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Allegra Ghiloni

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Could ethical consumption ever become part of consumers shopping habits on a large scale, particularly in the fashion industry?

Ethical consumption is a market that is growing however will we ever reach a stage where it is part of all consumers shopping habits and what do you think the future of the market looks like?

I am currently writing my dissertation on the future of the ethical fashion market and am interested in opinions and thoughts on the matter.

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    Gail . 50+

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    Jan 18 2013: If you look at it from a broad perspective, the most ethical use of fashion would be a return to nudity or simple, unadorned t-shirt like hand-loomed garments as a fashion statement. Ethical consumption sounds rather oxy-moronish to me.

    How do you see it?
    • Jan 19 2013: I live in Alberta where there is a "Flash Freeze" going on right now. The temperature went from +7 to -8 in 3 hours with a wind chill at -18.
      Take your nudity and shove off.
      I'm wearing the outside of dead aminals and modern fibers stuffed with feathers
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        Jan 20 2013: You keep wearing those dead animal skins, Nanook of the North. You need them to brace yourself against bitter winds.

        But my attention to this question had more to do with a student of the fashion industry, that survives by changing styles every year- using peer pressure to force people to discard and replace - talking about ethical consumption. If the fashion industry were to believe in ethical consumption, it would put itself out of business. I found it a rather humorous question and my reply was not an indictment on your lifestyle. When I lived in Maine, I also wore dead animal skins and modern fibers stuffed with feathers. If we were all to live on a tropical island where nudity would work, there wouldn't be many humans on the earth.

        Sorry to hear about your flash freeze. Get ye to a hot tub and sauna to remember what warm feels like, if you should ever wonder if it will return to you again.
        • Jan 20 2013: That was my first thought to your original answer. Exactly how many humans would be left if we all had to live in the "nudity zone" of the earth. Probably not too many. Nobody would want to be a blacksmith. Those sparks are really at the wrong level.

          You're right on about the fashion industry. Manufacturing moves around the globe like some type of plague and runs about two seasons ahead of the climate. Market directly to youth who can develop fads within days and abandon them just as fast and you have the perfect environment for an industry that ignores both environment and economics.

          If the fashion industry actually practiced ethical consumption, many of the more uselless brands would go out of business but enough would always survive because there would continue to be a market, albiet much smaller
  • Jan 18 2013: Putting ethics and fashion together will be a very hard sell. By its nature, fashion is fleeting and whimsical, based on impressions and emotions. Ethics is none those.

    On the broader scale of ethical consumption, I think that information technology could be a big help. Suppose there was a smart phone app. You take a picture of a bar code and the app displays all of the ethical considerations involved with a product. Let people customize the app by prioritizing their own concerns, and then give the product a rating based on these concerns.

    Of course this app will never get off the ground unless it becomes fashionable. This will require celebrities making commercials that are impressive and appeal to the emotions.
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    Jan 18 2013: Just as a sample .... the animal xyz is endangered and in the past it has been used to make purses. These were very expensive and only ten a year were made for the last three years .... there is only thirty in the world. To you money is not object and you let the world know you want one. Where there is demand there will become supply ... more more so if money is not an obsticle.

    Poachers will provide the xyz to a maker and lots of cash changes hands. This will cause the extinction of xyz's over the world.

    Is this ethical ... to you probally not. To the wealthy consumer ... who cares .. They are now one of 31 people in the world with a xyz purse .... this makes them even more elite.

    Movie stars fight for a "original" for red carpet night at the Oscars paying more for one dress that most of the world will make in years of working ... if ever.

    How about art. Say you are in the market for a original (name your favorite) painter. One was stolen a few years back and the thieft contacts you. If you are rich enough and vain enough you might buy it to hang in your vault. Ethical? Probally not ... legal nope ... possable ... you bet

    Will this stop .... nope. It is the one-ups-manship of the rich and famous.

    Good luck in your dissertation. Bob.
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    Jan 18 2013: Here's a thought. We all consume ethically. We just have different ethics. So how do you propose to change people's ethical framework?
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    Jan 18 2013: With a dissertation at hand, you probably have the key issues uncovered already. One is that what constitutes ethical consumption will be different for different people. To some people, purchasing from abroad is unethical in itself. To others, purchasing something manufactured by people working for little pay is unethical. For some the carbon footprint is central. For some, none of these are dimensions of the purchase that cannot be traded off with other important values.

    Another issue is cost. Those on no, meager, or fixed incomes will be sensitive to the price they need to pay for clothing, food, and other things they purchase. There can be very dramatic differences in price depending on the mode of manufacture.