Quality matters: reviewing the connections between perceived quality and clothing use time

Maarit Aakko, Kirsi Niinimäki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
190 Downloads (Pure)


Extending the active lifetimes of garments by producing better quality is a widely discussed strategy for reducing environmental impacts of the garment industry. While quality is an important aspect of clothing, the concept of quality is ambiguous, and, moreover, consumers may perceive quality in individual ways. Therefore, it is important to deepen the general understanding regarding the quality of clothing.

This paper presents an integrated literature review of the recent discussion of perceived quality of clothing and of the links between quality and clothing lifetimes; 47 selected articles and other literature obtained primarily through fashion/clothing/apparel journals were included in this review.

The main ideas from the articles are thematized into the following sections: the process of assessment, levels involved in assessment, multidimensional cues of assessment, and quality and clothing use times. The paper highlights that perceiving quality is a process guided by both expectations and experience, and assembles the various aspects into a conceptual map that depicts the connections between the conceptual levels involved in assessing quality. It also illustrates connections between quality and clothing use times.

Research limitations/implications
This paper focused on perceived quality on a conceptual level. Further studies could examine and establish deeper links between quality, sustainability and garment lifespans.

The study draws together studies on perceived quality, presenting the foundational literature and key concepts of quality of clothing. It summarizes them in a conceptual map that may help visualize various aspects affecting the assessment of quality and deepen the general understanding of the quality of garments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-125
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • quality
  • perceived quality
  • clothing
  • integrated literature review
  • clothing lifetimes
  • conceptual map


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