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Kaitlyn Lewis
2009-2010 Honors Student

Kaitlyn LewisName: Kaitlyn Lewis
Honors in: Business & Economics
Hometown: Hancock, Maine
Major(s): Business Management, Marketing

Title of project: Ethical Consumption: The Unification of Fashion with Environmentalism and Social-Consciousness

Abstract or brief description: Sustainability is a “must have” for every season – or at least it ought to be. Fast fashion and consumer culture have polluted the minds of Western women, increasing their conspicuous consumption and the overall footprint of the fashion industry. Many women are moderately aware of the impending issues that face the world today; however, most are not given the support or alternatives to explore creative solutions to these growing concerns. This study sought to find answers that may guide moral marketers, fashion savvy and mainstream women alike down a sustainable path, a path which leads to a fashion culture both flourishing and ethical.

This study surveyed 92 adult women to inquire about five general areas of interest: personal demographics; fashion consumption; consumer behaviors; fashion opinion leadership and fashion victim-like behavior; and attitude toward ethical consumption. Data analysis revealed the existence of compassion in fashion; mainstream women are interested in adhering to sustainable consumption practices. Beyond this, they are willing to pay more for ethical fashion. This study uncovered the identity of fashion opinion leaders and fashion victims, finding that they are one in the same. Overall, this study recognized numerous significant relationships between variables, bringing valuable insight to the topic and ideas for future exploration.

How did you get interested in your topic? I have always had a passion for fashion, but this passion clashed with my concern for the environment and vulnerable persons around the world. This project gave me an opportunity to explore the possible unification of fashion with environmentalism and social consciousness. My research sought to answer the question: Can a fashion culture both flourishing and sustainable exist?

Do you intend to research your topic further, if so, how? Yes, I would love to incorporate sustainable fashion into my career, but if that is not possible, I will continue doing research on my own until I find the opportunity to implement what I have learned.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? The academic benefits of participating in honors are endless. Among other things, I learned how to incorporate many sources into a comprehensive and cohesive literature review. I now understand how to create and administer a research instrument, analyze the data collected using statistical software, and form useful and interesting conclusions from my results.