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Undressing the issue of ethics in fashion : An explorative study into the ethical consideration of sweatshop labour in clothing consumption among fashion conscious Generation Y consumers in Ireland

Hughes, Isabel (2013) Undressing the issue of ethics in fashion : An explorative study into the ethical consideration of sweatshop labour in clothing consumption among fashion conscious Generation Y consumers in Ireland. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

A rise in the interest surrounding the social reputation of companies has resulted in an infinite number of research papers attempting to explore the philosophy of ethics and its influence on consumption. However, these papers are limited in their analysis of consumers’ understanding of ethics and their ethical considerations of particular issues during consumption. Similarly, academic knowledge regarding specific ethical matters is restricted to recurring issues in the literature such as fair-trade grocery products, with little emphasis on other equally pressing matters such as the existence of sweatshop labour and its influence on the clothing consumption of fashion conscious consumer groups such as the Y generation.

This study seeks to explore the ethical consideration of fashion conscious generation Y consumers in Ireland towards sweatshop labour and its influence on their clothing consumption. Particular emphasis is given to this group’s understanding of ethics and its application in every-day life. As consumption is a continuous, on-going act, an exploration of their thought process in moments both during and beyond purchase decisions is also emphasised in order to adequately assess their over-all levels of ethical consideration.

Nine in-depth interviews were carried out with college educated generation Y consumers, with thematic coding used to uncover salient themes relevant to the over-all findings. Using a phenomenological based approach through photo elicitation exercises during the interviews, it was found that participants exhibited relatively low levels of ethical consideration about sweatshop labour, during both purchase decisions and every-day consumption. They also had difficulty in attaching any profound meaning to the term ‘ethics’ which, it is argued, may have contributed to their lack of ethical consideration and thus warranting further research in this area.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Marketing > Consumer Behaviour
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Specific Industries > Fashion Industry
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in Marketing
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2013 15:20
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2013 15:20
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/863

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