Consumers' perceptions of 'green': Why and how consumers use eco-fashion and green beauty products

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Abstract:

The market for green products is expanding worldwide in a variety of industries, such as food, fashion and cosmetics. However, there is little research about consumer behaviour regarding green fashion and beauty, or consumers' knowledge of green labels and certifications. This article explores these issues through a qualitative research approach, using in-depth interviews and focus groups. Results suggest that consumers do not understand the meaning of all terms and labels used to describe and guarantee green products, such as, for example, eco-labels on organic cosmetics. Regarding the motivation of consumers for consuming eco-fashion and green beauty products, protection of the environment is not a priority. Respondents' motives for purchasing these products appear to be egocentric and related to health. Also, such purchases constitute a 'license to sin': they relieve the guilt of non-environmentally-friendly behaviors. Lastly, motivation for consuming eco-fashion is based on self-expression (mainly a North American motivation) and status display (mainly a continental European motivation). For several continental Europeans, purchasing green products appears to be a new form of conspicuous consumption.

Keywords: consumer motivation; eco labels; eco-fashion; ethical products; green cosmetics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/csfb.2.1-2.117_1

Affiliations: 1: International University of Monaco 2: Glasgow Caledonian University

Publication date: December 22, 2011

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  • Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty is the first journal dedicated to the critical examination of the fashion and the beauty systems as symbolic spaces of production and reproduction, representation and communication of artifacts, meanings, social practices, and visual or textual renditions of cloth, clothing and appearance.
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