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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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Sufficiency in fashion: Exploring social media discourses for defining the upper limit through the lens of slow fashion movement

This research project investigates applicability of the sufficiency concept in the context of fashion consumption. It explores normative claims put forward by several social movements, such as slow fashion, zero waste and minimalist living movements with regard to upper limits of consumption of apparel. One of the clearest discourses on upper consumption limits in fashion (yet, not the only one) is the original concept of capsule wardrobe. Capsule wardrobe advocates encourage people to own fewer but better-quality matching garments, in some interpretations even offering an exact maximum number of items per individual. Social media influencers of slow fashion, minimalist and zero waste movements often hold similar views when it comes to fashion consumption, urging followers to reduce and mindfully select the garments they purchase in light of the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry. This paper identifies the key normative claims related to the upper and lower limits of fashion consumption from the sustainable fashion community voiced on Instagram by conducting a content analysis of 15-20 most influential accounts (selected by the total number of followers). Instagram is the most prominent among various social media platforms when it comes to discussing fashion as it is the preferred social network of choice of the European millennial women. The findings may be useful in discussing the normative dimensions and the application of the sufficiency concept in the context of fashion consumption in Europe.

Katia Vladimirova
University of Geneva


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