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Construction of silence on issues of sustainability through branding in the fashion market

Journal article
Authors Cecilia Solér
Julia Baeza
Camilla Svärd
Published in Journal of Marketing Management
Volume 31
Issue 1-2
Pages 219-246
ISSN 0267-257X
Publication year 2015
Published at Centre for Business in Society
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Pages 219-246
Language en
Keywords silence on issues of sustainability, construction of eco-fashion consumption, brand governance, market practice
Subject categories Business Administration


This article focuses on the performativity of fashion brand discourse, in particular the performativity of ‘muted sustainable’ brands and the subsequent construction of eco-fashion consumption. We study brand discourses in the fashion industry that are informed by different theoretical marketing approaches and which perform different consumer capabilities that are valid for recognising, understanding and desiring eco-fashion through the provision of certain coordinates for fashion meanings associated to brands. We question self-sustained brand meaning structures causing structural silence by showing that the influence of theoretically informed brand discourse constructs silence regarding issues of sustainability in the fashion market. Results from a case study of Swedish fashion companies’ communication of their efforts in the sustainability domain as part of their brand management practice are analysed as representing different marketing approaches. The findings elucidate that we can understand silence on issues of sustainability in the fashion market as a separation of norm production and economic exchange that reflects basic assumptions about competition and the meaning of branding in dominant theoretical marketing approaches.

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