Ethics and the Fashion Industry in West Europe

Lise Skov*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Working paperResearch

    846 Downloads (Pure)


    The question of ethics is about determining concepts of right and wrong human action. There are a number of ethical controversies in relation to the industries that dress the visible self, especially clothing, shoes, accessories and skincare industries. The most important are, firstly, representations of idealized gender and body images, secondly, fakes and counterfeits of branded goods, thirdly, working conditions, fourthly, environmental impact and sustainability, and fifthly, animal rights. In a strict philosophical sense, these issues cannot be said to be purely moral because they overlap with political, social, legal, economic and environmental concerns. But they are problems that have been cast in terms of right and wrong behaviour from the point of view of West European industries and consumers. Because both consumption and production of dress are highly globalized these debates in West Europe are not qualitatively different from those of other highly developed regions. Many ethical problems, campaigns and monitoring issues are distinctly transnational because both consumer markets and production systems are highly globalized. It is a paradox that while many consumers have a positive involvement with clothing in terms of emotional attachment and identification, they also tend to have a distinctively negative image of the industry behind. In fact, there is a widespread cynicism about the fashion industry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    Publisherimagine.. CBS
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    SeriesCreative Encounters Working Paper

    Cite this