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Online collaborative clothing consumption = “business as usual”? A look at female practitioners of redistributed ownership

Joyner Armstrong, Cosette M.

The advent of collaborative consumption (CC) has brought a renewed sense of hope among sustainable consumption scholars. Current CC clothing platforms conjure some skepticism about the capacity to meaningfully boost sustainable consumption, as these platforms are often positioned similarly as fast fashion outlets The purpose of this study was to understand the extent to which the practice of online redistributed clothing ownership aligns with the fundamental arguments that implicate CC as a model for sustainable consumption, using practice theory as a framework for inquiry. These fundamental arguments include utilization of secondhand goods that reduces demand for new products, mitigating premature disposal, and self-organization and peer-peer interaction that facilitate the development of shared values and personal identity via sociality that, consequently, changes consumption behavior. Phone interviews were conducted with 24 female participants from age 18-40. Constant comparative technique was utilized to identify emergent themes, and then these themes were categorized into performances, knowledge, and meanings characterizing the practice of online redistributed ownership. Evidence in the study supports the conclusion that the current practice only loosely supports fundamental aspects of how CC facilitates sustainable consumption. Meaningful product longevity and a culture that values secondhand exchange is largely absent from the practice among young women who use these online platforms.
Published in: PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment : 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-3125-9