What do you think are the main factors that prevent consumers buying sustainable fashion?

As it is my final year, I will be completing my dissertation. Which is based on sustainability. It is an investigation into the current market and looks at how to broaden the market through consumer/retailers opinions. 

Case studies are making up the majority of my work.

If anybody would like to answer the post title question, it would be a huge, gigantic help to my work. 

The question again is: What do you think are the main factors that prevent consumers buying sustainable fashion?

All answers welcome,

Thank You

Faye Donald

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Comment by Faye Donald on December 4, 2013 at 20:30

Hello everyone,

So far I am very pleased with all the comments that you have took the time to post and am thankful for the response.

I have to leave the question open ended so that people can give an unbiased opinion without being swayed by my own view on the subject. I am currently going through the process of interviewing companies in this sector to find out their view, which is going really well at the minute. 

All of this information tied together will make a very interesting and well rounded study, so thankyou again and I hope the answers keep coming! 

I will post an overview of my dissertation findings when it is completed so you can all see what the result is.



Comment by Julie on November 26, 2013 at 15:42

Hi Faye!

I agree with what has been said below. The definition of sustainable is extremely broad, and currently relates to eco-friendly, ethical, Fair Trade, organic, reduced waste, C02 friendly, etc. etc. Also, a brand has to be pretty much transparent in their operations to be believably 'sustainable' (no matter which of these terms are the USP).

Fashionability is another factor to consider. Most 'sustainable' brands are not very trend-oriented, which (as Khogy mentioned) relates to the consumer purchase decision making process. While clothing is, in most cultures, a utilitarian necessity (you can refer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs), fashion is a means of self-fulfillment, more than anything. 

Price is another factor, though this relates more to a trend-oriented consumer, who is intent on purchasing 'fast-fashion' such as Zara. But as Maria Elena Bemal's document states (and this is backed up by other reports, such as can be found on Mintel), consumers are willing to spend more on products they believe in, products that they deem to be 'luxury' in terms of quality, craftsmanship, and that provide a sense of self-fulfillment less in terms of status and fashionability, but more in terms of conscience and doing something good for the environment/people. 

I think there is also a lack of awareness/knowledge of sustainability issues, as this message is not communicated by the 'fast fashion' retailers, or even 'luxury' designer brands. There are not many outlets where these brands are widely available, there is little brand familiarity, and therefore consumers mistrust these brands (as stated above). 

Hope this helps a little. Good luck!

Comment by Maria Elena Bernal on November 19, 2013 at 19:34

here is a very good article on what segments tend to buy sustainable fashion. I read this last night while in search of scholarly journals to include in my business plan homework. Hope you enjoy.



Comment by Khogy on November 19, 2013 at 6:08

I think its because the question of what sustainable fashion really is so much more complex than 'i will buy this t-shirt instead of this t-shirt'. Its not about money. When a consumer becomes truly engaged in the problem of finding 'true sustainable fashion' it will eventually lead him/ her to 'anti consumerism'. If you are truly worried about 'the state of the planet' about 'where your clothes come from', its no longer a question of 'organic cotton or non organic cotton', its a question of stop buying stuff.

Good luck with your dissertation Jenny (khogy.com)

Comment by Maria Elena Bernal on November 19, 2013 at 2:09

Price is a big factor and also brand awareness.

Comment by Ella Walker on November 17, 2013 at 22:03
Also sorry I just thought of something else. Often sustainable clothing is very basic and comes in neutral tones. I want to see more fashion forward and affordable sustainable clothes.
Comment by Ella Walker on November 16, 2013 at 18:47
Money. I really want to buy more sustainable and ethical fashion other than vintage but I just can't afford it on my student budget and it really annoys me.

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