The following section of literature review consists of various studies, factual discussions, arguments and researches about fashion behavior, consumerism and related elements influencing such behavior. This chapter is based from scholarly references, such as books, journal archives and official web facts.
This chapter contains the following section: (a) fashion behavior – overview of the defining characteristics and definitions of the principal subject matter, (b) implications of consumerism – discusses the impact of fashion behavior in consumerism, (c) Setting of Trends – emphasizes the processes involved in the setting of trends and how can these affect an industry, (d) significance of fashion behavior – points out the value of developing and establish fashion trends to enhance consumerism, and (e) factors influencing fashion behavior – identifies the different elements influencing fashion behavior.
b. Introduction on Fashion Behavior Fashion behavior is an institutionalized collection of behaviors mandating public appeal towards particular novels introduced to the public consumers (Shepard, Andersen and Taylor, 2000 p. 598). According to Crane (2001), the characteristics of fashion behavior include cyclical notions of “Ins” and “Out”, which also translate to simpler “new” and “old” trends of society (p. 179).
Establishing, setting and reinventing different forms of fashion within a particular society can be complex and invasive in nature, especially among the recipients of fashion trends (Cunningham, 2002 p. 3). Styles, trends and patterns of living existing in a given society are all influenced by fashion and its identity as a social mediator. In fact, value depreciations of almost every commodity or service are also affected by the prevailing fashion behavior manifested within the society.
According to Nickerson (2003), fashion behavior influences the rate of resource utilization and the law of supply-and-demand in the affected commodity or service (p. 162). From the marketing point of view, fashion behavior is an important tool in (a) setting and influencing the consumers’ demand over a commodity, (b) establishing the value of commodity, (c) derivation of the commodity’s competence level and (d) market’s will of purchase (Baker, 2001 p. 14).
According to Kawamura (2005), collective behavior allows the force of fashion to directly affect these marketing components and the prevailing marketing trends in a society (p. 702). A large number of members in a society or group of prominent individuals in society supporting a particular fashion are likely to stimulate dramatic public attention over a commodity (Nickerson, 2003 p. 163). Collective number of prominent people in society further emphasizes the strength and popularity of the fashionable commodity, which consequently draws the public over the commodity.
According to Baker (2001), “fashion behavior is a synthetic creation of the seller” that offers diversity in various direction catering to the large, multifaceted members of society (p. 14). Considering these characteristics associated with the broad concept of fashion behavior, other important components that must be taken into account include (a) the elements of fashion behavior, (b) setting of trends, (c) fashion and consumerism relationship, (d) significance of fashion behavior and (e) the cyclical process of fashion. II. Discussion
a. Fashion Behavior Enhancing commodity publicity and marketing of goods are greatly influenced by the trends of fashion behavior prevailing in a society (Baker, 2001 p. 14). Added by Shepard, Andersen and Taylor (2000; quoted from Tierney, 1994), fashion is derived from the different collective preoccupations wherein “many people, over a relatively broad social spectrum, engage in similar behavior and have a shared definition of their behavior as needed to bring social change or to identify their place in the society” (p. 597).
Established fashion behavior immediately targets the prevailing social attitude over a particular commodity and gradually replaces the older set of trends by the newer versions of fashionable commodities (Nickerson, 2003 p. 162). The social phenomenon of fashion transcends the fundamental needs of living into a unique statement of social identity and social relations (Bohdanowicz and Clamp, 1994 p. 14). As supported by Shepard, Andersen and Taylor (2000), general acceptance of public majority and existing norms supported by the culture of society direct the response of consumers towards the introduced commodity (p.
598). In example of consumer-buying related to fashion behavior, the generally acknowledged illustration of feminine preference in selecting and buying clothes always have similar characteristics with the fashion clothing worn by prominent persons of society. Marketing an item based on fashion set by the influential proponents of society influence consumers’ demand and preference (Becker and Murphy, 2000 p. 140). Such phenomenon explains the theoretical framework of Consumer-Buying behavior, which relates the psychology of buying, social establishment of fashion trends and anthropological analysis of culture.
Breen (2004) states that “fashion provides the catalyst necessary to transform normal human desire into a powerful social force capable of driving the new consumer marketplace” (p. 152). Indeed, such statement has been proven by the study of Kwon and Workman (1996) using the theory of Optimum Stimulation Level (OSL). According to Kwon and Workman (1996), the qualified 355 students who filled out a questionnaire based on OSL revealed the highly fashionable instincts of females compared to male. Based on the study results, fashion behavior prevailing in a society guides the consumers’ behavior in adopting and buying new clothing fashions.
In another study conducted by Beaudoin, Moore and Goldsmith (1998), sample size consisting of 283 female consumers between 18 and 25 years old were asked to fill-out a mailed questionnaires pertaining to their attitudes towards buying imported vs. domestic clothing products. Fashion-oriented females have significantly shown wider interest and positive attitude in availing signatures and American-made clothing lines than imported products (Beaudoin, Moore and Goldsmith, 1998). Prevailing fashion behavior evidently influences the consumers’ selection and preferences, as well as the demand structure of the marketed commodities.
As explained by Bohdanowicz and Clamp (1994), fashion-related buying behaviors of consumers can be well presented by several theories of basic human needs and social frameworks, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Personality-Trait Theory (p. 19). Fashion behavior based on Maslow’s theory is emphasized as an intrinsic part of the (a) social needs, (b) esteem needs and (c) need for self-actualization, while Personality-Trait Theory explains fashion-oriented buying behavior as related to the innate personality of the person affecting his or her preference on fashion buying.
b. Fashion: Implications of Consumerism Consumerism is the basic ideology of marketing wherein trends and potential tools in maximizing the products’ appeal among consumers are developed to enhance the demand and purchasing desire of the collective public (Berger and Huntington, 2003 p. 28). According to Heilmann and Beetham (2004), themes of fashion prevailing in the society serve as public media instrument and key elements in developing commodity impact towards the market setting (p. 145).
In another marketing study conducted by Goldsmith, Moore and Beaudoin (1999), results from surveyed 281 adult women were consistent with earlier published literatures revealing the value of fashion behavior in enhancing products’ appeal towards consumer. Using the Malhotra self-concept scale to measure consumers’ self-mage after significant exposure in different marketplaces, 67% (188 out of 281 adults) of exposed samples verbalized enhanced self-image (pleasant, colorful, contemporary, stylish, etc. ) after replacing their former clothing style.
As explained by Miles (1998), the impact of fashion trends in consumerism lies in the advancement and rapid growth of consumer demand based on social interdependence on various levels of economic and environmental elements (e. g. popularity acknowledged by political campaigns, celebrity fashion setting, etc) (p. 101). In the study of Kim, Forsythe and Gu et al. (2002), the relationships of various fashion-buying elements consisting of (a) consumer purchasing behaviors, (b) needs and (c) attitudes were analyzed to determine the effects of fashion-buying behavior on consumer demand.
Results revealed the majority of consumers selecting and buying based on popular brands of products since the prevailing perceptions indicate existing beliefs on the products’ popularity and established quality. The relationship between consumer and fashion behavior moves in a cyclical direction or in a continuous process of reinvention and recycling of fashion ideas (Baker, 2001 p. 14). According to Ginneken (2003), fashion behavior cycles vary in prevalence and depend largely on the commodity being affected (p. 61).
In addition, fashion trends may even overlap and occur on multiple levels for a single commodity or vice versa. Miles (1998) points out that the cyclical nature of fashion behavior and associated trends occur naturally and spontaneously “in order to perpetuate a system of ‘newness’ that depends on the desire to acquire fresh modes of fashion” (p. 101). Fashion cycle takes into account the different elements required in setting of trends appealing to the consumers. Collective strategy in dealing with crowd market behavior utilizes various fields of approaches, such as mass psychology of consumerism, patterns of fashion, etc.
According to Pruden (2007), fashion behavior follows a pattern of innovation passing from first-hand molders to mass consumer recipients depending on the course of fashion setting for a particular commodity (p. 50). For example, back in the 1960s, fashionable hair illustrations of African people consist of Afro hairstyle or braded long hairs. These were later replaced by versions of cartoon character hairstyles with different hair colors derived from popular Japanese anime look.
Again, recently these 2006 to 2008, punk hairstyles have revolutionized its concept by imitating afro look with mixes of Anime-looking designs. According to Power and Scott (2004), innovation and creativity are two characteristics of fashion affecting the consumers’ response on a given commodity (p. 82). Indeed, utilization of fashion behavior in maximizing the potential of consumers’ response or demand for a particular commodity is an effective marketing tool in enhancing consumerism. c. Setting of Trends: Consumer Behavior and Impacts in the Industry
Various theoretical frameworks, such as Trickle-Down Theory and McClelland’s Trio of Needs, explain the process of fashion trend setting. According to the theory established by Simmel (1904) known as Trickle-Down Theory, there are “two conflicting principles (Subordinate vs. Superordinate) acting as engines or motive forces for innovation” (McCracken, 2000 p. 93). Subordinate social forces exist within the society to counter the fashion trend set by the superordinate forces, while the opposed party respond by maintaining or reorganizing new fashion schemes.
On the other hand, the theory on Trio of Needs by McClelland comprises three hierarchy levels almost similar to Maslow’s hierarchy: (a) power needs, (b) need for affiliations and (c) achievement needs (Bohdanowicz and Clamp, 1994 p. 14). As explained by the theory, power needs relate to the subconscious desire of an individual to control one’s environment including other people. The concept of power needs motivates trend setting by exemplifying the desire of an individual to popularize their practice or preference, which results to feelings of dominion over others’ preferences.
Meanwhile, need for affiliations works by expanding the influence of trend to form collective supporters of fashion trend. Lastly, achievement needs continue to progress and development the innovator’s self-esteem and self-actualization as the fashion trend expands, which consequently motivates the innovator to reinvent and re-popularize a newer version of fashion trend. According to Hines and Bruce (2007), the process is continuous and cyclical, and fashion trends remain modifiable by nature through different innovations obtained from various areas (p.
202). The visual nature of fashion styles and brand images influence the fashion trend, and eventually the consumers’ demand over the popularizing commodity. Setting of fashion trend is the core component in the establishment of fashion behavior for a defined group of society towards a particular commodity (Michman and Mazze, 2001 p. 55). According to the study of Law, Zhang and Leung (2004), the impact of fashion trend and fashion-based buying is linear due to mass-market consumption.
Using grounded theory in the said study, fashion trends were found to occur in multi-faceted presentations influencing the consumers’ rejecting and accepting behavior. As stated by Law, Zhang and Leung (2004), “it is found that the interaction of being fashionable, perceived fashionability and system participation affects the ultimate decision on fashion consumption”. Considering these conditions, Brunson and Jacobson (2000) explain the linear nature of fashion trends wherein fashion innovators set their artificial trends according to the collective consumers’ preference and not mainly based on their own personal styles (p.
152). However, this idea excludes accidental fashion trendsetters who do not intentionally set trends aimed at satisfying the preferences of the general consumers. In the study of Doeringer and Crean (2006), fashion trends brought by innovators via linear approach have been macro-analyzed based on buyer-supplier relations. Based on the study results, linear approach on trend setting of fashion behavior increases the competitiveness of the product most especially among large-scale supply chains with massive supply chains and wider consumer reach.
As supported by Michman and Mazze (2001), fashion trends and consumer behavior are two elements directly linked by linear selling approach with cyclical reinvention process with varying levels of uncertainties due to consumers’ level rejection or acceptance (p. 56). Indeed, setting trends of fashion behavior primarily depends on the consumers’ preferences. d. Significance of Fashion Behavior Construction and establishment of social identity is the primary importance of fashion setting and related formed behaviors (Crane, 2001 p. 179).
According to Shepard, Andersen and Taylor (2000), fashion is an important social tool in establishing a sense of group identity and social differentiations (p. 598). The idea of fashion as a market or publicity tool has evolved overtime depending on the commodity being introduced in the market. According to Saren (2006), fashion behavior has become the basis of a social-based marketing strategy called fast fashion wherein fashion trends of commodity are introduced spontaneously in the market in order to maximize the consumers’ prevailing demands (p. 222).
Clearly, the prime function of fashion behavior lies in the benefit of maximizing market profitability of a particular commodity. Bennett (2005) adds that fashion’s significance in the area of market establishment is the (a) diversification of market commodities, (b) improvement in the available products, and (c) establishment of constantly improving socioeconomic conditions in a society. The importance of fashion behavior in the fields of consumerism and marketing is only attainable once the grounds of commodity popularization has been initiated and developed spontaneously (Crane, 2001 p.
179). Based on the study of Fourney, Park and Brandon (2005), a randomized sample population consisting of 739 female consumers has been evaluated according to purchasing behaviors derived from the multidiversified markets of three metropolitan states in U. S. According to the study results, visual characteristics, product quality, style, and designs have all contributed to the frequency of purchase among the samples tested. Significantly, the study indicates the value of a multidiversified market in enhancing the linear trend of consumerism.
In fact, according to Bennett (2005), contemporary fashion industry as a marketing tool triggers an unseen force of product development and sophistication, which eventually increases the heterogeneousity of available commodities in the market (p. 97). The significance of fashion behavior in market diversity further enhances the linear relationship between consumer and available marketed commodities (Worth, Budd and Ruben, 2003 p. 138).
For example, if the fashion trend of plain colored strapless dresses styled by a brand promoted by a well-known actress is displayed during a celebrity awards ceremony, the likelihood of increasing the products impact towards the consumers is expected to increase. Consequently, once the demand of the product increases, other competing brands shall eventually style their own unique versions of the popularized plain colored strapless dresses.
With an increasing product competition brought by the linear response of consumers towards the popularized commodity, the demand in this particular commodity is likely to cause further innovations of styled, strapless dresses; hence, increasing the fashion behavior prevailing within the social market. The effectiveness and strength of fashion behavior – as a marketing tool – relate to the collective nature of fashion trends, specifically the massive influence of fashion on the prevailing market structure (Currid, 2007 p. 130).
As supported by Jackson and haw (2006), fashion behaviors tend to work as indirect marketing communication schemes directing consumers in availing a particular commodity in order to satisfy social or self-esteem needs (p. 172). Since self-esteem and social needs are generic to human nature, clustered consumption of a particular commodity is likely to occur depending on the scope of fashion trend impact among consumers within a society. e. Factors Influencing fashion Behavior Fashion, as a social collection of behavior, consists of three necessary patterns according to Lofland (2008), namely: (1) lifestyle, (2) activity system and (3) item (p.
66). These three components may occur exhaustively depending on the recipient society and the commodity being introduced towards the public consumers. According to Hines and Bruce (2007), the cycle of fashion-oriented consumption largely depends on the external influences existing within the consumer-market environment (p. 66). First, lifestyle element involves the “rich package or cluster of items in dress, speech, activity, belief and social relations” defined as “distinctive and coherent cluster” (Lofland, 2008 p. 68).
From the latter sections, the height of market impacts on consumer behavior occurs when products are presented and popularized with large-scale supplies meeting the enlarged fashion demands of the consumers (Currid, 2007 p. 130). According to Converse (2007), goods influenced by fashion trends largely depend on important elements, specifically (a) the prevailing social lifestyle among highly sophisticated or generic communities, (b) prevailing styles of merchandise, (c) the conditions of supply and demand of the commodity, and (d) the popularity of the product (p.
422). Meanwhile, activity system and personalized/ culture-specific fashions are likely to be more personalized depending on the person’s preferences according to the presets of fashionable activities, such as sports, self-enhancing practices, etc (Lofland, 2008 p. 68). Aside from activities influencing and establishing an existing fashion trend or behavior, specific groups or cultures also influence the establishment such fashion trends (Bohdanowicz and Clamp, 1994 p. 19).
Based on the theoretical framework of personality-trait consumerism, fashion setting of a particular commodity is also influenced by the prevailing social demands matching the existing function and supply of the required commodity (Hines and Bruce, 2007 p. 202). For example, the fashion trends of outdoor blouses for pregnant women are expected to be limited among the fashion demands of pregnant women. According to Barnes (2006), fashion behavior may change anytime depending on the social phenomenon existing within a society (e.
g. fashion of theatrical plays replaced by digital movies, etc); although, some fashion trends possess long-term heights of popularity (e. g. basketball sports, etc) (p. 334). Despite the dynamic nature of fashion behavior, most culture-specific fashion items are likely to prolong its viability within the prevailing buyer-consumer relationships (Crane, 2001 p. 179). Lastly, items are specifically appointed fashion symbolism set by different events of cultural and social acknowledgements from the public majority.
According to Lofland (2008), “fashion items lack obtrusiveness into the participant’s life” and commonly exists as materials or trendy practices towards a specific object (p. 67). According to Jackson and Shaw (2006), external components existing in the social environment are capable of establishing and influencing existing fashion behavior (p. 173). Social events (e. g. political campaigns, historical casualties, e. g. ), prominent persona, groups or organizations, and prevailing social symbols often affect the fashion objects appealing to the consumers (Bohdanowicz and Clamp, 1994 p.
19). Indeed, fashion behaviors can be affected by various external influences existing in socioeconomic environment. Consequently, established trends of fashion affect the status of supply-and-demand on a particular commodity requested by clustered or group of consumers. III. Synthesis In synthesis of the literature review, fashion behaviors and trends move in cyclical pathway in order to facilitate (a) market diversification, (b) reinvention of different commodities and (c) recycling and modification of previously popular fashion trend.
The impact of fashion behavior in the consumers’ purchasing power and demand of commodity plays the principal function of fashion behavior. Prevailing fashion often affects the decisions of consumers on whether to avail the popular consumers based on needs or wants perspectives. Fashion behavior is commonly used as an instrument to maximize the product profitability due to its set trends within a society. Unfortunately, the nature of fashion behavior is linear or works in a straight pathway from innovators to consumers.
Symbiosis between these two components occurs during the process of consumer demand increase and innovator’s increase of received profit. Lastly, elements affecting the setting of fashion trends commonly include 1) lifestyle, (2) activity system or personalized/ culture-specific fashion and (3) item. These components are in turn affected by different subcomponents, such as (a) the prevailing social lifestyle among highly sophisticated or generic communities, (b) prevailing styles of merchandise, (c) the conditions of supply and demand of the commodity, and (d) the popularity of the product.
Based on the literature reviews, gaps found to suggest potential development of research include: a. Quantitative research in the profitability of fashion behavior and trends in consumer behaviors b. Qualitative study on the product diversification induced by fashion cycle and trend setting IV. References Baker, M. (2001). Marketing: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. New York, London: Taylor & Francis Press. Barnes, L. (2006). Fast Fashion. London, New York: Emerald Group Publishing. Beaudoin, P. , Moore, M. A. , & Goldsmith, R.
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