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We conducted an online survey of interest in and likelihood of buying ethical clothing (October 2002 – January 2003). More than a 1000 people from the UK and abroad have completed the questionnaire. The results are very similar to PR week and ICM’s ethical survey (October 2002). Please see the ICM web site for more information.

The key findings are detailed below. A complete set of results is also available to view.

If you would like to take part in any future surveys, please subscribe to our newsletter

Key findings:

  • Not surprisingly, about 71% who completed this survey are women, of whom 48% are aged 26 - 35. It seems that our first collection of clothing will clearly be for women!

  • All types of people did this survey from students to bankers to journalists. Almost half of all respondents live in London. The most frequently read newspapers are Guardian and Times.

  • We asked what criteria an item of clothing would need to have to be considered ethical.

    87% felt that it had to guarantee that no child labour is involved in its production. This was followed closely by almost 81% who also believed that no sweatshop manufacturers are acceptable. The third major factor (68%) is that the community producing the clothing directly benefits.

  • There are many other factors that respondents said that contribute to ‘ethical’ clothing:

    • No testing or harm to animals or humans”

    • Country of origin does not have an oppressive regime that would negate all other benefits. i.e. Burma”

  • Some interesting issues were also raised: “the problem with no child labour is if you take a country where children routinely work from say 10 years old, is that bad? I am not sure, if they combined it with school etc and it generates income for their’s a hard one that but certainly long hours and oppressive conditions for children are out!”

  • The good news is that more than 75% are concerned about production and would buy ‘ethically produced’ clothing. However, they are not willing to compromise on quality, style or fashion. 77% want comparable quality, approximately 65% would like similar style and price to High Street stores.

  • We asked some attitudinal questions:

    • 84% agreed that ‘if the clothes are stylish, I would rather buy ones that are ethically produced’.

    • 75% agreed with ‘as long as I am not paying more, I would rather buy something that is ethically made’.

    • About 53% agreed with ‘there are certain brands that I would never buy from for social, economic and political reasons’.

  • Regarding current attitudes and practices to ‘ethical’ products, 58% purchase Fair Trade products or / and buy for political, social or economic reasons e.g. dolphin friendly tuna.

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