Sustainability in the Fashion Industry: Secondhand Clothing as a Sustainable Alternative

Frederikke Haahr Riisberg & Josephine Sommer Petersen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The fashion industry is facing increasing demands in terms of incorporating sustainability in its actions and initiatives which has resulted in several offers of sustainable alternatives in the market. One of them is the increased demand for secondhand clothing. This project explores whether Danish consumers consider secondhand clothing as a sustainable alternative to new clothing, and how the market of secondhand clothing together with Danish consumers’ willingness to buy secondhand clothing can be unified in order to create a sustainable alternative in the fashion industry. The project has an inductive approach and is therefore based on primary empirical data from a focus group interview and four individual interviews with representatives of Danish consumers in order to gain knowledge of their associations, attitudes and understandings of secondhand clothing as a phenomenon. This is supported by secondary data. To analyze our investigation, we have used relevant theory in the field of consumer psychology to understand Danish consumers and their behavior and attitudes towards secondhand clothing. We have found that the market of secondhand clothing is characterized by several suppliers such as charitable organizations, private resale and privately-owned businesses. The market is driven by the demand for sustainability, Generation Y and Z, digitalization, and the market of new clothing. The Danish consumers’ behavior of buying clothes are affected by several factors including their mindset, perception of secondhand clothing, social environment, past behavior, trends, norms, consumer culture, convenience, and the quality of the product. Therefore, the market of secondhand clothing is facing both opportunities and barriers when accommodating the Danish consumers. However, the market of secondhand clothing does already accommodate several of these, but the consumers lack awareness about this. Furthermore, our findings show that consumers who are not already consumers of secondhand clothing hold a negative mindset and attitude towards secondhand clothing which includes prejudices because they are not informed right. The project concludes that the market for secondhand clothing and the Danish consumers’ willingness to buy secondhand clothes will be incompatible as long as the consumers’ mindset is not affected in a positive direction regarding secondhand clothing.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2021
Number of pages127