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Sustainability and collaborative apparel consumption: Putting the digital ‘sharing’ economy under the microscope

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Journal Article

Armstrong, C. M. Joyner, and H. Park. 2017. “Sustainability and Collaborative Apparel Consumption: Putting the Digital ‘Sharing’ Economy under the Microscope.” International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education 10 (3): 276–86.

Digital collaborative consumption (CC) models have been partly buoyed by growing concerns about the ecological and social impacts of consumption, for which the apparel industry abounds. However, a cursory glimpse at current CC platforms for apparel raises many questions about whether a meaningful contraction in the overall pace and scale of apparel production or consumption will actually be realised. Yet, there are little means by which to evaluate these consumptive phenomena. This conceptual paper presents a ternary relationship framework to evaluate the capacity of digital collaborative apparel consumption to align with the aims of sustainable consumption, identifying sustainability indicators and relevant dimensions in the context of three key relationships that are considered distinct in the context of CC: consumer–product, consumer–consumer, and consumer–business. The synthesis of previous research indicates that resource efficiency, community, and the nature of the business are considered key sustainability indicators for the evaluation of these platforms.

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