Ethical Brand Management Approaches for Fashion Industry

Though brand management is not limited to the apparels and accessories it is very apparent that fashion industry has given the term a turnaround over time. From brand fanaticism to Brand loyalty Fashion Brands possess the tendency to create a strong Brand identification amongst the minds of the consumers. Many of their brand management strategies have been successful.

The global fashion industry is a huge in conditions of the impact it is wearing current economic climate, trade and business of several countries, the reach and importance of its products and the strength of its employment.

Over the century, expansion of the industry has been amazing in terms of technology and income. The innovations have been rapid and expansion exponential.

Though source of branding dates back to historical times, fashion industry is one of the market sectors which capitalized the the majority of a Brand's strength. Fashion industry has a solid affinity to brand management, and most successful brand strategies like sellers Zara, Symbol & Spencer and Luxury custom made brands like Louis Vuitton, Armani, Dior and YSL.

The Brand strategy of most fashion brands revolve around the idea of differentiation of products, target customer group and building brand-consumer romance from which comes from a Brand Personality and Individuality of each brand. This personality carves a niche for the brand in the market.

But there happen a few pre-determined questions concerning this glamorous establishments' brand management strategy.

Does an effective brand management strategy imply ethical Brand strategy?

Does using a good turnover each year make a brand strategy successful?

Can Ethics be inculcated in a brand strategy in a highly effective way?

In the modern times a new concern is rolling out for the establishments worldwide, the Ethics of business. The London fashion week, 2008 areas that the style Industry has been found on the issue of honest and environmental clothing.

Though researches have been made extensively on Ethics and Business in the majority of the fields and industries hardly any initiatives have been designed for the same in conditions of brand management ethics and in particular context of Fashion and Garments Industry.

This Proposal seeks in studying this less frequented subject matter of research yet growing matter of honest consumerism popular industry, certain requirements and processes included for a brandname to identify itself as a Holistic and authentic moral brand.

Scope of the Study

Research Aims, Questions and Hypotheses

Research Objectives

To review the brand management strategy of successful and powerful brands

To understand the value of Ethics as a critical factor for just about any brand strategy

To analyze the consequences of integrating ethics in to the brand strategy and the implications of the relationship

Research Questions

What is a Brand strategy management? What are the successful brand strategies?

What is business ethics? What is the need of Moral Brand strategy?

What will be the implications of integrating moral business and brand proper management?

Research Hypotheses

Hypotheses 1

Strategic management is significant for an effective Brand

Hypotheses 2

Business ethics has become an essential factor for competitive good thing about a brand

Hypotheses 3

The romantic relationship between brand management and business ethics can develop an authentic ethical brand

Literature Overview of the Project

This chapter aims to analyze the theory of the research project which is basically grouped into three broader issues of the research, namely

Fashion Industry

Brand Management strategy

Business Ethics


Definition and History

While fashion can be defined as the style or custom prevalent at a particular time period adopted by the great population in conditions of clothing or habit, it has been around from enough time when people begun clothing.

From 10, 000 BC when men learned a needle and loom to fabric themselves, through the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization where clothing acquired a religious so this means through the roman and Greek civilization where clothing was presented with an symbolization of beauty through the advancement of modern Elizabethan and Victorian period and lastly to the period of influence of designers like Dior, Chanel to reach at the Great Fashion era of today, Fashion has been ever before evolving.


But technically a business for the same flourished only with the tag of Ready-to-wear invention around the start of 20th century. Right up until then tailors made cloths specific to a person, until when they found similarities of body types of people they developed habits which would fit more than one individual. Thus came up in the Ready-to-wear garments.

With the make of 20th century the tailor outlets were being converted into workshops to factories, where style drafting, bulk cloth lowering and sewing started. Industrial engineering and quality assurance were introduced such as other companies to yield greater quality and level of goods. During the era of professional trend the industry flourished. Thus advanced a billion money industry.

With market being flooded with attire products, the industry learnt the means of success is differentiation. That is when the style industry started to adopt branding strategy for differentiation and creating particular identity of products that may be held in the intellects of the consumers which would make sure they are to buy the products frequently. Thus advanced fashion brand management strategy.

Successful Fashion brands and brand philosophies

Nike "Just Do It"

The brand idea portrays grit, persistence and passion.

The products of Nike send the affirmation of any "detached, motivated, unsentimental" frame of mind.

Nike is synonymous with Cool

LV Symbol of sophistication and style

LV brand philosophy is custom in

combination with modernity

LV products are Tasteful, Functional, Prestige, Luxurious, Desirable, Stylish, Value-for-money, Top quality and Ever-lasting

LV signifies Take great pride in, Luxury and elegance

Giorgio Armani - Epitome of Luxury Fashion

The brand founded and possessed by the developer Giorgio Armani is a luxury collection created by the custom wedding caterers top-notch clients with exemplary designs, style and materials that differentiates it from the regular luxury brands.

The Brand Beliefs of Armani brands are established solely after the founde'rs personality and idea since the unique selling point of the brand is that it's Armani's!


Brand Definition

According to the American Marketing Relationship (AMA), "A brand is a name, term, sign, icon or design, or a combo of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to identify them from those of other retailers. "

But in a far more generic definition maybe it's a means of differentiation a business has over their rivals who produce similar goods. FOR INSTANCE: Procter and Gamble produces dental care tooth paste therefore do Unilever. They both have to identify and provide some product because of their customer base that would make them dedicated to the business. Thus P&G created Crest and Colgate brands of toothpaste and Unilever created the Pepsodent. The name is not the brand. However the logo, symbol, the product offering, the ideals overall is the brand a company creates. brands enable a buyer to easily identify the offerings of a particular company.

Psychological point of view of brand

From the mental health perspective a Brand is a perception organised in the minds of the consumers. Perceptions are the psychological connection with humans. Hence a "brand" is really the internal experience or view a man has in what it provides to them.

As Scott Bedbury, a leading branding consultant in his publication titled, "A Brand New World" rightly states "Brand has become psychological concepts placed in the thoughts of the public, where they may stay forever"

Brand Strategic Management

Strategic management in a brandname industry is the structured research, decisions and actions the brand consumes order to conjure the brand personal information and value which gives the lasting competitive advantage over its opponents.




Brand strategy is the building blocks laid for the creation of the brand Id which indicates the brand guarantee the customer desires. A brand strategy encompasses systematic planning at each level of branding process.

Right from

Realizing the quest and perspective of the company,

Researching and defining the target customer segment,

Zeroing on the initial Offering Proposition of the company,

Differentiating from competitors

Giving a personality to the brand, developing brand ideals,

Communicating the Brand worth and brand assurance to the customer

Until Sustaining the Brand the proper planning, decision making is termed as the brand strategy Management.

The Zara Strategic Management


A firm to sustain in today's competitive market circumstance should formulate and apply a value creating strategy, in order to achieve proper competitiveness.

Strategy is an built in and coordinated set of commitments and activities made to exploit primary competencies and gain a competitive edge.

Strategic management process is the entire group of commitments, decisions, and activities required for a good to achieve strategic competitiveness and earn above-average comes back.

Zara has used what is referred to as the included cost authority and differentiation strategy. This plan involves participating in major and support activities that allow a firm to simultaneous pursue low cost and differentiation.

The Strategic Process

Today a consumer has high targets while investing in a good or service. They demand low-priced yet differentiated products to suit their needs. To handle these demands organizations engage in key and support activities that will equip them to capitalize on both lower cost and differentiation. The objective of this strategy is to produce products of differentiated value effectively. Efficient production provides cost authority and the differentiation of products add unique value to it. The businesses thus become strong in networking between the principal and supplementary activities becoming experienced.

Zara's Strategic Process

Zara has successfully adopted this strategy of cost control and differentiation to provide consumers with desirable fashion goods at relatively low prices. The advanced design team, effective managing of costs, versatile creation system and total quality of management will be the capabilities of Zara which gives it an strategic edge over competitors



While the planet is facing the strength of business and business flourishing despite the economic slowdown, there's a silent movement between both consumers and the organizations arousing concern for Ethical Business. Business ethics has now become the much debated topic not only due to its growing importance but also the complexness and difficulty in understanding and putting into action them in a business.

Human Beings have the energy and ability to believe and make a decision which other masterpieces don't have. This potential also comes with options. And these options require rational thinking. The humans thus should make the choice of which is right over wrong, utilizing their knowledge, views and analytical skills. But the right and incorrect are not explicit and requires hard decisions as the moral decisions aren't easy to make and requirements more than what the average person or organization is ready to give. But such decisions are vital for the higher good of the business, people and environment

Evolution of Ethics

Ethics is one of the few terms with no one fixed definition. It really is an evolutionary concept. Its meaning and goal is changing as does the business. Listed below are the few views on ethics,

The Initial definition for ethics was simple. Ethics was about doing right thing in framework to morals, beliefs and culture. This works for a person who has personal instinct and operates according compared to that instinct.

When it comes to an organization's perspective, defining what's the 'Right thing' and whom or what ought to be the primary concern for ethical decisions - the business, the shareholders, the stake holders or the complete society, adequate questions happen.

But undoubtedly men are greedy and since time progressed since 1960's various moral issues arouse running a business. Through the Employee-employer relationship tensions, bribery, financial frauds and mis-management, real human protection under the law, transparency issues, environmental issues to the Intellectual property stealth and cyber crimes every concern has led onto a more recent perspective and dependence on ethics in business. These needs were reinforced by various laws and codes passed on by the authoritative organizations. The improvements include the early code of conduct and values set up by companies, to the formation of ethics resource centre and corporate and business social responsibility movements and before Sarbanes -Oxley Function of 2002 business ethics have fallen under tight scrutinization of these regulations.

Need for Ethics

Business ethics in text classification is 'The Key points, standards or rules that guide the business and the organizers mutually available market'. The benchmarks are the judging criterions for what is right or incorrect and what is acceptable and unacceptable by the world at large.

But various studies claim that ethics is ever evolving phenomenon. From being Just doing the right thing to the specifications and laws and regulations of judging the right thing now ethics has changed to "Business beyond revenue and regulations. Now Business ethics is approximately the "Triple Bottom Line".




Ethics is currently beyond just conducting business without harming the population and environment. It is about conducting business and also adding to the contemporary society and environment from where they take resources for doing the business enterprise and also sell the end service or product. Thus the expectation is the fact that as the business has expansion there should also be the societal and environmental growth.

This development of ethics provided rise to a new field in business namely the Corporate Community Responsibility. CSR is about an organization heading beyond what is legal and makes most profit for the business to adding and attaining societal benefits with interest of most stakeholders.


The New Concept

While the business enterprise ethics is a lot debated and even though complex organizations want to interpret and execute them in business. Research and studies are conducted in this field of business ethics. But sadly Brand management and integration of ethics in to the base of branding still remains unobserved. The reason for the same could be many like the major misconception that branding is focused on the powerful brand and name that allows organizations to market products and rake gains.

But that is merely one area of the branding. The product branding is much deemed with importance that organization branding is forgotten. This analysis is to comprehend the value of integrating ethics into company branding and the strategic implementation of the same.

Brands today have a robust position in the intellects of the consumer. The consumers associate themselves with the brand and studies declare that bran is a 'Personality' in the brains of the consumer. This phenomenon causes brand loyalty or in severe case to brand fanaticism. When brand has such importance amongst its consumers and has direct impact with its activities in culture and environment, there is growing demand for Moral brands.

Case analysis: Apple

Considering the truth of one of world's powerful brand, Apple

Apple has a recognized personality of class and uniqueness in the imagination of its customers and the world.

But a recently one of Apple's dealer manufacturer have been found guilty for chemical poisoning of 49 employees and another supplier reported to acquire used child labor.

Though Steve careers of Apple claim that Apple is not in charge of the same, these reviews highlight shortage in honest concerns in area of development of world's popular devices. This might create as a danger for the brand Image Apple has created through the years and its own sustainability becomes questionable. Consumers hold the usage of information to realize Apple's complex product is an end result of unacceptable work environment and child labor. Then your Brand Personality in their intellects might take a big change.

Thus to avoid such a predicament it is not an option but a necessity for Honest brand Management Strategies.

The Ethical Approach

Ethical brand is regarded as an oxymoronic term by business community most importantly. They are regarded as two contradictory terms put together. But the real sense in perceiving them is as two complementary words working in synchronization with each other. Both is of no use when the other is insignificant.

While a typical Brand Strategy seeks to

Establish the brand beliefs amongst customers

Create Brand Id and market position differentiating from competitors

Create and maintain brand faithful customers

To maximize gain increased sales and extension of brand

These aims are basic and essential for any organization hoping to establish and sustain a brand and make the business profitable. But as the brand expands in size, electricity and economically, these aims are testified for their ethical commitments and that is when they flatter doubtlessly.

The Ethical method of the same brand strategy aims would possibly be,

Establish the brand worth amidst customers - By not just stating the beliefs but integrating those values at each and every stage of the organization. Brand values are promise created by the organization.

Create Brand Identification and market position differentiating from competition - By fighting fairly, without trying to override competition unethically at any means

Create and support brand devoted customers - Without fake pledges, with transparency and ecological brand practices.

To maximize profit by more sales and expansion of brand - Without causing any injury to the environment, population and stake holders, and also contributing to the society and environment responsibly.

The table will not follow any standard code of ethics but only a perspective in which the same goals can be redesigned for an honest brand.


Fashion industry is undoubtedly ever before flourishing industry not only due to its size and hype but also since it produces one of the essential commodity for which there's a increasing demand: Clothing. Fashion Industry is characterized by Labor rigorous, customer centric, quickly changing trends, extensive raw material utilization, and tedious creation and marketing operations.

Consumers of fashion brands are devoted followers with their brands. Whether it be high end fashion designer brands like Dior and Armani to the mass marketing fashion brand like Zara and M&S, brand enthusiasts have high expectation of these brands. From product quality to service these brands have to live upto their brand offer.

With Globalization, a brand's customers have access to information's of all forms. And the rising concern of the fashion consumer isn't just about how cheap their clothes are but also how honest will be the clothes they wear?

It needs to be stated here that the same consumers who question about honest position of the brands also demand lower costs of quality products. As talked about earlier in ethics there are always options,

whether to provide higher moral products and the bigger cost that accompanies it to make ecological profits

whether to give lower cost, lower moral products but still make larger profit

Unfortunately most fashion brands seem to be to own chosen the last mentioned option which could be viewed as the immediate best solution for the brand and customers. But is the solution sustainable is the problem of the hour.

Case of Ethical Brand Failure


Originated in Sweden in the entire year 1947, H&M now supports 2000 stores across the world. The brand has its platform of customers and promise them fashion and quality at the best price.

The corporate interpersonal responsibility of H&M as stated in their sustainability survey which expresses 'style and product' encompasses the majority of the honest issues of fashion industry. Their sustainability eyesight as stated is that they follow a strategy for the business operations which ensures financial, interpersonal and environmental sustainability.

But recent information claim normally, Financial Times has reported that H&M clothing's organic and natural cotton promises are deceptive as a test conducted on these so called organic and natural cotton fabrics show a outrageous amount of genetically improved cotton, (DNA revised natural cotton for better efficiency and anti-pest properties). It is well known that there is worldwide outrage against genetically changed vegetation as their ill-effects exceed the huge benefits they have got. Many countries have forbidden the cultivation and use of genetically revised cotton as they have unforeseen threats to the consumer's health, environment and the contemporary society.

Here is the situation of H&M's failed promises. Their sustainability vision has lost its software as they committed financial, public and environmental sustainability however the reports claim the opposite.


Gap, claiming to be the world's major specialty dealer, was founded by Doris and Don Fisher in the year 1969 with San Francisco as the bottom. They include array of brands namely Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. Difference now performs 3100 stores worldwide.

Interestingly GAP has dedicated another website for the reason for the Brand's sociable responsibility and honest practices. The Claims and promises are powerful and brings an optimistic aura about the brand.

Gap state governments that they believe not only in the fundamentals of honest business techniques but also to embrace a broader, deeper responsibility to people and the planet. The statement states that the brand stands up to care for the stakeholders, world and the surroundings at large and they make choices which bring no injury to them. In addition they ensure the GAP customer that every time a Space product is bought the buyer acknowledges a brandname which cares about people and planet.

But the real depth of these statements becomes doubtful when GAP is currently caught in the middle of quality of the work environment Distance suppliers are subjecting their workers to. The Telegraph studies about child-labor in factories in India sewing GAP garments.

The Saipan Islands of the pacific, Officially under US has a legal system for placing their own immigration system which facilitated garment manufacturers to generate cheap labor from china and use product labels stating Made in USA. The top Chinese held garment factories bring in young female workers from china and typically south-east Asia with assurance of good salary and work place but contrastingly with sweating shop work environment.

A critical research of what Space has stated as their honest coverage is strikingly in contrast with these accounts. In the event the ethics is as integrated into Gap's eyesight as they declare what could be possibly be the cause of these situations in factories offering Space clothing?

The Need for Authentic Ethical Brand

The cases of Difference and H&M are just types of ethical failures in Fashion Brand management. A couple of a great many other big brands associated with ethics failure the list including Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Wal-Mart and much more.

These circumstances plainly illustrates these companies didn't lack a eyesight for sustainability. They had well-structured perspective and quest for sustainable moral strategy, but what they lacked was the implementation and monitoring of the same.

It is also necessary to begin this process right from the basics. That's ethics and brand strategy should incorporate from the essential and progress up-wards through all processes of the brand development.

Research Methods

This research proposal seeks in laying the building blocks for the thorough dissertation to follow on expanding an honest brand strategy framework for the style industry. The proposal is designed in locating the problems of existing ethical strategies and their implementation and monitoring systems.


Trend Analysis

Design process



Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution



Scheduling & source allocation

Supplier Analysis

Raw material procurement



Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution



Garment Sewing Management

Fiber to fabric monitoring

Marketing & Advertising Management



Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution




Warehouse management

Inventory Management

Transportation to showrooms

Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution



Floor planning & VM

Sales & feedback

Sales & Pattern analysis


Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution



Research Development

Human Reference Management



Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution




The idea of the research framework Fig is to ensure the brand can be known to be practicing an moral strategy if and only when code of ethics is integrated at each degree of process stream of product development.

Description of the framework

The construction is set up to point out six essential process categories for a brandname to produce the finish product. The categories include

Design & merchandise

The design and merchandising is the first stage in a fashion brand process movement, as this where in fact the product is conceptualized and given form. The development research, feasibility of design, materials selection, sampling and all merchandising coordination operations takes place at this stage. This is the mind work area of the fashion product development.

Plan & source

Planning includes the pre-production scheduling, tool allocation, backward planning and ensuring commitments. Sourcing includes procurement of raw materials for the development process. This level requires large company and buyer co-ordination and resource planning.

Produce and market

The apparel production is the most labor intense of all levels of product development. However programmed, the actual trim, sew and load up requires ample workforce management. Marketing is where the brand transports its prices to the customers and involves PR


The syndication is the most important of the supply chain activities, inventory and warehouse management of completed goods, allocation planning and transport to the showroom.

Sales, examine & after sales

This is where the product is made into earnings through sales. The showroom management, floor planning, visual merchandising all enable purchasers trafficking the showroom while the sales analysts examine the sales habits and suggest on replenishment. The after-sales services and waste products management of the Brand's products are areas of concern.

Support Activities

The support activities form the backbone of the brand process circulation, which includes the essential human learning resource management making, training and keeping workforce, research development causing new improvements for the brand's portfolio and the general administrative department caring for the overall working of the brand from conceptualization to customer care.

The Ethical Checkpoint

The research is designed in finding the feasibility of experiencing an moral checkpoint at every level of product development of your apparel brand. The purpose and operation of the ethical checkpoint could be


To ensure only ethically sustainable products pass through different degrees of brand's production process.


Each brand should establish their own ethical benchmarks and code of ethics to be adopted at each degree of the Brand's product development. This code of ethics should maintain compliance with both global and local ethics requirements relating to the brand's demography.

The function of the moral checkpoint is to ensure that at each level of process circulation the ethical requirements are met and if any ethical issues arise the suitable ethical alternatives are attained prior to the product spread to another level of the procedure flow.

In this way the product at each level is guaranteed to be sustainable. Thus the brand self-monitors itself for guaranteeing the sustainability offer it has made to its consumers

End Result

The end product is not just name sake honest but holistically ethical made by honest specifications from the scrape to the done goods level.

Positive Impact

By adopting this plan the brand not only ensures it keeps committed to the people, entire world and product but also they promote positive consumerism among their consumers. This is one of the possible frameworks of real moral brand management technique for the fashion industry.

A descriptive construction for the ethical check point could be

Ethical check point

Ethical issue

Ethical Solution



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