Consumers who engage in socially responsible fashion

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Consumers who engage in socially responsible fashion purchasing can be described as ethical consumers or consumers with a conscious. It has been widely recognised, however, that consumers are fi ckle in their purchasing behaviour, which may change each time they engage with the purchasing process. Consequently, this means that a consumer may purchase socially responsible clothing one day and not the next. This unpredictable nature of purchasing means that a predication of behaviour or the discussion of habitual behaviour is very dif fi cult. This has again been widely discussed in literature, with Devinney et al. ( 2010 ) expressing the need for the term ethical consumer to be approached with caution, going as far as to believe that these consumer criteria may in fact be a myth. This is due to an idealistic consumer pro fi le being created, where the perfect ethical consumer is put forward as a role model for consumers to be compared to. When doing so, certain elements of this ideal consumer may be identi fi ed but again due to the unpredictable nature of behaviour, this again cannot be relied upon. The term ethical consumer has been labelled as dated, with more recent devel- opments in the fi eld preferring to use the term consumer social responsibility , which refers to consumers in a more individual sense. This approach acknowledges that all consumers are different and that a more tailor-made approach to in fl uencing consumer behaviour is necessary. Industry experts have expressed the need for individualism and believe that this is the key to not only understanding consumer purchasing behaviour but to also then know how to in fl uence it (Barrie 2009 ). Despite this individual approach appearing to be the most logical due to the unpredictable nature of purchasing behaviour, the use of consumer typologies or tribes are widely acknowledged by academia and industry alike (Clouder and 22 A.M. James and B. Montgomery
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Harrison 2005 ; Cowe and Williams 2001 ; Szmigin et al. 2009 ; Carrigan and Attalla 2001 ; Morgan and Birtwhistle 2009 ; Mintel 2007 ). However when analysing these consumer typologies further, the relationship between socially responsible fashion purchasing and demographics is inconsistent and not indicative of any future behaviour (Devinney et al. 2010 ). Just as with the purchasing process, consumer typologies are also re fl ected differently according to different research, brands or retailers. For example, Clouder and Harrison ( 2005 ) believe there to be three segments of consumers within the context of ethics and sustainability; distancing, integrated and rationalising. Another example of this methodology is British high-street clothing brand who believe that there are fi ve different consumer categories within a social responsi- bility arena. During an interview with the head of sustainable business, it was detailed that there are three initial categories of consumers; 70 % of which could be described as average, 20 % who are said to have no care of consideration for ethical and sustainable issues and the remaining 10 % could be described as
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  • Fall '19
  • Business Ethics, Corporate social responsibility, Alana M. James, Bruce Montgomery

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