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Young Generation Y consumers' perceptions of sustainability in the apparel industry

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Purpose ‐ Conflicting marketing messages have caused consumers to misunderstand distinctions between sustainability and environmental concern, especially when considering the apparel industry. This study seeks to explore consumers' actual knowledge and sentiment towards sustainability and environmental issues, both in general and in the apparel industry. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data were collected through open-ended survey questions collected from 80 young Generation Y college students, aged 18-25. Findings ‐ Findings show a low level of knowledge of the holistic principle of sustainability and specific adverse effects of the apparel industry. Participants feel steps must be taken towards sustainability, and that every effort helps, despite some skepticism. Results confirm the need for more concise educational and marketing campaigns. Originality/value ‐ This study sought to provide a snapshot of current young consumers' attitudes as a tool to encourage more specific and salient directions for future growth of the movement in consumers and companies, adding further insight to the literature on Generation Y as consumers and citizens.

Keywords: Apparel industry; Definition; Garment industry; Generation Y; Knowledge; Perception; Sustainability

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 14, 2012

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