Beyond Fashion Consumption: mapping the functional systems of the psychologists in socio-environmental issues of the fashion industry
Authors: Lilian Ama Afun
Abstract: Fashion generates billions of money and employs a huge number of people from different contexts including arts, marketing, advertising, engineering, law, and psychology. However, the urge for new trends, chic and distinct clothing resulted in a constant cycle of excess supply over demand, contributing to a high volume of waste. Environmental concerns of such mass production have increased significantly over time resulting in tons of waste worldwide from non-use of materials, causing environmental degradation and spill of hazardous chemicals. Consumer’s linear system of buy-use-or not use-dispose creates large negative effects on the environment and economic losses to entrepreneurs within this field. Similarly, there is no time to keep up with consumer demands, as entrepreneurs struggle with unstable, unrealistic, and competitive market conditions. These socio-environmental issues are a huge part of the fashion industry, and such concerns have reached new heights due to the rate of fashion devolution and inhumane practices that have gained traction in the industry. This comes as no surprise as calls for social and environmentally conscious fashion production have emerged. Behavioral change is urgently needed now more than ever in the industry. One such promising avenue to resolve the tension between fashion and socio-environmental issues in the industry is to apply psychological principles to this context. This sparks feelings of anxiety, losses, insecurity, and inadequacies among the entrepreneurs. Despite these challenges workers in this industry work to meet the increasing needs of consumers. Whilst this has contributed greatly to the success of many fashion houses, modern trends in organizational sustainability require psychologists to offer insights into how the fashion industry can manage social and environmental challenges in a manner that is deemed to be socially responsible by society. In light of this, the current work aim at exploring the functional systems of industrial psychologists and the role they play in enabling fashion businesses to adopt sustainable business practices. Deploying a systematic literature review approach, the results showed that fashion and psychology are both disciplines essentially about humans. That functionally, the psychologists seek to understand how individual fashion designers think, feel and behave. Since they can understand behavior, psychologists are better able to design programs that can lead to long-term behavior change at different levels in the industry. Psychologists play a crucial role in the fashion industry such as offering counseling and insights into consumer behavior, consumer preferences, and product designs that work to stimulate sales and after-sales services that are environmentally sustainable.
Keywords: socio-environment, fashion consumption, psychology, functional systems, fashion industry
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