The effect of concerns about the environment on the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption

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The effect of concerns about the environment on the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption

by

Marousha Kooijman 12276251

Bachelor Thesis Credits: 6 EC

Bachelor Business Administration University of Amsterdam Faculty of Economics and Business

Roetersstraat 11 1018 WB Amsterdam

Supervisor Ms L.A. Napitupulu

Faculty of Economics and Business Section Marketing

University of Amsterdam Plantage Muidergracht 12

Postbus 15953 1001 NL Amsterdam

June 30th, 2021

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Statement of Originality

This document is written by Student Marousha Kooijman who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document.

I declare that the text and the work presented in this document are original and that no

sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.

The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.

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Table of Contents

Abstract ... 4

Introduction ... 5

Theoretical framework ... 9

Methods ... 13

Design, Sample and Procedure ... 13

Measurement ... 14

Results ... 16

Correlations ... 16

Assumption’s testing ... 17

Hypothesis testing ... 17

Discussion ... 19

References ... 23

Appendix ... 30

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Abstract

Although people have a high concern about the environment and know about the

unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry, they have no regrets of their fast fashion purchases. This research tests whether people with a high concern about the environment and who do have knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry, will be purchasing less fast fashion and are less satisfied with their fast fashion consumption. The hypotheses were tested with data retrieved from a survey made in Qualtrics. The dataset contained 221 respondents, who were 18 years or older. The first hypothesis was not

supported suggesting that people with a high concern about the environment do not avoid fast fashion and still purchase fast fashion items. The second hypothesis was supported

suggesting that people with a concern about the environment eventually are less satisfied with their fast fashion consumption after purchasing. The third hypothesis was not supported suggesting that the level of knowledge someone has about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry does not have an impact on their satisfaction of fast fashion

consumption. So, people with a concern about the environment still purchase fast fashion even though their level of satisfaction of fast fashion consumption is low. Knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry does not change the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption.

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Introduction

When I was passing the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam I saw many people walking with

shopping bags full of fashion items. Watching this I asked myself: would these people know what is happening behind the scenes in the fashion industry. Do these people know how the products are made, under which circumstances the workers have to work and what impact it has on the environment? For many years I was unaware of this myself, but as I learnt more about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry, I developed a feeling of guilt when I had been shopping. Now when I buy cloths, I pay attention to the ecological footprint the products have for example, I check whether the product is made from 100% biological cotton, recycled materials and has a fair-trade label.

In recent years, the public perception about fast fashion has changed. The increased level of environmental activism led to brands becoming more transparent about their practices. Next to concerns about the climate and pollution, the social concerns about working conditions are pressing the needs to improve the sustainable credential of the industry (Amed et al., 2021). However, next to the changes in the industry itself, changes in consumer behaviour are also required in order to make a difference.

Previous literature showed that consumers hesitate to support changes in the fast fashion industry and see barriers to accept sustainably produced products (McNeill & Moore, 2015). The barriers to engage in purchasing sustainably produced products include the

limited availability and expense of these sustainable products compared to the unsustainable produced products (Connell, 2010). Linking attitudes to this behaviour, consumers that view fashion as vital to their identity show little interest in a market for sustainable fashion as their priorities in fashion lay elsewhere (McNeill & Venter, 2019). Furthermore, younger fashion consumers seem to consume the most in fast fashion as the cloths are cheap and fashionable (McNeill & Moore, 2015). This is interesting as according to Amed et al. (2019), younger consumers are seriously concerned with social and environmental causes which is related to the issues of our time. The fast fashion paradox arises that there is still a huge amount of fast fashion consumed in a time where there is also an increased focus on making the world more sustainable (Rønholt & Overgaard, 2020). Joy et al. (2012) show in their research that eco- friendly fashion is perceived as not fashionable. People who have a concern about the environment and show eco-friendly behaviour but also value fashion, have a perception that eco-fashion is not fashionable and therefore are do not invest the effort to find fashionable eco-labels.

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Most young people are sensitive to the opinion of others from their age-group (Knoll et al., 2017). Motivations toward social comparison were found to be antecedents of social shopping for fashion and this contributed to product satisfaction (Kang & Park-Poaps, 2011).

Furthermore, next to the preferences for their looks younger people rationalize their fast fashion purchases with their preferences of price and quality over environmental

considerations (Zellweger, 2017). The consumption of cloths is part of socialization and plays a role in the development of identity and self-image of people (Benn, 2004). With fashion trends changing rapidly and people wanted to stay with the current trends, the lifetime of cloths will decrease, and this will negatively impact the environment (Roos, Sandin, Zamani

& Peters, 2015).

In recent years, the fashion industry started producing sustainable fashion. It started in the 1960s when people became aware of the negative impact the fashion industry had on the environment (Jung & Jin, 2014). The industry started to change to a more sustainable

industry not only in terms of sourcing and production but also in terms of social aspects such as better working conditions for the garment workers and fair wages. In the 1990s people were interested in buying ethically produced fashion. Ethical fashion refers to fashion being produced in a fair and eco-friendly way with good working conditions for the garment workers and where the businesses adopted a sustainable business model (Joergens, 2006).

People also have gained more knowledge about the benefits of sustainable fashion compared to fast fashion (Henninger et al., 2016). There has also been a shift in social identity. It is no longer about keeping up with the fashion trend in order to have a high social status, but more about environmentally friendly consumption (Elliott, 2013). It is becoming more important to identify yourself as a sustainable person. We must realise ourselves that this is a process of change, and not all people are aware of the importance of sustainability to fight climate change and to improve the labour conditions of the garment workers, but the percentage of people that is aware has increased in recent years (Du et al., 2018). In the past a lot of fashion was “unnecessary” consumed meaning that people were just consuming fashion for pleasure and to identify themselves with others. According to Wester and McIntyre (2016), this consumption behaviour has changed as people believe that by buying sustainable fashion, they could make a difference.

Furthermore, Xiao and Li (2011) show that by purchasing environmentally friendly products, the level of satisfaction increases. People with an inward environmental attitude have a higher level of consumption satisfaction when they purchase sustainably produced

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The environmental consciousness of people could be an incentive for fashion brands to change their supply chain to become more sustainable. They need to make sure that the supply chain is not polluting the environment and that the workers conditions improve. Being a sustainable brand will give the company a new position in the market and the company can therefore obtain competitive advantages and increase their profit (Nagurney & Yu, 2012).

Some fashion brands have stated branding sustainable clothing lines (Morgan, 2020). As these lines will be very successful and more brands start moving to produce sustainable fashion, it might be the way to get rid of the fast fashion and move to a sustainable fashion industry.

Koivumäki (2001) shows that a high level of consumption satisfaction leads to an increase in the amount of purchases. The goal of this study is to investigate whether the fast fashion purchases decreases if people are not satisfied with their fast fashion consumption as they have a high concern about the environment and have much knowledge about the

unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry. Based on these specific objectives, this study will answer the research question: “How does concerns about the environment

indirectly impact the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption via fast fashion purchases, and to what extend does knowledge about the industry influence the relation between fast fashion purchases and the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption?”

This thesis will contribute to science as no research has been done about the relationship between concerns about the environment and satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. In this thesis the relationship is mediated by fast fashion purchases and moderated by knowledge about the fast fashion industry. Previous research has been

conducted about the effect of knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry on the avoidance of fast fashion purchases (Cavender & Lee, 2018). Consumer awareness influences the fast fashion purchase behaviour, and this is key in order to change the fast fashion industry into a sustainable industry. The importance of measuring satisfaction is that when people are not satisfied with their fast fashion consumption, they are likely to not purchase fast fashion again and look for alternatives like sustainable produced fashion. When they are satisfied with the sustainable produced fashion items, they are likely to repurchase it again. This will lead to a decrease in the purchase of fast fashion and therefore change the fashion industry to a more sustainable industry. One individual cannot make a significant change, but when lots of people join the movement of purchasing sustainable fashion this will have a serious effect. An example where this happened is the broiler chicken industry. People were abhorring the way broiler chicken were treated as it was bad for the well-being of the

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chicken. As a result, in Europe specific directives for the protection of the chicken were implemented (Meluzzi & Sirri, 2009). Nowadays less broiler chicken is eaten as it is replaced by free-range chickens. So, if a similar effect occurs in the consumption of fast fashion, that people start to abhor the fast fashion and instead buy sustainably produced fashion this will have a positive effect on the environment and their satisfaction.

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Theoretical framework

Fast fashion industry and its consequences

The fast fashion industry is an industry in which low-cost clothing collections are sold that mimic current luxury fashion trends (Joy et al., 2012). Because of its fast response nature, the fast fashion industry encourage disposal which harms the environment (Fletcher, 2008). The industry produces 8-10% of global CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it uses a lot of water for growing cotton and next to that industry is also responsible for around 20% of industrial water pollution from textile treatment and dyeing (Niinimäki et al., 2020). The increase in cotton production for textile is due to the business model of fast fashion which is based on offering consumers trendy cloths on a frequent base for a low price. The low price amplifies the phenomenon of the lifetime of product to decrease because people buy new cloths more often (Niinimäki et al., 2020). Most of the textile factories are located in developing countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan. The working conditions in these factories are very poor. In 2013 a complex of clothing factories in Bangladesh collapsed which killed a lot of people who worked in the factory. Next to the unsafe working environment, the employees are working for a very little amount of money. This derives from the fact that the fast fashion industry is a labor-intensive industry with many competitors which drives the cost down and eventually result in low wages for the people who work in the factories (Angeulov, 2015).

International standards have been raised to regulate the labor conditions and promote appropriate standards, policies and programs to protect the rights of workers (Taplin, 2014).

However, the pressure on low cost and the level of competition in the industry remain very high, which makes it difficult to change the practices in the industry. An increase in price for fast fashion products is needed in order to reduce the pressure on the manufacturers on constantly making products at a low price and better the working conditions of the employees.

The criticism over the limited consideration of social and environmental issues in the fast fashion industry has increased (Niinimäki et al., 2020). The fast fashion industry is now considered as the second largest polluter after the oil industry (Gwozdz, Steensen Nielsen, &

Müller, 2017). Each year, a lot of the consumer textile products end up in landfills. This is caused by four factors relating to the fast fashion industry namely, the oldness of clothing, change in trends, decreased social fit and purchase of new clothing (Kwon, Choo, & Kim, 2002). The quality of the fast fashion is lower as a result of keeping the production costs low this leads to a fast degradation in physical condition of the cloths and therefore it no longer looks interesting and attractive. As the fast fashion industry is highly competitive, retailers

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feel the urge to constantly refresh their product ranges. This led to an increase in the number of fashion seasons and rapidly changing trends (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010). The rapidly changing trends lead to very short life cycles of products and gets expired not only by the quality but also by the newfound social inappropriateness. Lastly, as the costs of fast fashion are low, consumers can afford to have an insatiable demand for new acquisition. Garments have been disposed even if has been worn for only a few times (Birtwistle & Moore, 2006).

Increase in concerns about the environment

In recent years, the awareness about the negative impact of the fast fashion industry on the environment has risen (Koch & Domina, 1997). A growing focus on a circular fashion industry has become popular. There are many platforms like for example Vinted, which stimulate buying secondhand clothing and therefore extending the lifetime of fast fashion clothing. An indirect consequence of extending the lifetime, less newly produced fast fashion is being purchased. People use this app as they try to be more conscious about their purchases (PricewaterhouseCoopers, n.d). Furthermore, not only consumers are concerned about the environment, but some fashion producers are also more concerned about the environment.

Levi’s for example educate their customers on how to wash their jeans in the most effective way in order to make sure the jeans last longer. Levi’s objective is not to increase sales but to educate their customers which will lead to an extension of their products and therefore a lower impact on the environment. Another jeans company, Mud Jeans, introduced a new business model, they invented the program “Lease a Jeans”. Customers could lease a jeans for a year. After that year Mud Jeans takes the jeans back and rethreads them into new jeans.

In that way a circular process of production has been created (Costello & Reddy, 2020).

Stringer, Mortimer, and Payne (2020) found that consumers concerns about animal welfare and environmental concerns had a significant positive impact on intentions to purchase ethically marketed fashion instead of fast fashion. Next to that, eco-friendly has become a new dimension of the quality of fashion products (Kianpour et al., 2014). In the past people did not care about fashion being produced in a sustainable way however, because of the increase in consumers’ concerns about the environment they now do care about fashion being produced in a sustainable way (De Klerk et al., 2019).

Based on the above, the first hypothesis proposes that:

H1: There is a negative relationship between concerns about the environment and fast fashion purchases.

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Satisfaction of fast fashion consumption

Fast changing trends, are a result of fast fashion and lead to consumers’ purchasing fashion in an unsustainable way. At the moment that a fashion trend is over, the cloths are being

disposed not because they are worn out but because they are not popular anymore. With that the life cycle of cloths becomes short, which harms the environment as most of those cloths end up in landfills (Niinimäki, 2012). Environmental concerns motivated the conscious consumers to prioritize fair trade, and organic clothing. These conscious consumers are less satisfied with fast fashion consumption. First, they have an emotional avoidance of

purchasing fast fashion as this is produced in an unsustainable way. Secondly, people show experiential avoidance of fast fashion as the experiences they have with purchasing fast fashion is that the physical quality of the fast fashion items is most often low. Thirdly, the service concept in fast fashion stores is perceived as low, people do not get personal help from the in-store employee. These negative experiences lead to dissatisfaction of fast fashion consumption (Kim et al., 2013). Based on the above, the following hypothesis is proposed:

H2: Concerns about the environment have a negative indirect relationship with satisfaction of fast fashion consumption via fast fashion purchases.

Knowledge about the fast fashion industry

The amount of knowledge someone has about a certain topic influences many aspects of consumer behaviour (Connell & Kozar, 2014). When people have insufficient knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry, it might be the case that they do not want to purchase fashion being produced under bad circumstances and having a negative impact on the environment, but they do purchase fast fashion due to a lack of knowledge.

People could be unaware that purchasing fast fashion will have a negative effect on the environment. When they do know that the fast fashion industry is unsustainable, they might still be uncertain about the exact impact on the environment and therefore do not see the urge to change their behaviour. Furthermore, it is also important that people know what they can do to be more sustainable in order to change their behaviour (Thøgersen, 2000). However, it is important to take into account that people must be able to afford purchasing sustainable items. According to Maslow (1943), people first must satisfy the lower level of the pyramid, buying clothes, before they progress on to meet higher growth needs, awareness of the environmental circumstances under which their clothes are produces. Someone can have concerns about the environment and has the knowledge of the more sustainable items are, but still cannot afford it and therefore keep purchasing fast fashion items.

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So, knowing that the fast fashion industry has a very harming effect on the

environment, is very polluting and has bad labor conditions might give people a feeling of guilt and negatively impact their satisfaction level of fast fashion consumption. When people know about sustainably produced fashion, they will consume this alternative instead of continuing purchasing fast fashion. Satisfaction is not only about purchasing, but it also contains the whole purchasing-consumption process (Czepiel & Rosenberg, 1977).

Consumers also experience consumption satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the purchase decision process (Westbrook et al., 1978). The external factor knowledge about unsustainable practices in the production process of fast fashion items influence the attainment of the goal namely purchase fast fashion items which in turn determine the level of satisfaction

(Heitmann et al., 2007). Based on the above, the following hypothesis is proposed:

H3: Knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry moderates the relationship between fast fashion purchases and fast fashion consumption satisfaction

Based on the literature the following conceptual model is proposed to be tested in this research:

Figure 1 Conceptual model

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Methods

Design, Sample and Procedure

For this research a quantitative study has been conducted. This quantitative approach is used to test the hypotheses and see whether there exists a relationship between the variables. This quantitative study collected numerical data about the variables concerns about the

environment, fast fashion purchase, satisfaction of fast fashion consumption and knowledge about the fast fashion industry. A survey was used since this is a good way to collect a large amount of data in a relatively short period of time. Furthermore, now in times of corona it is difficult to meet with people in person and therefore conducting a quantitative survey was better. Joung (2014) also conducted a quantitative research investigating the fast fashion purchase behaviour of consumers using a survey. They have sent the survey to college students who did purchase fast fashion. The survey was created quickly, and the data was administered easily. Participants were recruited trough personal networks of the researcher, using a convenience sample. Participants were invited to fill in the survey via email and the social media platforms LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Furthermore, the platforms Surveyswap and Surveycircle were used to distribute the survey. In exchange for filling in surveys of other people you receive respondents. Data collection ran for 2,5 weeks, from May 11th till May 29th. The participants needed to have a minimum age of 18 in order to

participate in this study. 290 participants were recruited to participate, of which 69 didn’t complete the survey (23,8%) and were therefore excluded from any further analyses. The final sample consisted of N = 221 participants of who 166 were female and 54 were male, with an average age of M = 33,51 (SD = 13,837, Min = 18, Max = 68). The majority of respondents were between the 18 and 25 years old.

The survey was created in Qualtrics and could be taken on both a computer and mobile device. When participants clicked on the link, they first saw an introduction, stating this was a brief survey on fashion purchases and consumption satisfaction, after which anonymity and the confidential processing of the gathered data were guaranteed. The survey started with 9 items measuring the independent variable concerns about the environment. The second block consisted of 2 questions about fast fashion purchases. The first question was about the purchase frequency and the second question was about the amount of money people spend on fast fashion. The third block contains 6 items measuring the depended variable satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. The fourth block consists of 8 true/false statements about the fast fashion industry in order to test how much knowledge the respondents have

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about the fast fashion industry. The fifth block consisted of control variable questions. The survey ended with thanking the participant for completing the survey and a short debriefing.

On average it took participants 5 minutes to complete the survey.

Measurement

For this quantitative study, data is gathered via an online survey. In this survey the variables were measured on several scales.

For measuring environmental concerns, the scale developed by Thompson and Barton (1994) was used. This scale is composed of 9 reversed statements focusing on a wide range of conservation and pollution issues. The items reflected a lack of interest in environmental issues, and general belief that problem in this area have been exaggerated. Each statement is rated by respondents along a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from (1) Strongly agree to (5) Strongly disagree. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient is .87, therefore, the scale is reliable.

The fast fashion purchases were measured on frequency and how much money the participant spend on fast fashion items according to their earlier mentioned frequency period.

As the amount of money people spend on fast fashion was not given in the same time frame, this question is removed from the data analysis. The frequency range was from 1-3 week to less than yearly.

For measuring consumption satisfaction, a scale developed by Chinomona and Ming‐

Sung Cheng (2013) was used. The scale consists of 6 items containing statements about the level of satisfaction (“I am satisfied with the quality and looks of the cloths I buy in fast fashion stores (e.g. H&M, Zara, Primark, Mango, C&A, Pull&Bear and Stradivarius)). The statements were measured on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from (1) Strongly disagree to (5) Strongly agree to express the degree of agreement. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient is >.91, therefore, the scale is reliable.

For measuring the knowledge about the fast fashion industry, the respondents were required to judge whether statements about the fast fashion industry are “True” or “False” by ticking the appropriate box. If respondents are uncertain about the correct answer, they are encouraged to use a “Don’t Know” option to reduce the distorting effect of guessing. The statements were from the website of Global Fashion Agenda which is a leading forum for sustainability in fashion (Global Fashion Agenda, 2021). The responses are treated as dichotomous variables where correct answers score one point, while incorrect and don’t know answers score zero point. The higher the score, the higher is the level of knowledge.

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To rule out other possible effects on the hypothesis, some control variables were taken into account for this research. The control variables were gender, age, education, income, country of origin. As there was no significant spread in country of origin this control variable is removed from further research.

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Results Correlations

Table 1 contains the means, standard deviations and correlations. The mean for concerns about the environment is 4.19 which means that people are highly concerned about the

environment. On average people purchase fast fashion once every 3 – 4 months. Furthermore, the mean of fast fashion consumption satisfaction is 3.02 meaning that people are not

satisfied but also not dissatisfied with the fast fashion items they purchase. People has moderate knowledge about the fast fashion industry the average score is 5.11 out of 8. There were more female participants. The mean for education was 4.63 which means that most of the participants have a university degree. The average income was less than the middle- income which could be explained by the fact that also participants who does not work full- time filled in this survey. Furthermore, the SD of income is large in comparison with the mean which indicates that some data points spread far from the mean. There has been a moderate negative correlation between fast fashion purchases and consumption satisfaction (r

= -0.43; p = <.01). This indicates that an increase in fast fashion purchases does not lead to a higher level of satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. Next to that age and income both have a moderate positive correlation with fast fashion purchases (r = 0.45; p = <.01) (r = 0.33; p = <.01). So, if age increases the frequency of fast fashion purchases decreases.

Furthermore, if income increases fast fashion purchases decreases. No strong correlations were found between the other variables. Concerns about the environment, satisfaction of fast fashion consumption and knowledge about fast fashion industry all show weak correlations with all other variables.

Table 1

Descriptive statistics and correlations Table 1Descriptive statistics and correlations

Variable M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1. Concerns about the environment 4.19 0.74 (0.87)

2. Fast fashion purchases 3.73 1.35 0.24**

3. Satisfaction of fast fashion consumption 3.02 0.95 -0.24** -0.43** (0.91) 4. Knowledge about fast fashion industry 5.11 1.97 0.22** 0.08 -0.26**

5. Gendera 0.75 0.43 0.17* -0.13* 0.07 0.09

6. Ageb 33.51 13.84 0.09 0.45** -0.18** -0.12 -0.10

7. Education levelc 4.63 1.57 0.13 0.11 -0.01 0.03 0.01 0.15*

8. Incomeb 3.21 2.76 0.00 0.33** -0.15* -0.06 -0.21** -0.67** 0.24**

Notes. N = 221. Cronbach's Alphas are in parentheses on the diagonal. a0 = male, 1 = female, 2 = non-binary. bAge and income were measured in years.

cEducation level was coded as: 8 = Doctorate, 7 = Professional degree, 6 = Master's degree, 5 = Bachelor's degree, 4 = Associates degree, 3 = Some college, but no degree, 2 = High school graduate, 1 = Less than high school.

* p < .05

** p < .01

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Assumption’s testing

To test hypothesis 1, whether concerns about the environment is negatively related to fast fashion purchases, linear regression is used. First, it is checked whether the data meets the assumptions of linear regression. The linearity test shows that the relationship between concerns about the environment (IV) and the fast fashion purchases (DV) is linear (see Appendix A1). The normality test was run by examining the residuals of the main variables via a P-P plot (see Appendix A2). Results showed that the residuals are approximately normally distributed. The Homoscedasticity of residuals test shows that the residuals are equally variable (see Appendix A3). 14 outliers have been identified. They are not removed from the data and therefore the outcome needs to be treated with caution (see Appendix A4).

The multicollinearity test shows that multicollinearity is not present (see Appendix A5). As the data meets all of the assumptions, linear regression can be used to test hypothesis 1.

Hypothesis testing

For testing the first hypothesis, linear regression is used with the control variables gender, age, education level and income in model 1 and concerns about the environment in model 2.

The regression results are shown in table 2. They show a R-squared of 0.267 which means that 26,7% of the variance is explained by the control variables and the independent variable.

The R-squared change was 0.052 which means that 5,2% of the variance is explained by the number of concerns about the environment. The results were significant as the p-value was <

0.001. Furthermore, concerns about the environment are a significant predictor of fast fashion purchases. The regression coefficient of concerns about the environment was 0.43 and was significant (p < 0.001), so the more people purchase fast fashion, the higher their concerns about the environment are. This result did not support hypothesis 1 and therefore, the hypothesis is rejected.

Hypothesis 2 is tested using the PROCESS macro (model 4) of Hayes (2018). A direct effect between concerns about the environment and satisfaction of fast fashion consumption was found, b = -0.22, se = 0.08, t = -2.59, p = <.05, 95% CI = [-0.38, -0.05].

This is interesting as you expect to measure someone’s satisfaction level of fast fashion consumption when that person actually purchases fast fashion. A possible explanation for this is that in the data set 7 participants did not purchase any fast fashion. It might be that the measurement of satisfaction is similar with measuring perception as they did provide output for the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption variable. In that case there could be a direct

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effect between concerns about the environment and the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. There is a significant negative indirect effect of concerns about the

environment on satisfaction of fast fashion consumption via fast fashion purchases, b = -0.12, se = 0.08, t = -2.59, p = 0.01, 95% CI = [-0.22, -0.05]. This indicates that people with a concern about the environment eventually are less satisfied with their fast fashion consumption after purchasing, the second hypothesis is supported.

Figure 2 The indirect effects of concerns about the environment on satisfaction of fast fashion consumption through fast fashion purchases.

To test hypothesis 3, the PROCESS macro (model 1) of Hayes (2018) was used. Results are shown in model 3 of table 2. It shows that there was no significant interaction effect (b = - 0.02, se = 0.02, p = 0.39). This indicates that the level of knowledge someone have about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry does not have an impact on their

satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. This result did not support hypothesis 3 and therefore, the hypothesis is rejected.

Table 2

Results of the regression analysis and the interaction effect between fast fashion purchases and knowledge about the fast fashion industry on satisfaction of fast fashion consumption

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Discussion

This study aimed to investigate whether the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption decreases if people have a high concern about the environment and have much knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry. The results did not lead to support for the first hypothesis, as there was a significant positive effect found between concerns about the environment and fast fashion purchases. This was an unexpected direction of the relationship between the two variables as the first hypothesis stated that there is a negative relationship between concerns about the environment and fast fashion purchases.

This indicates people with a high concern about the environment, do not avoid fast fashion and still purchase fast fashion items. This is an important finding as it indicates that even tough people have concerns about the environment, they still purchase fast fashion items which are produced in an unsustainable way which harms the environment. People associate fast fashion still with the fashion trends that are important for showing their identity and less with the harmful effects that fast fashion has on the environment.

The second hypothesis which stated that concerns about the environment have a negative indirect relationship with satisfaction of fast fashion consumption via fast fashion purchases was supported. The results showed significant effects between the variables. Even though there is a positive effect between concerns about the environment and fast fashion purchases, there is a negative effect between fast fashion purchases and satisfaction of fast fashion consumption leading to an overall negative indirect effect. This indicates that people with a concern about the environment eventually are less satisfied with their fast fashion consumption after purchasing. Furthermore, a direct negative effect between concerns about the environment and satisfaction of fast fashion consumption was found. This is interesting as it was expected that satisfaction only could be measured if people actual purchase fast

fashion. Apparently, there were 7 participants in the data set that did not purchase any fast fashion. It might be that the measurement of satisfaction is similar with measuring perception as they did provide output for the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption variable.

For the third hypothesis, no significant support was found in the results. The third hypothesis stated that knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry moderates the relationship between fast fashion purchases and fast fashion consumption satisfaction. This indicates that the level of knowledge someone has about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry does not have an impact on their satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. This outcome matters as it shows that even tough people know they purchase unsustainable fashion, it does not really concern them, and therefore does not lead

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to a change in the level of satisfaction. As they are still satisfied with their purchase, they are likely to continue do so and therefore, no change will happen in the fashion industry and fast fashion stores will keep existing.

These findings point to a number of new and potentially important advances for research and practice. In accordance with previous findings (De Klerk et al., 2019), this research found that people indeed are nowadays highly concerned about the environment.

Furthermore, in accordance with (Koch & Domina, 1997) this research also found that the awareness about the negative impact of the fast fashion industry on the environment has risen. However, De Klerk et al. (2019) show that people care about fashion being produced in a sustainable way. This research instead show that people do not really care about fashion being produced in a sustainable way as they still purchase fast fashion.

Furthermore, McNeill & Moore (2015) showed that younger fashion consumers seem to consume the most in fast fashion as the cloths are cheap and fashionable. This is in line with this research as a positive moderate correlation was found between age and fast fashion purchases. This indicates that if age increases the frequency of fast fashion purchases decreases. Furthermore, we also found a positive moderate correlation between income and fast fashion purchases. If income increases the frequency of fast fashion purchases decreases.

People with a higher income have the luxury to not only to make choices about what they wear, but also about the origin of what they wear. As Maslow’s pyramid shows, the needs of people will change when they reach higher levels in the pyramid, the ecological footprint of the clothes they wear will then become important for them (Maslow, 1943).

The amount of knowledge someone has about a certain topic influences many aspects of consumer behaviour according to Connell & Kozar (2014). Heitmann et al., (2007) stated that the external factor knowledge about unsustainable practices in the production process of fast fashion items influence the attainment of the goal namely, purchase fast fashion items which in turn determine the level of satisfaction. However, in this research we found that people do have a lot of knowledge about the unsustainable practices, but this does not lead to a change in their purchase frequency of fast fashion and their satisfaction of fast fashion consumption.

The contribution of this research is that even though people know that fast fashion is produced in an unsustainable way, it is not visible enough to them that they really change their purchase behaviour.

This research did show something unexpected, namely that there is a direct effect between concerns about the environment and satisfaction of fast fashion consumption. This

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consumption could only be measured if people actually purchase fast fashion. A possible explanation for this is that in the data set 7 participants did not purchase any fast fashion. It might be that the measurement of satisfaction is similar with measuring perception as they did provide output for the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption variable. Ravindran and Kalpana (2012), found that consumer satisfaction is based on the perception and expectations consumers have about the quality of a product or service. So in this case, if people expect that the quality of fast fashion products to be low they will be less satisfied with the fast fashion consumption even if they did not purchase any fast fashion items.

Although data about the nationality of the participants was gathered, this was not distributed equally as most of the participants were from the Netherlands and other west- European countries and therefore it was not possible to compare the behaviour of people in different regions of the world. As most of the participants were from west-European countries, this is where our research is based upon. Future research should investigate the difference in fast fashion consumption behaviour between different regions of the world to see if there are differences.

This research focusses on whether environmental concerns result in people being let satisfied with their fast fashion consumption. Further research could be done on whether dissatisfaction with fast fashion would lead to an increase in purchasing sustainably produced fashion.

Furthermore, this research was about the purchase of fast fashion directly from the fast fashion stores and did not consider second-hand clothes from fast fashion stores. Future research should investigate whether people are more satisfied with purchasing second-hand clothing from fast fashion brands compared to purchasing new cloths from fast fashion brands.

Next to that, this research measured fast fashion purchases based on the frequency of purchasing. However, future research should take the amount of fast fashion that is being purchased and the amount of money people spent on it into account in order to measure fast fashion purchases more effectively.

Another interesting topic for future research to investigate is to what extent the purchase of sustainable fashion has a positive effect on satisfaction of sustainable fashion

consumption. This research showed that people are less satisfied with the fast fashion consumption, however this does not by definition mean that they are satisfied with the consumption of sustainable fashion as there might be factors that influence the level of satisfaction of sustainable fashion consumption.

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To enhance more awareness about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry, this research suggest that fast fashion producers should be more transparent. Furthermore, the fast fashion brand should create sustainable fashion lines where cloths are made from

recycled material, where the production used less water, emit fewer toxic chemicals and CO2 and where the work conditions of the garment workers is better. When sustainable fashion is widely accessible it is easier for consumers to switch from purchasing fast fashion to

purchasing sustainable fashion.

Previous literature did not show what the effects of environmental concerns on the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption were. This study investigated whether the satisfaction of fast fashion consumption decreases if people have a high concern for

environment and have much knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry. Results show that people with a concern about the environment eventually are less satisfied with their fast fashion consumption after purchasing. However no significant effects were found on the relation between environmental concerns on fast fashion purchasing and on the moderation effect of knowledge about the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry on the relationship between fast fashion purchases and fast fashion consumption satisfaction. In short, people do have concerns about the environment and are aware of the unsustainable practices in the fast fashion industry. However, in order to make a big switch from purchasing fast fashion to purchasing sustainable fashion, the fashion stores should make sustainable fashion more available.

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Appendix

A) Assumption testing 1. Linearity test

2. Normality test

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3. Homoscedasticity of residuals

4. Outliers

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5. Multicolinearity

Figure

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References

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