Eco-Fashion Adoption in the UAE: Understanding Consumer Barriers and Motivational Factors

Consumption over the last few decades has become a key topic when looking at the drivers of global warming and climate change. The fashion industry has been criticized for promoting fast consumption of clothing resulting in increased amounts of clothing going to landfills globally.

Despite the awareness of consumers with regards to the sustainability issues, very little attention has been paid to understanding the motivation of consumers with regards to eco-fashion clothing.

In this research publication conducted by Sufia Monir in 2020, she explored the scope of eco-fashion and identified the barriers and motivators of eco-fashion adoption in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Identifying strategies to make consumers perceive eco-fashion more positively was the primary objective of this study. She conducted 20 in-depth interviews with participants from diverse nationalities to understand their barriers and motivators to consumption.

Based on the interview data, lack of awareness and availability of eco-fashion clothing were the two main barriers identified. Several other barriers were identified as well such as a lack of brand association, higher cost for eco-fashion clothing, cheap access and availability of fast fashion, an overload of information, boring and unattractive eco – fashion styles, a lack of incentive to pursue eco-fashion and perceptions of poor quality. Availability, awareness, celebrity endorsements, and brand recognition were the main motivators for adoption of eco-fashion. Brand, style, comfort, and affordability were also significant motivators identified in the study.

This study was the first of its kind in the Middle East to examine the barriers and motivations surrounding eco-fashion adoption. As a result of the geographical difference between the previous studies and the current study, awareness was found to be a major barrier to eco-fashion adoption, therefore it is important that future studies investigate the reasons for limited eco-fashion awareness in the UAE.

The findings of this study indicated that most consumers in the UAE were culturally biased against second-hand clothing, so the impact of culture on the adoption of second-hand clothing could also be a fascinating area to explore in future research.

About the Author

Sufia Munir, the Assistant Dean at Westford University College, has 15+ years of experience across academics and industry in India, Australia, and the UAE. Her expertise encompasses teaching, research, faculty development, and interdisciplinary collaboration within education. She’s currently pursuing her PhD, exploring sustainable retail models in the UAE’s apparel industry, emphasizing consumer behavior and societal influences. Sufia’s commitment to sustainable practices, combined with her extensive teaching experience, helps students grasp industry trends. She oversees programs in collaboration with UK universities and is dedicated to advancing sustainability through education and research.

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