Tips In Fashion | TogWears

stance
on important social issues, such as saving the planet. Whether
marketers
can effectively reposition costly luxury brands to play authentically
in a
more holistic ecology of value (Adolphson 2004) is a
pressing
question. Clearly, presenting luxury brands as fulfilling an ecological
need
is controversial, in a world where luxury is accessible primarily
to
only the fortunate.
Sustainablefashion, in common with its luxury counterpart, embodies
living
harmoniously with nature, employing trained artisans in safe
and
humane working conditions (Partridge 2011). But if sustainable
fashion
items are neither meeting consumer desires, nor being offered at
affordable
prices, who will buy them? According to Van Nes and Cramer
(2005),
when asked what they wanted from future eco-fashion, consumers
listed
their primary requirements as durability, quality, and style.
Not
coincidentally, durability, quality, and style are experiences that
materially
interpenetrate luxury brands, along with a sense of personal
achievement.
The sustainable consumption challenge for such brands is
their
need to embody artisanship, emphasizing authenticity, and both
environmental
and societal respect. Since luxury brands create desire
through
innovative design, and influence consumption processes, they
can
become leaders in sustainability. The methods by which products are
manufactured,
purchased, used, and disposed of affect the environment
in
many ways. The call to ecologically sustainable fashion is appropriate
at a
time when, clearly, people consume more natural resources and
produce
more pollution than the planet can sustain. Businesses must
begin
to operate within the ecological carrying capacity of the planet.
Many
luxury brands are already making ecologically sustainable
fashionclothing and accessories, such as Stella McCartney, Ferragamo,
and
Vivienne Westwood, among others. Westwood acknowledges that
she
is very concerned with climate change and that she tries to do something
about
it. She notes: “There is a real connection between culture
and
climate change. We all have a part to play and if you engage with
life,
you will get a new set of values. Get off the consumer treadmill and
start
to think and it is these great thinkers who will rescue the planet”
(Ecouterre
2012). Similarly, Stella McCartney says:
Eco-friendly
fashion is something I’ve always felt strongly about.
You
have to create demand so the customer base will grow. We’ve
been
doing organic for years in my own collection, in my lingerie
and
with the Adidas collaboration. We touch on it across the
board.
I think it’s a bit more sincere to do that. It’s part and parcel
for
us as a brand. (NBC New York 2011)
While
fast fashion companies can emulate luxury products, they may be
less
able to match deeper elements of value, such as high ethical standards
in
sourcing, efficient use of material, low-impact manufacturing,
assembly,
and distribution; and the availability of repair and upgrade
Fast Fashion, Sustainability, and the Ethical Appeal of
Luxury Brands
291
services.
All these values represent an opportunity for luxury brands
to
justify their share of purchases by affluent customers (Blendell and
Kleanthous
2007), even as they address conventional criticisms, such as
the
role of precious stones in financing conflicts, the impact of mining
operations
on land (e.g. gold mining), workers’ rights in companies and
supply
chains, responsible marketing, and the trade in wildlife-derived
products
(Tungate 2009). Luxury brands need to also seriously consider
what
Partridge (2011: S107) calls “supply chain democracy”—that is
political,
social
and economic accountability.
In
some areas of the economy, consumers have demanded more information
about
product sourcing and manufacturing, including, to a
degree,
in the fashion industry, with Nike drawing the wrath of protesters
around
the world (if not, as referenced above, from our participants).
Fastfashion companies such as Topshop and Gap (McDougall
2007),
have also come under relatively recent scrutiny concerning their
compromised
manufacturing ethics. Consumers are demanding more
information
about sourcing and manufacturing, which can be a point
of differentiation
by companies. Such changes in the marketplace suggest
that
there is a greater need to understand the relationship between
ethical
markets and mainstream consumer markets. As Shaw and Riach
(2011:
1059) note, “it is through individual and collective struggle that
continually
sets the parameters and makes meaning over what is constituted
as
‘ethical’ within the dominant market.”

Clark
(2009: 428) raises the issue of how the idea of “slow fashion

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