Love and Let Go: The Confessions of Sustainable Fashionistas - Exploring Sustainable Fashions Disposal from a Consumer Perspective
Sustainable fashion is sometimes called an oxymoron as many of the practices associated with fashion production and consumption are environmentally and socially taxing (Payne, 2019). Companies are experimenting with and developing more circular business models to decrease environmental impact and waste (Binotto & Payne, 2017). Thus, consumer waste plays a pivotal role in circular business models (Koszewska, 2019), i.e., when reintroduced into the consumption cycle, the final output of one circle becomes the input for a new one. Hence, knowing how consumers perceive and experience disposal is key. However, research on fashion disposition from a consumer perspective is scarce (Crane, 2010; Binotto & Payne, 2017; Dahlbo et al., 2017; Kirchherr & van Santen, 2019; Mellander & Petersson McIntyre, 2020; Shrivastava et al., 2021). This paper aims to provide a nuanced description and in-depth insight into consumers' understanding and experience of sustainable fashion disposal. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six Swedish consumers interested in fashion and sustainability who re-circulated their clothes. The key insights from the analysis suggest that this group of consumers finds disposing of fashion to be a puzzling and meaningful experience highly guided by values and norms. The participants' accounts also point to the fact that all phases of the consumption cycle are interlinked, and emotions and mental justifications in each phase ultimately seem to affect the disposition decision-making process. Drawing on these indications, fashion companies striving for more circular business models could benefit from emphasizing the feeling of meaningfulness in their communication and designing service offerings that encompass all the phases of the consumption cycle and opt for more holistic service designs.
MSc in Marketing and Consumption