Intermediate Luxury Fashion: Brand Building via Fat Discrimination
2016 (English)In: 11th Global Brand Conference / [ed] Stuart Roper, Saltaire, UK: Greenleaf Publishing , 2016, 23-28 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate if intermediate luxury fashion brands discriminate overweight and obese consumers.
Design/methodology/approach: 1,454 intermediate luxury garments were tallied and measured in-store in London. The physical sizes of the garments were matched to the body sizes of the population, and a gap analysis was carried out in order to determine whether the supply of clothes match the relative importance of each market segment.
Findings: While previous research shows that mass-market fashion companies do not discriminate overweight and obese consumers, intermediate luxury garments come in very small sizes compared to the individuals that make up the population.
Research limitations/implications: The findings show that purveyors of intermediate luxury fashion limit assortments of garments so they avoid fat typical user imagery.
Practical implications: Companies that market products that are sensitive to the typical user imagery can optimize their brands by limiting undesirable customer types access to their brands, provided that 1) they have the financial strength to reject customers whose image would be detrimental to the brand, 2) the companies are active in an industry in which people would tolerate customer rejection, and 3) they sell a product that actually can be denied undesirable customers.
Social implications: The study shows that fat consumers are relegated to mass-market fashion but are excluded from intermediate luxury fashion. This constitutes a social inequality.
Originality/value: The result of this study provides quantitative evidence that companies control assortments to exclude undesirable typical user imagery. It also delineates under which conditions they do it. This adds to the theory of user imagery.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Saltaire, UK: Greenleaf Publishing , 2016. 23-28 p.
Typical user imagery, fashion, discrimination
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-31457OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-31457DiVA: diva2:944292
11th Global Brand Conference, University of Bradford, Bradford, United Kingdom, 27th-29th April, 2016