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Fashion Consumption and Sustainability

This subject is available under ICMS undergraduate degrees, please click the button below to find an undergraduate course for you.

Subject Code:


Subject Aim:

This subject critically examines complex, interconnected relationships that form fashion systems. Students will examine the concept of fashion consumption through the analysis of dynamic roles and relationships between consumers, retailers, designers, manufacturers, institutions and related industries that impact the product lifecycle and business models.

Students examine contemporary issues that are currently re-directing fashion systems such as ethical and environmental sustainability. Students will be exposed to concepts and case studies that are re-imagining and strategically re-directing fashion systems of consumption, informing the emerging future of the industry. 

Students critically analyse these complex and interconnected production and consumption cycles of fashion, their social and environmental impact and pose the question:  “What is the responsibility of the fashion industry to behave sustainably & ethically?”

Students will explore alternative systems-based strategies and new models such as the integrated product-service-system, corporate social responsibility, traceability, on-demand production, digital tracking and blockchain, and participation in collaborative, circular and regenerative economies, that have the potential to deliver products within an ethical and sustainable global fashion industry.

Broad Topics to be Covered:

  • Introduction
  • The global fashion system
  • The meaning of dress
  • Fashion consumption
  • Lifecycle of a fashion garment
  • Sustainable systems (including post-growth)
  • New business models and practices
  • Internal and external influences on consumption
  • Fashion ethics (including decolonial fashion)
  • The future consumer
  • How do systems change?
  • Presentation

Learning Outcomes:


Critically examine the complex and interconnected production and consumption cycles of fashion, and their social and environmental impact.


Explain how design, manufacturing, retail, trend forecasting and the consumer impact on a typical fashion garment’s lifecycle.


Analyse and apply concepts to support improved sustainable practices such as transparency, traceability product lifecycle assessment and corporate social responsibility. 


Propose alternative systems-based innovations, strategies and models to deliver an ethical and sustainable global fashion industry.


Examine the core theories of consumption in both consumer and organisational markets.

Student Assessment: