Evaluating lifeworld experiences created through sharing fashion with particular focus on why consumers are motivated to engage

Vieira, Rachel ORCID: 0009-0008-2652-8328 (2022) Evaluating lifeworld experiences created through sharing fashion with particular focus on why consumers are motivated to engage. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/PN38YP99

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The research explored the motivation of fashion consumers to share rather than buy clothes. Focusing on the generation z females whose characteristics include a propensity to share, a greater insight into what motivates their behaviour to engage was provided. Conducted in the UK, the research represented an insight into fashion consumers in a pre-COVID environment. The findings indicated that whether consuming or sharing fashion, social acceptance was a motivating component due to the individual desire to belong through image choices. This was an interesting outcome as the process in which the consumers engaged in this case sharing, did not alter their motivation. In this context the reliance on ego and identity formation as central to engagement reaffirms themes identified within the literature relating to fashion consumption, consumer behaviour and identity. This outcome challenges research relating to sustainable consumption as a motivator for engagement in sharing. Instead, these fashion consumers cited identity development as the primary driving force for engagement and relinquished ownership of clothes to support their image. Thus, motivation was expressed in terms of individual need not collective good. To explore these motivations a better understanding of participants’ lifeworld experience was required to evaluate their behaviour. To capture this experience swap shops were created to engage like-minded fashion consumers who may wish to share and were happy to be interviewed. This approach constituted an innovative way to access participants whose experience was recorded via individual interviews. Through the adoption of a phenomenological approach, the resulting transcripts were analysed using Smith’s 7 stage interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) model. This enabled the emergence of developing knowledge relating to the under researched notion of why fashion consumers engaged in sharing clothes. Through the inclusion of lifeworld experiences the notion of belonging was considered in more depth, revealing a previously unexplored link to liminality within the sharing process. This was discovered during the accounts of individual consumers who unwittingly place themselves in a liminal space through sharing clothes with others. The findings indicated that this was partly due to access to other people’s clothes being controlled by participants. The lack of control over ownership of the clothing also extends to the resulting identity formation which indicates that motivation to engage depends on how comfortable individuals are in a liminal space. This finding implies that there is a relationship between sharing, liminality and identity development which has previously been unexplored. This knowledge is not representative of current literature in these fields and is required to understand the importance of this relationship. Within the liminal space notions of control are paramount and represent a recurrent theme throughout the thesis in several contexts. When sharing, control is expressed through the roles assumed, lender or borrower and the direct relationship these pose to ownership and access respectively. The roles have significance for motivation to engage but also create a restriction on the availability of garments as sharing is often controlled through dyadic transactions within unregulated marketplaces. Therefore, relationships with peers increase in significance and the role of the retailer is reduced challenging the need for the traditional supply chain. Additionally, the results suggest that fashion consumers who chose to share do not recycle in-store. As an alternative, they filter their donations and engage with third sector retail only when all other options have been explored. The rationale for this behaviour is that donation is seen as a final detachment from the garment and the resulting identity. This detachment may also represent a loss of social standing, which motivates consumers to share instead. This behaviour has implications for both the recent increase in the adoption of in-store recycling methods and the rotation of stock for third sector retail. The suggestion that the consumer is also less interested in recycling than their identity has relevance for literature relating to fashion consumer behaviour, sharing and identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Towers, Neilntowers@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/neil-towers/
Bown, Robinrbown@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/robin-bown/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fashion consumption; Sharing; Generation z; Motivation; Phenomenology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5437-5444 Purchasing. Selling. Sales personnel. Sales executives
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2023 12:38
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2023 10:45
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12539

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