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Running Head: SUSTAINABLE APPAREL PRODUCTS: EXPLORING FEMALE CONSUMERS’ ADOPTABILITY PROBABILITY

Sustainable apparel products: Exploring female consumers’ adoptability probability Lori D. Barratt Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville

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Table of Contents Chapter One: Introduction Background……………………………………………………………………………..p. 1 Statement of Purpose and Outcome…………………………………………………….p. 1 Research Objectives…………………………………………………………………….p. 1 Definition of Terms……………………………………………………………………..p. 1 Chapter Two: Review of Related Research Introduction…………………………………………………………………………….p. 3 Sustainable Apparel Products………………………………………………………….p. 4 Female Consumers……………………………………………………………………..p. 5 Chapter Three: Methodology Introduction……………………………………………………………………………p. 6 Research Design……………………………………………………………………….p. 7 Sample Selection……………………………………………………………………… Chapter Four: Results Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… Section 1………………………………………………………………………………. Gender…………………………………………………………………………. Education……………………………………………………………………… Income………………………………………………………………………… Section 2………………………………………………………………………………. Chapter Five: Conclusions Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… Objective 1…………………………………………………………………………….. Objective 2…………………………………………………………………………….. Objective 3…………………………………………………………………………….. Limitations of the Study………………………………………………………………. Recommendations for Future Research……………………………………………… Appendices Appendix A……………………………………………………………………………p. 15 References……………………………………………………………………………………..p. 16

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Chapter One Background The apparel industry has been known for creating substantial amounts of chemical waste during the preproduction, production, postproduction, and disposal of apparel products. Since this problem has become more prevalent in consumers’ minds, several rules and regulations have been put into practice by a massive amount of apparel companies. By correcting these issues, these companies create a better living environment for this generation and generations to come. Statement of Purpose and Outcome The purpose of this research study is to examine female consumers aged 18-29 in Nashville, Tennessee and their likelihood of adopting sustainable apparel products. Research Objectives The primary objectives of this research are to: 1. Determine if female consumers will pay 10% more for a sustainable product versus a non-sustainable product. 2. Discover which aesthetic attributes of a sustainable apparel product will increase purchase probability. 3. To identify the relationship between environmental awareness and the purchase of sustainable products. Definition of Terms Definitions vital for the understanding and clarity for this research are: Consumer: “A person or organization that uses a commodity or service� (Dictionary.com, 2011, para. 1).

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Sustainable Apparel: Clothing that is capable of being produced with minimal longterm effect on the environment.*

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Chapter Two Introduction For the purposes of this paper, the primary researcher assembled data through examining and analyzing previous articles congruent to the topics presented. The first topic discusses sustainable apparel products. The research explains the relationship of sustainable apparel products to the fashion industry and the environment. The second topic discusses a specific segment of the Generation Y cohort in the United States. The information includes demographics, psychographics, and purchase probabilities of this group. Sustainable Apparel Products Sustainable apparel products are designed and manufactured so they are not hazardous to the environment or dissipate natural resources. A multitude of apparel manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental issues that face future generations and of the benefits of reusing apparel products rather than disposing of them (Farrant, Olsen, & Wangel, 2010, p. 727). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established on December 2, 1970 (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2011a, para. 1). The EPA has created and enforced regulations to create a healthy living environment for all American people. Among these regulations, sustainability was implemented to “create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony� (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2011c, para. 1). This agency continues to develop new theories, practices, rules, and technologies to reduce waste from apparel products and not deplete natural resources for future generations (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2011c, para. 1).

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In addition to the EPA, the cradle to cradle apparel design (C2CAD) model was developed to be “the first apparel design and production model that emphasizes sustainability…” (Gam, Cao, Farr, & Heine, 2009, p. 166). Created by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in 2002, the C2CAD model promotes sustainability by not disposing apparel products after use; these products remain useful after the clothing life cycle has finished. Most apparel products are produced by various chemical processes, and can be considered harmful to the environment when the life cycle concludes. It also was created so that apparel products, from the beginning stages of production, would be able to “provide ‘nourishment’ for something new after useful lives” (Gam, Cao, Farr, & Heine, 2009, p. 168). The C2CAD model has been implemented in several major corporations such as Nike, Shaw Industries, and DesignTex (Gam, Cao, Farr, & Heine, 2009, p. 168). C2CAD assesses materials and chemicals and rates them using a color-coded flagging system: “Red indicates an ingredient of potentially high hazard. Yellow is moderate to low inherent hazard and green indicates that the ingredient is inherently benign for the application. Orange designates ingredients for which necessary data are missing” (Gam, Cao, Farr, & Heine, 2009, p. 168). In addition to the C2CAD model, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) was launched in 2011. “The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is an industry-wide group of leading apparel and footwear brands, retailers, manufacturers, non-governmental organizations, academic experts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products around the world”(Sustainable Apparel Coalition, 2011a, para. 1). The SAC includes large corporations, both national and global brands, such as Target, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, Adidas, Gap Inc., Nordstrom, and more. These companies have a

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tremendous consumer base and reach millions of consumers daily. The fact that they are a part of The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is spreading awareness of sustainable products and how they affect the environment (Sustainable Apparel Coalition, 2011b, para. 1). Female Consumers For the purpose of this paper, a specific segment of the Generation Y cohort was researched; females aged 18-29. According to Susan Bergman, analyst at Marigny Research Group in New Orleans, this generation is more technologically savvy and has greater spending power than other generational cohorts Generation Y “tends to be optimistic, self-confident and team-spirited” (Bergman, 2008, p. 3). Additionally, Generation Y was raised with the idea of instant gratification (Bergman, 2008, p. 27). For example, Cathy Bakewell, Lecturer in Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, Professor of Marketing at Manchester School of Management, state that “Generation Ys have been brought up in an era where shopping is not regarded as a simple act of purchasing” (2003, p. 95). Shopping has become a form of entertainment and considered an experience (Bakewell & Mitchell, 2003, p. 95). In 2008, it was estimated Generation Y, young adults age 18-29, counted for roughly 40 million people in the United States. Additionally, it was found that females outnumber males by about a million (51% to 49% respectively) (Bergman 2008, p. 25). This study looked at the “…attitudes, interests, life experiences and future hopes and obligations of the young adults of Generation Y, those born from 1979 to 1990” (Bergman, 2008, p. 22). The results of this research found that “the Millennials most attached to money’s symbolic rewards are college students age 18-29” (Bergman, 2008, p. 38).

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Chapter Three Introduction This research study was intended to examine the purchase probability of sustainable products by consumers. The secondary purpose of this study was to analyze if consumers take into account the repercussions of non-sustainable apparel products against the environment. The research design and sample selection will be discussed in the following paragraphs, along with the instrumentation used in the study. Research Design The primary researcher used a self-designed questionnaire for the quantitative research study. The study distributed by the researcher consisted of two sections. The first section of the questionnaire was implemented to determine the demographic and psychographic information of the participants. Factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, shopping habits were examined. Section two of the survey utilized a scale that measured psychographic information. A five-point Likert scale ranked the values, where 1 = Very Unimportant, 3 = Neither Important nor Unimportant, and 5 = Very Important. Sample Selection and Data Collection For the present study participants were chosen using a simple random non-probability sampling method. Students at The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville (AiTN) and consumers at the Mall at Green Hills in Nashville, Tennessee were asked to take a voluntary questionnaire for the purpose of paper. Over a one week period, research was conducted to find the purchase probability of sustainable apparel products by consumers. The primary investigator contacted teachers at AiTN to request participation by students for this study. The request consisted of an explanation of the research study, a copy of the

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questionnaire, and a request for possible extra credit given to the students for their participation during class hours as incentive to take part in this research. Upon completing and turning in the survey teachers would then give the students extra credit. The Mall at Green Hills in Nashville, Tennessee was selected due to the age range of female patrons who shop at this location. The primary researcher was located in the main hallway of the mall and conducted an intercept survey for passing consumers. Participants were gauged by the researcher for the age range of 18-29. Once the age range was verified, the surveys were completed and returned to the investigator to contribute to this study. The questionnaire was distributed as an intercept survey to twenty-five female consumers. A convenience sample of twenty-five female students was also used for this study. Of the surveys distributed to consumers and students, forty-six usable surveys were collected. The remaining four surveys were unable to be used due to incomplete responses. Instrumentation The instrument used to accomplish the research objectives was a questionnaire created by the researcher. Primarily this questionnaire examined the purchase probability of sustainable products by consumers. Another purpose was to analyze if consumers take into account the repercussions of non-sustainable apparel products against the environment. The first section, demographics and psychographics, consisted of finding out the participants’ gender, age, ethnicity, average monthly income, spending on apparel items, and willingness to pay for a sustainable apparel product. Spending on apparel items included questions concerning how often consumers purchase apparel products (clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.) within a month and what dollar amount was spent on apparel products within a month. Questions also consisted of what percentage of the apparel products purchased were

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sustainable apparel products. The participant was then asked if they would be willing to pay a higher price for sustainable apparel products over a less expensive non-sustainable apparel product and what percentage range the higher price would fall. The second section, psychographics, used a five-point Likert scale to gauge the participants’ feelings towards sustainable apparel products and the environment where 1 = Very Unimportant, 3 = Neither Important nor Unimportant, and 5 = Very Important.

This scale

examined which values were important to consumers during the shopping experience using phrases such as when shopping for clothing and accessories, it is important to me to look for sustainable apparel products or it is important for me to consider the effects on the environment of my purchase. Responses for this research were obtained through written format.

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Chapter Four Introduction The primary researcher gathered all questionnaires and calculated the results for the purpose of this research study. Results 1 Table 4.1, Demographic and Psychographic Profile (Section 1)

Characteristic Gender Female Male Ethnicity African-American American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut Asian, Pacific Islander Hispanic White Other Income (monthly) $0-250 $251-500 $501-1,000 $1,001-1,250 $1,251 and above Shopping Frequency (per month) 0-2 times 3-5 times 6-8 times 9 or more times Spending (monthly on apparel and accessory items) $0-50 $51-100 $101-150 $151-200 $201-250 $251 and above

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U.S. N

U.S. %

46 0

100.0 0

10 0 4 2 23 7

21.7 0 8.7 4.3 50.0 15.3

4 12 16 5 9

8.7 26.1 34.8 10.9 19.5

8 19 15 4

17.4 41.3 32.6 8.7

5 11 12 11 5 2

10.9 23.9 26.1 23.9 10.9 4.3


Table 4.1 shows the characteristics of the participants in this study. The sample size totaled 46 participants; 28 of these were female students at The Art Institute of TennesseeNashville, in Nashville, Tennessee, while the remaining 18 were female consumers at the Mall at Green Hills in Nashville, Tennessee. Demographic and psychographic data assembled included gender, ethnicity, monthly income, shopping frequency, and monthly spending on apparel and accessory items. Gender. The sample was comprised of solely female consumers (100.0%). No male participation was needed in this study. Ethnicity. In this sample, Caucasians made the majority of the population (50.0%) with 23 participants. African Americans represented 10 participants (21.7%), and the Other category was comprised of seven participants (15.3%). Among the other ethnicities, four Asian participants (8.7%), and the smallest ethnicity group of participants were Hispanic (4.3%). There were no American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut participants for this research. Monthly Income. The monthly income of the participants mainly fell in the $501-$1,000 range (34.8%), while $251-$500 made up a large percentage as well (26.1%). Approximately 19 percent of the population responded in the $1,251 and above range, while 10.9% answered $1,001-$1,250. The smallest percentage answered in the $0-$250 (8.7%). Shopping Frequency. The questionnaire consisted of four ranges for shopping frequency (per month). The majority of answers fell in the 3-5 times (41.3%), while the 6-8 times was approximately 33

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percent. Eight females responded 0-2 times (17.4%), and the remaining four checked the 9 or more times space (8.7%). Monthly Spending on Apparel and Accessory Items. Of the participants used in this study, the majority (26.1%) spends $101-$150 per month on apparel and accessory items. An equal amount of 11 participants (23.9%) answered in the $51-$100 range and the $151-$200 range per month. Approximately 11 percent of the population studied answered in the $0-$50 range, and the same number of participants answered in the $201-$250 range. The smallest number of females (4.3%) spend $251 per month and above for apparel and accessory items. Results 2 A five-point Likert scale was used to determine the variables important to shoppers before and during a purchase of apparel and accessory items. Table 4.2, Variables Important to Shoppers (Section 2) Attribute Look for sustainable apparel products See if the prices of sustainable apparel products are affordable before purchase See if the prices of non-sustainable apparel products are affordable before purchase Only purchase the lowest priced items Consider quality of fabric of the items Look at the information on the labels Find out what country of origin where the items were made Know which companies produce sustainable products Consider the effects on the environment of my purchase *Likert scale where 1 = very unimportant and 5 = very important The results of the Likert scale show that the most important variables to female consumers, aged 18-29 was to see if the prices of sustainable and non-sustainable apparel products were affordable before purchasing the items. The least important variable for 14

Mean* 3.07 4.46 4.93 2.85 3.65 3.35 3.15 2.93 3.30


purchasing apparel and accessory items was to know which apparel companies produce sustainable products; and that only purchasing the lowest priced items was not an important variable. The majority of the responses stated that the variables such as quality of fabric, looking for sustainable apparel products, country of origin of the items, and noticing the information on the labels was neither important nor unimportant.

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Chapter Five Introduction

Research Objective 1

Research Objective 2

Research Objective 3

Limitations of the Study

Recommendations for Future Research

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Appendices The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville 100 Centerview Drive Suite 250 Nashville, TN 37214 August 24, 2011 Lori D. Barratt 100 Centerview Drive Suite 250 Nashville, TN 37214 I am a Fashion and Retail Management student at The Art Institute of TennesseeNashville (AiTN). I have created a survey for a Marketing Research class. The purpose of this study is to evaluate consumers’ likelihood to purchase sustainable apparel products. This survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Your responses will be confidential. The principle researcher for this study is Lori Barratt and the responsible faculty contact person is Amber Chatelain (contact information below). Amber Chatelain Lead Faculty from the Fashion and Retail Management at AiTN 100 Centerview Drive Suite 250 Nashville, TN 37214 1-615-514-3213 achatelain@aii.edu Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and your responses should be as honest as possible. Please sign the participant consent form below if you would like to be a part of this study. Thank you. Sincerely,

Lori Barratt

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SECTION 1: Demographic Information This section is for classification purposes only and will be strictly confidential. Mark each question with the appropriate reply. Please check one answer for each question. Gender

____ Female

____ Male

Age

Are you between the ages of 18 and 29? ____ YES ____ NO (If you answered ‘NO’, then your participation is not needed)

Ethnic Origin ____ African American ____ American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut ____ Asian or Pacific Islander ____ Hispanic ____ White ____ Other _________________________ What is your average monthly income? ____ $0-$250 ____ $251-$500 ____ $501-$1,000 ____ $1,001-$1,250 ____ $1,251 and above How often do you purchase apparel items (clothing, shoes, accessories, etc)? ____ 0-2 times per month ____ 3-5 times per month ____ 6-8 times per month ____ 9 or more times per month

Please continue the survey on the next page.

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What is your average monthly spending on apparel items (clothing, shoes, accessories, etc)? ____ $0-$50 ____ $51-$100 ____ $101-$150 ____ $151-$200 ____ $201-$250 ____ $251 and above What percentage of apparel items purchased in a month are sustainable apparel products (eco-friendly made clothing and accessories)? ____ 0% ____ 1%-10% ____ 11%-20% ____ 21%-30% ____ 31%-40% ____ 41%-50% ____ 50% or more Would you be willing to pay a higher price for a sustainable apparel item rather than a non-sustainable apparel item? ____ YES ____ NO (if you answered ‘NO’, please skip to the next section) How much more would you be willing to pay for sustainable apparel items? ____ 0%-10% ____ 11%-20% ____ 21%-30% ____ 31%-40% ____ 41%-50% ____ 50% or more

Please continue the survey on the next page.

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SECTION 2:

Please indicate how important each of the following statements is about your feelings towards sustainable apparel products (eco-friendly clothing and accessories) and the environment. Please circle one of the following letter codes that indicate your response.

1 = VERY UNIMPORTANT 2 = UNIMPORTANT 3 = NEITHER IMPORTANT OR UNIMPORTANT WHEN SHOPPING FOR CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES, IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ME TO‌ Look for sustainable apparel products See if the prices of sustainable apparel products are affordable before purchase See if the prices of non-sustainable apparel products are affordable before purchase Only purchase the lowest priced items Consider quality of fabric of the items Look at the information on the labels Find out the country of origin where the items were made Know which companies produce sustainable products Consider the effects on the environment of my purchase

4 = IMPORTANT 5 = VERY IMPORTANT

Very Unimportant 1

2

3

4

Very Important 5

1

2

3

4

5

1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

THANK YOU!!!

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References Apparel industry leaders launch sustainable apparel coalition (2011). United States, New York: PR Newswire Association LLC. Bakewell, C., & Vincent-Wayne, M. (2003). Generation Y female consumer decision-making styles. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 31(2), 95-106. Bergman, S. (2008). The adults of Generation Y in the U.S.: Hitting the demographic, lifestyle and marketing mark. Packaged Facts. 1-283. Retrieved July 27,2011. http://academic.marketresearch.com/product/display.asp?productid=1282382&curl=&sur l=%2Fsearch%2Fresults%2Easp%3Fprid%3D1169274377%26query%3DGen%2BY%2 Badult%2Bconsumers&prid=1169274377 Farrant, L., Olsen, S. I., & Wangel, A. (2010). Environmental benefits from reusing clothes. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 15(7), 726-736. doi:10.1007/s11367-0100197-y Gam, H., Cao, H., Farr, C., & Heine, L. (2009). C2CAD: A sustainable apparel design and production model. International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, 21(4), 166179. doi:10.1108/09556220910959954 Hustvedt, G., & Dickson, M. A. (2009). Consumer likelihood of purchasing organic cotton apparel. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 13(1), 49-49-65. doi:10.1108/13612020910939879 Klerk, H., & Lubbe, S. (2008). Female consumers’ evaluation of apparel quality: Exploring the importance of aesthetics. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management 12(1), 36-50. doi: 10.1108/13612020810857934

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Koskela, M., & Vinnari, M. (Eds.). (2009). The future of the consumer society. Tampere, Finland: Finland Futures Research Centre. McDonough, W. & Braungart, M. (2002), Remarking the way we make things: Cradle to cradle, North Point Press, New York, NY. Research and markets: Product life cycle management in the textile and apparel industry (2009). United Kingdom, Coventry: Normans Media Ltd. Sustainable apparel coalition. (2011a). Retrieved August 16, 2011. http://www.apparelcoalition.org/faqs#q2. Sustainable apparel coalition. (2011b). Retrieved August 16, 2011. http://www.apparelcoalition.org/members. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2011a). Retrieved August 25, 2011. http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/history/index.html United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2011b). Retrieved August 25, 2011. http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/whatwedo.html United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2011c). Retrieved August 25, 2011. http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm#sustainability

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