When mortality knocks: Pandemic-inspired attitude shifts towards sustainable clothing consumption in six countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Samira Iran
  • Cosette Joyner Martinez
  • Katia Vladimirova
  • Stephan Wallaschkowski
  • Sonali Diddi
  • Helen McCormick
  • Kira Matus
  • Kirsi Niinimäki
  • Meike Sauerwein
  • Renu Singh
  • Loredana Tiedke

Abstract

This study compares and contrasts consumers’ attitudes towards fashion consumption in different country contexts prior to and during COVID-19, by honing in on their attitude, behavior and relationship with their garments.
Issues surrounding sustainable fashion consumption are not new per se (e.g. EEA, 2019; Niniimäki et al., 2020), with consumers’ values, attitudes, and ‘fashion’ consumption practices having been studied in various country contexts (e.g. Lang & Joyner Armstrong, 2018; Iran et al., 2019; Lang et al., 2019). Yet, there has been a noticeable change: the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the routine lives of citizens globally, which also had an impact on their fashion consumption practices (e.g. Vogue, 2020; Liu et al., 2021; Youn et al., 2021).
This study explores the impacts COVID-19 had on clothing consumption across seven different countries, spanning across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the USA. For this, a survey with open-ended and multiple-choice questions was completed by a sample of consumers (N= 3942) across these countries. Survey participants had an average age of 27.91 and were predominantly female (69%). Initial findings highlight that in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and the UK almost one third of survey respondents changed their attitude towards clothing consumption as a result of the pandemic, which is observed less in the other country contexts. Similar changes in consumers’ relationship with their garments during this time can be observed. Qualitative analysis identified patterns of change in consumers’ attitude toward clothing (e.g. minimalism, grateful mindsets, environmental/social awareness, fashion concerns, style confidence). Identified themes regarding actual behavior included conscious, constrained, stimulated, and safe shopping, casualization of wear, decluttering, and do it yourself. Thus, this paper provides insight into sustainable fashion consumption practices and patterns pre- and during COVID-19, through a multi-country lens.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Fashion & Textiles
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jan 2022