Trash to Treasure: A Case Study and Conjoint Analysis of Consumer Preference for Sustainable Apparel Shopping




Sampayo, Helena

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The fashion industry is taking a toll on the environment, and all eyes are on industry leaders and circular business models to respond to the crisis and help repair the integrity of fashion. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2018, 13 million tons of apparel were generated and over 9 million tons of clothing and footwear were landfilled. While consumer interest in sustainable product offerings has risen in past years, the "green" attitude-behavior gap is a challenge for market offerings that primarly target ethical personal values of sustainable consumption. Through several case studies, this thesis explores the potential economic value in business models that enhance service and product attributes relating to sustainable fashion, including: online resale, upcycling, and rental services. The final chapter of this thesis employs the findings of the case studies to empirically determine the value of various sustainable apparel offerings. To evaluate the unrealized value of apparel at various stages of use, a conjoint analysis is performed on the data collected from a panel of 262 US consumers. The findings suggest that consumers attribute a certain utility to unique, scarce items and more convenient methods of shopping sustainably.


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