The Impact of User Weight on Brands and Business Practices in Mass Market Fashion
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Overweight people claim to be mistreated by the fashion industry. If they were, it would be in line with branding theory supporting the idea of rejecting fat consumers to improve user imagery for fashion brands. However, fashion companies do not confess to such practices.
To shed some light on the subject, I have conducted two studies.
The first attempts to illustrate what effect, if any, user imagery has on fashion brands. It is an experiment designed to show how the weight of users affects consumers’ perceptions of mass market fashion brands. The findings show that consumers’ impressions of mass market fashion brands are significantly affected by the weight of its users. The effect of male user imagery is ambiguous. For women’s fashion on the other hand, slender users are to be preferred.
In the second study I examine what effects these effects have on assortments. I compare the sizes of mass market clothes to the body sizes of the population. No evidence of discrimination of overweight or obese consumers was found -quite the contrary.
The reasons for these unexpected findings may be explained by the requirements a brand must fulfil to make management of the customer base for user imagery purposes viable. The brand must be sensitive to user imagery; a requirement that mass market fashion fulfils. However, it must also be feasible for a company to exclude customers, and while garment sizes can be restricted to achieve this, the high volume sales strategy of mass market fashion apparently cannot.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet, 2010. , 84 p.
brands, brand personality, user imagery, assortments, fashion, fashion retailing
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-31482OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-31482DiVA: diva2:944834
Mårtenson, Rita, Professor
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