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Examining Vintage Luxury Fashion Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2022

Introduction

Traditionally, luxury fashion was associated with splendour and branded products that meant more than necessary but desirable. The concept of luxury included experiences, exclusivity and value, which allowed consumers to design their unique ways of life. Today, the perception of luxury fashion changes dramatically from something extravagant towards emotional and intangible. Cervellon and Vigreux (2018) emphasise that the identified concept tends to become more personal, while purchasing luxury goods turns out to be a question of preferences and contexts. Vintage luxury fashion can be described as clothing that belongs to certain decades: from the 1920s to the 1990s (Cervellon and Vigreux, 2018). Compared to second hand clothing, vintage is not necessarily dressed previously, yet it can also include pre-owned or pre-loved items.

The recent evidence demonstrates that the re-sale of high-quality clothing becomes especially demanded, and the market seems to increasingly offer the desired products (Gorra, 2017). According to the statistics by the Association of Resale Professionals, this market had an annual revenue of $ 24 billion in 2018, and it is anticipated that this number would increase to $ 64 billion by 2028 (NARTS, 2013). In addition to the above estimates, the market of luxury re-sale includes numerous private consumers, whose purchases are difficult to monitor. In the article that was published by the Harvard Business School, Gorra (2017) states that the interest of people in the secondary luxury market has grown exponentially, which is largely caused by intensive advertising through television, online media and billboards. For instance, such platforms as Rebag and eBay offer easy-to-navigate interfaces for the convenience of consumers.

The benefits of the secondary vintage and luxury market are attractive for both sellers and buyers. The former acquire a great opportunity to reinvest their funds from vintage goods in the purchase of new clothing. For the latter, the focus on this market allows them to have a new experience since they try luxury brands for the first time. While consumers understand that this market is liquid, they are more likely to buy more clothes (Netter and Pedersen, 2019). Consequently, one can observe the emergence of a win-win system, in which consumers, brands and department stores have advantages from luxury resale (Netter and Pedersen, 2019). However, considering that these relationships between the market actors are currently at their developing state, it is essential to better understand the associated trends and challenges. Most importantly, these issues should be examined in the context of sustainable consumption and environmental impact made by the fashion industry.

Topic Outline

Within the last decades, the link between fashion retail and environmental sustainability became especially pronounced. The United Nations (UN) launched a sustainable development goal 12, calling to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, which is about making infrastructure, energy efficiency and access to services greener (UNECE, 2017). Among the expected positive outcomes of this goal, there is the reduction of the adverse environmental, social and economic footprint. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) estimated that the global industry of textile produces more than 80 billion garments per year, which poses a threat to the planet (Lund, 2015). The solution of the problems of overconsumption and overproduction are now prioritised not only by organisations but also the largest retailers, designers, fashion chambers and individual consumers.

In today’s society that constantly needs new experiences, the second hand vintage market possesses such features as creativity and communication. By purchasing vintage luxury goods, people strive to not only have affordable clothing but also express their identities to others, shaping their unique styles (Cervellon and Vigreux, 2018). Fredriksson and Aslan (2018) pinpoint that hedonistic fashion is characterised by demanding and knowledgeable clients, who are also interested in green consumption. The increasing need for individualism correlates with the growing awareness of environment and ethics.

In the view of the identified problems, it becomes evident that vintage luxury market development is one of the viable solutions. The challenges to adopting new purchasing and selling patterns include the reliance on the previous understanding of the involved concept, as well as brands’ resistance to change (Kaikobad et al., 2015; Kim, 2019). It is significant, therefore, to analyse the approaches that are used by corporations to understand how to encourage them to shift towards sustainable business models. Another research agenda refers to increasing awareness among consumers to achieve the condition when they would clearly comprehend the value of vintage luxury fashion ((Netter and Pedersen, 2019). By discussing responsible production and consumption from different perspectives, it is possible to gather insights on building a harmonious approach to changing performances of all the actors operating in the mentioned industry.

The goal of this report is to determine potential implications for managers, policymakers and the management education area. In this connection, this literature review will employ a narrative approach to review the collected resources. In particular, the practical implications for managers would expectantly include some strategies to adopt for paying attention to consumes’ preferences and interests. The ways to improve sustainable consumption among consumers would be determined for policymakers, who are responsible for creating appropriate conditions for vintage luxury market development. Ultimately, the lessons to be taught by management education would be noted for the purpose of preparing professionals by equipping them with pertinent knowledge and skills.

Methodology

To select relevant articles, the Discover tool from the Library’s homepage and the Academic Journal Guide (the ABS list) were considered. The first step was to identify the key words to search the database and filter the results. The inclusion criteria were the relevance to the subject being studied, publication in a peer-reviewed journal from the ABS list, the empirical nature of research and practical implications. Among the exclusion criteria, there were systematic reviews, case studies and other descriptive articles. In addition, the outdated sources that were published before 2015 were excluded to ensure that only recent trends are reviewed. The key words were “vintage luxury fashion” (960 articles found), “vintage luxury consumption” (1141 articles found), “luxury sustainable consumption” (577 articles found) and “second hand clothing consumption” (863 articles found). Of 3541 sources, 32 were chosen for the review after the removal of duplicates and irrelevant studies. The review is structured according to the following three categories: second hand vintage luxury purchases: values and barriers, environmental consciousness and opportunities for enhancing sustainability.

The paramount advantage of the narrative literature review as a report method is that it allows for providing the foundation of knowledge on a selected topic. Compared to a systematic review, it leaves much more place for the descriptive analysis and critical evaluation of the existing evidence. It should also be emphasised that the narrative nature of the analysis assists in explaining one or another tendency, focusing on the background and related issues. Even though this form of the literature review cannot serve to systematise knowledge and shape theories, its value cannot be underestimated. Methodological shortcomings can lead to biases, while the threat of subjective interpretations also exists. To handle these disadvantages, a critical approach to the article review will be employed.

Literature Review

Second Hand Vintage Luxury Purchases: Values and Barriers

With the rapidly increasing pace of the Internet use and globalisation-driven international communication, vintage luxury fashion goods acquired a special role in the consumption of clothing. In this regard, many researchers started to thoroughly study the motivations that impact consumers’ purchasing behaviours. Using a laddering interview and means-end chain (MEC) approach, Amatulli et al. (2018) analysed the responses of 126 consumers and revealed that a range of factors identify their attention to luxury vintage fashion. The satisfaction of individual identity and self-confidence were found to be distinctive from other factors. Accordingly, self-expression can be noted as the underlying, internal motivational factor. Similar results were reported by Giovannini, Xu and Thomas (2015), whose survey of 300 respondents pointed to self-identification as the need for distinction. In addition, Yan, Bae and Xu (2015) stated that a vintage look is perceived by some people as a way to feel a sense of independence and discovery (Table 1). The latter is especially pertinent to college students, who begin shaping their styles. Examining the interviews with 152 students, the above authors claim that the vintage look satisfaction tends to be more important than price sensitivity.

While price sensitivity was initially one of the leading causes of purchasing vintage luxury goods, emotions and experimental consumption tend to be the factors that are attracting more and more consumers now. Based on a stimulus–organism–response framework, Han and Kim (2020) argued that community and symbolic values moderate positive emotional responses from consumers, who purchase brand expressions they prefer. In some stores, sellers of second-hand clothes use additional motivation for emotional sales; they sell goods with a story – the former owners tell how they got the thing and what value it had in their lives (Amatulli et al., 2018). For example, such stories can be listened to using a smartphone by scanning the QR code on the label. Elaborating on the ideas of Han and Kim (2020), Liang and Xu (2018) discussed the factor of public self of face for different generations. The sample of 350 clients showed that post-60s and post-70s are conservative and uncertain about the future, which makes them have small intentions regarding second hand. For post-80s, the perceived environmental value was identified as the driving force, while post-90s were focused on uniqueness.

The development of the second hand luxury segment is impeded by negative prejudices regarding pre-owned items. These stereotypes are based mainly on the image of old and dirty stores and flea markets, which people did not want to visit due to an unpleasant smell and the atmosphere of poverty (Goor et al., 2020; Hur, 2020). The situation is complicated by the fact that some consumers have an impostor syndrome that makes them feel as if they underserve luxury goods (Goor et al., 2020). However, in modern second hand stores, the approach to service has changed dramatically, while the quality of the assortment is also improving. A huge amount of new clothes with tags are handed over for resale, which is due to the fact that in the era of fast fashion, people tend to buy impulsively (Turunen, Cervellon and Carey (2020). Frequently, clothes bought at sales, as a rule, are sent to second hand shelves without waiting for the presentation to friends and family.

Table 1. Summary of articles: second hand vintage luxury purchases: values and barriers

Author(s) Purpose Methods Sample Results
Amatulli et al.(2018) Explore determinants of purchasing luxury vintage Laddering interview and means-end chain (MEC) approach 126 consumers Luxury vintage goods are bought due to a
sense of fulfilment, individual identity satisfaction and self-confidence
Eastman et al. (2018) Study luxury fashion purchase intentions National survey (the US) 183 young adults Uncertainty avoidance, power distance, masculinity, collectivism and bandwagon effect
Giovannini, Xu and Thomas (2015) Generation Y consumers’ buying intentions Survey 300 participants “New luxury products”, brand loyalty and self-expression
Goor et al. (2020) Analyse the impostor syndrome from luxury consumption 7 studies conducted each study includes about 80 participants Feeling unauthentic, undeserved privilege
Han and Kim (2020) Consumption values in luxury fashion Stimulus–organism–response
framework
680 respondents Emotional reactions, experiential consumption
Hur (2020) Second hand clothing consumption attitudes and motivations 2 empirical
semiqualitative studies
138 non-second hand and 134 second hand clothing consumer Values: economic, self-expressive, hedonic,
environmental, and social contribution
Liang and Xu (2018) Behaviours towards second hand purchase Survey 350 adult and older adult consumers Public self
of face, low economic value of second-hand clothing
Turunen, Cervellon and Carey (2020) Selling luxury second hand goods Interviews 18 females Perceived higher social status, sustainable consumption
Turunen and Leipamaa-Leskinen (2015) Meaning of second hand
luxury goods
Interviews 10 women Authenticity, sustainable motivations
Yan, Bae and Xu (2015) Psychographic variables of second hand shoppers Survey 152 students Sensitivity to higher prices, expressing
a vintage look

In their study, Eastman et al. (2018) synthesised a range of factors that stimulate consumers’ purchases of vintage luxury products. Table 1 presents the details about the findings of these scholars, of which uncertainty avoidance, collectivism and a bandwagon effect seem to be the most significant. Consistent with Turunen, Cervellon and Carey (2020), Eastman et al. (2018) claimed that the perceived higher social status is a cultural incentive that highlights social recognition. As for the bandwagon effect, it implies that consumers need to fit socially, which impacts their decisions. At the same time, the sensitivity to higher prices is distinguished by Yan, Bae and Xu (2015) as the weakening yet important characteristics of vintage luxury supporters.

Transparency is becoming a necessary part of luxury and vintage brands. For example, Millennials pay special attention to the problem of the influence of fashion on the climate and human life (Hur, 2020). They value the ability to trace the entire process from the conditions under which the fabric was made, and whether people received a decent salary for this (Hur, 2020). In the era of overproduction, young audiences are increasingly thinking about how to buy smarter, often turning to goods from archival collections and second hand stores. They search for quality and, paradoxically, novelty, as stated by Turunen and Leipamaa-Leskinen (2015). The mentioned authors conducted the interviews with ten women to identify the inherent motivations that make them more attentive to vintage luxury items. It was found that the meaning of luxury consumption is closely associated with indicating a status and perceived image (Turunen and Leipamaa-Leskinen, 2015; Hur, 2020). In particular, social-related motivations included altruistic and social justice aspirations. In other words, the attitudes of consumers to sustainability in vintage luxury clothing are not homogeneous.

If a second hand luxury store sells a second-hand item, as a rule, it meets the principles of slow fashion – clothes that are made of high-quality materials. Pre-loved or vintage clothes that were not used are often made from fabrics that are more expensive than those of the mass market (Eastman et al., 2018). Vintage luxury was made in the years when the cycle of clothing was longer than it is now. Today, some fashion bloggers contribute to the popularisation of second hand luxury stores. They go to thrift stores in search of rare models from limited collections or piece of vintage clothing. With the help of secondary consumption, they cover several of their needs simultaneously (Eastman et al., 2018). In particular, the desire to stand out, be unique and often change their images without violating the principles of environmental manifestos.

The uniqueness of the current transformations is that regardless of what personal goals are pursued by multimillion-dollar corporations, the actions of resellers, second-hand owners and consumers are ultimately aimed at improving the environmental situation in the world (Turunen, Cervellon and Carey, 2020; Turunen and Leipamaa-Leskinen, 2015). The unity of the views on the problem provides more opportunities to contribute to resolving it. Accordingly, it seems to be significant to review the bulk of academic articles that explored the category of environmental consciousness in terms of vintage luxury fashion, focusing on sustainable consumption tendencies and challenges.

Environmental Consciousness

Today, a revolution is taking place in the world of fashion: alternative, more environmentally-friendly options for the manufacture of clothes, shoes, fabrics and accessories appear. For example, there are jackets that are made of apple skin or fabrics that gather solar energy daily so that it can be used at night (Kessous and Valette-Florence, 2019). All these ideas are united by the concept of sustainability that is becoming the focal trend in the fashion world. In their recent study, Kessous and Valette-Florence (2019) found that consumers tend to develop eco-conscious concerns while intending to buy luxury products. These concerns are also associated with the desire to be unique and find an optimum clothing option. For the second hand luxury market, there is a benefit of recognition since compared to the first hand market, the products are already familiar to consumers.

The discussion of second hand clothing acquisition in terms of sustainable consumption requires considering the ways people perceive it. More to the point, it seems to be beneficial to understand the barriers and motivations that influence their choices. Lang and Zhang (2019) explored the attitudes of Chinese customer to clothing swaps, focusing on family and friends versus attending swapping activities. Among the revealed positive factors, there were perceived enjoyment by the process and social shopping value. The latter was also noted by Legere and Kang (2020), who state that self-concept is critical for slow fashion selection. While Lang and Zhang (2019) used an online survey with 321 participants, Legere and Kang (2020) also applied the method of survey to examine the answers of 361 respondents. Both of the mentioned studies indicate that a consumer’s social identity and social atmosphere make a positive effect on their environmental behaviours.

Unexpectedly, social risk was not identified among the negative factors since it did not impact neither the intentions for swapping with friends and family nor for shaping sustainable consumption at a larger scale. According to Lang and Zhang (2019), however, the perceived risk was associated with the potential impact of one’s behaviour on others, which is explained by the fact that the study was conducted in a collectivist China. The author emphasised that these findings should be verified or rejected in the context of individualist countries. The contributions of Legere and Kang (2020) and Lang and Zhang (2019) refer to the established link between the perceived enjoyment of clothing and social shopping value.

The review of the collected literature makes it evident that there is an attitude-behaviour gap in the field of eco-apparel consumption. Since the concept of eco-apparel involves vintage clothing, it is significant to understand the emotional reactions of consumers. The article by Perry and Chung (2016) initiated the in-depth interviews with consumers and found that their purchasing intentions and views regarding the environment differ. These authors claim that customers have some standards related to buying ecologically-friendly clothing, and they do not want to spend much effort to obtain them. Likewise Perry and Chung (2016), Wiederhold and Martinez (2018) stated that the proximity is an important factor of following the call for sustainable consumption. In addition, consumption habits, availability, knowledge and transparency are mentioned among the barriers that impede the purchase of eco-apparel (Wiederhold and Martinez, 2018). These two articles provide similar results, which can be attributed to the evident presence of the attitude-behaviour gap. Both of the studies used interviews with participants to answer research questions, which seems to be essential to clarify while comparing their findings.

Table 2. Summary of articles: environmental consciousness

Author(s) Purpose Methods Sample Results
Amatulli et al.(2018) Reactions to corporate social responsibility (CSR) 3 experiments 461 participants Luxury companies’ CSR motivates consumers to buy
Kessous and Valette-Florence (2019) Relations of consumers with vintage luxury clothing Interviews 312 consumers Eco-conscious concerns, brand heritage and high quality
Lang and Zhang (2019) Second-hand clothing acquisition motivations Online survey 321 respondents Social risks, shopping with friends and families
Legere and Kang (2020) Self-concept and sustainable consumption Survey 364 consumers Perceived self-enhancement benefits, the proximity of clothing
McNeill and Moore (2015) Attitudes to sustainable consumption Survey 10 respondents Increasing awareness of sustainability
McNeill and Venter (2019) Fashion identity and sustainable consumption In‐depth interviews 14 respondents Ethical and social implications are weak motivators
Norris (2019) Perceptions of second hand textile Report analysis 3 manufacturers Second hand is clean and green
Ozdamar Ertekin and Atik (2015) Encouraging
greater sustainability
Report analysis 4 companies Slow fashion is promising for ecology
Perry and Chung (2016) Eco-apparel consumption behaviours In‐depth interviews 16 participants Gap between eco-apparel views and
purchasing behaviour
Turunen and Pöyry (2019) Mental approaches to second‐hand luxury products In‐depth interviews 22 consumers Investment‐led and price‐quality
conscious purchasing
Wiederhold and Martinez (2018) Attitudes to green apparel industry In‐depth interviews 13 consumers Image, inertia, price, knowledge and transparency are barriers
Wilson (2016) Consumer environmentalism Report analysis 5 reports Creative consumer upcycling

In search for more sustainable ways to replenish their wardrobe and satisfy their thirst for consumerism, clients turned to stores that buy and resell used clothing and accessories. Often, it is possible to find not only second hand items, but also those that have never been worn by their former owners (Norris, 2019; Turunen and Pöyry, 2019). The rise of the social media and the growing importance of responsible production and consumption have been the factors that have definitively changed the consumption habits of Generation Z and Millennials. Consequently, such conditions created the perfect ground for the growth of the resale luxury market. Turunen and Pöyry (2019) argued that the availability of second hand luxury clothes increased with the expansion of online sale channels. The mental approaches of consumers to such products were analysed by the above authors, who found that “investment‐led and price‐quality conscious shopping style” is leading (Turunen and Pöyry, 2019, p. 552). In other words, the interviewed customers responded that the purchase of vintage luxury is a conscious and economically-valuable decision.

The evidence shows that the rapid growth in luxury vintage reselling can be attributed to several reasons. The most obvious of these is the trend towards responsible consumption. A new generation of shoppers living during the era of overproduction considers the environment much more seriously, and their beliefs are often the driving force behind buying decisions (Ozdamar Ertekin and Atik, 2015). The general dissatisfaction with non-sustainable activities of fashion brands has reached its climax. Luxury brands burn unsold products in order to preserve their notorious exclusivity and prices for new products, some of which await the aforementioned providence. The new generation has begun to turn away from new things in the direction of used ones. According to the article by Ozdamar Ertekin and Atik (2015), the mobilisation of slow fashion can be associated with the following factors: ethical consumption, fair trade and sustainable textile. Providing the example of textile waste in landfills, these scholars reported that consumers tend to be more alert regarding how their purchases impact the environment.

The second logical reason for the growth of resale was its profitability. Luxury brands offer great discounts: why go to a regular store and buy an item at a high cost, when it can be bought for much cheaper on the reseller platform and worn with equal pleasure? (Norris, 2019). In turn, companies receive the opportunity to reinvest their funds in the creation of new fashion lines and changes in their business models (Amatulli et al., 2018). When it comes to respecting natural resources, the production of cotton, one of the most beloved materials in the fashion industry, requires special attention. Creative consumer upcycling is researched by Wilson (2016), paying attention to consumer environmentalism and revealing that repurposing the use of clothing is an environmentally-beneficial form to prolong the life of apparel and minimise the adverse impact on the environment.

In an attempt to examine the values that either push or divert consumers from vintage luxury purchasing, some scholars tried to consider them from different perspectives. Turunen and Pöyry (2019), for example, discussed resale value consciousness, concluding that some people think that they are the only actors in the life-cycle of clothing (Table 2). This means that consumers understand that they can be sellers in order to continue this life-cycle. Most importantly, they consider selling the apparel for higher prices, suggesting that brand clothes tend to become more and more demanded. McNeill and Moore (2015) identified another perspective of brand loyalty and orientation, stating that authentic pieces are perceived in terms of attachments to certain luxury fashion companies. These findings were based on 14 in‐depth interviews, the outcomes of which also indicated that social and ethical motivators are weak when it comes to sustainable clothing purchase. These findings are opposite to those of Lang and Zhang (2019), who revealed greater reliance on a social status and thoughts of others.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an initiative that is adopted by brands that want to make their business models sustainable. According to Amatulli et al. (2018), who conducted three experiments, those companies that employ CSR motivate their consumers to buy more. Speaking more precisely, the green initiatives of such brands show customers that there ethical and responsible ways to improve the environmental impact, which is especially pertinent to consumers with conspicuous consumption orientation, as well as a higher social status. In turn, McNeill and Venter (2019) added that standing out and expressing individuality are valued as two more factors that allow consumers to be different from others. The brands that make efforts to ensure CSR are more likely to have loyal vintage luxury buyers in the long-term (McNeill and Venter, 2019). Even though these two studies contribute to a deeper understanding of how CSR impacts consumers’ purchasing intentions, they are limited by interviews and observations, which means that further research is required.

Opportunities for Improving Sustainability

The research of strategies to contribute to environmental sustainability is the third direction of this paper. Claxton and Kent (2020) attempted to unveil the role of design in making fashion more sustainable by using semi-structured interviews with customers, which was supplemented by the survey of several designers. As a result of their study, the mentioned authors found that designers have a low level of engagement in creating sustainable products, while their impact was assessed as low, too. Nevertheless, they can make clothes more durable, and managers can attract the attention of consumers to this important future (Claxton and Kent, 2020). The findings of Harris, Roby and Dibb (2016) referred to a lack of awareness regarding the fact that clothing can impact the environment. Both of these studies identified it as the main barrier for enhancing sustainability (Table 3). However, Harris, Roby and Dibb (2016) went further and argued that a mere focus on the environment is not sufficient since such an approach would not change the contemporary situation.

Instead, Harris, Roby and Dibb (2016) rationally claimed that the intentions of consumers are rather diverse, and their ethical attitudes are also different. It is not viable to build an environmental strategy only on altruistic motives, but luxury brands should introduce the interventions that would target consumers, retailers and suppliers. For instance, the ease of purchase and increased capacity of clothing for recycling and repairing were suggested by Harris, Roby and Dibb (2016) as useful initiatives. Abdelrahman, Banister and Hampson (2020), in turn, assumed that the history of vintage luxury clothing considerably impact their relationships with consumers. After the analysis of interviews with 28 vintage luxury enthusiasts, the above authors concluded that curatorial consumption allows for conceptualising the meanings consumers assign to the purchased apparel. Particularly, beginning with the interpretation and preservation of objects, consumers continue with future imaginations and transference, such as donation or giving (Abdelrahman, Banister and Hampson (2020). Therefore, the histories of clothes pay a role of the key factor that recognises consumer-object relations and promote preserving the past and translating it to the future.

A noteworthy transition of vintage fashion from subcultures to mass consumption is discussed in the literature as a leading trend. The analysis by Overdiek (2018) demonstrated that during the last decade, vintage retail consumers buy clothes not only for uniqueness but also a distinct fashion involvement, and the so-called feeling of “treasure hunt” extends their experience. These observations are especially pronounced for Millennials, who strive to bypass mainstream fashion. At the same time, they have ecological reasons for obtaining vintage garments, which is also mentioned by Han, Seo and Ko (2017). Overdiek (2018) elaborated on a range of properties that determine vintage clothing’s sustainability in temporary stores. To shape the environment of protecting the climate, this author recommended a pop-up format that implies placing garments in restaurants, galleries and other temporary locations Overdiek (2018) (Table 3). The scarcity of merchandise and time are the key challenges of such a format, but it is useful for value proposition and reaching target consumers.

Luxury fashion supply chain is one more area of potential sustainability extension. As reported by Karaosman et al. (2018), the resource-based view provides the opportunity to understand how the operation of raw materials and processes is organised in the background of environmental concerns. The combination of qualitative interviews and quantitative analysis revealed that process-level practiced are stimulated by the initiatives of decreasing costs instead of making the imprint less negative. It was also discovered by Karaosman et al. (2018) that supplier engagement and supply chain transparency are essential for developing sustainable approaches. These findings can be connected to those of Overdiek (2018) since both studies pointed to the advantage of adequate prices and costs. In particular, the implementation of pop-up retail offers low-cost space, and supply chain clarity results from the mentioned format of slow fashion sustainable business.

Table 3. Summary of articles: opportunities for improving sustainability

Author(s) Purpose Methods Sample Results
Abdelrahman, Banister and Hampson (2020) Historical associations and consumer relations In-depth object interviews 28 enthusiasts Curatorial consumption focused on clothing history
Armstrong et al.(2015) Perceptions of clothing product-service systems (PSS) Mixed-methods study 52 participants Experiential and social features, a lack of trust
Claxton and Kent (2020) Design and sustainability Interviews 3 companies Low impact of designers
Dahlbo et al.(2017) Increasing textile circulation Statistical modelling 3 scenarios Recycle and reuse are weak
Gardas, Raut and Narkhede (2018) Textile and apparel sector growth Delphi-DE MATEL approach 3 scenarios Poor infrastructure, a lack of policies
Han, Seo and Ko (2017) Gap between concerns and behaviours Iterative analysis 24 participants Memorable
consumer-centred experiences
Harris, Roby and Dibb (2016) Challenges to sustainable clothing Interviews 10 respondents Consumers are unaware of clothing’s sustainability
Karaosmanet al.(2018) Sustainability integration across business Interviews 10 businesses Process-level practices are more motivated by costs
Overdiek (2018) Sustainable temporary store development Interviews 5 respondents Immersive, aesthetics, interstitially, social media

Since the literature on luxury vintage fashion and sustainability is quite limited, it seems to be appropriate to include several studies regarding the development of the textile and apparel industry. Gardas, Raut and Narkhede (2018) applied a Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) method to model the challenges of this industry and suggest recommendations. As a result, they detected that there is a lack of effective governmental policies, which strengthens the barriers to sustainable consumption. Likewise other studies that are mentioned earlier in this part of the paper, Gardas, Raut and Narkhede (2018) insisted on the need to reconsider the entire supply chain of textile to involve different actors in the process of increasing consciousness regarding the environment. Dahlbo et al. (2017) stated that the current level of clothing recycling and reuse is low, and the optimisation of supply chain operations can minimise the environmental impacts.

The amplified reuse and recycling of clothing is viewed by Armstrong et al. (2015) and Dahlbo et al. (2017) as beneficial for waste prevention and information sharing. Along with practical outcomes of the studies, the scholars pinpoint that research and development activities cannot be underestimated for identifying the most pertinent ways to slow down the fashion industry in a long-term perspective. The recommendations of Gardas, Raut and Narkhede (2018) seem to be particularly thought-provoking since they turn readers’ attention to the need for the cooperation between textile manufacturers and the state government for the effective implementation of new policies and programs. The promotion of eco-friendly practices is also listed among the future activities to encourage and support sustainable clothing production and consumption.

Analysis and Critical Discussion

Practising Managers

The literature review that is presented in the previous section of this paper sheds lights on the existing attitudes of consumers regarding luxury vintage purchasing and sustainable consumption. Since many consumers feel empathy towards caring about the planet and contributing to reducing the negative imprint, it is essential for practising managers to address the barriers faced by clients (McNeill and Moore, 2015). In particular, a lack of knowledge and availability should be considered as the critical factors that prevent consumers from considering second hand clothing as useful options (Norris, 2019; Turunen and Pöyry, 2019). In order to transform their green consumption intentions, managers are to focus on product attributes to establish emotional links with consumers. Another recommendation refers to making eco-apparel more attainable, which would help clients to create their unique styles and choose special clothes.

Addressing perceived risks to purchase vintage luxury goods can be achieved by building on digital communication strategies. For example, social media and blogging can be taken into account as promising ways to connect with consumers. The emphasis on a consumer’s self-concept can be used to show him or her the benefits of sustainable clothing consumption, focusing on how it enhances his or her self-image (Turunen, Cervellon and Carey, 2020; Eastman et al., 2018). The reinforcement of consumers’ positive attitudes towards ethical consumption is stressed by Perry and Chung (2016) and Wiederhold and Martinez (2018), who consider that taking responsibility for the environment should be assigned to managers and consumers to save energy, time and efforts. Vintage luxury apparel should be viewed as not only useful but also safe and stylish.

Practising managers can be given advise to pay closer attention to the changing consumer values to remain competent in their field. It is specific for second hand luxury fashion consumers to assign unique meanings to their desired and purchased clothing (Turunen and Pöyry, 2019). In particular, they can buy it for resale, to maintain brand loyalty or driven by impulsiveness. The awareness of these shifts would give managers more opportunities for enduring the value of products and extending their life cycles. In addition, the framework of curatorial consumption can be applied by managers to build object-consumer relations, with the emphasis on the history of garments.

The findings of this literature review show that many consumers have a lack of trust in luxury vintage providers. It can refer to hygienic, emotional and accessibility issues that contribute to the negative perception of second hand apparel (Han, Seo and Ko, 2017). Therefore, managers are expected to address these perceived barriers by reflecting on benefits of vintage fashion and focusing on the measures that are applied by brands to ensure not only high quality but also safety and style (Overdiek, 2018). To fully represent the prerogative of eco-centeredness of sustainable clothing, the customers’ needs for uniqueness and newness should be prioritised, yet hedonic values should also be considered. Thus, the recommendations for practising managers can be summarised in terms of understanding the customers’ values and motivators and addressing the barriers they encounter before and during the purchase process.

Policymakers

The understanding of consumers’ perceptions and preferences is critical for policymakers as well since they regulate the performance of retailers and manufacturers. As price is found to be one of the most significant barriers to buying second hand luxury products, it can be suggested that new policies are required to stimulate companies to reduce costs of their apparel. The alternative to the assumed solution is explaining consumers the value of higher prices, such as functionality and environmental influence. Most importantly, the availability of sustainable vintage luxury apparel is another area of improvement, which should be promoted by policymakers to benefit both organisations and clients (Ozdamar Ertekin and Atik, 2015). For example, the location of vintage luxury stores on shopping streets would save consumers’ efforts and time for purchasing the desired items.

Creating favourable conditions for further increase of the vintage luxury market can be accomplished by means of designing and promoting a model of slow fashion, thus increasing the awareness of customers regarding sustainable consumption ways (Giovannini, Xu and Thomas, 2015). As discussed in this paper, many scholars insist on the development of slow fashion movement due to its great potential to increase ethical ways of producing, wearing and disposing of clothes. The proposed movement is likely to transform the very fashion system and consumer society (Ozdamar Ertekin and Atik, 2015). The paramount goal that should be targeted by policymakers is to support consumers’ positive attitudes to vintage luxury apparel.

The evidence shows that the pressure from non-governmental organisations and society emphasises the ecological deterioration and forces retailers to adopt socially- and environmentally-conscious business practices. Armstrong et al. (2015), Dahlbo et al. (2017) and Gardas, Raut and Narkhede (2018) recommend establishing the collaboration across the stakeholders involved in the process of production and sale, which should be monitored by the government. The advantages of such relationships are associated with the potential growth of sustainability and the discovery of a new way to reinvent the concept of vintage luxury. For decision-making, policymakers can follow the framework suggested by Gardas, Raut and Narkhede (2018), which also allows for analysing the implemented policies. In general, the barriers and motivators of sustainable second hand clothing should be targeted at the level of both local and global policies.

Management Education

Today, it is clear that businesses significantly influence the state of natural ecosystems, and the vintage luxury market is not an exception. The responsibility for the adverse environmental impact is the first step brands can take to ensure that future initiatives would be more ecologically-oriented (Turunen, Cervellon and Carey, 2020). For management education, this responsibility is to shape of the basis of the entire theoretical and practical activities in the course of education. The graduates should be aware that they need to consider management in terms of environmental impact, thus doing their best to design and implement sustainable business strategies in vintage luxury market (McNeill and Moore, 2015). To meet this global agenda, management education should be society-oriented and future-enhancing in its nature.

Future Research

The limitations of this narrative literature review are a relatively small sample size and narrow target population that were used by the authors of the included articles. Even though they provide valuable insights, it is still important to consider these limitations to generalise the results of this review. In this regard, future research should involve greater sample sizes and be conducted at the cross-cultural level. It seems to be necessary to understand how people from different countries view vintage luxury clothing in the background of sustainability (Amatulli et al., 2018). For example, the attitudes of collectivist versus individualist or developed versus developing regions can be varied.

The majority of the reviewed studies involve one or two aspects of vintage luxury and ethical consumption, being limited by consumer behaviours or, for instance, eco-apparel storing and purchasing (Perry and Chung, 2016). The importance of the problem of overconsumption makes it clear that further research needs to be comprehensive to integrate various issues of this problem, which would allow for revealing more theoretical and practical implications. As assumed by Perry and Chung (2016), more information should be gathered on consumer decisions and perceptions, disposal, storage and resale of luxury clothing, et cetera. By investigating the interplay between the history and current representation of garments, it would be possible to fully develop the modern understanding of customer relations with vintage luxury products.

Another area of research is the potential contribution of consumers to the extension of vintage luxury sales. Dahlbo et al. (2017) pinpoint the tendency towards purchasing clothing for further resale and reuse, which can be studied in detail to better understand the intentions of consumers. Moreover, the temporary sale locations can be organised in cooperation with cafes, restaurants, holiday shopping centres, et cetera. The ways to introduce and promote such an initiative can be chosen by those scholars who strive to enrich the literature on second hand luxury fashion development (Dahlbo et al., 2017). As the addition to the identified research areas, one can also note that the instruments for tracking the changes in consumer behaviour should be explored. Concerning vintage luxury textiles, it is of great importance to comprehend how to monitor the consumers’ dynamic behaviours since it would shed light on how to improve the impact of the industry on the environment.

Concluding Remarks

To conclude, it should be stressed that this paper focused on reviewing vintage luxury fashion regarding sustainable consumption. To introduce the topic, information from credible books and articles was collected and presented to justify the selection of the topic and its importance to managers, policymakers and research. In total, 31 scholarly articles from peer-reviewed journals included in the ABS list were synthesised to reveal key concepts and themes in terms of the identified topic. It was found that age is one of the key determinants that impact the way consumers perceive vintage luxury green apparel. In particular, compared to younger and older adults, Millennials tend to be more concerned with the environmental influence of clothing. However, it became clear that many consumers are still unaware that their purchasing behaviours impact the environment, which is the main gap to be explored in future studies. Nevertheless, those customers who value second hand garments are motivated to buy more, and their intentions are stimulated by a variety of factors, such as resale, brand loyalty, style, experience and family /friends.

The main goal of this literature review was met since the implications for practising managers, management education and policymakers were identified. Management education was recommended to embrace a sustainable approach to the process and expected outcomes of learning. Practising managers were suggested to become attentive to the preferences, intentions and challenges of their consumers. Ultimately, policymakers should cooperate with the government to create a more couscous environment for implementing ecologically-friendly business practices, thus encouraging brands, consumers and suppliers to contribute to sustainable consumption.

Learning Statement

This literature review assignment made me more passionate about my education as it allowed me to obtain more information about consumer behaviours. I have learned that the consumers’ purchasing intentions depend on a variety of factors, which can change from country to country. It was exciting to discover that the concept of sustainable consumption is on its growth, and many people are likely to pay attention to their impact on the environment. At the same time, I have enjoyed the process of working on the literature review: it required me to apply my analytic skills to generate knowledge and look beyond figures and mere facts. It became clear to me that the narrative literature review should reflect on the key issues that define the current state of the topic of interest. I believe that the implications that were provided in this paper would be useful for my colleagues and other scholars to continue research in the given field. Also, I am enthusiastic about exploring the themes that were discussed in the review as they are relevant to the fashion industry and management.

I have learned that consumer behaviour is a complex issue that needs to be considered from different perspectives. First, one should pay attention to motivators and barriers of customers when it comes to the purchase of vintage luxury clothing. Second, the conditions that either stimulate or impede purchases should be studied in detail, while the contributions of various actors should also be taken into account. In my opinion, the value of this literature review refers to clarifying the prospects for further research. As a result of completing this assignment, I have improved my writing and critical thinking skills to produce an original work instead of enumerating or describing the findings of the chosen articles. In fact, I have collected, evaluated, grouped and integrated information from the relevant studies.

In general, I consider that my literature review is consistent and conscious since it allows an average reader to understand the topic and shape an opinion about the tendencies, challenges and future needs. However, what I would do differently is to extend the scope of the review and also focus on luxury brands that are engaged in sustainable production and consumption. I would also try to review such corporations as Gucci, Armani and others to understand their strategies to resale, recycling and reuse. Based on these findings, it would be possible to accommodate the recommendations for vintage products. It goes without saying that the consumers interested in vintage luxury products and those who value contemporary luxury may have different purchasing intentions, yet their comparative analysis seems to be a useful step towards in-depth comprehension of the given topic.

I would also like to state that this project allowed me not only to develop my skills but also discover several perspectives on working on the literature review. On the one hand, it provides the freedom of choice since the articles are to be chosen by a student. On the other hand, it is limited by relevant articles, research methods, publication dates and journals. Considering my work on this project, I can say that I had challenges with choosing the articles from the database. Also, I was struggling with their groping into three streams based on common themes. The guidance, recommended readings and detailed information that were received during the lectures of the course helped me in overcoming these challenges and successfully completing the literature review. Thus, I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this assignment, and I hope that my future literature reviews would be more contributing to the theory and practice of consumer behaviours and management in general.

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