Indian Institute of Management Rohtak, India
*Corresponding author: Arpita Khar, Indian Institute of Management Rohtak, Haryana, India
Submission: March 17, 2018;Published: June 08, 2018
ISSN 2578-0271 Volume3 Issue1
This review examines the factors affecting organic clothing purchase behaviour. Review of literature reveals that past green buying behaviour, peer influence, green apparel knowledge were important for consumers. However, several studies posit that awareness about environmental problems does not necessarily translate into green buying. Organic clothing purchase behaviour can be influenced by several factors like green attitudes, self-identity, past experience with green products and social groups.
Keywords:Green knowledge; Green peer influence; Green apparel buying; Indian youth
Most studies in green buying behaviour discuss the importance of environment friendly attitudes, awareness about environmental problems, and psychological factors in predicting consumers’ behaviour for green products [1-3]. Several researchers posit that knowledge about environmental problems does not necessarily translate into green product purchase [4,5]. In emerging economies, like India, growing environmental problems have led government to promote green awareness and practices [6-9]. In similar vein, the current study analyzes the organic clothing trends in Indian market. Indian apparel industry is growing at a fast pace. Press releases suggest that it is valued at $40 billion and estimated to grow to a $124 billion market by 2020 . Changing lifestyle, increase in the number of women in workforce, availability of global apparel brands in the country, rising income, awareness about global fashion trends has led to growth of the apparel industry [11,12]. Recent years have witnessed an interest in organic apparel and it contributes around five percent of the total apparel market . Many national and international apparel manufacturers like Wills Lifestyle, Van Heusen, Benetton, S Kumar’s Nationwide and Arrow have introduced organic apparel lines by using recycled fibers to produce organic clothing . Apparel brand like levis has launched eco denims for both men and women while Van Heusen and Arrow have launched organic clothing brands [14,15]. Government and apparel manufacturers are taking initiatives to develop technologies that reduce carbon emissions . The factors identified from the study can help in formulating research plan to conduct a systematic quantitative research to understand green apparel buying behaviour. Indian green apparel market is growing and understanding the purchase behaviour, product choice related factors, and psychological factors would provide information to apparel companies.
In previous studies researcher have discussed the importance of several factors like attitudes, values, past buying behaviour, lifestyle, personality, peer influence, and product attributes on green buying behaviour [17-26].
Social conformance, group identity, and personal values have been reported to be important predictors to environmentally friendly behaviour. Kalafatis et al.  applied the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to compare environmental attitudes of Greek and British consumers. They state that beliefs and social norms influenced intention to purchase green products. Kim & Chung  found that environmental and appearance consciousness and past experiences with other organic products influenced attitudes towards green products. Similarly, Cheah & Phau  reported that environmental norms/values influenced purchase of environmentally friendly products. Environmental knowledge and past experience with green products was important in predicting environment friendly behaviour [30-33]. Mostafa  stated that though people professed awareness about environment related problems, it did not translate into willingness to purchase green products.
Several studies have discussed the importance of organic clothing as a means of supporting green values. It helped in showing one’s commitment towards environment. The decision to purchase organic clothing depends on several factors like concern for environmental problems, social norms, green lifestyle, and trust in green products. Research in different countries posits growing awareness about green products. Personality, lifestyle, and attitude towards environment were important in predicting intention to purchase green products. Gam  found that consumers’ fashion orientation, shopping styles, environmental concern, and ecofriendly behaviour predicted their preference for organic clothing. In another research, Gam et al.  studied role of consumer characteristics on willingness to pay for kids’ organic clothing. They found that environmental concern, green buying and recycling behaviour influenced mothers’ intention to buy organic clothing for kids. They were not willing to pay premium prices for purchasing organic clothing. Lin  characterized environmental shopping attitudes under four dimensions: involvement in an environmental organization or other environmental protection activities, consumption of organic food, interest in the fabric content label prior to the purchase of a garment, and past purchase of organic apparels. Environmentally conscious consumers were willing to pay higher price for organic clothing .
In a research conducted on Indian consumers’ organic clothing purchase, Khare & Varshneya  studied the influence of past green buying, green apparel knowledge and peer influence on organic clothing purchase behaviour of Indian youth. The findings provided interesting insight and differ from earlier studies on green buying that argue the importance of social influence and green norms [25,27-29,39]. Indian youth’s past experience with green products and brands enabled them to appreciate the relevance of organic clothing. Since peer influence had no impact on organic clothing purchase behaviour of youth, it could imply that organic clothing helped in expressing one’s commitment towards environment and therefore views of others was not important. Organic clothing is a reflection of one’s environmental friendly values and seeking conformance from others was not considered necessary. The research posits that past experience with other organic products and brands is likely to influence future purchase behaviour. It may imply the relevance of green lifestyle where youth wish to endorse green values. Drawing from Niinimaki’s  study on eco-clothing, it is argued that consumers’ ethical values and attitudes influence their green apparel buying decisions. Relating with environmental identity theory, purchasing green apparels enabled youth to differentiate themselves. It helped in projecting a pro-environmental and eco-friendly self-identity. Therefore, consumers’ desire to conform to social norms was not relevant. It can be interpreted that youth symbolize green apparel as products which bestow pro-environmental identity. For some youth it may be ‘fashionable’ to project an environmentally friendly identity. For youth not interested in green apparel, factors such as style, price, brand name, and fashion may be important, and green apparel may not fit in their evoked set of needs.
The findings of the research can help organic clothing manufacturers and retailers to position and market their clothing brands. Since, youth comprises of a large segment that purchases clothing brands and is conscious about latest fashions and styles, organic clothing manufacturers should design promotions to educate youth about advantages of organic clothing and its impact on environment. The organic clothing brands can be related to environmental friendly values and lifestyles [41,42]. Promotional campaigns should educate and inform people about impact of textile manufacturing and dyeing processes on environment. Social initiatives like environment awareness camps, exhibitions of organic clothing, and fabrics that could be recycled could help in communicating the benefits. Organic clothing brands could use national and international designers as opinion leaders to communicate benefits of organic clothing. Latest designs and styles should be introduced to appeal to young consumers. The premium value of organic clothing lines can be emphasized by designing garments that are latest in line with global fashions.
Branding of green apparel lines by apparel firms would help in changing consumers’ perception about organic products. Quality, price, and style aspects can be better managed through brands. Promotion of organic clothing can be done in fashion shows and other national apparel events. This would create awareness about organic apparels. Celebrities can be used to promote organic clothing lines. The organic clothing brands should focus on strengthening the attributes most important for youth.
The focus of this study was to understand the role of various factors that influence organic clothing buying behaviour like past green buying, green attitudes, values, green self-identity and peer influence on green buying. It investigates the role of these factors on organic clothing purchase. Future research can be directed in understanding these factors in context of organic clothing purchase. Primary research can help in understanding consumers’ ecological beliefs. Specific green apparel brands, their prices, styles and promotions can be taken to understand their influence on consumers’ attitude towards green apparel (Appendix).
© 2018 Arpita Khar . This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.