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Ethical fashion: myth or future trend?

Catrin Joergens (Heusenstamm, Germany)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of ethical fashion consumption. Even though consumers demand more ethical responsibility from companies, it is debatable if consumers would sacrifice their own personal needs to support ethically produced clothing.


Focus groups are conducted in the UK and Germany in order to elicit consumers' beliefs and attitudes towards ethical issues in the fashion industry and its effect on purchase behaviour. Questionnaires are administrated to verify the outcome of the focus groups.


The findings from this research demonstrate little evidence that ethical issues have any effect on consumers' fashion purchase behaviour. When it comes to fashion purchase, personal needs motivate consumers primarily to buy garments and take precedence over ethical issues.

Research limitations/implications

Only a specific age group between 18 and 26‐years‐old is interviewed. Both research methods are undertaken in the area of Manchester, England, and the area of Frankfurt, Germany, which perhaps limits the meaning of the results.

Practical implications

Consumers feel that they are often unable to make an ethical choice. Therefore they do seem to need more information to allow them to make better ethical judgements and there is a role for ethical fashion companies to communicate this more effectively.


This research paper gives insight into ethical fashion purchasing behaviour among UK and German consumers and provides information to improve the potential of ethical fashion.



Joergens, C. (2006), "Ethical fashion: myth or future trend?", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 360-371.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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