Slow fashion: understanding potential consumers and creating customer value for increasing purchase intention and willingness to pay a price premium

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sojin Jung (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Byoungho Jin

Abstract: Fast fashion, which carries high-end designs to the mass market at affordable price ranges quickly, has gained success. However, fast fashion is often criticized for spurring people to buy multiple clothes at once with little perceived value, and discard them quickly. As an antithesis of fast fashion, the apparel industry has been increasingly interested in slow fashion. However, there has been lack of theoretical understanding of slow fashion. This dissertation is aimed at investigating the slow fashion movement by identifying potential slow fashion consumers (Study I), and ways to create customer values toward slow fashion products to increase purchase intention and willingness to pay a price premium (Study II). By Churchill's (1978) scale item generation and purification procedures, a preliminary study found 15 items that accounted for five dimensions of consumer orientation to slow fashion: Equity, Authenticity, Functionality, Localism and Exclusivity. These dimensions elucidated that slow fashion is related to, but distinctive from existing environmental and social sustainability concepts. Targeting nationwide U.S. consumers, respondents of this study were selected by the quota sampling method with consideration to age, gender and geographical location of respondents. The online survey URL was sent to a total of 1,000 respondents, and the final 221 completed responses were analyzed. In Study I, consumers were classified into four consumer groups based on the five orientations to slow fashion: High involvement in slow fashion group, traditional group, exclusivity oriented group, and low involvement in slow fashion group. To understand characteristics of each group, the groups were profiled by the Schwartz value, apparel consumption behaviors and demographic variables. Based on their profiles, subjects of each group except for those in the low involvement group were evaluated to be potential slow fashion consumers. Three groups were found to be different by their orientation to slow fashion, personal values, consumption behaviors, etc.: Different marketing strategies were suggested to address the needs of each group effectively. On the basis of the customer value creation framework, Study II tested how each dimension of consumer orientation to slow fashion increased perceived customer value on slow fashion products, which in turn positively influences consumer's purchase intention and willingness to pay a price premium. The results of the structural equation modeling revealed that consumer orientation toward Exclusivity enhances perceived customer value on slow fashion products. Moreover, the perceived customer value increased the consumer's purchase intention and willingness to pay a price premium. This study extended academic understanding of slow fashion through empirical identification of slow fashion dimensions, profiling of potential slow fashion consumers and confirming factors related to creating customer values and its consequences. In addition to detailed marketing implications, this study further provided suggestions for the U.S. government policy and consumer education program to achieve sustainability and foster the U.S. domestic apparel industry.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Business modelilng, Consumer profiling, Scale development, Slow fashion, Sustainability
Consumer behavior $z United States
Consumers' preferences $z United States
Fashion merchandising $z United States
Sustainability $z United States

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