A Study on Ethical Consumerism

Hey everyone, so I am in the middle of gathering research for my dissertation (eek I’m going into my third year at uni), and I need your help :). Basically, to cut a really really long story short, my dissertation will aim to explore the extent to which, the recent trend towards the inclusion of Vintage clothing (vintage concessions) into major high street stores (with a particular focus on TopShop), may forge a pathway towards a more ethical form of consumerism and industry as a whole.

I need your help in just taking a few minutes to answer a few questions for me 🙂 All I ask is that you try and stay neutral and honest, as well as answering in as much detail as you can (there is absolutely no wrong answer whatsoever!!) Just be honest :). I have outlined a few questions bellow and if you could answer them in the comments I would be eternally grateful 🙂

  1. What does ethical fashion mean to you? (in general, not just vintage clothing)
  2. What are your views towards the ethics of the fashion industry at present? And what does a more ethical industry look like to you?
  3. Is it something you think about when buying clothes?
  4. What do you understand by vintage fashion? And how do you think it relates to ethical fashion?
  5. Do you shop for vintage clothing?
  6. If yes, then where do you shop?
  7. Do you think the inclusion of vintage lines into Topshop, would convince/persuade you to start shopping for second-hand/recycled clothes? In other words has the recent upsurge in vintage clothing by Topshop, made second-hand clothing more widely acceptable/ made you more open to buying second-hand clothing.
  8. What are your reasons and motivations for where you buy your clothes in general?
  9. If you shop for vintage clothing, is this for ethical reasons or following fashion trends, or both? (please be completely honest here).
  10. Do you mainly shop in independent vintage stores or from the major high street stores such as TopShop or Urban Outfitters? or both?
  11. If both, which do you prefer? and why?
  12. What is your view towards the recent trend of including vintage lines into TopShop?
  13. Do you think it has the potential to remove the stigma around second-hand clothing.  Has it altered your opinion towards second-hand fashion?


Please number and answer the questions in the comments below; I would be super grateful, you don’t need to have a blog or to be following me to answer :). Thank you so much for your time ❤


19 thoughts on “A Study on Ethical Consumerism

  1. 1. It means wearing clothes that express you and your style.
    3.Vintage fashion to me is anything from the returning styles like dungarees and body suits to actual retro clothing like a original Ralph Lauren polo. I think it relates to ethical fashion because its recycling old materials and clothes.
    5. I shop in Urban outfitters, Top shop, Brandy Melvile, Arizona Vintage, Bird on the wire Clothing, independent vintage stores (e.g. Harper and Lewis), Asos Marketplace and charity shops.
    7.The reason I shop where I shop is because I simply see something and like it, I especially like quirky things and unqiue one offs because I like the fact I’m not going to walk into a room wearing the same thing as anyone else and I don’t blend in with the crowd, Vintage style also has intresting shapes and patterns that appeal to me. Also it reflects my personality.
    8.I like following trends but bending them to fit my style and look unquie.
    10.I like the mixture but independent stores give me more pleasure because they are unique.
    11.They realised how cool vintage clothing is and realised that all fashion trends come back around and it was time for vintage to make a reappearance. I like that they are inbracing it but maybe they aren’t staying true too vintage and mixing a bit more of 21st century in.


    1. Thank you so much!! What great answers 🙂 So for you vintage clothing is more about fashion trends etc, rather then overtly trying to achieve a more ethical form of consumerism?

      Thank you so much again, this is such a great help ❤


  2. 1. Clothes that have been made fairly, with everyone getting paid the amount they deserve for their contribution.
    2. Yes
    3. Vintage fashion is clothing that was made in the 70s/80s that is sold now in second hand stores, recycling gems 🙂
    4. Yes
    5. Second hand stores
    7. The clothes are more clothes I like, also they can be cheaper than in clothes stores on the high street which is always good when you’re a student
    8. Both
    9. Independent
    10. If you want something really particular I guess its good. But they produce similar clothes that you could get second hand, at a lower price and they’re being recycled 🙂 plus there’s more fun in going not knowing what you’ll come out with 🙂


  3. 1. Fair pay, good working/living conditions, treated well (to name a few).
    2. Currently not sure how much I trust the production of most fashion. It would be great to see people being treated fairly and as humans, not machines. Unfortunately now days its about quantity over quality and items are more disposable than ever.
    3. All the time.
    4. Vintage fashion to me is about used/reformed/historic clothing. I think its ethical because it’s not produced in bulk by people in poor living conditions.. It’s someone who cares about fashion and running a little business as their passion.
    5. Yes.
    6. Rockit, Oxfam (any charity shop), ASOS marketplace, the lanes in Brighton, depop, ebay, Judy’s affordable vintage fair, markets, Jemporium (Cambridge specific).
    7. Not really. Only because I believe TopShop are doing it purely because it is a trend, they are jumping on the band wagon, and know enough of their target audience will feed into it. Personally it doesn’t fit into the aesthetics of the store. I just don’t think they are passionate about it, unlike the small businesses who live and breath it.
    8. I feel it goes to someone more like me, not a big corporate CEO who wears Armani or Gucci suits. I’m helping someone live their dream, someone whose intentions I trust.
    9.I suppose it started as both, but now days I feel more comfortable in something with a history and satisfied I’ve helped someone with their mini vintage empire. It’s more unique. Yes – vintage clothing is a trend, but the individual items are probably “one of a kind”..It’s doubtful you will bump into someone with the same item.
    10. Mostly vintage/markets now days. Occasionally high street but it depends on the occasion. I usually have to for work as I work in an office and it’s more appropriate.
    11. I prefer vintage as I feel more like myself. High street makes me feel like a clone.
    12. I find it frustrating.
    13. Not really as young girls will only see it as a trend. Not trying to generalise but there will be a large enough group feeding into it, it’s unavoidable. I used to be exactly the same. It’s life. But now I’m older and more comfortable to say, “No! I will wear what I want to wear, not what I’m expected to wear”. Who cares what others think really? I wish I could have said that at 16.. It’s just a vicious cycle.


  4. 1. Ethical fashion for me is produced fairly. Everyone involved should be treated and paid fine. Animals involved should really not been treated cruelly like they sometimes are especially in fur “production”. Plus of course vintage clothing! 🙂
    2. A more ethical fashion industry would be more transparent and a bit more long-lasting. We don’t really need a new cheap shirt each month, we need a high-quality one lasting forever which would mean less waste. Also more money needs to flow to the people actually producing the clothes. Basically it’s okay to produce in countries cheaper than western european countries, but the sewers must get a fair payment, insurences, health treatment and so on.
    3. Yes. For example it feels a lot better to buy leather-stuff second hand than new, haha!
    4. Vintage fashion for me is everything that was produced some time ago. From true second-hand clothing to old goods in old stocks. It’s ethical because it’s old stuff not thrown away but reused and reloved again!
    5. Yes!
    6. Charity Shops, Fleamarkets, Vintage stores, “Fleamarket”-Websites, also I thought about starting to buy on ebay..?
    7. Not me because I loved to shop second hand ever since. Still I think it’s better when the big shops sell vintage clothes than when they sell new clothes looking vintage. Still I believe the vintage look is a great trend for some time now and it doesn’t need to be made “acceptable” anymore. The problem with big stores selling vintage clothes is always the exaggerated prices (e.g. Urban Outfitters’ Renewal Collection).
    8. Mostly I know exactly what I want and search for it until I find it anywhere. I try to get good quality and because I can’t spend so much money all the time I look for second hand stuff 🙂 Also I try to follow the trends I like and find trendy pieces that also fit my style.
    9. Both. And often because I know what I’d like to have and can’t find it in any store except a vintage shop. And the money of course.. poor students 😉
    10. Kind of both. But I really love my local charity store because I can bring stuff I don’t want anymore there and buy stuff other people don’t like anymore really really cheap.
    11. Independant stores. Just there aren’t so many around here.
    12. I think I answered it also on number 7 🙂
    13. Not mine, no. But I do think it changed a lot of minds in the recent years. And that’s one of the good trends because it puts some ethic back in fashion.

    Kisses from Germany and good luck on your dissertation!


  5. 1) it means fashion that benefits everyone involved in the sale, from the shopper, to the shop assistant to the brand, to the people who make the clothes.
    2) I don’t think there’s a lot of ethics in purchasing of clothes in the present. I think it’s very consumerism based ( quite obvious I know) with little thought gone into the people making the clothes. I also think as much as I love brands like Topshop and I really do, I also feel like everyone simply ends up wearing the same stuff
    3) yes, I make a conscious effort to avoid buying items I think will become very popular! I also am quite tall and so I buy items that are exclusive to the tall range in Topshop in hopes that they will remain exclusive! I am also often aware when I’m shopping of how little the people who make the clothes could be being paid!
    4) I think of vintage fashion as being beautiful pieces of clothing from decades gone by. But also as fashions coming back around. I think as fashion recycle themselves, we should not be ashamed to recycle our clothes! It does relate to ethical fashion to me, because the more we recycle clothing, the less waste of clothing there is.
    5) yes
    6)mainly charity shops, but also brick lane.
    7)yes, I think it shows myself and others that there is more out there than what is simple placed in front of you. I also am a lover of having some one of a kind, so having that highlighted as you carry around clothes half the store is also looking at, would definitely push me more towards second hand clothing.
    8) I usually shop in Topshop or urban outfitters or Zara, because I know that I will find something in there and I’m usually in a rush. I suppose it’s laziness!
    9) when I have the time to rummage yes or when I’m in London where there’s far more on offer
    10) mainly the major ones like rockit, but i also enjoy charity shops, I do often look online as there aren’t many near where I live
    11) I prefer the smaller ones for the rarity, but the major stores for the higher chance of finding some gems
    12) I think including vintage fashion in Topshop is an excellent idea, encourage more people to express themselves and recycle clothing
    13) yes I definitely think having vintage clothing in Topshop helps to remove the stigma of second hand clothes. It worked for me and I then went on to search vintage clothing out in other stores.

    Good luck with your dissertation

    Please check out my Instagram
    And my WordPress blog https://psemily4.wordpress.com


    1. Wow thank you so much for this! what an insightful well thought out response!! thank you. And I will go and check out your instagram now, I look forward to it :). An of course i will also follow your blog, I’m always looking for new interesting writers to follow 🙂 Thanks again ❤


  6. 1. To me, ethical fashion means clothing that is ethically sourced in terms of the workers making the clothes (e.g. good working conditions; fair pay) and also the effect on the environment (e.g. is it recycled clothing). I think it means clothing that doesn’t just benefit the seller but all involved in the process.
    2. In the last few years there has been some media attention to the conditions people in foreign countries, who produce some of our clothing, have to work in. In particular, Primark received attention stemming from accusations of poor pay and poor working conditions (such as long hours). I believe/hope this is changing!
    3. I do sometimes think about how ethical stores are; however, the low prices in stores such as Primark are a huge pull factor. Sometimes I buy from online stores, such as Etsy, which bring the consumer in contact with the clothing maker and must be more ethical.
    4. I understand that vintage fashion is fashion that replicates the fashion of an older era, or is fashion that comes from an older era and is being re-used or handed down generations. I think this relates to ethical fashion because it involves recycling clothing rather than throwing it away. Some people also recycle older, vintage, clothing and adapt it and customise it further.
    5. I don’t tend to shop for vintage clothing as I tend to shop in high street stores.
    6. N/A
    7. I am not sure it has convinced me because prices at Topshop for vintage clothing is a lot more expensive than in other places (e.g. charity shops!). Also, I am dubious as to whether Topshop really believe in pushing vintage or ethical clothing, or whether this is just to try out a new trend. However, it has made people more aware of it so that will have benefits.
    8. My motivations are either money or trend based. For instance, I shop at Primark because I can buy several pieces of nice clothing for the cost of one piece of clothing in other high street stores. Yet, I shop at places like Topshop because they are constantly bringing in new items and it is nice to keep up with the latest trends.
    9. I currently don’t shop for vintage clothing. I imagine if I did it would probably be to follow fashion trends; however, with more awareness of the ethics of fashion (from you!) I would probably consider ethics, too.
    10. Mainly always major high street stores.
    11. N/A
    12. I think it is good in terms of encouraging people to shop for a wider range of interesting clothing; however it could also be an attempt by Topshop to bring in more money (wider audience of consumers?) or to keep up with trends, rather than their interest in fashion ethics.
    13. I think if they advertise their clothing as ethical, second-hand or vintage, then it will promote this and because they have such a huge audience it will probably spread the work and help remove stigma. It has altered my opinion of second-hand clothing slightly because it has made me realise there are a lot of gems out there and may be more individual than buying mass produced new trends.

    Hope this helps!


  7. 1.To me it means being able to dress something cool and comfortable. Something unique producted in a farly way from people who are not pourly paid and with good materials
    2.I think that it would be a great idea and would be totally worth it buying ethical clothes. Ethical industry in my opinion should represented a new way of being dressed.
    3.Actually no I’m very instinctive. I don’t think if I can match the ithem to something or when I could wear it; if I like it and I can afford it, I buy it
    4.Vintage clothing is something beautiful. It means originality and being unique and personally I consider vintage cothing works of art, there’s something extremely magic about wearing something so cool. And the idea of put together vintage clothing and ethical clothing is absolutly great. I would feel like a masterpiece.
    5.I’d love shop in vintage clothing markets but unfortunatly where I live (Italy) there’s none so I tend on shop on high street stores or to buy things on the Internet on Depop
    6. Mostly on Depop or other indipendent stores online or in some little shops in Venice
    7. No, maybe it could work for other people but not for me. I go straight to second-hand clothing.
    8. I buy clothes mostly when I really need them and when I feel down. I also shop during the discount season or when I find an ithem that I think could makes me feel like Carrie Bradshaw
    9. None of this reason; I love vintage clothing because they make me feel good and special..I’m not someone who’s into fashion.
    10. I don’t shop in Urban Outfitters nor in Topshop for the simple reason that they aren’t here in Italy but I shop in other indipendent high street stores when I do really need something while I shop in indipendent vintage stores when I want to buy something vintage
    13. It could but not mine I already love second-hand clothing

    I hope this helps and sorry if there’re some grammar/spelling mistakes unfortunatly I’m not English mother-tounge speaker

    Kisses from Italy!!xx


    1. Oh thank you so much for your response! And wow, for a second language your English is amazing and so comprehensible! These are such great answers and i can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer! Such a great help. Olivia xxx


  8. 1. To me it means good quality clothing produced in a way that is fair to the consumer and the people making the product.
    2. Many companies care more about making money than giving the customers good quality products. I see alot of really cheap prices and cheap quality in stores everywhere. If we had more ethical shopping and clothing, the workers would be treated better and the consumers would be getting higher quality merchandise
    3. Yes especially with staple items like jeans, solid t shirts, etc. I look for higher quality merchandise that will last me a long time versus the cheapest thing
    4. Vintage clothing is old and reused. It is ethical in my opinion because of how high quality it is. Most vintage clothing that lasts for years is made ethically because it is recycled and made well and in good condition
    5. Yes
    6. Secondhand stores such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army, as well as actual “vintage shops” that are independently owned
    7. Somewhat. Those new “vintage” trends have introduced me to new styles that I wouldn’t have worn years ago, but also push me to buy second hand because of how high the prices are at places like TopShop and Urban Outfitters
    8. Mostly the style of their products matching my personal style and the price of the products
    9. Both. I like how the clothing is recycled and worn in but also because I love the styles from the 70s, 80s, and 90s and I can find authentic clothing from those stores
    10. I shop in both. If I am looking for something I know I won’t find at a vintage store I am more likely to buy it at a big store like that. But if it’s something like jeans or jeans that I will cut into shorts, then I would go to a vintage shop
    11. I prefer secondhand because it’s more authentic to the older styles and it’s way cheaper
    12. I like that the styles I like are becoming trendy and popular because then it’s easier for me to find things I like in more stores. I also like that it has encouraged more people to buy second hand clothing. I don’t like that the prices for all of it is so high.
    13. Not me personally, but I have noticed it in other people. It is now more trendy to go to second hand stores and buy authentic vintage clothing.


  9. in my country, and when they are available they usually are not what I’m looking for.

    12. I think for many who used to only shop in high street stores- it will be very eye-opening to discover a whole new world of fashion that is possibly more ethical than an average everyday clothing store.

    13. I think it might and it might not. It might for those who are open minded and adventurous, but for those who solely prefer to shop high street/brand new clothing, it might take some time or a lot of time to fully change their mind and take away the disgrace associated with secondhand clothing.

    I hope this was of any help at all to your dissertation, good luck! And I’m so sorry to have seen this so late.

    Chloe (:


    1. Hey Chloe, thank you so much for you help So lovely of you!! However i only seem to have your answers to q12 and 13? for some reason, perhaps you are able to send again?
      thank you so so much though ❤ ❤


  10. Reblogged this on oliviabynature and commented:

    Please help a sister out, and take a look at my questionnaire for my dissertation! If any off you have done a dissertation you will understand the stress of getting all the data you need! It’s super simple and quick, but would help me out sooooo much if you take the a little time out off your day to answer 🙂 You can send your responses to olivia.frost3@gmail.com, or just answer the questions in the comments ❤ ❤ thank you thank you


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