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Accepted Paper:

Ethical consumers, the garments consumption and the difficulties to transit to more sustainable alternatives.  


Ana Daniela Guerreiro (ICS)

Paper short abstract:

To reduce the environmental and social impacts that the consumption and production of clothing is causing, ethical consumers have decided to stop and avoid buying new garments in order to focus on more sustainable alternatives. However,the transition to this consumption still presents obstacles.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary debates on the environment, human rights and social justice have increasingly identified overconsumption as a concern due to environmental and social impacts, which challenges consumers to change their consumption patterns (De Neve et al., 2008; Barnett et al., 2011).

It's in this context that emerge ethical consumers, that upon receiving certain information about the effect of production and consumption, particularly about clothing (Barnett et al., 2011; Miller, 2012) decide to take responsibility for their consumption choices by stopping or avoiding buying new garments in fast fashion stores. The purpose of this type of stores is to profit, and for that reason they trap the consumer in a vicious cycle of consumption and disposal (Fletcher, 2012). With the aim of avoiding those stores, ethical consumers start inheriting clothes from families and friends, repairing their own clothes or even, buying secondhand clothes (Isenhour, 2012). Apart from that, they also buy in ethical fashion brands, or even in transnational brands but only nationally produced clothing (Shaw e Newholm, 2002).

This article which is based on an ethnographic research conducted with Portuguese ethical consumer families, seeks to understand how the degree of commitment that these families have to ethical consumption influences the changes they make regarding garments consumption. Additionally, the article will also try to explain the difficulties they felt and feel due to the change in this practice, namely family tensions, the existence of few pieces of clothing produced in Portugal and the high cost of organic clothing.

Panel P150
Fashion: uses and practises of clothing in a moving world