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The puzzle of the ethical fashion consumer: Implications for the future of the fashion system

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Ethical fashion consumers who assess the environmental and social aspects of products before purchasing them are relatively rare because fashion consumption is a complex activity and tends to occur under conditions that tend to discourage ethical considerations. Standard criteria for evaluating ecologically sound or safe products or services are lacking. The ethical fashion market is a niche market, constituting about 1 per cent of the global fashion industry. Two-thirds of ethical fashion producers are located in the United Kingdom and the United States. Consumers tend to be poorly informed about ethical aspects of products and services. Fashion companies are moving towards responsible production but consumers are less likely to engage in responsible consumption due to higher prices, lack of readily available ethical goods and misleading information about products. Ethical hardliners, strongly committed to eco-fashion, are a minority.
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Keywords: apparel industry; ethical fashion consumption; fashion; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Pennsylvania, United States

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Fashion Studies is a scientific peer-reviewed journal that fosters the worldwide diffusion of Fashion Studies. Fashion Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that has been producing an extensive repertoire of theories, analyses and enquiries.
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