Dressing For Security Or Risk? An Exploratory Study of Two Different Ways of Consuming Fashion

ABSTRACT - This paper is based on an exploratory study of the exchange of meaning taking place in relation to the consumption of clothes. Based on our data analysis, we create a distinction between two consumer types, the security oriented fashion consumer and the risk oriented fashion consumer, who seem to have so distinctly different motives for consuming clothes that there is practically no diffusion of innovations between them. The two consumer types are described according to their consumer and purchase behavior as well as according to their fashion media consumption, and in the end new questions are proposed for fashion diffusion research on a changing fashion arena.



Citation:

Anne Flemmert Jensen and Per Ostergaard (1998) ,"Dressing For Security Or Risk? An Exploratory Study of Two Different Ways of Consuming Fashion", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, eds. Basil G. Englis and Anna Olofsson, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 98-103.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, 1998      Pages 98-103

DRESSING FOR SECURITY OR RISK? AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF TWO DIFFERENT WAYS OF CONSUMING FASHION

Anne Flemmert Jensen, Odense University, Denmark

Per Ostergaard, Odense University, Denmark

ABSTRACT -

This paper is based on an exploratory study of the exchange of meaning taking place in relation to the consumption of clothes. Based on our data analysis, we create a distinction between two consumer types, the security oriented fashion consumer and the risk oriented fashion consumer, who seem to have so distinctly different motives for consuming clothes that there is practically no diffusion of innovations between them. The two consumer types are described according to their consumer and purchase behavior as well as according to their fashion media consumption, and in the end new questions are proposed for fashion diffusion research on a changing fashion arena.

INTRODUCTION

Knowledge about the diffusion and proliferation of ideas is crucial to companies marketing fashionable objects; not least to the clothing industry. And a considerable amount of research has already been conducted on the diffusion of fashion innovations. Research into the diffusion of fashion, however, is biased in many ways. Frst, as it is the case with diffusion research in general (cf. Rogers, 1977; Sheth, 1981), it suffers from a pro-change bias. This has resulted in a concentration of research activities around identifying the so-called fashion innovators and early adopters (e.g. Baumgarten, 1975; Davis & Lennon, 1985; Goldsmith & Stith, 1992/93; Gorden, Infante & Braun, 1985; Sproles and King, 1973, Summers, 1970), and in labeling consumers, who are resistant toward change, with negatively loaded names (at least to a modern, neomanic culture like the western one) as e.g. 'late majority’ or 'laggards’ (e.g. Rogers, 1995).

One very significant determinant of fashion is its dynamic character reflected by it’s pursuit of constant change (e.g. Finkelstein, 1991; Lipovetsky, 1994; McCracken, 1988). Therefore it is, indeed, highly relevant to explore the concept of innovativeness; not least because knowledge of innovators and their diffusion channels is an important tool of prediction for the fashion industry. However, since it is assumed that app. 84% of the population can be characterized as either 'early majority’ (34%), 'late majority’(34%), or 'laggards’(16%) (Rogers, 1995), thorough knowledge of these consumer groups, and why they are resistant toward change, must justifiably also be considered significant to the fashion industry.

The second thing one is faced by when reviewing past and present work on fashion diffusion, is the absence of attempts to look into different consumer life worlds to thoroughly explore some of the social-psychological phenomena guiding specific types of consumer behavior.

Based on these thoughts, we try to transcend the question of pro- or con-change by 'peeping’ into the life world of two radically different fashion consumer types to look for social-psychological determinants leading them to be either resistant or receptive toward fashion innovations, respectively, and to see whether this has any effect on their fashion media consumption.

METHOD

In this particular study, our object of analysis is fashionable clothes. The topic of the consumer interviews was the consumption of fashionable clothes, and the retailer and producer interviews have exclusively been conducted within the clothing industry as a specific branch of the (much more excessive, needless to say) fashion industry. The reason for our choice of clothing as an analytical object is that the consumption of clothes is so strongly affected (some would say 'infected’) by the fashion concept. We must emphasize, though, that our definition of the term 'fashion’ is not identical to the objects in fashion; under which the objects of clothing are to be counted. We do, though, consider it possible to gain insight into the ontology of fashion by observing and analyzing the consumption of particular objects in fashion; in this case clothes.

The data material has been gathered in Denmark through the use of a long row of qualitative data gathering techniques. Our main data source is a collection of 12 personal and 2 focus group interviews conducted with female consumers between the age of 20-35. A sample of 6 respondents have been picked according to 'snowball’ sampling, and the rest have been chosen from a wide network of contacts. The interviews have been semi-structured, and centered around questioning techniques like 'grand-tour’ questions (McCracken, 1988) supplemented by cues, prompts, and projective techniques as known from e.g. McCracken (1988), Morgan (1988), Robson & Foster (1989), and Strauss & Corbin (1990). We have tried to probe into different fashion consumers’ social and/or psychological attachments to the consumption of clothes, and to talk to them about where they seek and/or receive inspiration, how they make use of this inspiration in particular purchasing situations, and how it influences their consumption behavior as a whole.

We have also conducted interviews with retailers and producers within the fashion industry, as well as with fashion journalists, designers, and fashion models; partly to gain insight into the structure and power relations of the industry, the different problems facing the fashion industry, and to get an overview of the different 'agents’ of fashion; some of whom can also be considered fashion opinion leaders.

Last but not least, we have employed different observation techniques such as field notes and observation notes, and we have used written and illustrated material, such as newspaper articles and illustrations, magazine articles, illustrations, and ads as a means of applying projective techniques to our interviews, and as observation material.

DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN FASHION CONSUMERS

During the process of data collection and analysis we found that one significant way of distinguishing between fashion consumers is to place them on a continuum between two poles defining consumers as mainly security oriented or mainly risk oriented in relation to their fashion consumer behavior. This emphasis on risk is by no means novel to diffusion research; on the contrary, it has been employed in different ways in many studies of diffusion (Sheth, 1981; Rogers 1995) as well as in studies of the relation between sub cultures and mainstream culture (Barthes, 1967; Hebdige; 1977).

In our data material, though, we find suggestions of totally different cultural and aesthetic focuses among these two fashion consumer groups; a distinction which raises the question of the general applicability of the idea of diffusion as a sequential process, because it suggests thatBamong certain fashion consumer groups todayBthere is no diffusion. This finding in the consumer interviews is further supported by findings in our interviews with producers, designers, and retailers, and it is discussed in section 6.

FIGURE A

In figure 1, we illustrate the five different concepts upon which our categorization of the two consumer types builds.

As mentioned, our categorization is constructed from the concept of perceived risk. The security oriented fashion consumer is concerned with reducing perceived risk, she adapts to specific situations, and she emphasizes what is generally perceived as 'suitable’. These determining characteristics become visible in her clothing consumption and in her fashion media consumption in a number of different ways which will be explained more thoroughly in the following section.

The risk oriented consumer emphasizes increasing perceived risk and differentiating herself from others, and she does this by focusing explicitly on what is culturally categorized as ugly. Her determining characteristics also reveal themselves in her clothing consumption and fashion media consumption, to be explained further in section 4.2.

INVOLVEMENT

It is important to emphasize that both the risk oriented consumers and the security oriented consumers can be highly involved in the consumption of clothes. One of the risk oriented consumers says:

I spend a lot of money on clothes; I spend as much as possible, I would sayBbecause I don’t spend money on anything else. [..] [Clothes] means a lot to me, I guess. It means what you radiate. [..] I buy most of my clothes when I go travelling. We go to London, New York, and Rome to buy clothesBbecause I don’t think [..] it’s any fun to wear something that you can find around the stores.... so it’s mostly abroad. And second hand....as much second hand clothes as possible.

This consumer is soinvolved in the consumption of clothes that she claims that she spends all of her money and a great deal of her time on finding the 'right’ clothes. She travels to some of the major cities of the world just to buy clothes and be a part of the fashion scene, and she spends a lot of time and energy browsing through second hand stores. Her involvement in the consumption of clothes can be characterized as a differentiation motive. She does not wish to be seen wearing anything that someone else in Copenhagen might also be wearing. Therefore she puts a lot of time, money, and energy into expressing fashionableness through creativity and extreme individuality.

A predominantly security oriented respondent, on the other hand, who turned out to be very emotionally connected to her clothes, told us:

I would be lying if I said that clothes didn’t mean a lot to me, that’s for sure. [...]I mostly wear jogging suits or training outfits, because I do a lot of sports (she is a sports teacher). But then again, I don’t go out buying a jogging suit from Bilka (a Danish discount shopping chain). I wear expensive training suits. I also iron my jogging-suits and my T-shirts. All my jogging-suits and training outfits are nicely hung up on hangers in one closet, and all of my nice clothes is in another closet. The shoes are lined up at the bottom, and my T-shirts are in the drawers. Then if you’re going somewhere, you can browse through the long line of newly washed clothesBit’s even hung up according to colors; not to be kidding. [..] But I also buy a lot of normal clothes on the side. I always didBI don’t know why, I just do (ha, ha). And then it hangs in the closetBsome of it I’ve only worn once or twice, you know. But I’m very into it, that’s for sure. [...] I like new clothes, and I think a lot about what to wear. When I’m going to a party or something, I can spend a long timeBmany days actually Bplanning what to wear. And before I go to sleep at night, I have to know what I’m going to wear at work the next dayBotherwise I can’t sleep.

It is quite obvious that this respondent is very involved in the consumption of clothes. But it is a very security oriented kind of involvement. She uses clothes to inject order, certaintyBand thus securityBinto her life by arranging her wardrobe neatly on hangers in her closets according to color and style. She injects security into the near and far future by planning as far ahead as possible what to wear. Through her planning process, she thus attempts to gain control over the unknown (= the future).

Thus involvement has nothing to do with being risk oriented or security oriented; consumers can be just as highly involved in a security oriented kind of fashion consumption as they can in a risk oriented one.

After this general introduction to our data analysis, we will proceed with describing the security oriented and the risk oriented consumer types, respectively.

THE SECURITY ORIENTED CONSUMER

I have taken one of these color test courses, you know, and actually I only buy the colors that I have been told suit me. So I mainly buy green and brown colors like this (points to her t-shirt), and my outfits usually consist of three different colors; otherwise I look dull. I found out some time ago that there are some colors which I like, but if I buy clothes with those colors I end up not wearing it, because the colors don’t suit me. For instance, as late as last week I found a dress on sale which I really liked. But when I came home and tried it on, I must admit that I looked terribleBsimply because it was the wrong color.

Consumer and purchasing Behavir

As exemplified by the statement above made by one of our respondents, one of the things occupying the security oriented consumer is the reduction of perceived risk. In the case above, the consumer tries to reduce her insecurity concerning clothing styles and colors by sticking categorically to some very simple dress codes offered by a so-called color expert. In fact, she revealed that, if unable to find the 'prescribed’ colorsBshe would buy white cotton-clothes which she would dye accordingly.

Risk reduction can also take place through an emphasis on brand image and high prices. One respondent said:

I wear a lot of jogging suits and training suits. I buy H20 and Adidas and Reebok, Nike and all of those known brands. I don’t buy anything from Bilka (a Danish discount shopping chain) or anything that isn’t expensive.

This particular respondent was continually referring to brands and high prices to convince the interviewer (and maybe also to reassure herself) that she had style and knew the code of 'good taste’.

Another way of reducing risk or of increasing security is to leave ones purchase decisions to specially hand-picked sales personnel. Among security oriented consumers there is generally great scepticism toward sales people due to the idea that they may 'force something on to you’. In other words, the security oriented consumer protects herself from the 'alluring semiotic muddle’ by displaying contempt of, or distrust toward, sales personnel in general. One respondent, for instance, said:

I practically never go shopping for clothes with others. I don’t know why, reallyBI think it’s because I let myself be distracted by what they say..... and sometimes... Again, it’s like, I know what suits me, so although some sales person stands there and says: "Wow, that looks really good on you", I just go: (frowns, and roles her eyes), you knowBI don’t fall for it.

But when a particular sales person has gained the trust of the security oriented consumer, many purchasing decisions are more or less left to him/her because he/she is perceived as a direct source to the code of 'good taste’. As one respondent said:

When I lived in Odense (a city with app. 200,000 inhabitants), I used to buy my clothes in Magasin (Danish shopping mall with a rather conservative, up-scale image). There was especially one sales woman who knew my needs. When I came into the store, I briefly told her what the clothes was going to be used for, and then she found just the right thing for me.

In this statement it becomes quite clear that the sales person is used as a direct link to the dogmas of 'good taste’. When the respondent says that the sales person 'knows her needs’, she is naturally not referring to a stable set of needs which the sales person has become acquainted with; the respondent’s 'needs’ change with each new fashion season. Thus when she talks about her 'needs’, she is of course referring to her need for constantly reflecting the standards of 'good taste’, and she safely leaves the selection process to her source.

Another thing emphasized by the scurity oriented consumer is the concept of 'suitability’. They find it important to wear clothes which is considered 'suitable’ by the majority of people surrounding them. This results in a high degree of adaptation to specific events and/or situations. As one respondent says:

I think a lot about what I’m going to (i.e. the type of event she is invited to). Probably too much, if you ask some of the people who know me. I’m so bad thatBif I was invited to a wedding two months from now, for instanceBI would start thinking about what to wear already now.

The emphasis on 'suitability’ also results in a focus on those clothing items culturally classified as 'beautiful’. First of all, this implies a focus on looking your best; accentuating those qualities about yourself which live up to existing standards of beauty.

Secondly, it results in never wearing anything that would break with the existing standards of what is generally considered beautiful, or aesthetically correct:

When some new trend is introduced, I reject it immediately, if I don’t like it at once. And absolutely no one and nothing can make me wear it. [...] Some people may think: "Well, well, we will see about that, now. But if it gets too extreme or too ugly, I won’t wear it. Lately, I think a lot of the trendy clothes has been downright ugly. I don’t understand why some girls wear clothes that make them more ugly, just to be trendy. I think it’s been a little like that lately; that the trendy clothes has been so ugly that it makes the people wearing it even more ugly.

In fact, this particular respondent expresses one of the major gaps between the security oriented fashion consumer and the risk oriented fashion consumer. The security oriented fashion consumer never deviates from pursuing 'the beautiful’, whereas the risk oriented consumer explicitely pursues 'ugliness’.

Consuming the media

On the one hand, fashion journalists have a function as opinion leaders. On the other hand, aesthetic expressions represent a certain degree of conformity when they are presented in magazines. We found that it could be interesting to see whether there is a difference in the kind of fashion media consumed by security oriented and risk oriented consumers, respectively, and whether there is any differences in the way they perceive and derive inspiration from the fashion media. And in fact there turned out to be many differences among the two consumer types.

The mediating role of fashion journalists is most direct toward the security-oriented consumers, who derive their inspiration in a very explicit manner from reading mainstream Danish fashion magazines. Just as they often perceive certain hand-picked sales persons as direct sources to the dogmas of 'good taste’, they also often perceive fashion journalists as direct sources of information concerning which aesthetic codes are culturally acceptable and therefore desirable. One consumer says:

Naturally I read Femina and Alt for Damerne (Mainstream Danish fashion magazines). So I know from these magazines what’s inn; whether the skirts have to be short or long or both, which colors are inn and so on. I keep that in mind.

The information received from the magazines may be used in a very direct way in the sense that the security oriented consumer may go or call around the stores to purchase the exact same outfits as those illustrated in mainstream fashion magazines.

THE RISK ORIENTED CONSUMER

It’s all about self confidence; about daring to take risks. Through my clothes I always try to break ground. Sometimes in the morning, my room-mate and I stand in front of the mirror going: "Noooo, do I really have the guts to wear this; I mean how much of your stomach can you show?" And the other one goes: "Do it!!!!". So I guess we do push each other to take risks.

Consumer and purchasing Behavior

The major difference between the risk oriented consumer and the security oriented consumer is thatBwhereas the security oriented consumer involves herself in consuming clothes in order to create certainty and obtain broad recognition of her 'good taste’Bthe risk oriented consumer is preoccupied with increasing perceived risk. Running risks and 'breaking ground’, as the respondent above puts it, is an intricate part of belonging to her group. Thus the risk oriented fashion consumer gains acceptance among her group peers through her risk oriented fashion consumer behavior.

In an overstylized world where almost everyone is an 'everyday semiotician’ handling the different lifestyle signs quite competently, no differentiation can be obtained through the consumption of renowned brands. In such a world, creativity becomes one of the most central concepts. Therefore, the most innovative consumers go to second hand stores to buy their clothes.Boften cheap clothes.

I would never ever buy a pair of shoes or a jacket or a blouse or whatever with Chanel printed all over itBthat’s no fun!! It’s not personal style; it is buying your way to success, and anyone can do that! The secret is to go into a second hand store and say: "That one is cool; I’ll wear that". It is all about standing up to people; especially if you dress differently, you really stand up to people and say: "I think this one is cool. You may think it is ugly like hell, but I love it". It’s like saying "take it or leave it"that’s real honesty, in my opinion.

Whereas the security oriented fashion consumer emphasizes 'suitability’, the risk oriented fashion consumer emphasizes differentiation. One respondent, for instance, says:

It annoys me like hell to walk down the street and see people who walk around in their jogging suitsBit depresses the hell out of me. I think it is cool when people have the guts to stand out. [...] But I have always generally done things that stood out... as a type, not just through the way I dress.

The situational adaptation which is characteristic of the security oriented fashion consumer, is by the risk oriented fashion consumer replaced by a pursuit of individuality represented throughBalmost old fashionedBconcepts like 'courage’, and 'honesty’. Remaining 'true’ to ones style Balso at special occasions when it may be expected that one 'blends in’ and wears something 'suitable’Bis important to the risk oriented fashion consumer who describes this very dramatically as having the 'courage’ to be 'honest’ to ones style; no matter how ugly or unsuitable others may find it.

Whereas the security oriented consumer rejects new trends and styles if they do not fit into her perception of 'good taste’, the risk oriented fashion consumer pursues 'the novel’ for the sole sake of novelty. To the risk oriented fashion consumer it is not an issue whether new trend are beautiful or ugly; as long as they are new. One respondent says:

I think we (the 'in-group’) are more open-minded; I mean, we are so used to seeing new things the whole time. We never reject new styles because we think, they are ugly Bon the contrary, we think: "Wow, that’s something new!!"

As mentioned, the security oriented consumer tries to embody the dogmas of good taste. Therefore, they pursue existing standards of beauty in every way, and they do not at all understand styles which seem to play on the theme of ugliness. This is one of the main differences between security oriented consumers and risk oriented consumers. We have several examples from our interviews of risk oriented fashion consumers explicitly pursuing signs which are socially classified as signs of 'ugliness’. In the following, we give some examples from the interviews:

I have a pair of really extreme Frankenstein shoes; boots, that is. And the soles are this thick (shows it with her hands). They are really ugly, and if you want to disappear in the crowd, you should not wear those shoes!!!

[...] If I see another girl with a pair of really extreme Frankenstein shoes, my reaction is: "Wow, they are uglyBwhere did you buy those? I’ve got to have those!!"

It must be emphasized that when these consumers explicitly refer to a pursuit of 'ugliness’, they are not referring to ugliness in its absolute form; this would make them identical to 'the styleless’, which they deplore. The kind of ugliness pursued by these consumers naturally also exists within the dogmas of fashion. It is important to distinguish between the kind of ugliness determined as 'accidental’ and 'unmanaged’, and the kind of ugliness which can be determined as 'consistent’ and 'managed’. The latter is the kind of ugliness emphasized by the risk-oriented respondents, and they quite unproblematically point their finger at the 'accidental’, 'unmanaged’ ugliness which they deplore due to its lack of style and creativity.

Thus the ugliness sought for by these respondents is not ugliness on an ontological level, but ugliness on a paradigmatic, (post) structural level; ugliness in ironic opposition to what is thought of as 'beautiful’. What is emphasized and exchanged is the social classification of 'ugliness’ as part of the game of distinction. In an over-stylized world where alsmost anyone is into lifestyle management, and masters the signs of 'style’ and 'good taste’, other criteria have to be entered into the game of distinction. Because the ugliness is launched in a consistent manner, and born as if it is a sign of beauty, the ugliness is not perceived as ugliness on a substance level, but ugliness as the logical equivalent to beauty in a world where no valuesBincluding the aesthetic onesBexist on an absolute level.

Consuming the media

The risk oriented fashion consumer receives her inpiration from various sources. 'The street’ is one of the most important sources of inspiration, but music, films, television, and not least fashion magazines are also important channels of inspiration.

The risk oriented fashion consumer exclusively reads foreign fashion and art-like magazines and what attracts her attention when consuming these magazines is the shock-effect. One respondent puts it like this:

When it comes to commercials and pictures, I say: the wilder and weirder the better!!; the more utrageous the better.

Another respondent puts it like this:

You want to be shocked and surprised when you read a fashion magazine. That’s the reason why we don’t read "Alt for Damerne"and "IN" (more mainstream Danish fashion magazines). You may find things that are okay in them, but it’s not something that really gets your attention.

The kinds of images which seem shockingBand therefore attractiveBto the risk oriented fashion consumer are images circling around themes like 'the ugly’, 'the grotesque’, or 'the perverted’. The following stems from a dialogue between respondents in one of our focus groups:

A: You want something that shocks you. You want to go: "Ohh, how gross, why have they cut up his body, and given him a lot of scars!!" Don’t you remember the one (an illustration) from Face; the one where they had made a lot of scars on a naked body, wounds everywhere, and stuff like thatBthat is something you remember.

B: Yes, and the one where they have shifted around the headsBthey had placed a woman’s head on a man’s body and vice versa...

C: Yes, and he is breast-feeding a child.

A: Yes, and those Diesel-commercials with trafic accidents. And those with the cancer victim lying in a solarium. It’s things like that you rememberBsomething which is just so gross.

As can be read from the above dialogue, aesthetisized illustrations of car crashes, cancer victims, self mutilations, and of the blurring between gender, seem attractive to the risk oriented consumer. The form of inspiration gained from these themes of ugliness and perversion can be characterized as indirect. When asked if she sometimes looks in a magazine and finds an outfit that she wants, one respondent says:

A: And call to order it? No, hell no!!

B: No, it’s not like that. You get some ideas, but you don’t copy.

The risk oriented fashion consumer does not read fashion magazines in order to find particular outfits, but to derive inspiration from the general themes of ugliness, perversion, of the creation of sexual ambiguity etc. As one respondent says:

Sometimes I watch a fashion program on MTV called "Stylisimo". But it’s much more about being in the street or suddenly getting a cracy idea. I watch a lot of films and read a lot of magazines and stuff, but I don’t get ideas directly from thereBit’s much more incidental. It’s really like, then I see something, and I get the idea of mixing it with something else I’ve seen. But it’s based on a lot of different impressions.

EPILOGUE: QUESTIONS TO FASHION DIFFUSION RESEARCH

It must be considered beyond the scope of this paper to engage in an in-depth discussion of the present state of fashion diffusion research. Furthermore, ours is purely an exploratory study; it gives rise to asking new questions rather than answering any. We should like, though, to elaborate a bit on some of these questions as a means of pointing to problems which need to be explored in the future.

One question arising from our exploratory study is whether any difusion at all takes place between risk oriented fashion consumers and security oriented fashion consumers. Many things point to the fact that an increasingly fragmented and multiple fashion market has serious implications to the way we must understand the diffusion of innovations. This is supported by our interviews with retailers and producers who emphasize the increasing unpredictability, fragmentation, and polarization of the fashion market as major changes which have taken place within a time range of only 10-15 years. The two consumer types which we have identified have distinctly different motives for consuming clothes, and they emphasize distinctly different aesthetic expressions. The security oriented consumer seems to act according to modernist ideas. She is guided by an immanent belief in the Avant Garde, and therefore she uses certain channels of diffusionBsuch as the fashion mediaBas a direct source to the dogmas of 'good taste’. But the risk oriented fashion consumer seems to be more influenced by a postmodern definition of fashion. Here, ugliness can be introduced on the fashion arena as the logical equivalent to beauty, and any reference to the signifier (including that of 'good taste’ or the 'Avant Garde’) is transcended.

Many things point to the fact that there is no diffusion between these consumer types. Diffusion between the two groups may be characterized by an occasional 'spill-over’, but only in a very unpredictable and inconsistent way, and not on a product level, but on a thematic level in terms of general trends, particular fabrics, cuts etc.

Thus one of the major questions which need to be explored is whether the linearity and process orientation of classical diffusion theory is at all sufficient in explaining the diffusion of fashion on a market vacillating between what may be termed as modern and postmodern fashion consumer behavior. As mentioned, classical diffusion theory suffers from a pro-change bias resulting in a concentration of research activities around the so-called fashion innovators. There are several obvious reasons for this. One might be, however, that classical diffusion theory is founded upon the eschatological thought inherent in modernity under which the existence of the Avant Garde is pre-assumed. It is assumed that the so-called fashion innovators are to be found on the top of a latter; leading the way for all other fashion consumers. If it was ever so, it does not seem to be the case anymore. Also within fashion diffusion research, we have to start searching for new ways to explain the multiplicity and complexity of that particular artefact called 'the fashion market’.

REFERENCES

Barthes, Roland (1983), The Fashion System, New York: Hill & Wang (orig. 1967).

Baumgarten, Steven A. (1975), "The Innovative Communicator in the Diffusion Process," Journal of Marketing Research, 12, pp. 12-18.

Davis, Leslie L. and Sharron J. Lennon, "Self-monitoring, Fashion Opinion Leadership, and Attitudes toward Clothing," in The Psychology of Fashion, ed. M. R. Solomon., Mass.: D.C. Heath & Co., pp. 177-182.

Finkelstein, Joanne (1991), The Fashioned Self, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Goldsmith, Ronald E. and Melvin T. Stith (1992/93), "The Social Values of Fashion Innovators," Journal of Applied Business Research, 9, pp. 10-16.

Gorden, William I., Dominic A. Infante and Audrey A. Braun (1985), "Communicator Style and Fashion Innovativeness," in The Psychology of Fashion, ed. M. R. Solomon, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co., pp. 161-176.

Hebdige, Dick (1979), SubcultureBThe Meaning of Style, London: Rouledge.

Lipovetsky, Gilles (1994), The Empire of Fashion BDressing Modern Democracy, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

McCracken, Grant D., The Long Interview, London: Sage, 1988.

Morgan, David L. (1988), Focus Groups as Qualitative Research, London: Sage.

Robson, Sue and Angela Foster (1989), Qualitative Research in Action, London: Edward Arnold.

Rogers, Everett M. (1995), Diffusion of Innovations, 4th. ed., New York: The Free Press.

Rogers, E. M. (1977), "New Product Adoption and Diffusion", in Selected Aspects of Consumer Behavior, R. Ferber (ed.), NSF, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, pp. 223-238.

Sheth, Jagdish N. (1981), "Psychology of Innovation Resistance: The Less Developed Concept (LDC) in Diffusion Research," in Research in Marketing, 4, pp. 273-282.

Sproles, George B. and Charles W. King (1973), The Consumer Fashion Change Agent: A Theoretical Conceptualization and Empirical Identification, West Lafayette, in: Institute for Research in the Behavioral, Economic, and Management Sciences, Purdue University.

Strauss, Anselm and Juliet Corbin (1990), Basics of Qualitative ResearchBGrounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, London: Sage.

Summers, John O. (1970), "The Identity of Women’s Clothing Fashion Opinion Leaders," Journal of Marketing Research, 7, pp. 178-185.

----------------------------------------

Authors

Anne Flemmert Jensen, Odense University, Denmark
Per Ostergaard, Odense University, Denmark



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3 | 1998



Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More

Featured

“But, will you think it's important to use mouthwash?” How Visual Communication of a Set Impacts Perceived Set Completeness and Item Importance

Miaolei (Liam) Jia, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Xiuping Li, National University of Singapore, Singapore
aradhna krishna, University of Michigan, USA

Read More

Featured

When People Stop Being Nice and Start Getting “Real”: Use of Identity Labels for Stigmatized Groups

Esther Uduehi, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Americus Reed, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Read More

Featured

Born to Shop? A Genetic Component of Deal Proneness

Robert M Schindler, Rutgers University, USA
Vishal Lala, Pace University
Jeanette Taylor, Florida State University

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.