Consumer interpretations of fashion sustainability terminology communicated through labelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
699 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this research is to examine how consumers interpret and understand sustainable fashion production and how this informs their fashion consumption practice. Design/methodology/approach: The research adopts an interpretivist approach with in-depth interviews with 28 participants. Sampling criterion sought consumers already engaged with sustainable production – professionally working mothers – to explore how their sustainability knowledge was evaluated for sustainable fashion claims. Garment labels that descripted facets of sustainable production were introduced to encourage discourse of sustainable fashion knowledge. Findings: The findings illustrate that sustainable fashion production is not understood and efforts to apply sustainability concepts were often misunderstood which led to scepticism for higher pricing and marketing claims. Despite this, there was concern for the wider implications of sustainability. Research limitations/implications: Limitations include the small sample from one geographical area (Edinburgh), despite the richness of the data collected. Practical implications: The research offers practical advice for fashion marketers to educate consumers through effective communication strategies how sustainable fashion concepts improve consumer concerns surrounding fashion production. Social implications: The research indicates increased concern for fashion sustainability, something that fashion retailers should be mindful of. Originality/value: There has been little research examining consumer interpretation of sustainable fashion terminology, and this research adds to understanding how sustainability is evaluated within fashion production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-758
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal
Issue number5
Early online date23 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2022


  • sustainable fashion
  • sustainability terminology
  • consumer behaviour
  • fashion production
  • sustainable production
  • sweatshop labour
  • environment
  • organic
  • fashion factory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Business and International Management


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