A growing number of retailers are finding the answer to that question is “yes — at least some consumers will. The movement received an unfortunate boost when Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapsed, killing more than 1100 workers a year ago. This raised consumer awareness of the conditions of many of the workers making their clothing. Would some customers be willing to pay a bit more if they knew the workers making the clothes had better working conditions? Retailers like Everlane and Zady are finding that may be the case. You can read more about this in Bloomberg Businesweek “Selling Ethical Fashion to the Whole Foods Set” (April 17, 2014). In researching this post, I also found an article about how Zady tries to tell the story “Ethical fashion: The story behind the label” (CNN.com, August 26, 2013).
The article highlights Everlane’s target market, “the person who shops at Whole Foods and listens to NPR.” You might be able to stimulate an interesting class discussion by asking students whether they think this market is large enough, what price premium would be appropriate, and how to promote such clothing.