Fashion Taste and Ethics
Taste is not neutral it always has consequences. This unit examines the concepts of taste and ethics and the connections between them by, for example, distinguishing between the specific practice
of ‘ethical consumption’ as a means of tasteful distinction or as a medium for moral/political action and the wider ‘ethics of consumption’ in market societies. We begin by explaining a range of
theories of taste across a variety of historical and cultural contexts and use these approaches to unpack the production of taste by cultural intermediaries working in fashion media and design and
by fashionable consumers. Examining home decoration, furnishings, and contemporary art and design as well as fashion, you will explore why what’s bad taste or kitsch to one person, may be someone
else’s prized possession. The
unit then moves on to give you a critical overview of the concept of ethics and competing theories of what is ethical conduct in the context of the fashion industry. This conceptual framework will
the opportunity to deepen both your professional understanding and practical responses to a range of ethical and social concerns facing fashion – including issues of sustainability vis-à-vis slow
fashion, fair trade and ‘no sweat’ labels.
Can fashion be both sustainable and ethical?
Discuss and critically analyse this question with reference to relevant academic literature and
specific examples drawn from fashion and wider consumer culture. In your answer refer to one or two of the key ethical dilemmas facing fashion production and/or consumption.
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