Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Apparel Acquisition: Why More Is Less?

Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Apparel Acquisition: Why More Is Less?

Article excerpt

Abstract. In recent years, issues of responsible consumption and environmental sustainability have received increased attention in the literature. Many scholars in the apparel scholarship have researched for solutions to promote responsible consumption of apparels in consumers. Despite the promotion of responsible consumption of apparels by various scholars and marketers, observations show that consumers remain upbeat in apparel acquisition and are continuously buying apparels in large quantities and frequencies, which may seem that most consumers are purchasing more than what they actually need. Other areas of marketing and consumer behaviour have showed that consumers are in fact aware about the importance of responsible consumption and environmental sustainability, and thus, there may be some hidden rationales for consumer on-going rise in purchase and consumption of apparels. This study, therefore, attempts to fill in this gap by extending knowledge in the current scholarship by exploring for the underlying reasons for consumer apparel acquisitions. The study is exploratory in nature and employs a qualitative research approach using indepth interviews as a method of data collection. Findings from the study suggest that consumers acquire apparels due to peer pressure, selfidentity, job requirement, price and convenience, and retailer's influence. Notably, consumers see it to be more beneficial to consume more apparel to avoid lesser disappointments in relation to personal and societal expectations. Implications and recommendations from research findings are also presented.

Keywords: Apparel acquisition, more is less, consumer behaviour.

1. Introduction

The idea of responsible consumption has gained much momentum in recent years (Niinimaki, 2010). As time passes, more and more consumers are starting to engage in acts of responsible consumption, such as reducing unnecessary purchases and recycling whatever that can be recycled (Carrigan and Pelsmacker, 2009). In particular, patterns of over consumption have helped raise movements for social responsibility in the promotion of responsible consumption (Charbonneau, 2008).

A growing concern for the environment and social change was researched since the 1970s. However, it was not until the late 1980s and early 1990s that researchers in the apparel and textiles discipline started to explore socially responsible consumption as a new phenomenon. With a growing interest in area of social responsibility, scholars in the textile and apparel scholarship have been presented with a task to define socially responsible consumption in the context of apparel acquisition (Dickson and Eckman, 2006). The work of Charbonneau (2008) revealed that responses were directed toward concerns for the environment and its consumers, a blend of ethics and morality with profit, and business actions relating to the environment and its consumers. The study further argued that as a relatively new concept to the textile and apparel discipline, socially responsible consumption is an important phenomenon worldwide. Since then, many studies have been devoted towards an understanding on how socially responsible apparel acquisition can be promoted to the society, such as studies by Connell (2011) who explored consumers' perceptions of eco-conscious apparel acquisition behaviours and Jaegel et al. (2012) who explored individual values and motivational complexities in ethical clothing consumption.

While existing studies on apparel acquisition has point towards a direction that suggests a need to responsibly consume apparels and textiles for aims of environmental sustainability, ethics and morality, the consumption of apparel among consumers remain at very high levels. Despite the promotion of responsible consumption of clothing by various scholars and marketers, observations show that consumers remain upbeat in apparel acquisition and are continuously buying clothing in large quantities and frequencies, which may seem that they are purchasing more than they actually need. …

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