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Ethical fashion dimensions: pictorial and auditory depictions through three cultural perspectives

Lindsey Carey (School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Marie-Cécile Cervellon (People, Markets and Humanities Department, EDHEC Business School, Lille, France)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 2 September 2014




The purpose of this paper is to provide the results of an exploratory study comparing attitudes of young fashion conscious consumers towards ethical fashion in Canada, France and the UK.


The methods used in this research were qualitative with a mix of interviews and focus groups and a new application of a visual method widely used within design and fashion environments, the mood board. The study is based within the contrast of a growing trend towards sustainability and the rise of fast fashion where consumers are increasingly demanding cheaper items. The research is also grounded in cross-cultural research where the comparison of data emanating from different cultures and languages presents specific dilemmas for researchers.


Results indicated that there were notable differences in the perception of ethical fashion between the respondents from these three cultures. In the representation and appeal of this fashion segment, in terms of its perceived availability, the transfer of meaning connected with the observation of higher price points and in the use of ethical purchases in the fashion arena as an offset or redemption for unethical behaviour in other contexts.


The originality of this paper lies in the innovative use of the visual qualitative methods which contributes to the debate concerning the research methods associated with cross-cultural research and extends the restricted body of literature which compares cultural attitudes in this area by offering key insights into the complex issues surrounding ethical fashion consumption.



The authors would like to acknowledge Emma Roy (Glasgow Caledonian University) and Helena Hjerth (International University of Monaco) for their input into the data gathering phase of this research.


Carey, L. and Cervellon, M.-C. (2014), "Ethical fashion dimensions: pictorial and auditory depictions through three cultural perspectives", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 483-506.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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