Sustainable Fashion on Social Media : Ethical or Conspicuous Consumption?

The sustainable fashion tribe is interested in ethical and ecological fashion consumption. To inform and reach various people, they use social media networks. However, as fashion consumption is often being used as a representation of wealth and status, the question arises, whether the underlying motives of the tribe to communicate on social media are altruistic or, on the contrary, promote conspicuous consumption. This qualitative study explores the underlying motives of the tribe communicating about sustainable fashion consumption on social media. The analysis of the nine interviews show, that there are four main motives: altruistic, social, egoistic and prestige-related motives. Even though the altruistic motives can be reconciled with the tribes’ principal values, the results also show signs of conspicuous consumption in terms of prestige-related motives. When posting on social media the tribe wants to inform about and influence its followers to a more sustainable fashion consumption, but also wants to gain reputation and recognition for it. Still, it is concluded that conspicuous consumption of sustainable fashion on social media can promote sustainable consumption overall and having a positive effect on the environment.




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