Championing Circular Clothing Choices

Consumer views on sustainable clothing consumption

The Dutch National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM) conducted an R&D project to explore a participatory and system-oriented approach to circular clothing. RIVM is committed to enabling a healthy population and a sustainable, safe and healthy living environment. They do this on the basis of independent scientific research. From the longitudinal intervention research that was part of this project, RIVM wanted to learn how consumers view sustainable clothing consumption and what factors can stimulate (or counteract) this.

Changing consumer behaviour through an immersive experience

The 6-month research involved a mixed group of 22 participants. The research was led by an internal research team at RIVM, with support on specific elements from Stby.

The study consisted of three phases with different components. Each phase included an Ecofashion Lab meeting and an online diary. The RIVM researchers were supported by Stby in developing and programming the diary assignments. In every stage, the participants also received a comprehensive information bundle.

The first and last Ecofashion Labs took place in person, while the second meeting was online. After each Ecofashion Lab, participants received an information bundle with (scientific) articles, videos, podcasts, blogs, etc. to further deepen their knowledge. Participants also received a report of the meeting and the powerpoints used. Input retrieved from the meetings was used to develop new journal assignments and new meetings. 

The purpose of the diary study was to gain insight into behaviors and considerations regarding circular clothing consumption

The diary study was conducted through the platform Recollective. The purpose of the diary study was to gain insight into behaviours and considerations regarding circular clothing consumption and to see what effect the Ecofashion Labs and information bundles had on these. Participants were divided into four subgroups of 5 or 6 people and received a mix of questions and creative assignments. There was also room for discussion. The diary assignments explored what participants had changed in their clothing consumption and to what extent sustainability played a role in it. Some assignments asked participants to take photos or videos.  

What considerations do people and their social environment make?

We learned more about the factors that play a role in whether or not clothing is consumed sustainably. What considerations do people make? What is the role of their social environment and the influence of information on whether or not to make sustainable choices? Are there differences in their doing and thinking in relation to circular clothing consumption before and after the project? We learned about motivations, barriers and what is needed to consume clothing more circularly. The study resulted in a factsheet with a summary of the initial findings. The topic needs more research to fully understand what interventions are the most successful to change behaviours as it comes to circular clothing choices. 

The factsheet (in Dutch) on this research project is published at