Second-Hand Fashion as an Alternative to "Fast Fashion"

Discussion paper on face-to-face interaction as a tool for customer acquisition

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  • News 14.05.2020

Sustainable fashion is versatile and the sustainable actors within the fashion industry focus on very different life cycle phases. Especially the sale of second-hand clothing which keeps textiles in the utilisation cycle over a longer period of time has gained in popularity over the past years.
In their paper "Face-to-Face Communication as a Tool to Support Second-Hand Fashion Sales: A Field Experiment at Fashion Week in Berlin" the authors Nicole Stein, Research Associate in the Circular Economy division at the Wuppertal Institute, Stefan Spinler, Head of the Chair of Logistics Management at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Helga Vanthournout, co-author of the Ellen MacArthur Circular Economy reports and former Senior Expert at McKinsey & Company in the field of Sustainability, examine how second-hand shops can shape their customer acquisition.

Against the background of the negative ecological and social effects of current business models in the fashion sector, the authors examine how this form of communication can develop a leveraging effect on customer acquisition and turnover of start-ups in the field of sustainable fashion. To this end, a field experiment was conducted at Fashion Week in Berlin 2017 and tested how face-to-face communication affects the turnover of a fashion start-up that focuses on second-hand fashion.
"While a consensus about a need for change 'for the better' exists, measures across industry vary immensely. Moreover, with companies like H&M burning overstock while promoting an image as a sustainability pioneer, consumers are left confused and sceptic about sustainable fashion offers. This state of the industry is one major reason why communication about sustainability is fundamental to driving sustainable fashion. An open discourse legitimates sustainable offers," explain Stein, Spinler and Vanthournout.

The open access article "Face-to-face communication as an instrument to support Second-Hand fashion sales: a field experiment at the Fashion Week in Berlin" was published at the MDPI website and is available via the link below.