The consumer’s perspective: Care and maintenance in ‘use phase’ of clothing apparel life cycle

  • Michelle Denise Burton (Iowa State University)
  • Rachel Eike orcid logo (Iowa State University)
  • Gwendolyn Hustvedt (Texas State University)
  • Courtney Barbour (Iowa State University)


The growing world population and rising living standards that drive consumer demands have driven the global apparel and textile (AT) industry to become one of the largest industrial complexes on the planet. The global web of AT production, lack of industry standards, and rampant consumerism have all contributed to the large amount of waste within the AT industry. Lifecycle analysis has demonstrated that the largest single factor contributing to AT waste production occurs within the ‘use phase’ of a product’s life cycle. This waste includes energy and waste developed from care (laundering) and maintenance (mending and disposal). Limited research exists on consumer perceptions and practices on quality and care of clothing with the specific goal of understanding how consumer behavior during the ‘use phase’ drives disposal or reuse practices that impact sustainability. Results from this study can be used to increase consumers’ awareness of the impact their behavior, including creative reuse or resale could have on reducing the carbon footprint of their clothing consumption. 

Keywords: Laundering, Garment Care, Upcycling, Recycling, Sustainability

How to Cite:

Burton, M. D., Eike, R., Hustvedt, G. & Barbour, C., (2020) “The consumer’s perspective: Care and maintenance in ‘use phase’ of clothing apparel life cycle”, Sustainability in Fashion 1(1). doi:

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Published on
30 Jun 2020
Peer Reviewed