Fashion can be clothing, art, music or anything which is popular among a large group of people. It means that new styles and visions are being accepted by reference groups which share the positive feeling about it. Fashion trends move quickly across the world and therefore it has been noticed to carry a collective behaviour (Solomon, Bamossy and Askegaard, 2002). Consumers can adopt fashion changes through similar people, which are known as opinion leaders, or, for example, through mass-communication channels such as music television which highlights current trends.
Companies are pushing their brands forward by inserting their brand name on all products. Finnish youngsters are more and more becoming fashion conscious and they create their own styles by travelling and adapting influences from different cultures (Kaskinen 2008). Womens fashion is a global industry with $47 billion in annual sales. Female consumers act as the gatekeepers and have strong purchasing power, especially when studies show that women need clothes for different situations which increase demand. The clothes reflect many personal issues such as age and style.
The untruthful message the advertisers give about female bodies and the idea that everyone should be thin, affect women’s behaviour and therefore due to the pressure of looking like the models in adverts, women today take more care of themselves. Women go shopping for something they need or shop without any particular product in mind (Silverstein and Sayer, 2009a). In another study Silverstein and Sayer criticised that many marketers still do not recognise the importance of targeting women. Many companies are not making adequate market research on the female market and they are targeting women based on assumptions of what they think they want.
Companies often market small sized clothing for women based on the assumption that is what women want (Silverstein and Sayer, 2009b). Fashion and Luxury Brands There are a number of definitions of Fashion but as argued by Juggessur, J. (2011), the connotations and impact of fashion have evolved in order to match the clothing practices of individuals belonging to various social structures and customs. Fashion and clothing have been used synonymously; one view could be that clothing is fashion, although this is short-sighted disregarding the complexities surrounding the subject.
Fashion is frequently linked to apparel and appearance, which is ultimately a visual and tangible factor. Therefore, a difficulty arises when attempting to detach fashion from clothing. This paper uses this context to relate clothing of women with luxury brands. Sociologists and psychologists take different approaches when interpreting fashion.
Sociologists seek out the motives which moderate fashion in group behaviour, while psychologists seek to comprehend the basic concepts of perception and motivation. Psychologists state that clothing behaviour is psychological in nature. Psychology can be used as the basis of this study as it explains how clothing can be regarded as an intimate part of the self or personality (Horn and Gurel 1975 as cited in Juggessur, 2011). This can be extended to luxury designer handbags and their counterfeit counterparts.
Hurlock (1929, p. 4) gives an explanation of Horn and Gurels (1975) notion: We are apt to think of clothes as we do of our bodies, and so to appropriate them that they become perhaps more than any of our other possessions, a part of ourselves in spite of the constant changes in clothing, it is still impossible to disassociate ourselves from this intimate part of our material possessions (Hurlock 1929 as cited in Juggessur, 2011. p. 26).
Women and Luxury Brands The need for research in order to better understand the role of gender on consumer’s response toward luxury brands motivated this paper. As previous literature shows, women are generally described as more interdependent and more concerned with the opinion of others than men. According to evolutionary and sociocultural schools of thought there are gender differences in consumption behaviour. In a mating context, for example, men are found to be more concerned with visual portrayal as compared to women (Griskevicius et al.
, 2007). However, women generally, pay more importance to physical appearance. In order to do so, they consider clothing as a tool to enhance their attractiveness. The research by Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann (2013) supports these findings and shows that women’s attitude toward luxury brands is more positive than men’s attitude toward luxury brands. In addition to clothing, Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann (2013) also argued that women consumers tend to show more positive attitudes regarding luxury brands with respect other products such as perfumes and wristwatches as compared to men. While consumers have a stronger positive attitude toward luxury brands than toward non-luxury brands when considering perfumes, the difference in attitudes between luxury and non-luxury brands for wristwatches is not significant.
In addition, their research reveals that consumers respond differently when considering the role of gender and need for unique ness as moderating effects for the relationship between brand exclusivity and purchase intention. While attitude toward the ad and the interaction between brand exclusivity and need for uniqueness show a consistent pattern in terms of their influence on purchase intention, the findings for gender and exclusiveness are less consistent for the two product categories. One reason for these inconsistent results may lie in the product category’s perceived gender. As the pre-test revealed, respondents perceive perfumes as female and wristwatches as male products. The stimuli used in their study provided another explanation for this inconsistency.
While comparing non-luxury brand perfumes compared to luxury brand perfumes consumers merely perceive any differences in the quality of product. But in case of watches consumers have shown to concentrate on difference in quality of product while comparing non-luxury brands and luxury brands. This assumption could explain the results with regard to why consumers can have positive attitudes toward both non-luxury and luxury brands while these positive attitudes do not necessarily translate into purchase intention (Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann, 2013). Literature shows that consumers associate superior hedonic and symbolic value with luxury brands (e. g.
, Vigneron and Johnson, 2004). Luxury brands do not deliver more value to consumers than non-luxury brands when considering the luxury aspect alone in a gender-neutral product category (i. e. , clothing). Luxury brands provide more status, uniqueness, and hedonic value than non-luxury brands for female consumers only.
More specifically, the (Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann, 2013) showed that status value and uniqueness are relevant antecedents of consumer-brand identification. Thus, the specific values perceptions which luxury brands are able to confer has influences on the degree to which a consumer perceives similarity between the brand and him-or herself. Value and uniqueness are relevant antecedents of consumer-brand identification. Thus, the specific values perceptions which luxury brands are able to confer has influences on the degree to which a consumer perceives similarity between the brand and him-or herself. and New York etc. Luxury fashion brands pursue, appeal, innovation, and differentiation because the business of fashion is all about thinking forward and faces perpetual changes (Okonkwo, 2007).
Luxury products are loaded with meaning. They are lived-in products that stand the test of time and also increase in value as time goes by. According to Kapferer and Bastien (2009) luxury products are not expected to be mass-produced. The current consumer of luxury fashion has evolved from being a head-to-toe designer-clad single-brand loyalist (Okonkwo 2007, pp. 64-65) to a confident, critical and knowledgeable consumer.
To conclude, this research shows that women differ from men in their response toward luxury brands. Overall, in the three product categories studied (i. . , clothing, perfumes, wristwatches), women have more positive attitudes toward luxury brands than men and are thus a valuable target segment. Marketers of luxury brands should be aware that women value a multitude of aspects when purchasing luxury brands as they care more about the quality, uniqueness and social value of luxury products than men (Wiedmann et al.
, 2009). In line with these findings, Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann (2013) established that women are more responsive to the hedonic, uniqueness, and status value of luxury brands. Thus marketers ought to base strategies on the values that different consumer segments expect from luxury brand consumption to maximise purchase value. However, exclusivity alone does not turn luxury brands into favourite brands as compared to non-luxury brands.
Hence, marketers are advised to consider these results regarding gender and need of consumer for example uniqueness should be considered to be used in addition to status value and hedonic characteristics of the products in marketing campaigns. Finally, marketers need to be aware that the product category is of paramount importance for a consumer’s brand response and, in the end, for her purchase intention. Impact of Fast Fashion on Attributes of Luxury Brands The main characteristics of luxury fashion brands include; scarcity, exclusivity, premium prices, innovation, product craftsmanship, high quality, outstanding customer service, precision, core competence, powerful advertising, the personality of the founder, iconic product designs, the brand? name, exclusive retail locations and associated visual symbols (Hines and Bruce, 2007;Okonkwo 2007;)Luxury fashion brands set the fashion trends for each season during the fashion weeks in Milan, Paris Fast fashion is a business strategy where the aim is to reduce involved processes in the buying cycle and lead times in order to deliver new fashion products into stores and meet consumer demand at its peak. Major characteristics of a fast fashion brand are that it offers inexpensive and trendy apparel in limited volumes which are usually not replenished but they mimic high-end fashion while delivering it at rapid speed to consumers.
Fast fashion products take around two to four weeks from conception to delivery (Plunkett 2010). Fast fashion products are disposable and for immediate consumption (Hines and Bruce 2007, p. 44). Their prices are as low as around 10 per cent of the price of luxury fashion brands (Walters 2006). Only 20 per cent of the assortment in a store may account as fast fashion. (Bruce and Daly 2006, p.
330) Fast fashions target group is typically 16-24 year old female customers. Fast fashion brands have become elevated and are emanating a luxurious? appeal (Okonkwo 2007). Although they are focusing on the mass market the brands are no longer considered low-end or middle-end mass brands (Okonkwo 2007). Luxury fashion brands have responded to fast fashion and are inclining towards the model of fast fashion and developing production and retailing models. Luxury fashion brands have introduced pre- collections in order to spur product rotation and to reach consumers needs for fast and early delivery. They have also created more affordable diffusion lines that are mass-produced and 50 per cent cheaper in price compared to the top-of-the-line designer products (Plunkett 2010, p.
0). Luxury brand companies have started to outsource their production from e. g. France and Italy to cheaper labour countries such as China and use Information and Computer Technologies. Impact of Fast Fashion on Woman’s Sensibility towards Luxury Brand Aforementioned research shows that women are particularly sensitive to their clothing as a part of their fashion as compared to men.
The discussion also shows that fast fashion industry has emerged in various economies and these companies have influenced highly on the existing luxury brands. The impact is reflected by the fact that in contemporary business environment luxury brands are now shortening their product cycles to cope up with the risks and challenges posed by the emerging fast fashion brands. Now integrating all the findings and establishments obtained by the discussion above it is clearly evident that fast fashion influences fashion and luxury brands and since women are sensitive to the meanings that they attach to their fashion products therefore they are also sensitive to the products of fast fashion. Analysing the luxury brand characteristics by Dubois et al. (2001) fast fashion tends to affect quality, high prices, scarcity and uniqueness, and ancestral heritage and personal history of luxury brand.
This means that a luxury brand consumers lose these characteristics of their purchases when they see someone using a fast fashion product or a copy of their item. Thus this affects the overall utility of the luxury brand and luxury brand companies lose customers. This is the reason why they have changed their competitive strategies in response to fast fashion products. Thus this paper concludes that fast fashion products have changed the narrative women have around their clothes.
This is the reaction that women depict to their clothes due to loss of exclusivity and other characteristics of luxury brand that they use when they see someone using a fast fashion product.
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