Exploring circularity in clothing resale: a new materialism and value perspective

McQuillan, Victoria Ann (2021) Exploring circularity in clothing resale: a new materialism and value perspective. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The mainstreaming of alternative or circular business models is considered key for increased sustainability in clothing consumption. One such business model, clothing resale, is a growing but under-researched market. Clothing resale is a way to maintain value beyond an initial purchase. Previous research considers value key to sustainability but provides limited insight into what value means in this context. The role of the consumer is overlooked in circular business models, with assumptions made that they will engage with businesses’ offerings without challenge. This research explores circularity and value, considering retailer and consumer behaviours and how these relate to value maintenance, values and longevity in clothing resale. The research used new materialism as a theoretical lens to consider circularity in clothing resale in relation to sustainability and value. Over a 12-month fieldwork period, this research used a multi- method qualitative approach. This approach included in-depth interviews and visual methods to collect data from a purposive sample of nine retailer participants and thirteen consumer participants. All participants were actively engaged in clothing resale behaviours. The data was analysed thematically. The findings of the study mapped a value regime for clothing resale to outline the value outcomes that underpinned behaviours, including economic, aesthetic, and experiential value. The formal and informal practices of retailers and consumers in clothing resale and the conflict between mainstream and alternative market logic limited the maintenance and longevity of value in clothing resale. In some cases, this caused value disruption and loss. This research makes a theoretical contribution to knowledge by going beyond new materialism’s singular focus on material value to uncover the multiple value outcomes that motivate clothing resale behaviours. A further contribution to the value literature comes from extending a value regime’s object pathway to recognise the need to understand value in other related object pathways to outline a clear value regime for sustainability. Finally, the study’s findings suggest that value is not always maintained but rather disrupted through the conflict of mainstream and alternative market logic and the value and values of consumers and retailers. This finding extends knowledge on the proposed sustainability of circular business models, such as resale.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Shaw, Prof. Deirdre and Duffy, Dr. Katherine
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82850
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 May 2022 10:24
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 09:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82850
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82850

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