Consumers’ clothing disposal decisions have lasting effects because the
decomposition process of certain materials can span several decades (Fletcher, 2008;
Black, 2008). Unfortunately, only 48% of post-consumer used clothing is recycled (Chen
& Burns, 2006). The primary aim of this mixed methods study was to explore the
viability of a service or business involving consumers in redesigning their used garments
as a sustainable alternative to disposal.
Through focus groups discussions and questionnaires with closed-ended items, I
sought to answer who potential redesign consumers are and therefore the appropriate
target market for the service. I collaborated with participants to conceptualize practical,
executable redesign plans for their garments. After all redesigned garments were
returned, consumers provided their feedback in focus groups and questionnaires. These
suggestions may be used to develop recommendations for future redesign businesses. A total of 27 mostly Caucasian (89%) women ages 18-62 participated, and 27
corresponding garment redesigns were completed. Although not motivated by
environmental concerns to modify their clothing purchase behavior, the women were
comfortable with used clothing and were interested in using a redesign service in the
future. Participants indicated they were mostly satisfied with their redesigned garment
and will continue to wear their garments for a mean of approximately two additional
years. They were willing to pay $50 to $60 for the service. Many (52%) suggested
redesign could be marketed as a social experience to commemorate life events (i.e.,
engagement or marriage) among women, similar to a Tupperware® or Mary Kay® event.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. December 2011. Major: Design. Advisor: Juanjuan Wu. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 123 pages, appendices A-G.
Janigo, Kristy Ann.
Collaborative redesign of used clothes as a sustainable fashion solution: exploring consumer interest and experience..
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