Sustainable Fast Fashion: Paradox or Possibility? From Consumer Insight to Sustainable Marketing
Abstract: Awareness of sustainability-related issues within the fashion industry has increased. Fast fashion is specifically criticized for its negative impacts on the environment and society. Due to this, several fast fashion companies are trying to position themselves as more sustainable. However, fast fashion and sustainability are often considered paradoxical. The purpose of this study is to investigate what consumers think about green marketing by fast fashion companies. Moreover, this study seeks to understand which aspects of sustainability consumers find important in relation to consumption of clothes. A mixed methods approach was adopted, and a web-based survey was conducted to collect quantitative and qualitative data about consumer attitudes, behavior, and preferences. Based on the results, it was concluded that consumers are conscious and demand fashion that is more sustainable. The findings further support that consumers are critical and skeptical towards green marketing by fast fashion companies. However, in contrast to previous studies, this study also found that consumers believe that fast fashion can be sustainable. In conclusion, this study presents practical implications for fast fashion companies and suggests how they can improve their marketing practices to meet consumer preferences in a better way. To summarize, implementing a more sustainable marketing mix is key. This mix, or strategy, encompasses sustainable and ethical products. Furthermore, credible and transparent promotional activities are fundamental to avoid accusations of greenwashing and boycotts. To establish consumer trust, investing in third-party sustainability labels is also recommended. Even if this study is based on a relatively small sample, it provides interesting consumer insights, which can be used as a starting point for future research. It is suggested that future studies continue to investigate how a sustainable marketing mix can be employed to make the fashion industry more sustainable.
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