Globalisation, the process by which businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. The implementation of this concept has been running from as early as the 9th century, proving to be one of the oldest interaction methods between countries and continents. Globalisation brought people, cultures and products together despite the element of difference. Recently, however, this process of moving people and products around the globe has increased environmental degradation and economic inequality. In fashion this means abundance of products sold by giant retailers who can update inventory, make transnational trade deals, and coordinate world-wide distribution of goods. Sustainability maintains that we should not  be producing more than what we can consume. Globalisation was created so that we could share our cultures through the products we trade in the international market, and in order to reverse the damage being done to the environment and social relationships we can use the influence of local channels of popular culture to strengthen ethical practices in the fashion industry. 

Popular Culture

Modern popular culture is transmitted through mass media and aims to attract young people. Through social media interactions are built with people who are into the same kind of things, encouraging bonds among people of different backgrounds. Trans-continental interactions should be minimised to promote sustainability in environmental practises. It is possible for people with similar interests to interact via social media, share ideas about their influences and inspire cultural sharing without moving products across the globe. This obviously sounds like cultural appropriation, but western forces have been using other cultures for inspiration for decades and selling them back their own products with an international stamp. We are living in an age where information is more important and easier to share than products. We can sell our ideas without causing environmental degradation. What this means, however, is that we need to create strong production, services and consumer bodies within our local networks. Globalisation has served its purpose by exposing people to different cultures and practices in business, but now we need to use our local societies by utilising technology and mass media. 

Economic Inequality

Economic inequality is caused by the violation of crucial ethical principles of equal initial opportunities for all. Sustainable development, should therefore, encourage equal opportunities for everyone. Sustainable development as a concept still struggles to reach everyone due to distinctions between developing and developed countries. Economic inequality in fashion continues to thrive because our initial options are not the same, with designers still making way more money than factory workers. Recent studies also show that increasing inequality is caused by increasing incomes between countries rather than within them. This increase in equality between countries is due to lower economic growth and faster population growth in developing countries which further supports the idea that doing business locally will be more beneficial for lower income groups. Inequality in fashion stems from the same ideals that drive global inequality, but the fashion industry needs to realise that the same ideals that drive sales in the industry can also be used to reverse the damage caused by globalisation. We need to create local networks that will act as gatekeepers of our cultures and products. We also need to ensure that the ethics of fair trade; transparency, fair wages and dialogue, are adhered to. Mass media and popular culture will drive this change. 


  • Borghesi, S & Vercelli, A (2003). Sustainable globalisation. Ecological Economics, 44 (1), 77-89. doi: 10.1016/s0921-8009 (02) 00222-7

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