Sustainable clothing: challenges, barriers and interventions for encouraging more sustainable consumer behaviour

Fiona Harris, Helen Roby, Sally Dibb

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    Abstract

    Research with consumers has revealed limited awareness of the sustainability impact of clothing (Goworek et al., 2012). Semi-structured interviews conducted with a range of experts in sustainable clothing to increase understanding of the challenges for sustainable clothing revealed that a focus on sustainability alone will not drive the necessary changes in consumers’ clothing purchase, care and disposal behaviour for three reasons: (i) clothing sustainability is too complex; (ii) consumers are too diverse in their ethical concerns and (iii) clothing is not an altruistic purchase. The findings identify the challenges that need to be addressed and the associated barriers for sustainable clothing. Interventions targeting consumers, suppliers, buyers and retailers are proposed that encourage more sustainable clothing production, purchase, care and disposal behaviour. These interventions range from normalizing the design of sustainable clothing and increasing the ease of purchase, to shifting clothes washing norms and increasing upcycling, recycling and repair. Publisher Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Harris, F, Roby, H & Dibb, S 2016, 'Sustainable clothing: challenges, barriers and interventions for encouraging more sustainable consumer behaviour' International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol 40, no. 3, pp. 309-318, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.12257 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-318
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
    Volume40
    Issue number3
    Early online date16 Dec 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2016

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