Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Mhairi O Connell 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Mhairi O’Connell, I am a 22-year-old 4th year Applied Psychology student in IADT. I am passionate about Sustainability and Fashion and was inspired to conduct research on the combined topics. I aspire to complete a master’s in applied psychology in Fashion in UAL in the near future. I hope to encourage sustainability of conscious consumption of clothing through understanding what constitutes consumer buying behaviour. My major research project examined the purchase intention and purchase behaviour of green apparel through green self-efficacy and green identity.

Project Description

The apparel industry is the second-largest contributor to pollution, releasing 10% of the world's carbon emissions. In 2018, the apparel industry released 2.1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 4% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of emissions from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom combined. The acceleration of 'slow fashion', or green apparel, significantly reduces the impact of harmful emissions on the environment through ethical manufacturing processes, which has increased green apparel purchasing, environmental knowledge, and a shift in attitudes toward conscientious buying. However, environmental concern for purchasing items may not always translate into pro-environmental purchasing behaviour. Researchers have discovered an attitude behaviour gap but few researchers examine this attitude-behaviour gap for purchasing green apparel, furthermore there is a dearth of literature on this gap in Ireland. This project examined the purchase intent and behaviour of green apparel for Irish consumers based on self-identity and self-efficacy.

Project Objectives

The present study examines the green apparel attitude behaviour gap through participants' environmental concern (green identity) and participants' confidence in the belief that they can buy green apparel (green self-efficacy), specifically if green identity and green self-efficacy of green apparel influence purchase intention and purchase behaviour of green apparel. There is a lack of research investigating these variables. Therefore, this study aims to contribute to the literature by investigating these variables which may cause the gap using Social Cognitive Theory, the Theory of Reasoned Action, and the Theory of Planned Behaviour to explain consumer behaviour. Furthermore, previous studies have examined the purchasing behaviour of green apparel in developing and developed countries. However, there is a dearth of literature on green apparel purchasing behaviour in Ireland. Therefore, this study examines the attitude behaviour gap in green apparel purchasing for Irish consumers.

Project Outcomes

The findings indicate significant and insignificant differences in green apparel purchase intent and behaviour based on green identity and self-efficacy. Therefore, there is an apparent need for immediate interventions and change towards responsible green apparel consumption. Researchers must continue to identify the factors causing this gap to solidify the reasons behind irresponsible apparel consumption. In addition, sustainable clothing companies should form interventions to maintain pro-environmental clothing consumption and reduce harmful gas emissions producing irreparable environmental damage.

Thesis Title

The apparel industry causes significant environmental damage. This study investigated the attitude behaviour gap towards buying green apparel for Irish consumers by aiming to answer the following research question:

Do green identity and green self-efficacy influence green apparel purchase intention and purchase behaviour?

Previous research has examined the attitude behaviour gap for green products, but few specify green apparel. With the immense impact the fashion industry contributes to environmental damage, this topic must be researched more. The influence of green identity and self-efficacy on green apparel purchase intention and behaviour was examined. The buying behaviour of consumers may be influenced by the consumers identification with pro environmental concern, in addition to if the consumer believes he/she is able to purchase green apparel. Green apparel is second hand clothing, clothing manufactured and produced ethically and clothing made form eco-friendly material (sustainable material). 87 participants aged 18-64, 24 male, 58 female, four non-binary individuals, and one gender anonymous individual took part.