The Pervasive Instability of Online Sustainable Shopping

Fiona Spotswood, Caroline Moraes, Tim Kindberg, Chris W Preist

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


Recent research suggests that sustainability is not a part of fashion consumption, even for consumers with positive ‘eco-attitudes’ (Olson, 2022). Sustainability is perceived to conflict with the wide choice, low price and fast cycles that consumers expect from fashion retailers (Rausch & Kopplin, 2021; Zarley Watson & Yan, 2013). Scant research exists on the experiences of sustainably-oriented fashion consumers who continue to navigate the challenges of fashion shopping online (Connell, 2019), despite mobile technologies driving shopping ‘anywhere, any time’ (Mukendi & Henninger, 2020). Therefore, we ask: ‘how do sustainably-oriented consumers enact online shopping practices, and how are their attempts at sustainable shopping enabled or constrained?’
We address our research question using a practice theories lens (Warde, 2005) to understand how sustainability is locked out of this practice. This work contributes an original understanding of the challenges that sustainably-oriented fashion consumers face as they attempt to shop online in more sustainable ways. We also contribute recommendations that can enable the fashion industry to “change its unsustainable nature” (McNeill & Moore, 2015, p.212).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Mar 2024


  • sustainability
  • fashion
  • online shopping
  • practice theory
  • adaptation


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