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Is green the new black? Exploring ethical fashion consumption

Chapter


Abstract


  • Everybody needs clothing for warmth and protection; but clothing is much more than body covering. This chapter contrasts arguments from the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School and poststructuralist/feminist cultural studies to understand and problematize the ethics of clothing consumption as fashion. Clothing is a basic manufacturing industry, one which drove the industrial revolution to meet the essential human need to be covered. But fashion is also a cultural industry, promoting particular forms of consumption as social practices, because fashion is central to the production of self-identities, a way of marking the body with meaning. Most people own more clothing than is necessary, replace perfectly useable items with changes in season and trends, and wash clothing more often than is needed. These behaviours can exacerbate problems of unsustainable production methods (such as the production of water and energy intensive cottons) and have fuelled industrial systems (such as ‘fast fashion’ and the international outsourcing of garment construction to pieceworkers with poor labour conditions and protections) that have in turn drawn criticisms from unions, environmentalists and consumer lobby groups (Micheletti et al. 2004). Counterdiscourses of ‘ethical’ and ‘green’ fashion have recently emerged in response - everything from the promotion of organic fabrics to second-hand shopping, Fair Trade textiles and ‘clothes swaps’. Indeed, ethical fashion has itself become the new trend - if the title of a recent book is anything to go by, green appears to be ‘the new black’ (Blanchard 2007).

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Gibson, C., & Stanes, E. (2013). Is green the new black? Exploring ethical fashion consumption. In Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction (pp. 169-185). doi:10.4324/9780203867785-21

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780415558242

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85121895239

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction

Start Page


  • 169

End Page


  • 185

Abstract


  • Everybody needs clothing for warmth and protection; but clothing is much more than body covering. This chapter contrasts arguments from the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School and poststructuralist/feminist cultural studies to understand and problematize the ethics of clothing consumption as fashion. Clothing is a basic manufacturing industry, one which drove the industrial revolution to meet the essential human need to be covered. But fashion is also a cultural industry, promoting particular forms of consumption as social practices, because fashion is central to the production of self-identities, a way of marking the body with meaning. Most people own more clothing than is necessary, replace perfectly useable items with changes in season and trends, and wash clothing more often than is needed. These behaviours can exacerbate problems of unsustainable production methods (such as the production of water and energy intensive cottons) and have fuelled industrial systems (such as ‘fast fashion’ and the international outsourcing of garment construction to pieceworkers with poor labour conditions and protections) that have in turn drawn criticisms from unions, environmentalists and consumer lobby groups (Micheletti et al. 2004). Counterdiscourses of ‘ethical’ and ‘green’ fashion have recently emerged in response - everything from the promotion of organic fabrics to second-hand shopping, Fair Trade textiles and ‘clothes swaps’. Indeed, ethical fashion has itself become the new trend - if the title of a recent book is anything to go by, green appears to be ‘the new black’ (Blanchard 2007).

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Gibson, C., & Stanes, E. (2013). Is green the new black? Exploring ethical fashion consumption. In Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction (pp. 169-185). doi:10.4324/9780203867785-21

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780415558242

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85121895239

Web Of Science Accession Number


Book Title


  • Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction

Start Page


  • 169

End Page


  • 185