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The importance of knowledge and trust for ethical fashion consumption

Yongdan Liu (Central South University, Changsha, China)
Matthew Tingchi Liu (University of Macau, Macau, China)
Andrea Pérez (Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)
Wilco Chan (Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, Macau, China)
Jesús Collado (Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)
Ziying Mo (International School of Business and Finance, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 28 October 2020

Issue publication date: 20 April 2021




The clothing industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, although manufacturers and retailers are trying to revert this tendency by applying ethical fashion principles. Drawing on the knowledge–attitude–behavior (KAB) model or practice, this study aims to predict Chinese consumers' purchase intention of ethical fashion by employing and extending the theory of planned behavior (TPB).


The extended TPB model incorporates knowledge of ethical fashion and trust in the fashion industry and two critical variables in ethical fashion literature to explain the purchase intention of ethical fashion. Primary data from 245 Chinese respondents were collected in 2019. The model was tested and analyzed through structural equation modeling (SEM).


Results show that the extended TPB model has higher predictability than the original TPB model. Attitude toward ethical fashion and subjective norm significantly predicts purchase intention while perceived behavioral control (PBC) does not. In addition, trust of ethical fashion is positively related to attitude toward ethical fashion and purchase intention, whereas knowledge of ethical fashion plays a significant role in predicting trust and the three TPB factors. The subjective norm was found to have the most significant impact on consumers' intention to purchase ethical fashion, which shows that social pressure from one individual's reference group is the most dominant factor in forming consumer's purchase intention on ethical fashion.


The findings enrich the past literature on ethical fashion that trusting belief is a salient determinant of consumers' attitude toward ethical fashion and purchase intention of ethical fashion products. The findings also supported the applicability of KAB and TPB in the domain of ethical consumption in the context of a developing country.



The work was funded by the research committee of University of Macau (Ref. No: MYRG2018-00078-FBA and MYRG2019-00037-FBA).


Liu, Y., Liu, M.T., Pérez, A., Chan, W., Collado, J. and Mo, Z. (2021), "The importance of knowledge and trust for ethical fashion consumption", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 1175-1194.



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