Jessica Strübel, Saheli Goswami, and Ji Hye Kang
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the fashion industry landscape with unprecedented challenges, emphasizing the humanitarian and environmental concerns of this industry. Consumers, faced with limited financial stability during and after the pandemic, have fewer resources to support sustainable consumption. While brands’ pre-pandemic sustainability initiatives were disrupted, this does not absolve them from their ethical responsibilities. Thus, the pandemic has exposed a need to address sustainability across the fashion supply chain, presenting a new opportunity to reevaluate sustainability practices and our tendencies to overconsume.
Psychologists believe theory and positive psychology can be used to mitigate sustainability challenges, such as climate change (e.g., Nielsen et al., 2021). We seek to develop an understanding of the role of positively motivated decision-making for sustainable consumer behavior of fashion and apparel products and how to change fear-driven determinants to positive motives, attitudes, and sustainable practices in the wake of COVID-19. Ultimately, we want to offer comprehensive and effective strategies for guiding both fashion consumers and brands to transition towards sustainability. Therefore, the purpose of the first phase of this multi-phase project aims to (1) understand fashion consumers’ behavioral changes due to the pandemic, and (2) explore how marketing can effectively educate consumers towards sustainable consumption behavior.