THE HIGH COSTS OF CHEAP FASHION: Graduate Student Studies the Market for Ethical Clothing

By Barrett, E. C. | Human Ecology, Fall 2017 | Go to article overview

THE HIGH COSTS OF CHEAP FASHION: Graduate Student Studies the Market for Ethical Clothing


Barrett, E. C., Human Ecology


Clothing manufacturing and the fashion industry at-large have significant, devastating impacts on the environment, workers, and communities around garment factories, according the experts. However, the movement to buy ethical fashion lags far behind other sustainable consumerism trends. After years of studying waste in the fashion industry, Sarah Portway, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Fiber Science and Apparel Design, has turned her focus to the consumer-behavior side of the equation to ask why consumers are not "buying their values" when it comes to fashion.

As part of her dissertation research, Portway conducted a case study by interviewing 40 people three times over the course of six months. The participants were selected from the Human Ecology community, mostly graduate students and professionals, making the study sample one of highly-educated and relatively affluent individuals with a bias towards sustainability.

Portway asked the interviewees questions aimed at identifying their commitment to sustainability, what it means to them and how it impacts their consumer choices. Over the course of the three interviews, she infused their conversations with her enthusiasm for sustainable fashion and concerns for the human and environmental costs of clothing manufacturing. Participants were introduced to the website, projectjust.com, a tool for researching ethical clothing options, and asked whether or not they had used the site since the last interview.

Desirability bias alone should have skewed some of her participants toward saying ethical clothing was important to them in an attempt to make themselves look better to their interviewer, Portway explained.

After discussing sustainability behaviors in general for the initial twenty minutes of every interview--where many said they spent slightly more money to buy organic or local food--Portway switched subjects and asked participants "What do you look for when you shop for clothing?" She was surprised when only five participants mentioned any sustainability criteria given the line of questioning up to that point.

The combination of consumer demand for low-cost clothing and the absence of adequate environmental and labor protection laws in certain parts of the world has resulted not only in a loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but also environmental and labor abuses in the name of western consumers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

THE HIGH COSTS OF CHEAP FASHION: Graduate Student Studies the Market for Ethical Clothing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.