not a key criterion in deciding to buy a garment made by that brand and that it does not have a direct impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions.

The data also showed that the participants’ positive attitude toward sustainability cannot always reflect their purchasing behavior. The data also reflects that the concern about the environmental impacts of fashion among consumers is not high enough, and even the ones who are aware do not follow through. Despite this, a majority of consumers are not ready to pay a higher price for sustainable fashion products and would prefer if were priced the same as any other fast fashion brand.

Choose Well and Make It Last!

Choosing sustainability means avoiding the fast fashion model, which can lead to a decrease in overconsumption and a further reduction in material throughput. Hence, it requires change at both the business level and the consumer level.

Fashinza is the leading data and AI-driven platform for sustainable sourcing and manufacturing. We offer a wide range of solutions that can help you make more sustainable and efficient decisions when it comes to sourcing and manufacturing. With our easy-to-use platform, you can access all the information you need to make the best decisions for your business. We also offer a wide range of resources and support to help you get started.

Contact us today to learn more!

Key Takeaways

  • Psychological factors like attitudes and personal norms strongly predicted a common buying behavior but only weakly predicted an approach toward a greener future.
  • The important factors that drive environmental impact are disposable income, product pricing, social media influence, and peer pressure.
  • To encourage more sustainable clothing consumption, it is necessary to employ consumer-focused marketing that reflects a good understanding of customer buying behavior and the issues that influence their purchasing decisions and takes into account the social impact.

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