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Hannah Tozer Executive MBA Kinetic Culture

What are the key factors that American fashion brands need to consider when contemplating an expansion into Canada?


Abstract

Hannah Tozer

Executive MBA

American brands expanding into Canada have become more prolific than ever before. This can be related to the close physical proximity and to the sense of less psychological distance and difference between the two countries, which allows an easier first expansion than into other countries. It is recognized that there are similarities that can be drawn between the two countries but it is the smaller differences that are key factors in an American retailer’s success within the Canadian market. The market entry philosophy and approach taken by American retailers and whether they standardize, localize or ‘glocalize’ their functions becomes crucial to success. The Canadian fashion industry is still in its infancy and has much potential for growth. Companies need to put resources into gaining qualitative research about the Canadian shopper and their shopping preferences. Several key factors that American companies need to focus on, are discussed in this report such as starting with a strong E-commerce platform and testing their physical presence through pop up in prime Canadian locations. With the current weakness of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar, Canadian consumers are increasingly conscious of their spending. In tough economic times, it would be prudent for American brands to target a niche market such as outerwear, which is considered an essential item of clothing by Canadian consumers. Canadian consumers have become more thoughtful about the products they are purchasing and will often look for local craftsmanship and quality. This report requests and reviews conversations with professionals in varying essential roles primarily within the Canadian and American fashion industry. Respondent’s personal and professional insights are analyzed to provide recommendations to brands considering such a move in the future.

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Historically the Canadian fashion industry has primarily consisted of homegrown brands and it is only in the last five years that an increasing number of new international entrants have emerged. An expansion into Canada is often assumed by many American brands to be a relatively straightforward undertaking, and yet there are certain aspects that should be taken into consideration before such an expansion is implemented. Target had a disastrous entry into Canada because the company assumed that once it had implemented its expansion plan, it could change its approach. However Target’s expansion was so large in scale that it became impossible to implement the necessary changes. This topic is both timely and significant. The retail industry is constantly evolving and itis imperative for fashion brands to look at how they can change and adapt to remain competitive and financially successful. Brands need to continuously evaluate their viability in the fashion industry and plan how they can grow for the benefit of the brand and the profit of the company. A major aspect of brand development is international expansion in order to promote a more global presence. Canada is a country that has been slower to catch on to trends and still struggles to be considered a significant participant in the fashion industry. Nonetheless Canada does have a huge potential for growth and a key way to support that growth is by bringing more international brands into the country.

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Introduction Aims and objectives

Background and rationale

The objective of this research is to discover what aspects of the Canadian fashion industry American brands need to adapt to, in order to have a more successful market entry into Canada. There are different entry models into the Canadian market and no one model will be effective for every brand; however there are certain factors that when taken into consideration, can help any American fashion brand prepare for the Canadian market.

Canada and the United States are in close proximity, therefore it is only natural that when Canadian or American companies consider an international expansion, they cross the border to their nearest neighbour. It has become one way for companies to evaluate their ability to become more international. If they are successful in their expansion into Canada, they tend to become more confident about expanding into other countries. However, it would be simplistic for companies to think that an expansion into Canada is a relatively easy venture, because although they are in close proximity, consumer preference varies between Americans and Canadians, and within Canada itself. With that in mind, this research project will investigate and attempt to answer the following questions:  hould American brands simply replicate their S national expansion strategy when entering Canada or do they need to adapt their approach for the Canadian market? If adaptation is required, what are the specific factors that American brands need to consider when entering the Canadian market?  re there regional differences in Canada A that American brands should be aware of?  re there unique considerations and A cultural differences between the Canadian and American fashion consumer?


Overview and structure

Economic Outlook When discussing how American brands should enter the Canadian market, the importance of timing was a consistent thread throughout the conversations. Timing is crucial when deciding to enter a new market, and there has to be an evaluation of the past, present and future political and economic state of the country to see if success is viable. After the global recession in 2008 to 2010, the Canadian and U.S. dollar were at par and this contributed to a soft U.S. market. It was at this time that some American companies saw the need to become more international, and they could not justify why they had not yet expanded north to Canada. However once these companies started implementing their expansion strategies, the Canadian market was beginning to lose its momentum. This downturn was not just affecting Canada in isolation. The sharp reduction in the price of oil and the economic slow down of previously strong and powerful countries such as China, had been on the minds of many fashion retailers around the world. This means that there is now more pressure on retailers to get it right, because it can take a long time to build a brand but a short time to destroy it. Management of Currency Fluctuation The falling Canadian dollar has played a major part in how U.S. companies price and evaluate their product in Canada. This is especially pertinent within the wholesale and E-commerce models, which have formed a large part of the Canadian economy. Current shipping and duty costs are pricing American brands out of the market for Canadians.

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The drop in value of the Canadian dollar against the American dollar has made the majority of Canadian shoppers more conscious about pricing and product cost. They are opting to purchase from within Canada, instead of continuing to go to the United States to shop. More Americans are coming to Canada to take advantage of the stronger U.S. dollar to purchase higher priced goods, and tourists are currently taking advantage of the weak Canadian dollar. It is predicted that the American and Canadian dollar may not be par again until after 2020 (Mintel Market Sizes, 2015). Therefore the difference in currency is an issue that retailers will need to continue to take into account when expanding into Canada. China’s Impact on Canada American retailers and luxury brands need to note the strong presence of wealthy Asians living in major Canadian cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. Chinese immigrants and visitors have had a significant effect on the Canadian economy, as they support tourism, trade, real estate, and culture. It was reported in 2001 that 72% of Canadians of Chinese origin lived in these two cities. They make up 18% of Vancouver’s population and 9% of Toronto’s (Statistics Canada, 2001). Although other ethnicities live in these two cities, the Chinese currently have the largest impact on the luxury goods and real estate markets. Tourists from Asia often buy large amounts of luxury brand products in North America because they are much cheaper and often more current than in Asia. There is a large emphasis on buying the most fashionable, up to date and exclusive items to bring back home. With the present U.S./ Canadian dollar exchange rate, only a small amount of wealthy Canadians can support the high-end American luxury brands coming to Canada. Currently international tourism contributes significantly to sustaining those luxury brands in Canada.

Introduction

In order to answer these questions, it is vital to review what American companies have done in the past and how they have succeeded or failed in their expansion into Canada. It is important to not only examine and evaluate these strategies, but also to recommend new and specific ones, because what has worked for one company may not be applicable to another. Although there are some similarities between the two markets within the fashion industry, it would be a mistake for U.S. fashion brands to underestimate the uniqueness of the Canadian market.

Shipping cost is dependent on where the item is being shipped from the United States and where the customer resides in Canada. For clothing that is madein a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) country (Canada, U.S. and Mexico) there is no extra duty cost. However, for clothing made outside of a NAFTA country coming from the United States to Canada, there is an estimated 25% extra charge for duty (Canadian Duty Calculator, 2016).


Introduction Summary of findings

American brands are influencing the Canadian fashion industry and creating a necessary competitive arena for home grown and international brands. This research addresses the key factors that American fashion brands need to consider when entering the Canadian market. It is noted that although Canadian and American consumers share many similarities, there are small yet significant differences that make the Canadian fashion consumer unique. The E-commerce model is a growing market and a way for companies to enter the Canadian market and collect invaluable data about the Canadian consumer. American companies who offer free, efficient and reliable shipping to Canada and reduce additional charges for online purchases, foster customer appreciation and loyalty. American brands are more advanced in providing consumers with accurate sizing and product information online, which is fundamental for a seamless and satisfying E-commerce experience. Brands need to be creative about ways to test their presence before entering the market. As prime retail space in top Canadian malls can be both difficult and expensive to secure, a safer and easier way for retailers to start is through a pop up store. This is most beneficial during holiday periods when foot traffic is at its peak. Another option is a trunk show, which could either be in the same location as a pop up store or in high profile hotels frequented by tourists. Participating in community ventures, before and after a brand arrives in Canada, brings awareness to the brand in a positive way. Canadian consumers appreciate brands that keep the local community in mind and support their initiatives.

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With the weak Canadian dollar, paying attention to price points is crucial. Canadian customers want to pay similar prices to Americans; companies that do not offer this, will lose to the competition. Canadians also look for affordable price points that also provide premium quality. In times of economic uncertainty, targeting a niche market such as winter clothing, as well as clothing made with quality, will help the success of the brand. Being more conscious about where the clothing is made and creating a boutique concept and strong architectural design, will assist and enhance the curation of the brand. The inability for American brands to take these factors into consideration and localize aspects of their approach to suit the market, will make it hard for them to compete in the Canadian marketplace. Conducting effective consumer research prior to making expansion plans, and then being patient about when and how to enter Canada, will help with success. As previously noted, it can take a long time to build a brand but a short time to destroy it. Do not rush an expansion, as the initial execution is key to a brand’s ongoing viability and success.


Julie Man Executive MBA Kinetic Culture

The impact of third space: how luxury fashion brands transform their clients’ future retail experience


This study was an exploration of the functions and role of Third Space retailing. The aim was to explore how and why luxury fashion brands require a new paradigm of retailing in order to engage, retain existing clients, and capture new prospects. Challenges have risen due to an increasingly faster moving industry and more competitive landscapes. Shifting business priorities within markets along with an overall strained global economy have added pressure to the luxury industry. These key challenges will be discussed throughout this thesis and be linked with the discussion around Third Space and experiential retailing ideology. With shifting consumer purchase behaviour of how, where and when luxury goods are considered, retailers need to transform how to reach and relate to their clients. Brands are required to face complex changes in business.

Abstract

Julie Man

Retailers that address consumer demands for experiential driven lifestyles and individualistic millennial mind set, by constantly reviewing and appraising their approach to the client retail experience, will gain a competitive edge. How does Third Space as a retail concept impact the brand and the consumer? What obstacles are brands facing and what are the opportunities for Third Space in the future? Third Space can be perceived as a type of Business Retail Model. The retail experience is all encompassing, starting from design of product, quality of production, service, storytelling, consumer engagement with the brand values, purpose and presentation of purchase and delivery. This thesis, defines what I consider to be a Third Space.

Executive MBA

The aim was to examine why Third Spaces matter even more todayand how brands are experimenting with Third Space concepts. The overall objectives of this research were to contextualise Third Space functions and their role in luxury retail. This research collected data from the qualitative interviews with 13 Industry Experts. Third Spaces are impacting both the client and the brand. Insights into the challenges as well as the opportunities for retailers to integrate Third Space retail concepts as a strategic consideration will be provided. Luxury retail requires a new paradigm to remain competitive. This thesis presents four paradoxes that luxury brands face today. It will provides as to clarity why Third Space retail concepts are indeed fundamental to the future success of luxury brands. This research indicates that luxury brands need to rethink existing strategies. The findings also provide a framework for Third Space retail formats and how these ideas can be implemented.

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Introduction Background and rationale

Today, within a global context of an increasingly competitive and saturated retail landscape, how does a luxury brand compete, engage, communicate, and delight its clients? The term luxury is being challenged because of its ubiquity. It is fascinating that the fundamentals of who can actually afford and own luxury have only been redefined and reoriented within approximately the last 26 years. According to Kapferer (2015, pg. 7), “the more this sector continues to grow, the more it threatens the levers of the luxury dream and the essence of what luxury evokes: the notion of rarity and access to a privileged life, to products of exception and – to a life of exception”. Brands have responded to the demand for luxury, or “luxurification of society” by evolving the retail experience and satisfying consumer needs (Atwal and Williams, et al., 2009). Third Space has evolved as subconscious platforms for luxury brands to communicate their voice and brand philosophy. Third Spaces provides an emotive environment where the brand and the client build a relation- ship; the space for dialogue is a new concept. It is not a free standing store format of retail space where the objective is to sell products and the browser is not necessarily the client of the brand. However Third Spaces are platforms for brands to interact, encourage play, teach, and build a relationship with the client through curated and designed sensorial journeys and by creating positive emotional experiences.

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Luxury retailers can differentiate themselves from competitors by providing lavish experiences. Third Space provides the platform for these brand experiences. It allows the brand to interact with the clients without tipping the balance of becoming too accessible. Where is the balance between availability and desirability, and affordability of exclusivity? Without threatening the uniqueness and exclusivity of luxury brands (Tynan et al., 2010), clear differentiation of a brand’s value allows clients to choose tangible and intangible cues to represent themselves and their own individuality, visual expression, and personality. Third Space fills this communication bridge. These spaces are curated to provide unique elevated brand experiences that create loyalty and desirability for the brand. These spaces allow clients to be connected socially, in a ‘members only’, coveted community space. Third Spaces as a strategic retail concept for luxury brands will be discussed in this thesis. With large conglomerates driving luxury brands to ensure profitability, to maintain and satisfy their share- holders, brands today can be seen to make more aggressive moves to form new strategies in order to win both the clients’ loyalty and business. Senior management, marketing, and business developers therefore look for new ways to enhance their retail strategies and review existing business models to create brand differentiation and capture clients as a supreme luxury brand. New luxury brands have emerged. With such a large number of luxury brands on the market today, how does a luxury brand differentiate itself and stand out yet remain desirable and retain a sense of exclusivity?


Theoretical background

Reinforcing the distinctiveness of each brand’s DNA and remaining relevant and aspirational continues to be an increasing challenge for brands competing on a global platform. With the shifts in trends, technology, and internal and external influences for the consumer, brands need to consider how in the future luxury will be consumed and experienced. “According to 2014 BCG report, $460 billion was spent on unique travel adventures, compared to $170 billion spent on personal luxury goods” (campaignlive.co.uk). Previous research by Boven and Gilovich indicates that experiences are more central to one’s identity. Experiences also provide greater hedonic value because they offer richer interpretation to the memory of a luxury experience. Experiences contribute so much more to the construction of the self than material possessions and become the sum of one’s own happiness, lifestyle, and life experiences. “This paradigm calls for a shift in the focus from the characteristics of luxury brands per se, and towards phenomenological experiences and social- cultural influences, in our pursuit understanding what brand luxury conveys in the broader context of post-modern consumer culture.” (Seo and.Buchanan-Oliver, 2015).

Third Space is a concept that may be well-known or understood but is not widely familiar as a term (Nobbs and Manlow, 2013). With Home as the first space and Work as a second space, Third Space or Third Place as it is sometimes referred to, is known as a space of community, and a place to relax in a social environment. It can be explained as an alternative hybrid space, somewhere which is not work or home, but a comfortable space to browse, relax and meet people, and even enjoy a meal (Mikunda, 2004). In the area specific to the luxury retail environment, Third Space would be a space not just selling products, i.e. a typical place of purchase: a flagship or perhaps a high-end department store. These spaces would however function as branded places that transcend the static commercial experience with hybrid spaces that speak to a deeper commitment to a more flexible and experiential business model (WWD, 2013). It is a space that goes beyond transactions and is designed to incorporate an experiential space of discovery, socialising, and leisure open to all the public.

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Overview and structure

What is important to understand is the way consumers relate to products today, associating with the brand, such as Chanel, or Louboutin and not the actual product, i.e. a leather bag, shoe or ring (Kapferer, 2015).

Functions of Third Space Third Spaces in luxury fashion have evolved from simpler pop up stores for promotional, seasonal, and special retail eventing and PR activities, to nontraditional retail formats. Third spaces are ‘Being Spaces’ that are an evolution from conventional commerciality. These spaces provide a space for Brand and clients to create dialogues that are deeper. Focus is shifted from a brand as an icon to a brand as omnipresent for a total brand experience (Nobbs and Manlow, 2013). Lifestyle shifts, social interactions and consumer behaviour are key considerations for Brands when designing Third Spaces. Big data and consumer insights are used to design curated retail journeys with elevated and sophisticated luxury branding cues. Third Space Functions: Brand Equity Platforms provide information and knowledge about products with distinctive brand cues.  Experiential Spaces for consumers to comfortably experience the totality of the sensorial. Brand experience without or with a minimum purchase (removes any barriers to transactions related to a free standing store) as part of the whole CJD consider, ‘Evaluate, Buy, Enjoy, Advocate, Bond’ (Edelman, 2010).  Lifestyle Experiential and sensorial ‘luxury experiences’ speaks to the new generation of millennials consumption behaviours and expectations offering a softer approach to discover the brand. Retailment A hybrid space which offers Entertainment, Esthetical, Educational and Escapist realms.  Elevation Strengthens clients’ brand awareness, heightens brand appreciation, is a touchpoint for clients, and a ‘wow’ attraction for clients and global travellers to visit.

Introduction

This hybrid usage is typified by the concept of the Third Space, which emerged during the 1980s, as expe- rience-oriented marketing turned to stores and also museums, restaurants, and hotels. It saw the creation of public spaces that were neither home nor work. Through their sensuality and homeliness, they came to be perceived as personal habitats where the brand’s core function is complemented by an emotional extra of almost equal value” (Mikunda, 2004). Such spaces afford retailers the opportunity to engage in co-creation with consumers and stimulate peer-to-peer communication (Moore, 2005).


 elationships Builds relationships and client R engagement prior to purchase intent.  torytelling Spaces for brands to express S a more approachable and ‘trusted voice and personality’.  uration Creative showcasing of the brand C ethos through controlled omni-present environments with tangible and intangible expressions, and luxury cues to heighten the clients’ aspiration and emotions.  ouchpoint provides an always on, platforms T for 24/7 hours a day, total retail experience. Integration offline to online platform as part of the total integration to deliver a seamless Omni channel brand experience driving back to brand. The role of Third Spaces in luxury: brand meets consumer Luxury brands have adopted characteristics of Third Space cues into existing retail stores. However due to the pressures for role of a luxury flagship store, and its primary purpose to drive sales, as Manlow and Nobbs,(2013) argues there is still an vital role for the flagship as an “interactional process involving branding and identity of stores as a means of promotion and advertising. It is a way for stores to emotionally engage with consumers, and its is an activity important to consumers themselves.” However there are elements of Third Space that would probably not work for the purpose of the flagship and its VIP, exclusive setting and service levels without a transaction, but this may change when the concept of showrooming as a touch point is validated. Flagships as an entry method into new markets, a space that holds the brands luxury cues aspirational and is symbolic, is still necessary for luxury brands. Therefore new standalone temporary or permanent Third Spaces created for their specific role within the consumer decision journey, allows less restricted alternative creative environments for brand expression and can compliment the holistic brand story.

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(Re)defining luxury The definition of luxury is ever changing and transforming. Luxury it is a word that is often overused and/or used in a context that has diluted the essence of the meaning itself. Definitions of luxury are evolving due to the changes in consumer perceptions and demands and how the luxury industry projects the concept of luxury. Today luxury as a concept is an interplay and increasingly a co-creation between consumer demand and the brand. Forecasting and predicting consumer sentiments and allowing a more fluid approach to the luxury industry means that brands need to be alert and flexible to change and the way they approach consumers. Globalisation and the rise of large conglomerates, the shift of West to East consumption, along with the recent economic slowdown in 2015 are external influences that will affect the industry. Also along with the current reduced spending power of the Chinese consumer, these factors together have impacted the luxury brands’ consumption, outlook and profitability. Therefore, differentiation within the luxury industry is key to capturing clients’ expectations. By creating desire, fuelling demand and careful control of supply, this balance is paramount between creating accessibility and exclusivity. By choosing one brand over another consumers today have affiliations with certain luxury brands and how they feel they are perceived in society. Sharing luxury goods and luxury experiences Mercedes Benz introduced luxury car sharing as a luxury experience targeted at millenials. Cathay Pacific through “A Life well travelled” promotes Fashion Hotels and Resorts, such as the LVMH owned Chev-al Blanc and One&Only Resorts that promotes itself as the only major luxury hotel group with a fashion buyer, are new approaches to luxury experiences. Services such as Rent The Runway which can provide luxury fashion rented at a fraction of the retail price are now offered to clients. Retailers also need to add a personal touch and the element of surprise and fun. “Novelty doesn’t really fit with owning things, as this becomes an everyday item. Therefore rental is beautiful in this aspect,” Chesterfield said (Research Director at Wealth-X).

Introduction

 ialogue Spaces where luxury brands meets D the client halfway, forming a co-created Space to interact.

Discussion

 ocietal Brand owned and controlled social S environments/communities and spaces in which to ‘hang out’.


Luxury Women’s apparel market, and it is predicted that by 2025 it will increase to 28 percent. Another vital statistic that will affect the way luxury brands approach their clients, is that by 2018, women’s luxury fashion is expected to grow from the current 3 percent of the total market to 17 percent, with $12 billion in global digital sales (McKinsey & Company). Therefore, new business strategies and marketing plans are necessary to drive the next generation of luxury brands and to stay ahead of the shifting consumption patterns. There is also the shift of power in a consumer centric paradigm. This implies that, while some characteristics of brand luxury could be preserved over time and constructed by businesses, other dimensions are co-created with con- sumers, and are influenced by the broader context of socio-cultural meanings (Seo and Buchanan-Oliver, 2015). 1. (Re)examining business retail models, retail space physical and online Consumers have limitless choices and how businesses engage with them is now not only a way to gain competitive advantage but one could argue is fundamental for survival in the modern fashion world. Brands will need to constantly review their retail landscapes. Omni channel affords businesses more opportunities than ever before to sell to their customers however conversely affords greater challenges which demands complexity from a resource and operations perspective and furthermore can be extremely costly to a business. From mobile, online, social media, in store click and collect sites, customers demand a seamless Omni channel experience. Retailers need to follow the customer throughout their customer journey and offer the same brand experience wherever and whenever they interact with the customer and be able to fulfill their needs. (Newman 2014).

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 Omni Channel Experience must An deliveras a minimum: (Salmon, 2013)  Online e.g. virtual fitting rooms/outfit builders, wish lists and customer reviews.  store e.g. Wi-Fi, mobile ePos, staff equipped In with tablets or terminals so that they can see what the customer sees and personal shopping service.  Mobile e.g. filter options when browsing, customer reviews, total spend visible and a GPS store locator with geolocation the next big opportunity.  Social e.g. strong engagement with customers, with frequent updates, blogs and inspiration.  Cross channel/fulfillment e.g. Free home delivery (or a threshold to activate this), nextday click and collect, reserve and collect from store option, same day delivery, and specified delivery slots. Implementing the Omni channel experience is proving difficult. Full integration of all aspects of retail channels highlights issues with centralised information systems and core services such as customer relationship management, logistics and delivery, warehouse management, order management, finance management, and payment services. The suggested core services that an Omni channel strategy through an integrated and seamless service would need to deliver are based on up to five channels. Using a combination or all of these touchpoints allows an experiential, satisfying consumer experience of a service that is purely based on customer shopping user journey and preference, “anytime, anyhow, anywhere” (Sealy, 2014).

Introduction

Summary of findings

Why do luxury brands need to consider Third Space as a retail strategy? Growth in luxury fashion consumption remains robust. Designer Apparel and Footwear accounted for US$123Bn in 2015 (euromonitor). This category is expected to grow at 3 percent each year till 2025 when it is expected to increase by 5 percent. Today, emerging markets account for a 14 percent share of the total.

Brands need to constantly review technological advances, in order to provide a better strategic plan for long term growth and investment based on consumer spending insights and lifestyle reports from data collection. The idea for balancing physical and online stores and how the services are integrated as a holistic journey - is a strategy that retailers are now carefully reassessing in order to meet the consumers needs. Third Spaces roles need to be defined within a larger retail business model and used as strategic touchpoints along the Consumer Decision Journey, to be integrated upfront in the planning stages, not as an after thought.


Mercedes Benz, targeting the millennial client offers, Mercedes Me, car sharing, rental and chauffeur driven services through mobile apps. The advertising speaks to the millennial mindset of “making it”. Millennials want to engage with brands on the same level, not with the brand as the “authority”, but as “a trusted voice”. Brand personality, expression, and differentiation in the realm of luxury also needs to be em- phasised through specific cues and new communication strategies. CNBC reports that as the high-earners not rich yet segment (HENRYs) grow in affluence, luxury brands will have to “meet the future luxury consumers on their terms, and that means redefining luxury”. It further adds that millennials tend to focus on values such as “customizability, personability and function”, arguing that brand values will need to disassociate from price points. Millennials are the leaders in the shift of shopping habits and expectations, valuing experience rather than the product. Millennials would rather share their experience of what they perceive as luxury or a luxurious experience. They may be digital savvy, but love live experiences. It’s a part of the changing expectations of this generation, which is impacting marketing; millennials want their brands to have a personality, according to research from BCG (Ad Week 2014). According to the Chamber of Commerce, millennials have about “$200 billion in direct purchasing power and account for $500 billion more in indirect spending through influencing their parents”. By 2017, millennials are expected to outspend the baby boomer generation, according to a separate study by Berglass + Associates recruiting firm (CNBC). The Robin Report states, “Tailoring the brand message to the unique psychology of younger consumers is what’s needed, not just creative programming or digital marketing tricks”.Brands are required to write new narratives that elevate the brand, yet connect with the unique consumer psychology of the individual, both self-expressive and inclusive.

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Seo and Buchanan-Oliver (2015) suggest that brands convey unique sociocultural and individual meanings to their consumers. Consumers often talk about particular brands that connote luxury products not as objects but as an indication of their preference for good taste and meaning to their own way of life and culture. The image and meaning that luxury brands project may not be how consumers perceive the brand. This is where the dialogue and power shift to the consumer. The brands create the experience, yet it is the client who shares the experience instantaneously via social media platforms, which influences their wider circle of friends and the community. These reflections of the brand experience are not restricted and have global reach. This interplay with the brand and the client must be positive. Foxall and Goldsmiths (1998) state that there is a multi-dimensional approach, that the shopping motivations and emotional brand connections live beyond transactions. These motivations are based on Physiological, Social, Symbolic, Hedonistic, Cognitive and Experiential needs. Experiential retail environments include sensorial, texture, tasting, visual stimulus, and sounds such as touchand learn in Apple Stores, signature scents in Shanghai Tang stores which add value to the brand identity and brand experience to the client’s visit. Sounds, curated within a retail space, can together with lighting effects or even darkness create a certain feeling and tonality. Curated consciously or unconsciously. “sound itself can evoke spatial impressions” (Tuan, 1977, pg. 15). Therefore, sensory and emotional cues play a significant part of relationship building from brand to consumer, referencing what consumers are relating to now, in the social space.

Introduction

Consumer behaviour especially of Millennial segment is altering and influencing the meaning of luxury. What resonates to this growing sector of consumers is challenging the way luxury brands communicate.

Conclusion

2. Attracting & engaging the millennial consumer

Space itself can define behaviour (Foucault, 1970). Curated Third Spaces allow brands to providea controlled experience for its clients. These staged luxury experiences are elevated with the intent of integrating sensorial sensations, emotive storytelling, and the freedom to have fun and discover within the space, to provide an individual and personal interpretation and discovery of the brand. These Third Spaces offer aspirational and engaging cues that build brand equity by engaging the client in a positive fully immersive omnipresent experience of the brand. Elevated emotions can be shared instantly via mobile phones, and online via posts and photographs by their clients on social media.


Valerie Ann Higgins Executive MBA Disruptive Enterprise

An analysis into the key factors that led to the resurrection of All Saints


Abstract

Valerie Ann Higgins

In 2015 I had the great fortune to meet William Kim, Chief Executive Officer of All Saints. What struck me about our conversation was his urgency for change. He’s on a mission to tackle an obstacle, motivated by the belief that there is not just reasonable hope of successfor All Saints but there is, as the Kelley brothers describe: “the possibility of a truly epic win” (Kelley, Kelley, 2013: 47) Kim is convinced that innovation, especially in the face of a complex changing structure like All Saints requires a radical new approach. He draws inspiration from analogous fields, like music, art, and technology, to influence his work and refuses to follow fashion industry trend. It is my belief that it is this unique perspective that has breathed new life into the business.

Executive MBA

Whilst recognizing that retail is fiercely competitive, his strategies are built upon the foundations of creative thought leadership, re-thinking traditional business models, elevating customer experience and building organizational culture conducive to innovation. There are many lessons to be learnt from the brand’s tempestuous past. Not just internally but for the industry at large. Many high-street brands are struggling to keep up with competition as fashion has become so fast and unmanageable. Sharing these lessons from resurgent brands like All Saints could hold solutions for other struggling fashion enterprises. It’s simply not enough for investors to pool together resources in the hopes of turning things around. This report aims to shed light on the determinants, which have set the stage for All Saints’ next global invasion.

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This is an industry where a culture of change is ubiquitous and yet true innovation beyond each season’s collection is often met with hesitance and resistance. Why is it that much of this sector’s leadership has been slow to evolve traditional business models? It is rare to find a leader who is genuinely willing to take on a seminal innovation role – case in point, if you were to do a quick job search on Businessoffashion.com for a Chief Innovation Officer, the role does not exist. Compare this to other sectors such as technology and consumer goods, and it is clear that fashion in particular has been slow to understand the value of innovation beyond social media and digital. This report will demonstrate that whilst many of the dominant market players are continuing to do business as usual, premium contemporary brand All Saints has managed to yield excellent results by implementing inspired and unorthodox strategies, introducing innovative and creative Design Thinking in combination with new leadership. The past twenty years have brought about significant change to almost every tier within the industry. These changes have meant vertically integrated systems, increased numbers of standardized fashion seasons, and modified structural characteristics within the supply chain, forcing retailers to demand flexibility in design, quality, delivery and speed to market (Doyle, Moore, and Morgan, 2006). Thanks to high street giants like Zara and H&M, it’s imperative for competitor brands to rethink their current models and create new innovative opportunities. Instead of swimming against the same current as everyone else, why not consider turning around, and landing somewhere different? By building a case study of All Saints’ unique approach to business, this report intends to challenge standard market practices and set out a series of conclusions and recommendations, which will help other fashion enterprises, embark on new and more productive growth strategies.

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The aim of this study is to analyze the key factors that are leading to the resurrection of All Saints. This report will explore how All Saints has managed to successfully transition from a struggling British heritage brand to an international success story. Exceptionally good or bad performance can often draw attention, as results can either act as a cautionary tale or a lesson in success to the industry at large. In just three years, All Saints’ Chief Executive Officer, William Kim, has rebuilt the brand on a digital infrastructure, expanding its international presence and diversifying its portfolio. Evidently his mission has paid off; in November 2015, All Saints reported their biggest EBITDA in the brand’s history for the year to January 31 2015, up 41% to £24m in full-year sales of £231m (Hounslea, 2015). It’s evident from both Income Statement Trend analyses that, since 2012 All Saints has steadily increased its profitability, a trajectory that they have struggled to maintain in the past. But with slow and steady results like these it’s hard to deny that Kim might be onto something special. Perhaps the industry at large could learn something from him or at the very least lose some of the fear they feel in taking an unexplored approach to the way they conduct business. It may be surprising to learn that it is Kim himself who is the biggest proponent of sharing this knowledge. His belief in his own strategy is so strong that, as he puts it, “spreading the gospel does not put me at a disadvantage. By the time others have copied my approach, I’ll be onto something else. Time is our industry’s biggest enemy.” This may seem unusual for a CEO, yet it’s this type of deliberate and unique thinking that sets him apart. It’s unusual for external factors alone to drive change, so looking at how thought leaders rationalize and implement new strategies from the inside out is vital for understanding how the theories of change can lead to success. This analysis will highlight All Saints as a means of contextualizing and scrutinizing the practical applications of innovation, strategy and building creative communities.

Introduction

Today’s fashion industry is relentless, fast, mercurial and trend-driven. Central to its evolution has been efficiency of supply chain and new transaction channels – building upon and bridging existing ideas.

Aims and objectives

Background and rationale

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” – Marcel Proust


Objectives:  o critically review literature around the T subject of leadership, strategy, Design Thinking and building a culture of innovation.  o explore how leadership is bringing T All Saints into a new era of business.  o assess how All Saints is looking beyond T traditional business models and practicing innovation.

This meant that the two streams of research were able to either support or discredit each other.

 o investigate the elements or tools T used to implement strategy.

Flexibility was another important reason for this choice, as Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill state “That some plausible theories can account for what is observed better than others and it is these theories that will help uncover more surprising facts”. These surprises, they argue, “can occur at any stage in the research process, including when writing the report.” (Lewis, Saunders, Thornhill, 2012: 147) This is ex- actly what ensued – assessing and endorsing the findings with either supportive theory, or rejecting them due to a lack of theoretical credibility proved an excellent measure of the quality of the outcomes.

 o examine whether this new vision of the T brand truly trickles down throughout the organization or whether it is more a desired state than a reality.  o assess whether All Saints is on track T for long-term sustainable growth.

Introduction To gather sufficient information to analyse the success of All Saints’ key strategies, a combination of observations, surveys and narrative research was conducted in conjunction with secondary archival research. This decision was taken because of time constraints and restricted access to internal information from All Saints.’ Philosophical Approach This report is an exploration of the key factors, which have pulled All Saints from the brink of collapse. Taking into account the restrictions and challenges regarding access to information, the most rigorous and logical research methodology was one that took an inductive approach. Simply put, the project began with the realisation that All Saints’ leadership was doing something strategically unique, so the research goals became to identify the contextual reasons behind this and then layer in existing theory to support the findings. Rationale It became clear that neither the theory nor the data could be taken in isolation. Even though this line of enquiry began with a question, the question itself was founded on assumption rather than fact. This meant that there was nothing solid to test, so a broad, qualitative investigation into All Saints seemed the most logical direction for the research. Therefore, an inductive approach was chosen in order to generate new theories emerging from the data collected in-field.

03

Overview and structure

Methodology overview

To identify and discuss the key factors that led to new business strategies within All Saints.

Introduction This chapter will outline the important questions grounding the report, as well as introducing retailer All Saints as the focus of the discussion Literature Review This chapter will be an exploration of the theories surrounding leadership, strategy, innovation and the importance of building a culture of innovation Research Methodology This chapter outlines and rationalizes the research methodology used for collecting the data. It will also cover the challenges and limitations experienced over the course of this phase. Analysis This section will bring together the findings to establish how All Saints is using new tactics to gain significant competitive advantage and develop a new strategic playbook All Saints This chapter will give the reader a complete summary of the brand’s history as told by a previous and current CEO. It will also break down the three major transition periods of the brand and explain how the past has shaped its current trajectory Conclusions This final chapter will conclude the report with the three core conclusions that have or will lead to the resurrection of All Saints.


Theoretical background

Yale University’s Information Technology department defines ‘innovation’ as: “the process of implementing new ideas to create value for an organization. This may mean creating a new service, system, or process, or enhancing existing ones” (Yale.edu). It is vague definitions like this that have left this term open for interpretation. But is that necessarily a bad thing? In a sense it democratises the meaning, making innovation adaptable and applicable to every sector. Innovation, at its core, is just about invention, creation of new ideas, processes and positive action. This section will examine how an organization like All Saints deploys internal vernacular or “vocabulary of competition,” using words like “innovation” to pull themselves out of times of crisis, and build strategy and community, all working towards a sustainable future. This review has been broken into three sections: leadership, strategy and innovation. Caveat: Like the once ubiquitous “synergy,” terms like “innovation,” and “strategy” are overused and in danger of becoming cliché. It was never my intention to frame this review in such exhausted language, but it is, nevertheless, the internal language used at All Saints. It should be mentioned that filtering through the amount of theory surrounding change leadership, change management and organizational change was more detrimental than helpful. There is a wealth of conflicting views within each area, making it impossible to decipher. If the subject of this study is All Saints then addressing their business approach on a theoretical level is where the focus of this study should remain. Recovery In 2011, All Saints was in trouble, big trouble. Former CEO Kevin Stanford declared that the company was millions of pounds in debt and that the brand was on the brink of insolvency. Fortunately, Lion Capital stepped in, becoming the majority share-holder and forcing the resignation of Stanford in rather unpleasant circumstances (Lawson, 2012).

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Taking into account the events that shaped All Saints’ colorful history, this literature review will discuss the theoretical ideas around business in recovery, the role of leadership and eventual stability, addressing the question of how a brand can turn crisis into an opportunity. Pressing reset on an organization requires confronting ingrained historical practices and rethinking internal and external structures. By examining the following three areas, this section aims to explore how recovering from crisis begins with new thinking around culture, creative strategies and, more often than not, entirely new leadership. Leadership Executives today face two competing demands; firstly, they must take a strong leadership position in order to meet the new challenges of today and secondly, re-think their systems in order to thrive tomorrow. (Heifetz, Grashow, Linsky, 2009) Affecting this type of overhaul requires a leader with drive, vision and an understanding of the processes that fuel large-scale transformation. (Kotter, 2011) In other words, fresh new energy has a better chance at organizational change than the established leadership, which is likely to find it difficult to let go of the past. The Visionary It takes a particular type of leader to ensure the continuity and resilience of a business, but it takes a special visionary to realise the potential in a business failure. In Jane Henry’s and David Walker’s book Managing Innovation, they say that “More recently, the concepts of strategy and leadership have been combined into that of strategic vision.” (Henry, Walker, 2000: 40) They also conclude that leadership vision, or ‘visioning’, can be broken down into three distinct stages (excerpt from Henry, Walker, 2000: 41): 1. T  he envisioning of an image of a desired future organizational state (Bass, 1987 pg.57) 2. Which when effectively articulated and communicated to followers (Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Meindl, Ehrlich and Dukerich, 1985; Gupta, 1984) 3. Serves to empower those followers so that they can enact the vision (Sashkin, 1987; Srivastva, 1983; Conger and Kanungo, 1987; Robbins and Duncan; 1987) (Henry, Walker, 2000: 41).


Recommendations

Summary of findings

Take a more localised approach or ‘Glocalization’ All Saints will need to look at how they address their customer needs in each market. Staying on brand is important but a more nuanced approach to product curation, tailored customer experience and minor tweaks to their store aesthetic will have much more resonance with their discerning international customers. All Saints provides other organizations in the fashion sector some valuable and hard-learned lessons. Although I was given privileged access to the inner workings of the organization, I approached the company from a neutral perspective and recognized its weaknesses as well as its strengths. A change in leadership effected a change in culture. While this change has renewed employee enthusiasm, increased innovation and led to impressive market expansion, there is nevertheless a danger that All Saints might become a victim of its own success. At present the brand is enjoying a period of revival, but business is cyclical and the challenge for Kim and his team will be to stabilize its growth. Leadership, strategy and fostering a culture of innovation have, so far, played a key role in pivoting this once ailing retailer, but innovation never stops. Consider this report a living one, one that can be built upon, as the fashion industry must constantly innovate in order to renew itself, adapt to shifts in the market and remain relevant to its customers.

Although All Saints is enjoying a period of prosperity, there is still a lot of work to be done. Kim is the first to admit that All Saints’ physical retail experience is less than perfect. As of today, delivering on their ‘premium contemporary’ experience has not always been consistent; from a customer perspective, overstocked shelving, bad lighting and a lack of intimacy feels far from exceptional. “In terms of our retail experience, we are laggards. I spent the weekend going through all of our stores and I have to say, we’ve dropped the ball. There’s an abundance of retail staff and still our customer service sucks.” – William Kim

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Sensory Marketing Since All Saints’ retail stores are modelled after industrial loft spaces they are often cold and uninviting. Giving the customer a more immersive sensory experience, particularly tapping into the power of smell will soften the overall tone of the stores. Our sense of smell is widely considered to be our “most emotional” sense. It has been proven that creating ambience has an effecton people’s purchasing habits and determining whether they will return to the store (Khan, 2014). A good example of this is US competitor, Rag and Bone’s partnership with Le Labo. They worked together to develop an exclusive scent, Pin 12, tailored for their retail locations. Pin 12 is also available for purchase at selected retailers, giving customers just another way to connect to the brand and bring home a part of the store experience. Improved Product Development It’s no secret that All Saints is synonymous with a dark color palette. This has served the brand well however the brand has entered into a new and exciting phase, which is not reflected in its current product offering. All Saints has invested a lot re-organizing their operations however it is now time they focus their attention on product and perhaps surprise their customer with something less predictable. I am not suggesting that they eliminate their ‘look’ but should consider more range. Their bags and shoes werea great start, but not enough to keep up with the high street shopper. “We don’t follow trend, we set the trend” is a nice idea from Kim, but not entirely true. “The collections are so dark. We need to brighten it up. Every part is too dark. Take a holistic view of the stores. Will people in Miami beach be wearing so much black?” – William Kim


Anvadhya Jayadas Executive MBA Transparent Environments

To what extent does Dyecoo’s waterless dyeing innovation, create a competitive advantage for Nike in the fashion industry?


Abstract

Anvadhya Jayadas

Executive MBA

Wars in the 20th century were about oil and in the 21st-century war will be about water unless we decide to change the way how we manage water was a statement quoted by the Vice President of the World Bank (Global Water Forum, 2013). By 2025, two-third of the world’s population will be living in water-scarce regions (Orr et l., 2015). Water plays an important role in the textile and apparel industry, from growing cotton to bleaching to dyeing. In terms of dyeing, it is estimated that the apparel industry requires five trillion litres of water to dye 28 billion kilograms of fabric (Maxwell et al., 2015). In addition, dyes pollute water, which in turn is often released into rivers by the textile and apparel industries. China, the world’s largest producer of textile and apparel (WTO, 2014) is a pollution war with itself as most of its important rivers basins and aquifers are beyond the point of no return as a result of water pollution (Greenpeace, 2011). Thus, there is a critical need to address dyeing related water use and water pollution in the textile and apparel industry. One possible solution to the problem is to explore the use of waterless dyeing. DyeCoo, a Dutch company, in collaboration with Huntsman Textile Effects, has pioneered this technique through the use of innovative dyes and chemical products. This innovation uses 95% recycled Carbon dioxide in a closed loop as a dyeing medium with water wastes estimated at less than ½ litre for dyeing 200kg of fabric. In addition to the use of limited water, since no additives and process chemicals are used, the pollution is minimal to none, especially since the dye absorption rate is estimated at 98%. Lastly, not washing and drying is required after dyeing. Could Nike and the textile apparel industry at large benefit from a partnership with DyeCoo to explore waterless dyeing? The question that will be addressed in this report is: to what extent does DyeCoo’s waterless dyeing innovation, create a competitive advantage for Nike in the fashion industry?

01


Introduction Background and rationale

To what extent does DyeCoo’s waterless dyeing innovation, create a competitive advantage for Nike in the fashion industry? This question will be used as the basis for discussing sustainable practices especially as it relates to water use and pollution in the fashion industry. Based on the global water crisis and current industry practices as it relates to water management and pollution, there is a critical need to study the significance of innovative approaches like waterless dyeing. Nike has been a strategic innovator in terms of products and production techniques and they are known for making collaborations with other sustainability experts outside the industry e.g. with NASA (LAUNCH, 2015). Nike has also been an early adopter of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the fashion industry after criticisms of abusive labour practices (New York Times, 1997). Nike also balances its value chain activities to create shared value for the environment, people and business. Lastly, it recognises its current competitive position and its future prospects to sustain the status quo as a global leader. Thus, it would only seem apt to use a case study approach to understanding better, the competitive advantage that Nike could have in the fashion industry through a partnership with DyeCoo to explore waterless dyeing. Nike being an early adopter to CSR in the fashion industry after heavy criticisms, began to improve environmental and social consequences of their value chain activities. In February 1993, Nike Environmental Action Team (NEAT) was set up and by 1998 had adopted the first Corporate Environmental Policy with sustainability principles (Nike1). The first CSR Report was published in 2001. The founder and chairman Mr. Knight mentioned in the 2004 Report that the value of reporting goes far beyond transparency and it is a tool for improving business and for giving clues about what to do next; as a goal to become corporate responsibility leader in the 21st century.

02

The sustainable developments at Nike have been driven by product innovations, for example, the FlyKnit shoes with minimal wastage and less water consumption. The invention of the Material Sustainability Index (MSI) has become a benchmark for the entire fashion industry. In spite of all these and many more responsible actions, there have been harsh criticisms from Greenpeace in The Detox Catwalk 2015 Report, where Nike has been identified as a Greenwasher. This term is generally referred by The Greenwashing Index to a company that claims to be green through marketing and advertising rather than the actual implementation of business activities to reduce environmental impacts. In this scenario, Greenpeace argues that Nike lacks transparency over supplier’s water pollution data (Greenpeace, 2015). This was further justified by looking at the Nike Inc. Restricted Substances List (RBL) & Sustainable Chemistry Guidance (SCG). Hazardous chemicals such as Alkylphenols, phthalates and metals such as chromium, lead and cadmium are not fully terminated from Nike’s products (Nike2). As a result, of this Nike is continuing to pollute the water with hazardous chemicals. The whole aspect of water use, efficiency and pollution explored in the fashion industry along with a comparative analysis of Nike’s value chain. Water is an important compound and by 2030, four billion people will be living in high waterstressed areas (Maxwell, et al., 2015). Businesses will need to decouple profitability from this constrained resource and extend their sustainable water management beyond their fence line of operation; denoting the external environment of business operations (Hepworth, 2012). Water is a common pool resource which has an immense impact on society.


Aims and objectives

The aims of this report are:  o better understand the importance of T water in the fashion industry and its main challenge to water pollution  o analyse Nike’s social impact value T chain and water stewardship  o critically evaluate Nike’s effluent T management in China along with a detailed analysis of why it is termed as greenwasher in the Detox Catwalk publication by Greenpeace  o use a comparative study of Nike’s water T practices with competitors as well as best water management practices across the fashion industry  o analyse whether Nike’s partnership with T DyeCoo can provide value and a competitive advantage to Nike.

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Methodology overview

The objective of this report is to address issues that are related to sustainability and water in the fashion industry. According to the World Economic Forum’s global risks (2015), the water crisis is said to have the highest impact and in the 2009 report, there was clear indication that we are on the verge of water bankruptcy (World Economic Forum,2009). Could a waterless dyeing innovation process be a possible solution to the global water crisis? This question would be explored through a case study approach to determine if DyeCoo’s waterless dyeing innovation would provide Nike with a competitive advantage in the fashion industry. The rationale for choosing this case study approach is to demonstrate that the waterless dyeing partnership between DyeCoo and Nike could lead to more sustainable practices across the fashion industry.

This section provides an overview of the research method used in this report to answer the main research question “To what extent does DyeCoo’s waterless dyeing innovation, create a competitive advantage for Nike in the fashion industry”. A flowchart is shown in Figure 3 to depict the process of data explorations, analysis, comparative studies and the frameworks used to address the research question. 4.1 Water in the fashion industry In order to structure the data collection phase, it is necessary to first understand the need for water in the industry and the challenges the fashion and textile industry faces. Therefore, a metamorphosis to tackle the challenges to become opportunities, that the fashion companies should explore to create a competitive advantage in the industry. use, efficiency and pollution of water Gathering specific data The primary and secondary sources for data has been listed in Table1 Secondary data has been accessed from company websites, CSR reports, company press releases, detox reports and Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI). By accessing Greenpeace and Institute of Public Environmental Affairs (IPE) reports it has become evident that most of the heavy water pollutants data was focused on China, as it is the largest textile and apparel producer in the world. The need for chemical management is vital with water pollution. Bluesign website has given clear indications of input stream management, analysis of production processes, health and safety aspects as well as evaluation of output from the factory through waste water and reporting the action plan to Bluesign. All these outlined the benefits for chemical suppliers, manufacturers and fashion brands. A further access of secondary data from Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) gave a clear indication of the awareness and acknowledgement of hazardous chemicals in the fashion companies supply chain and a collective action of more than twenty leading brands (ZDHC website) to take responsibility to achieve ZDHC by 2020. Primary data has been obtained from qualitative interviews. A semi-structured interviews approach has been used with a set of theme and key questions, where the order of questions has varied depending on the flow of the conversation.


Theoretical background

Water Impacts in The Fashion Industry To make a relative comparison of the water consumption in the fashion industry versus the food industry an example can be drawn from the Water Footprint Network (product gallery); A cup of coffee requires 132 litres of water for an average of 7 grams of roasted coffee and in comparison a shirt requires 2,495 litres of water and leaves a lot of effluent behind in the environment. Water pollution from the textile industry are determined by the pH value, total dissolved solids, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), sulphates, calcium, sodium and potassium (Jhala et al. 1981 cited in Cheng, S. et al., 2009). The apparel industry requires five trillion litres of water to dye 28 billion kilograms of fabric (Maxwell, D. et al., 2015 p.17). According to The China dialogue (2013), an employee of the Zhejiang Huadong Textile factory in China reported that his factory discharges 8,000 tonnes of effluent per day. Without a clear answer to solve the water pollution problem there is a continuing damage to the rivers, lakes and wetlands surrounding these industries due to waste water discharge from dyeing, tanning, printing and washing. The hazardous chemicals from these industries production units’ flow into the water streams to destroy the ecological balance of Earth due to poisonous chemicals such as Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), formaldehyde (HCHO), heavy metals such as lead, mercury and chlorine which are all known carcinogens and hormonal disruptors. China’s seven major watersheds, Yangtze, Pearl, Yellow, Huaihe, Haihe, Liaohe and Songhuajiang rivers are all heavily polluted. By 2030, China would have exploited all its water supplied (Buckley, 2007). Therefore, the manner in which China deals with water shortage and water pollution will have a serious effect on it’s economic as well as sustainable growth in the world economy. The government and NGOs are concerned about the environment and encouraging companies to relook at their products lifecycle. Consequently, there is an urgent need to tackle the fashion industries pollution crises.

04

Rising negative externalities The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world (Business of Fashion, 2015). Water is an essential part of the fashion industry’s value chain but excessive water consumption, as well as water pollution, are growing concerns in today’s world (Maxwell, D. et al., 2015). Water practices in the fashion industry begin from the upstream management in the supply chain i.e. from cotton cultivation, fibre and textile manufacturing to apparel industry’s dyeing, washing and processing methods which are highly water intensive and leaves effluent waste into the environment. 50% of the world’s cotton-growing areas are artificially irrigated and this continuing water poverty could lead to drastic changes in the agricultural practices (Fletcher et al., 2012). For instance, Gap Inc. in 2011 had to reduce its annual profits by 22% due to water shortage in Texas, India, Pakistan and Brazil (Larson et al., 2012). Figure 6 shows a water risk map with arrows showing where the fashion industries are located and they are clearly located in the highest water risks areas in red. China, the world’s largest exporter of textile and clothing with a 35 percent and 39 percent share in the world export (WTO, 2014) has been facing the highest water pollution. The textile dyeing and finishing industry pollute 17-20% of the industrial water with 72 hazardous chemicals, where 30 of these chemicals cannot be removed (China Water Risk,2011) and some important river basins and aquifers have gone beyond the point of no-return (Greenpeace, 2011). Companies have thrived in China only due to weak legislation, low pollution fines (CWR, 2015) as well as by spending fortunes to sabotage local government policies (Barley, 2007, cited in Orr et al, 2015). The rise in economic growth has led to further environmental exploitation, which emphasises the symbiosis of company performance and social well-being (Orr et al. 2015).


 hird, Bluesign’s chemical system assessment T was analysed to understand how Adidas, Nike and Puma lead to solutions regarding sustainable textile production. Primary, as well as secondary data, were assessed from Bluesign.  ourth, a comparative analysis of the F importance of water management across the fashion industry is discussed. Some companies have been selected for this study for specific reasons and the rationale for this selection will be discussed in more detail in this section. Only secondary data is available in this section. Bigger Picture of Nike’s Water Practices Nike’s water management will be assessed through an adaptation of Porter and Kramer’s (2006) Mapping the Social Impact framework. In this section secondary research from Nike’s websites are mentioned in Table 2 The following chapters have been referred to understand Nike’s supportive infrastructure like technology, partnerships, procurement and supply chain practices along with the primary activities of the firm like water use, hazardous materials and waste management. The framework will be used to reason water awareness and the water reporting practices from Nike’s CSR Reports. The direct control of water through products, Nike’s water footprint, efficiency translated to its shareholders, internal and collective actions regarding water that affects the stakeholders and whether Nike lobby’s the government on water actions.

05

Summary of findings

 econd, Detox reports from Greenpeace S and CITI reports from IPE were analysed in the sportswear sector of the fashion industry with reference to Adidas, Nike and Puma. This section contains primary as well as secondary data from Greenpeace and IPE.

Analysis of Competitive Advantage As the water resources are getting to be more scarce and chemical management through the supply chain is not efficient and easy to manage; Nike and Adidas have partnered with DyeCoo’s waterless dyeing innovation since 2012 (Huntsman1). The following section will include a detailed analysis of how DyeCoo can help create a competitive advantage for the fashion industry. Introduction to DyeCoo DyeCoo, a Dutch company was founded in 2008. In 2012 collaborated with Huntsman Textile Effects to develop innovative dyes and chemical products to support DyeCoo’s waterless dyeing innovation. This innovation uses 95% recycled Carbon dioxide in a closed loop as a dyeing medium.

Limitations

 irst, Nike’s social impacts through water F management in its supply chain are discussed using an adaptation of Porter and Kramer’s (2006) Mapping the Social Impact. This section contains only secondary data from Nike’s website and CSR reports.

Discussion

Analysis The analysis to address the main research question in this report “To what extent does DyeCoo waterless dyeing innovation, create a competitive advantage for Nike in the fashion industry?” is broken down into four main steps.

This report has explored a very ethical issue of water use, efficiency and pollution among the fashion companies with an emphasis on the sportswear industry. The limitations have been on attaining interviews for primary search from fashion companies; as many of them are currently being criticised by Greenpeace and IPE for their water pollution in China. Therefore, data collection has been biased as it is mostly from the pressure groups such as Greenpeace and IPE. Another limitation has been the Chinese language as a medium to access the IPE website to trace fashion company’s supplier’s pollutants disclosure. This research could also be carried forward by doing a comparative study, on the whole, fashion industry or specific sectors like the fast fashion or the luxury sector. Another perspective for future study could be to understand brands relation to geographic water risk and their opportunities to relocate to solve the water problem. Future research could also be conducted with the main focus on fashion companies’ perspective to understanding the challenges they face in driving water stewardship in their supply chain, this could add further value to the research.


For specific brands:

Recommendations

 ike has built a strong set of resources in its N value chain regarding water but through its responsive CSR practices and a shared partnership of DyeCoo’s technology with Adidas can create a situation in the future for Nike to lose its competitive position as the global leader.

For managers:  ive equal importance to water use, G efficiency and pollution.  here is an urgent need for companies T to invest their R&D on green chemistry as the main source to fight water pollution.  ater footprint, as well as chemical W footprint, should be an essential part of every CSR report.  rive innovations and build collaborations D to research and develop new fibres to reduce water use, efficiency and pollution. This is an inescapable part of the fashion industry’s future. For fashion brands:  rands should tackle not a part of their supply B chain but rather the whole supply chain for greener and leaner supply activities.  any brands have mentioned about water M efficiency in their corporate offices and distribution centres but water stewardship goes beyond just water efficiencies to solve problems related to water.  rands should take responsibility for their own B actions on water pollution and acknowledge the sort of change that needs to take place.  rands should cooperate to be transparent B of not only their tier 1 suppliers but also tier 2 and 3 and they should drive change for more responsible actions to protect the environment as well as the people.

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 &A water footprint assessment clearly identifies C the relationship of its production to the geographic area but it is to be noted that this alone cannot solve the problem that has been identified (Chapagain et al., 2012). The identified geo-water risk areas should help companies to relocate their production to less water risk areas.  &M collaborations with NGOs and NPOs H to drive water stewardship appears to be harm mitigating activities but the competitive advantage in water can be created only through strategic CSR (See Appendix 4).  rands like Asics, that have a low strategic B priority on water efficiency and pollution should understand the huge impacts on operational risks as well as financial and reputational risks that are involved with water risks. This implies for other fashion brands also. For fashion industry:  he fashion industry should acknowledge T Dyecoo’s technology and make a strategic decision to move away from water-stressed areas and relocate closer to the market to achieve a short lead time. This will not only reduce water dependencies but also energy and transportation cost will reduce.  ashion companies should not create any more F catastrophic situations like the depletion of Aral Sea due to cotton irrigation (Fletcher, et al. 2012). For lobbying government:  he Trans-Pacific Treaty should not be used T in a way for Nike to exploit the water resources in Vietnam as most of the textile companies from China are moving to other countries in South East Asia due to stringent environment laws and the war on pollution in China (Primary research from Greenpeace interview p.25 from this report).


Karuna Nagpal MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Evolving Innovation

A project based study of scaling up Renee Label to develop a new contemporary womenswear brand, that integrates digital apparel customisation as a key strategy, for the UK market


MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Abstract

Karuna Nagpal

The research is a project based study of scaling up an existing Indian, ethnic wear brand, Renee Label to develop a new contemporary, womenswear brand, that integrates digital apparel customisation as a key strategy, for the UK market. The research is a part of a feasibility test to develop and shape the new brand, Zardouzi which will offer eclectic, handcrafted womenswear for a global audience, launching in the UK. Many brands are adopting digital apparel customisation, as a part their premium services which contribute to their competitive strategy. The concept offers unique and individualised products, with an advantage of sustainable production models. With the rise in demand for custom made clothing and unique, artisanal products, the author who is also the co-founder & designer of Renee label, has conducted the study to analyse the practicality and consumer likeliness for this disruptive concept. The study integrates a detailed strategic planning model, named the SOSTAC model that forms a crucial part of the methodology, aligning the goals, strategies and tactics. Consumer surveys and in-depth expert interviews were conducted to accomplish data based on the customer readiness for the concept and the type of customisation that will be applied to achieve a feasible model. The findings indicate, adoption of an optimal level of customisation that is economically viable and achievable on a larger scale. ‘Design MC’ is adopted to offer varying levels of modularity and variety for limited styles of apparel, thus integrating digital apparel customisation as a competitive strategy for the business. The consumer study confirms a positive response from the UK millennials, reflecting their demands and preferences that are applied to the product development and conclusions. The conclusions are practically executed into a business plan, brand conceptualisation and website templates as a practical outcome of the study.

01


Investigate the strategies and resources that will add a competitive advantage to the brand, offering consumers the ability to design through a digital medium.  o develop brand concepts, website mock ups T & a business plan for a digital platform for customisation of handcrafted, contemporary apparel for women.

As a project based study to analyse the market trends and consumer behaviour towards the new brand concept, a mixed method approach is applied to the research. The tools used are surveys, in-depth interviews and observations to collect the data. A pragmatic philosophy with an inductive approach is used to gather and build on the findings. The qualitative data is analysed using thematic analysis and the quantitative data using statistical and graphical representations.

Introduction

Aims and objectives

To identify and apply an appropriate planning model that will structure and strategically plan the study by exploring all relevant aspects.

 valuate the customer interest in digital E customisation and identify the missing links that will cater to the ‘customer sacrifice gap’ i.e. gap between the desired product and the products available in the UK market (Gilmore and Pine, 1997).

As a micro-sized business, they aim to expand their product range to global markets with the platform of digital customisation. They aim to offer consumers, accessible & personalised experiences with customised products. With most of their sales and customised orders from the UK, the study will also target their existing clients as well as millennial consumers in the UK.

02

The study is driven by the following objectives:

 o contextualise the globalisation of Indian T designers that successfully use contemporary ethnic and or co-design elements in their design, and analyse the demand for Indian made, handcrafted apparel.

The company aims to scale up their business to offer handcrafted, contemporary apparel with Indian embellishments, through a new brand”, “Zardouzi”. Zardouzi is an accolade to the legacy of Indian craftsmanship, entwined with modern influences in design, material and craftsmanship. Zardouzi is Persian for sewing with gold thread, where Zar means gold and douzi/ dozi means embroidery. The name holds the splendour and heritage for the alluring & diligent craft.

There is no clear understanding of how digital customisation of handcrafted contemporary apparel can facilitate customer co-design and involvement. To deliver exclusive products and experience, there is a need for a deeper understanding of how users perceive the products and services. This study embarks on an analysis, discovering the “what is” of the market, consumers and the trends to produce a business plan for the brand. A SOSTAC model is adopted to further materialise the process.

The research aims to conduct a study to launch a new brand that enables customers to digitally co-design & customise contemporary, handcrafted women’s apparel for the UK market.

 o explore theories of various forms of T customisation and co-design, that can be implemented through the spectrum of services, offered by the brand.

There is a relative shift in consumer purchasing behaviour, decision drivers and the way in which they want to be engaged with, most significantly in digital channels. The modern day consumer is informed, knowledgeable and confident, seeking products that meet their individual preferences and choices (Moynagh & Worsley, 2002).

Methodology

Background and rationale

Where once brand labels and opulence defined luxury, it now seems that consumers are seeking the same in transcending experiences & curated, artisanal products that define their individuality (Blackden, 2016). “The new luxury” is what consumers today, seek in eclectic, unique and made-to-measure apparel (Kay, 2013). The escalating popularity of Indian fashion globally, goes hand in hand with the vogue for handcrafted and bespoke clothes. Indian textiles and crafts are an essential element of the Indian culture and tradition which are in high demand among the western consumers. Numerous international design houses have outsourced Indian craftsmanship and textiles.


Context and rationale

The research framework with the SOSTACmodel is presented, with all the steps and tools that are required in the research. First the gap is analysed, followed by raising research questions which further help to determine the primary data for the study. The third chapter concentrates on the methods and methodologies used, integrated with the SOSTAC model. Methods and processes of primary data collection and analysis are also discussed. Chapter four moves on to practically applying the data findings into the SOSTAC model to construct a business plan for Zardouzi. The final chapter embodies conclusions and suggestions for future study and brand development. Based on the feedback and data findings, website mock ups for the brand are also designed.

This chapter takes forward the discussion on digital apparel customisation as a part of mass customisation and co-design. It highlights the various levels of customisation that can be implemented to co-design and customise handcrafted, Indian made contemporary womenswear for the UK millennial market. The literature review presents various theories surrounding the three key areas of the study, to determine references to gaps for further primary research.

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Research methodology

Overview of structure

The research is divided into two main aspects, the theoretical and the practical application. Having integrated the SOSTAC model in the study, the author goes back and forth combining the aspects to build up the study. The introduction gives a general idea about the study, presenting the rationale, aim & objectives and a brief framework. In the second chapter, the author contextualises the fields of study i.e customisation, UK market consumer and Handcrafted apparel.

The research is conducted with a mixed methods approach contributing to three areas of the study that include a theoretical, empirical and an implementation section. The theoretical part of the research comprises of a review of theories based around relevant fields of study and the main strategic framework used in the business planning and development strategy i.e. the SOSTAC model. The empirical section is based on data collected from the resulting feedback and past experiences of the author as the co-founder of Renee label. It is an action-oriented methodological approach, where theoretical data, strategic models, primary research findings, and secondary data are applied in a structured way to create a business plan and website mock-ups for Zardouzi.


Recommendations

Defining the audience The findings took shape from understanding and analysing the response and behavior of the target audience. This section highlights the findings based on the behaviour, challenges and demands of the consumers which assisted to develop further data analysis.

The study was conducted across three and half months and it was not sufficient to explore the technological, design, financial and e-marketing aspects for launching Zardouzi. Another research which includes the same would provide clarity and interesting information about the return on investment and profitability of the plan. The project is formulated as a framework which can be replicated to research different markets like India for their start up phase and globally for expansion. It can be used by other companies that are looking to scale up their business or extend their brands. Future studies can test the feasibility and the product development for the same. A customer satisfaction survey can be executed when the website is ready and the order process can be tested before launch. Having tested the customisation process with the customers, the level of customisation and the options can be scaled up or lowered depending on the market response.

04

Conclusion

Project development

This chapter highlights the findings based on the key characteristics of the target consumers and their behaviour, in UK. Consumer behaviour was the central focus of the data findings, based on which other facts were determined. While some aspects were described in the literature review, the author tried to achieve in-depth data about their preferences, specific to factors like favourable elements in apparel, likeliness for customisation and lead time preferences; through the consumer survey. Interviews with industry professionals underlined similar characteristics of the consumers. Many facts learned about Renee Label’s existing clients who purchase through the brand’s stockists, overlapped with that of the British Millennials.

The apparel industry in the UK is very indistinctly saturated with monotonous brands. Handcrafted and artisanal products that are sustainably sourced and ethically produced are admired and have a large receptive audience. The establishment of digital technologies has brought a shift in fashion retail businesses offering them with a diverse toolbox to cater to their target markets effortlessly. Consumers demand seamless experiences and brands are integrating consumer centric strategies to offer their customers with the same. Having noticed the pattern personally with Renee label, the author proposed the research for scaling up the business into a new brand. The main aim of the study was to understand the market environment and the consumer behaviour as the initial step to plan the launch of this business. An inductive approach with a pragmatic philosophy was applied through the research to achieve both quantitative and qualitative data through surveys and interviews. The author’s own observations as the co-founder of the parent company supported to collect the primary data. The validity threats of the research were abstained resulting in high validity. The author suggests a future feasibility study and a consumer satisfaction survey. performed on a wider scale before officially launching the brand.


Ranyu Liu MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Evolving Innovation

Tailor-made matchmaking consultancy service for designers and manufacturers in UK and China


MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Abstract

Ranyu Liu

This paper aims to study how to establish a fashion consultancy/ agency startup in order to connect emerging fashion designers’ needs and manufacturers’ needs in the United Kingdom (UK) and People’s Republic of China (CHN). In order to cope with the research purpose, the study intends to deliver the most appropriate business model and business strategy for the micro and small sized fashion consultancy/ agency organisation. More specifically, it focuses on providing tailormade-matchmaking services to emerging fashion designers in the aspect of sourcing and production in the fashion industry. A literature review was first conducted to gather background information on the demand for the services above. It includes the concept of startup and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as consultancy, business models and strategies, and the function of sourcing and production in the industry. It then raised questions in relation to the research gap, showed a research direction for the following primary research. The primary research was conducted in two phases. The first phase is a questionnaire which was developed using online survey software ‘Survey Monkey’ and distributed to college students who are studying in fashion design and wishing to build their own fashion brands after graduation in both UK and China. 110 completed questionnaires were collected and then were analysed using Chi-Square techniques, group statistics, one sample T-test, Mann-Whitney U test and Spearmans rank test for correlation statistics in SPSS. The second phase proceeded with 8 interviews, the participants include fashion students who are studying in menswear design, womenswear design and artifact design. The result of the study delivered the answer to fulfil the research gap. The data showed significant support for the proposed idea of setting up the micro and small sized consultancy business to help emerging designers develop their brands and labels.

01


Introduction Aims and objectives Background and rationale

Setting in one country of the topic is in most of literatures, or in international settings. There is no information regarding UK and China specifically. ‘Brexit’ has been a heating topic in this year, according to the BBC news, “Made in China 2025” will bring business trading opportunities for companies in UK and China. As per the analysis, the ‘Brexit’ will promote bilateral cooperation in a wider range of fields between the two countries (Hounslea, 2016). The dissertation is a theoretical-based study that explored the necessity of a consultancy/agency which provides professional advices and skills to help the emerging fashion designers with their difficulties in developing their own brands and labels, especially focusing on design students in fashion colleges. This study investigated three fields. First of all, the Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups in fashion consultancy industry. Secondly, the appropriate business model and business strategy for consultancy startups. At last, the difficulty of sourcing and production emerging designers are facing.

02

The aim is to explore the possibility of developing a fashion consultancy/agency which provides tailor-made-matchmaking services to emerging designers in terms of sourcing and production in UK and China.  o explore SMEs and startups’ values and issues T and their utility in setting up a micro consultancy/ agency business (Literature Review)  o study the business model and strategy for T developing the fashion consultancy/agency business  o study the role of sourcing and production T in fashion industry  o investigate the needs and difficulties emerging T designers are facing when establishing their own brands in both UK and CN, as well as to examine the possibility of establishing fashion consultancy/agency startups to help and support emerging designers  o identify the tailor-made-matchmaking service T strategy for fashion consultancy/agency startups in order to help and support emerging designers’ needs and challenges in sourcing and production  o highlight the benefits and challenges faced T in collaborating with emerging designers and manufacturers, and give appropriate recommendations for micro/small fashion consultancy/agency startups


In phase two, qualitative method was adopted. 8 in-depth interview were conducted with 5 main questions per each. These questions were raised based on the questionnaire’s results in order to obtain more in-depth information as well as complementary method after questionnaire.

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Research methodology

Pragmatism philosophy and mixed methods were adopted in this study. Secondary data as well as business concept and business model was gathered from reviewing literature. Primary research was conducted to explore the answer of the overarching research question in two phases. In phase one, the quantitative method was used. A questionnaire pilot with 22 questions included was distributed to design students in fashion college mainly and a few emerging fashion designers outside college. In return, 110 responds were received. Data was retrieved in the form of a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. Graphs were illustrated using the data. The data was then transferred in to SPSS in order to perform statistical analysis.

According to Babbie and Mouton (2001), research methodology includes methods, techniques and procedures, and it is used to guide the research design. Researchers should make truthful judgements based on findings from their research during the process. In this chapter, the secondary data of the literature review was critically reviewed and the primary research data was analysed. A research onion introduced by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) was utilized for an overview of this research.

Project development

Methodology

Literature review outlined three main themes in utilisation of Venn diagram. It started with SMEs and startups review in order to explore an appropriate way for establishing a micro/small sized consultancy business. It then reviewed well-known business models and business strategies, this was to further mold the consultancy business by developing its own advantages and unique propositions. The importance of sourcing and production was reviewed at last as well as the important research questions to explore in primary research moving forward.

Each year, thousands of design students graduates from fashion schools, and many of them try their best to launch their own labels and failed after. Even some of them fail to find jobs as designers in fashion organisations (Corner, 2014). The research recognized that how to help and support designers to establish their brands become a serious problem to be solved. The emerging designers are good at designing beautiful products, however, they have no knowledge in managing business. They need professional advices and help in terms of their specific difficulties. By distributing online questionnaire, this study also found out what the most difficulty emerging fashion designers are facing. As shown in the pie chart, which was generated by the survey pilot, 96.4% of emerging fashion designers are facing challenges in production filed. The next finding is that as a solution, a consultancy/agency can provide professional advices to emerging designers. 85.5% of emerging designers would choose to use a consultancy for help.


Conclusion

The establishment of manufacturing infrastructure poses a significant challenge to emerging designers and SMEs. The literature is general and often cannot provide specific advices to individual designers.

Recommendations

A consultancy service, based on literature review, specifically modelled for fashion designers, will be a feasible way to provide advices and matchmaking service to bridge the gap between emerging designers and quality and reliable manufacturers.

In terms of location, depending on designers’ target market segment, the country of manufacturing could be researched globally. Vice versa, depending on designers’ own location, not only in UK and China. A model of global supply chain could be built up. In relation to the market segment of fashion consultancy, a wider range of designers could be investigated, for example, those who are currently working in a company. In the meantime, an investigation in how to make the manufacturers as customers of the consultancy business will be needed. In regarding to consultancy’s management, the structure of the organisation could be further researched. In terms of entrepreneur / intrapreneur wise, if it is possible to become a fashion consulting intrapreneurer in a bigger sized of consultancy organisation could be researched. Overall, problems always pop-up, there are always more aspects to research on. Therefore, it is always essential to catch up the changes in time and do research and be adaptive.

04

The needs of individual designers vary widely, even when only taking in factors such as their target market and geographical location as shown by the primary research work. The available finances and willingness to pay for consultancy service also varies from designer to designer. Furthermore, each designer has their individual level of experience and concerns regarding a wide range of aspects of their business. Therefore, a tailor made consultancy service is needed to be able to provide individual service in order to succeed and to guarantee the success of its clients. From research, the consultancy service must hold particular expertise in the field of production, sampling, selection of manufactures, logistics, import and export. These are areas where a majority of designers surveyed and interviewed had the most concern due to the lack of personal experience. For the consultancy to be successful and trusted, the agency must also have access to an established international network of manufactures, with their individual USPs (e.g. Quality, reliability, cost effectiveness) to beable to suit the needs of the clients.


Christelle Senglet MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Kinetic Culture

An investigation into the potential of developing a business concept for a yoga studio in Geneva, Switzerland


MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Because the world population has become increasingly health conscious and because being healthy is now fashionable, the health and wellness industry has been experiencing a strong growth in the last years. As a result, the demand for related products and services is constantly increasing and, yoga, being part of this wide industry, has thus been flourishing tremendously. It additionally fulfils a need by enabling people to take time for themselves and relax, which makes it even more popular. Yet, despite this massive international trend, Switzerland appears to stay behind: the offer is weak and new concepts take time to enter the Swiss market. This situation induces a gap on the market and provokes an imbalance of offer and demand, for yoga facilities, leading to the creation of a latent potential demand.

Abstract

Christelle Senglet

The aim of the project is therefore to investigate the potential of building a business concept for a yoga studio in Geneva in order to address this issue. The research methodology explored both the feasibility of the business feasibility and provided the basis for the development of the business proposal. A pragmatic philosophy using both deductive and inductive approaches to gather qualitative and quantitative on the topic data was chosen and both secondary and primary researches were undertaken. Secondary research was conducted to investigate the market context, the key trends shaping the industry and the emerging theories on new entrepreneurship. The findings were determinant for the research methods choices, which included a consumer survey, interviews and observations both in Geneva and London. The primary research was used in order to validate the beliefs held from the literature, examine the market considered, assess its potential and discover the innovation possibilities. Due their high level of congruence, the findings gathered validated the feasibility of the project and were thus applied to the business proposal development and strategies. The study concludes with the entrepreneurial proposal presented as the practice-based component of the project and including: the studio identity, target market, Unique Selling Point, business model, competitors’ analysis, the optimal marketing mix strategies (Price, place, promotion), studio growth strategy, a mock-up of the studio layout and design and finally a financial forecast.

01


Background and rationale

“Yoga can hold us all, and can hold all of us.” Lauren Walker Yoga finds its origin in ancient India. This practice was indeed developed by men and passed down verbally through generation. Originally, the practice was mainly spiritual and involved very few postures. However, over time, various forms of yoga have emerged . “Yoga has morphed over 4000 years” (Woodhall and Sattin, 2013) and is a dual practice: “On one level it’s a physical practice that makes us feel stronger, more flexible, less stressed and generally better in ourselves. On another level, it’s a set of spiritual attitudes and techniques to help us get to know who we are.”(Woodhall and Sattin, 2013) This dual component has probably been the initial driver for the increasing interest we witness nowadays in the West, as ‘it fulfils a real need addressing many issues of the 21st century life such as stress, loneliness, mental overload and anxiety, as well as physical imbalances.’ (Woodhall and Sattin, 2013) (See Appendix 2) Research indeed shows that the yoga market is flourishing (See Appendix 2) and the numbers are striking. According to The Yoga Alliance latest report on the US market, the percentage of Americans aware of yoga has climbed from 75 to 90 percent since 2012 and the number of practitioners has increased from 20.4 to over 36 million, turning this ancient practice to a $27 billion dollar industry. Amongst yoga practitioners it appears that the main reasons for starting yoga are: flexibility, stress relief, improve overall health and physical fitness, which is supported by scientific research as well.

02

However, this ideal is far from what one can observe in today’s world. Indeed, even though men are starting to get more involved in the practice, with research (The Yoga Alliance Report, 2016) showing that women represent 72 percent of practitioners while men only 28 percent, this practice seems still largely dominated by women in western countries. Not to mention that of this percentage, 68% earn over 75’000 $ a year and 71.4% are college graduates, which pinpoints the demographic group the yoga industry is targeting: highly educated Caucasian women. This fact is further enhanced by media coverage, showing ‘images of thin, statuesque, often white women (…) and so, unsurprisingly, our wellnessobsessed culture has come to associate yoga with a certain ideal of female perfection.’ (Gregoire, 2013). As a result, Yoga is now perceived as having shifted from its authentic origin to a commercialized culture, making it «more of a business and a way to look good » than a spiritual practice. This trendy component surrounding yoga has a repercussion on pricing both in terms of yoga fees and complementary goods, such as mats or apparel, making it unaffordable for the majority of the population and ultimately creating yoga stereotypes and myths. Therefore, people feel they need to fit the “yoga body”, ‘the body that will fit in Lululemon pants’ (Yoga and diversity, 2014) and be part of this “exclusive club” to get involved in the practice. A study (Yoga and diversity, 2014) indeed reveals that the part of the population feeling left outside tend to avoid yoga classes because they find it intimidating and fear the judgment of others. Yoga has become, for them, a source of stress rather than a stress reliever. The aim of this project is therefore to create a type of business that will fight this unequal treatment and provide access to yoga for everybody transcending fears and misgivings.

Introduction

It has indeed been proven that practicing yoga has a positive effect on stress and pressure, improves concentration, boosts immune system, improves sport performance, helps sleep better and being energized. As a spiritual practice with strong idealistic values, yoga is presented as being accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, physical ability or religion.


Investigate the Swiss market and Swiss consumer characteristics: evaluate the consumption behaviour and preferences in terms of activity as well as the perceptions towards the current offer.  xamine the ‘product and service offer’ E of selected yoga studios in order to identify an appropriate product-service offer that is underpinned by inclusivity.

Overview of structure

 xplore the practices of successful yoga E studios in London to identify innovative elements and key dimensions that could be brought to the Swiss market.

Chapter 1: project contextualization This chapter aims at looking into the Swiss market context, the new trends impacting the well-being and fitness industries and the innovation in the entrepreneurship field. Chapter 2: research methodology This chapter explains and justify the methodology used as well as the process followed in order to meet the research objectives set for this investigation. A description of research philosophy, design, approach, strategy and methods are therefore included. Chapter 3: project development This chapter exposes and discuss the findings from the exploratory process and links them with the initial objectives. Chapter 4: validation The validation chapter assesses the validity of both the research used and the practice-based idea by highlighting the gap discovered in the market. It also discusses the limitations of the research, its managerial implication and the potential future developments.

03

Context and rationale

 xplore the theories and practices of yoga E studios and identify key success factors.

Research methodology

Aims and objectives

An investigation into the potential of building a business concept for a yoga studio in Geneva and an assessment of the potential store format and atmosphere, product and service offering and customer experience.

In order to assess the potential of developing a yoga studio in Geneva, the first step is to analyse the Swiss market situation and the global trends observable in the to analyse the Swiss market situation and the global trends observable in the concerned industry as well as to explore the theories applicable to the project. The aim of this investigation is to provide a theoretical through primary research in order to create a business responding accurately to a framework that will then be tested through primary research in order to create a business responding accurately to a need.

As this practice-based study aims at developing a business proposal for a yoga studio based in Geneva, the research will combine both exploratory and descriptive methods. This decision was based on the fact that it is investigating the Swiss market context and the fitness industry on a theoretical level but also observing the Swiss competitive landscape and consumers’ attitudes on a practical one. Additionally, according to Saunders et al. (2015) the type of research undertaken should be linked to the purpose of the study it supports. They indeed, separate them into four categories: exploratory, ‘to gain insight on the topic’; descriptive, ‘to gain an accurate profile of events, persons, or situations’; explanatory, ‘to establish causal relationships between variables’ and finally evaluative, ‘to find out how well something works’. The research methodology will aim to explain each layer of the research onion Saunders et al., 2015) (See below). The research philosophy and research design will first be stated, followed by a justification of both the data collection and data analysis processes.


Recommendations

The project contextualisation reviewed the literature on the Swiss market, community based entrepreneurship and new health and wellness trends. Since, for the purpose of the project, this part focused only on specific aspects of each subject researchers interested on the topic could therefore further investigate each topic in an explanatory light by looking at the cause and effect patterns or their sociological impact for example. A cross-dimensional study could also be conducted in order to investigate the potential relation between the Swiss market and the two other topics. As per the practice-based component it could be used as inspiration for new entrepreneurs wishing to develop a similar offer in the industry concerned. However, since it is focused on the Swiss market, it would have to be adapted if used for other markets. This project outcome indeed provides a wide scheme that can be easily adapted or extended, which is probably its main strength. Additionally, due to the rather short timeframe allocated to the project development, it benefits from a strong potential for future development. On the long-term, and after launching the basic business, it would be interesting to research on alternative medicines and their link with yoga or to develop yoga for disabled for example.

04

Conclusion

Development

This chapter presents, discusses and evaluates the findings of the primary research conducted as part of the market analysis done on the Swiss market. The findings are divided into four parts: consumer survey findings, observation findings, interviews findings and primary research conclusion. The overall population characteristics confirmed the secondary research findings in many points, which will be explained throughout the chapter.

Overall the primary research was conclusive as its initial purpose was met see validation section for more details). Indeed, the beliefs held from the literature were validated by the primary research findings. The primary research also enabled the recognition of the managerial implications (See validation section) specific to the health, wellness and fitness industry that should not be overlooked as well as the potential future development on a long-term scale. As a result, the development of an innovative yoga studio and lifestyle centre business proposal, the practice-based component of the project, was validated and will be further elaborated in the subsequent piece of work.


Eshaan Dhingra MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation Disruptive Enterprise

An investigative study on the key success factors of concept stores and experiential retailers: to apply to a new fashion and lifestyle concept store in Los Angeles


MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Abstract

Eshaan Dhingra

The purpose of this paper is to understand and pinpoint the key dimensions of experiential retail and concept stores in order to apply them to a new business concept in the Los Angeles area; by conducting a review on existing academic literature as well as a combination of qualitative and quantitative research. Unlike previous studies who examine experiential retail and concept store environments, this paper focuses on the identifying which factors are considered to play a more favorable role on the overall experience. The primary research is based on six observations which took place in concept stores in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles; exit interviews with consumers exiting the stores in London and Los Angeles; four semi-structured interviews with two concept store owners and two retail professionals; and a consumer survey of 101 respondents. The study solidifies the current conversation concerning the experience economy, identifying the necessity for brick and mortar retailers to focus on an experience driven environment. It also discovers elements of an experience that are not mentioned in previous academic discourse. This study seeks to contribute to the deficient literature of concept stores, specifically: First, the study highlights the importance of brand assortment and store design, from a consumer standpoint. Second, it emphasizes the need for high quality customer service, often not mentioned by academia, identifying this as a central factor to the success of an experience. Third, the study demonstrates how focusing an environment on a local or community setting can impact the success of a brand. Finally, mentioning the need for space, and creativity within that space, in order to produce engaging and flexible environments. The results of this study can be particularly valuable for a new business to enter the concept store environment, or for an existing business to enter or adjust their strategies in order to gain success within their experiential future.

01


So how does a retailer deal with the variety of competition on the market? They create memorable experiences, experiences that engage with consumers on a personal level, giving them more than just a place to shop. But rather, a place to hang out, explore, and connect with the brand as a whole. The U.S. clothing and accessories sales have steadily increased over the past five years, up 2.6% since 2014 and a remarkable 19% compared to 2010 (Mintel). Though consumers’ purchasing behaviors have changed, there is still a large impression of purchasing within the retail sector. Consumer confidence levels are at the highest point in over a decade, hence why consumers are spending more freely (Mintel). It is estimated that consumers will spend approximately $432 billion on clothing, footwear, and accessories in 2015 alone - increasing from $364 billion in 2010. Specifically, for Los Angeles County, the expected retail sales growth for 2013-2018 is 12.1% Due to population density, Los Angeles is also the strongest county in California for overall retail sales. According to Euromontior, consumer spending in 2015 will remain strong. From 2013 until now, the consumer spending forecast for U.S. citizens is on a continuous rise. Research also shows that personal consumption expenditures have been steady since the first quarter of 2014. Online shopping has increasingly posed a threat to traditional brick and mortar retailers by providing everything a consumer needs at the click of a button. Though consumers are increasingly shopping online, many consumers say it is necessary to visit brick-and-mortar stores before buying products online (Mintel). Therefore, retail stores must adapt to online shopping trends by creating a successful digital presence for their consumers.

02

An investigation into the development of a business plan for a premium fashion and lifestyle concept store in Los Angeles through an assessment of key success factors of selected concept stores worldwide.  o explore the theories of experiential T retailing and concept stores  o explore the theories within experiential T retail which include store experience, store atmosphere, product display, product range, and store personality to identify the critical success factors to be considered by concept store retailers.  o conduct an observation analysis in order T to identify the innovative elements, experiential strategies, and the key success factors of selected concept stores to apply to a new business model.  o identify the market potential of launching T a new concept store in Los Angeles through a market analysis and consumer surveys.  o develop a mood board, business plan T and layout for a start-up concept store.

Chapter 1: introduction This chapter introduces the context and rationale of the study as well as explains the overall aims and objectives of this study. Chapter 2: project contextualization This chapter defines the experiential retail and concept store environments and reviews the literature available on the key dimensions included: store experience, store atmosphere, store layout and design, VM and product display, and product range. Chapter 3: methodology This chapter justifies and explains the methodological process used to answer the research questions for this study. Chapter 4: product development This chapter reflects the entire process involved in the creation of the study through the analyzation and discussion of primary research findings and how they relate to the literature. Chapter 5: validation This concluding chapter includes a reflection of the entire process as well includes limitations and recommendations for suture practice.

Introduction

Aims and objectives

In today’s crowded retail market, there are numerous different strategies used to engage with consumers. From traditional brick and mortar stores, department stores, pop ups, concept stores, and online retailers, shoppers have unlimited options to choose from.

Overview structure

Background and rationale

“If time is the ultimate luxury and people want a higher return on investment of their time, you need to give them a reason to be in a physical space.” – Rachel Shectman, Owner of STORY NYC


An exploratory study of how Chinese upscale womenswear ‘own branding and manufacturing’ companies can utilise green production practices to achieve competitive advantage

Feixia Zha MA Fashion Design Management

Transparent Environments


MA Fashion Design Management

Abstract

Feixia Zha

The increasing environmental pressures have caused the society to pay close attention to environmental-friendly consumption. As Chinese economy is experiencing slowing down, as well as the global intense competition, Chinese upscale womenswear ‘own branding & manufacturing’ (OBM) companies are facing the upgrading of economic transformation and enterprises structural re-organisation. They are seeking for new approach to create competitive advantage. Thereby, implementing green production might be an effective way to accomplish the transformation from extensive economic growth mode to the sustainable development mode, as well as to integrate the green concept into companies’ manufacturing and production structural upgrading, further to achieve competitive advantage. The main aim of this dissertation is to explore how Chinese upscale womenswear ‘own branding & manufacturing’ companies can utilise green production practices to achieve competitive advantage. Pragmatism worldview and inductive approach were adopted in this study. Literature review and semi-structured interviews were utilised to gathering secondary and primary data respectively. Interviews with experts from five influential and successful upscale womenswear OBM companies in China were conducted, coded, captured, and analysis based on Porter’s theory and Resource-Based View of competitive advantage. Since there are two companies have been adopted green production, another two have plan and willing to do, and one is not willing to adopt amongst the five companies that participants are working for, the gathered data provided different insights toward the impact of Green Production practices within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies, in terms of Competitive Advantage. Relevant motivation and barriers to implement has also been revealed.

01


Introduction Background and rationale

Over the last decade, China’s fashion industry has undergone tremendous change and continues to expand exponentially. Following the global financial crisis, many industries considered taking a transformation and upgrading approach, without exception for the apparel and textile industry (HKTDC, 2016). As a result of more than 30 years’ reform and development, China’s apparel and textile industry takes the opportunity of the global industrial structural adjustment and distribution, based on the low labour cost, to help the industry enjoy global trade competitiveness today (Gu, 2010). However, maintaining the development momentum, competitive advantages among the worldwide competition presents a major challenge to Chinese fashion and apparel enterprises under the background of globalisation. The “13th five-year-plan” of China emphasises that Chinese manufacturing industry including apparel production companies should conduct green production to gain new approach to competitive advantage within an international competitive environment (Economic Information Daily, 2016). Besides, as the increasingly serious environmental issues in China, the public pay close attention to sustainable conscious. According to AliResearch (2016), In 2015, as China’s per capita GDP reached 8016 dollars, the health, environmental protection and sustainable development are increasingly concerned. Therefore, integrating ‘green’ and sustainable conscious into production practices provide potential opportunities for Chinese apparel companies to have new access to competitive advantage. The context background is comprehensively analysed by adopting PEST model as below.

02

Make Chinese fashion and apparel companies to face increasing pressure among. Li (2003) states that the weaknesses and problems of domestic apparel companies were exposed when facing international market competition and the unceasing enhancement of customer consumption level, such as lacking product innovation and the extensive internal management problem of companies. Within this context, surviving and developing progressively in the face of fierce competition from the global fashion retail market has become an important task for Chinese companies. Social Influenced by the economy, consumer demand, and consumer behaviour changes. A report produced by Bain & Company and Kantar Worldwide reveals that China’s economic slowdown is likely to change consumption concept, and Chinese customers are willing to pay more for high-quality goods (Lex, 2015). Moreover, sustainable development becomes a mainstream trend worldwide (European Commission, 2015). The environmental pollution in China leads the public to pay more attention to sustainable and green practices. Besides, as the ascension of education level, green consumption consciousness is raising (AliResearch, 2016). Technological The advanced Internet can help enhance information transparency to raise green consumer sovereignty. Moreover, the development of new energy, new materials and new technology can promote the development of green products and services (AliResearch, 2016).


 o contextualise domestic upscale T womenswear OBM companies in China in terms of the market and supply chain.  o discuss green production practices and T motivations/drivers and barriers/challenges of introducing these.  o discuss the relationship between T competitive advantage and green production practices.  o investigate the impact of green production T practices within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies in terms of competitive advantage, and the motivation/drivers and barriers/challenges to implementing these.  o provide recommendations about the T ways in which green production practices can contribute to competitive advantage for Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies.

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In terms of research epistemology, a Pragmatism philosophy is selected since this study aims to contribute to practical solutions that inform future practices (Saunders et al., 2016). Besides, the inductive approach is employed to generate data and analysing and reflecting upon what theoretical themes the data are suggesting (Saunders et al., 2016). This research is carried out by both secondary and primary research. In the secondary, an extensive literature review is conducted to have an in-depth understanding of the current upscale womenswear OBM companies in China, existing competitive advantage and green production theories and models. Resources of secondary research are mainly coming from academic journals, books, market and business reports, news articles, and other online databases such as Mintel. In terms of the primary research, a qualitative mono-method will be adopted. Semi-structured interviews with experts from several well- known and successful upscale womenswear companies are conducted to gather qualitative data related to the impact of green production practices within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies in terms of competitive advantage, and the motivation/drivers and barriers/challenges to implementing these. The interview responses are transcribed, then coded by different themes to present the study with richer insights into real-world firms. In addition, key ethical considerations, research reliability, and validity are stated, alongside the research limitations. Figure 1.2. shows a framework outline for this study.

Introduction

Methodology overview Aims and objectives

The project aims to explore how Chinese upscale womenswear ‘own branding and manufacturing’ companies can utilise green production practices to achieve competitive advantage. This will ensure the achievement of the five key research objectives:

This is an exploratory study that seeks to understand how Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies can utilise green production practices to achieve competitive advantage. The Research Onion created by Saunders et al. (2016) is utilised as a key tool for supporting the depiction of the research methodology.


Introduction Chapter 2: literature review The second Chapter begins by contextualising the current Chinese fashion market and domestic upscale apparel companies. Then, the theory and framework of green production are presented, as well as the concept of adopting green production practices into apparel production. Also, the key theories and models of competitive advantage are reviewed. Then, the relationship between competitive advantage and green production, the driver/motivation and barrier/challenge will be discussed. Chapter 3: methodology By employing the Saunders’ Research Onion (Saunders et al., 2016), the main research methodology is summarised in this Chapter. It explains the research philosophy, approach, strategies, and techniques adopted in this study. Also, the time horizon, research ethical consideration, and limitations will be included in this Chapter. Chapter 4: findings This Chapter presents the findings from the primary research. the qualitative information from semi-structured interviews will present the real-world company’s insights towards the impact of green production within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies. Also, from the primary data, the driver/motivation and barrier/challenge for implementing green production are carried out. Table 1.3. chapter outline

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Literature overview

Overview and structure

Chapter 1: introduction The first Chapter provides the context of the research, and the research gap, along with its aims and objectives. Further, the research methodology and proposed structure are briefly outlined.

To summarise, the literature review and main topics related to this research. Firstly, Chinese womenswear industry was illustrated and provided an all-around overview, as well as the current status of Chinese upscale womenswear companies. The fierce competition of the upscale womenswear in China was highlighted in order to explain why companies are seeking for new approaches to Competitive Advantage. Also, the OBM companies was explained to distinguish with none-OBM companies in terms of companies’ capabilities. Secondly, this chapter also described why companies would “go green” and tend to integrate environmental conscious into production. The Green Production concept was applied into apparel production process to present a clear understanding of how Green Production can produce advantage. Moreover, the key theories of Competitive Advantage and its related strategies were presented. From both Porter’s theory and Resource-Based View, the Competitive Advantage was detailed discussed. After reviewing these literatures, it can be argued that how Green Production is beneficial for Chinese upscale womenswear companies to achieve Competitive Advantage. Moreover, the potential motivations and barriers of implementing Green Production within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies were presented in the last section.


3.14. Summary This chapter aims to outline the research design and methods for gathering secondary data and conducting primary research. The structure of the methodology was guided primarily by Saunders’ research onion (Saunders et al., 2016). In order to fulfil the research objective of investigating the impact of green production practices within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies in terms of competitive advantage, and the motivation/drivers and barriers/challenges to implementing these, six semi-structured interviews were conducted with six employees. These were design directors, retail managers, product executives and design managers from six successful Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies. 4. To investigate the This objective was informed by a primary research, impact of green which will conduct a semi-structured interview to production practices interview six participants who are managers or experts within Chinese upscale womenswear OBM from upscale womenswear companies in China. These companies in terms of primary research aims to gain deeper insight from these competitive advantage, well-established companies in terms of green and the motivation/ drivers and production, competitive advantage and the relationships barriers/challenges to between two of them. The questions were formulated by implementing these. the theories and frameworks from the literature review. 5. To provide The last objective was the outcome of this study, which recommendations about will provide the final findings through analysing data the ways in which green collected from primary research. Furthermore, it will production practices can provide recommendations about the ways in which contribute to green production practices can be utilised to achieve Competitive Advantage competitive advantage within Chinese upscale for Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies. womenswear OBM companies.

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Then, three questions were asked to understand the competition of Chinese upscale womenswear market and the competitiveness of the company. The third set aimed to gain insights into the relationship between green production practices and competitive advantage from these real companies’ perspectives and understand the purpose of using green production, further to related them to Porter’s theory and resource-based view of Competitive Advantage. The final part sought to investigate the main drivers and barriers to implementing green production. Summary The impact of green production practices on Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies in terms of competitive advantage was analysed in this Chapter, as well as the drivers/motivations, and barriers/challenges of the implement. The analysis was conducted from Porter’s theory and RBV of competitive advantage. From the responses of those successful OBM companies, it can be found that the resources and capabilities of a company can support organisations to achieve cost advantage and differentiation advantage. Therefore, there is a strong connection between the RBV and Porter’s theory, which will be discussed in the next Chapter. Besides, the analysis shows that drivers/motivations are aiming at achieving competitive advantage, which respectively coming from market and consumer demand, brand image and company reputation, the need of optimising and transforming of companies, CRS, and relevant regulations. Those elements are likely to drive the company adopting green production practices. For the barrier/challenge, the core issue is the cost of investing green production. Because the ROI will be achieved in a long-term, but the investment needs large financial support; some companies may prefer to gain profits in short-term. Besides, the consumer demand is not intensive enough to push apparel investing green production with a large cost. Moreover, since the complete green production need efforts from all members of the supply chain, lacking regulations may lead to no common ambition among all companies and suppliers.

Introduction

Discussion Research design

3.2. Research objectives This research contains five objectives, each of which was fulfilled differently. Table 3.1. demonstrates the workflow of this research visually.

This Chapter aims to investigate the impact of green production practices on Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies in terms of competitive advantage, and the motivation/drivers and barriers/challenges to their implementation. The semi-structured interview guide (see Appendix 1.1) was formed by four sets of questions. Firstly, basic questions sought to understand the information about the company that employ the interviewees; for example, company size.


Except for competition from both international and domestic competitors, the domestic upscale womenswear brands are also facing the upgrading of economic transformation and enterprises structural re-organisation. From the external aspect, the increasing environmental pressures have resulted in both the public and the government to pay more attention to environmental-friendly consumption. From the internal aspect, there is a need to explore new approach to achieve competitive advantage, as well as make initiative to upgrade economic transformation and organisational structure re- organisation. Therefore, the adoption of green production practices might be an ideal way that can both satisfy the sustainable development of environmental, social, and economic. The findings confirm that adopting green production practices can provide apparel companies with differentiation advantage in terms of differing products from competitors by the use of green technology and equipment, cooperating with green suppliers, etc. Also, adopting green production could be a unique proposition since there are few companies implementing green production. Furthermore, company’s reputation can be enhanced. From a long-term horizon, cost advantage would be achieved through cost saving in terms of the reduction of the waste of energy, water and materials.

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However, barriers are existing. Both the secondary and primary results showed that the main challenge is high cost of the investment. Although competitive advantage can be gained through the adoption of green production, the ROI might be showed in a long run. In this way, some companies may prefer to gain profits in short-term. Besides, the consumer demand is not intensive enough to push apparel investing green production with a large cost. In addition, since the complete green production need efforts from all members of the supply chain, lacking regulations may lead to no common ambition among all companies and suppliers. 5.4. Theoretical and Managerial Implications and Recommendations Objective 5: To provide recommendations about the ways in which Green Production practices can contribute to CA for Chinese upscale womenswear OBM companies. According to responses of interviews from a real company’s perspective (see appendix 1.3), the author found that RBV is a foundation of both cost advantage and differentiation. The RBV can be used to analysis and define the potential resources of implementing green production in a company for setting strategies to achieve cost advantage or differentiation advantage. As the previous literature stated, two basic types of CA (Porter, 1998) combined with the scope of activities where the company seeks to achieve CA, which forms three generic strategies (Porter, 2004). At the same time, RBV is interested in the company’s resources as the foundation for company strategy (Grant, 1991), which explains that a company’s capabilities are the main sources of CA and it is widely accepted in environmental management (Wernerfelt, 1984). Figure 5.1. developed these two theories and combined VRIO model to support the adoption of RBV, further to provide a CA framework which can be employed by companies when adopting or planning to adopt green production practices. By utilising this framework, companies are likely to have a clear visual map to integrate existing resource with the green production resources, further to set appropriate strategies for achieving CA.

Introduction

Summary of findings

The overall aim of this dissertation was to explore how Chinese upscale womenswear ‘own branding and manufacturing’ companies can utilise green production practices to achieve competitive advantage. In order to achieve the aim, five objectives were conducted respectively by secondary and primary researches. The discussion draws on the literature review and findings of the primary research in accordance with each objective; thereby contributing to the overall aim of this dissertation. Various secondary research results showed that the upscale womenswear market in China is intensively competition.


Introduction Recommendations Limitations

There are several limitations in this study. First of all, the numbers of experts in semistructured interviews are only five persons, which is a limitation to gather more Chinese upscale womenswear companies’ insights to gain results that are fully generalised, although those five companies are well-known and very successful in Chines upscale womenswear market. Secondly, the lack of academic research on the Chinese upscale womenswear market was a challenge. Data of the Chinese upscale womenswear market was mainly collected from business reports and online newspapers. Moreover, as the primary data was collected from conducting mono-method on the company side due to the adoption of green production is more referred to organisational business decision- making, the findings are limited bythe scope of the research since there is lacking insights from consumer demand side. In this way, the limitation of this study might be the level of generalisation.

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Based on the results of the primary research and the limitation of this study, which offer abundant scope for possible directions for future studies are presented as below. Consumer demand towards Green Production Due to the short duration of this study, there is no primary data carried out from the consumer. Qualitative or quantitative research with customers may provide more valuable data on consumer demand, consumer attitude towards green clothing and green apparel production in future studies. Besides, by acquiring data from the consumer side, possible marketing strategies can be produced to promote green consumption. Green Supply Chain Management within the Chinese Apparel industry This study has identified green production can help companies to achieve CA, but there are some barriers to limit the adoption of green production practices, and one of the key barriers is from suppliers. Production is one of the vital components within the whole supply chains, completely integrating “green” into production need efforts of all suppliers. There is an interactive relationship between green production and Green Supply Chains. Thereby, studying how to implement Green supply chain management is significant in enhancing green production within the apparel industry. The content of the Green Supply Chains consists primarily of green procurement, green production, green marketing, green consumption and green recycle and green logistics. Therefore, integrating “green” and “environmental sustainability” into supply chain management is likely to provide opportunities for Chinese fashion and apparel industry to creating CA within the international market.


Drawing upon biomechanics professionals to create a specialised tool for design innovation in athletic wear

Jennifer Poage MA Fashion Design Management

Evolving Innovation


MA Fashion Design Management

This dissertation investigates the gap between the overlap of the design industry, athletic wear, and biomechanics and explored the potential for design innovation found at the intersection of these fields. Recent models of advanced athletic wear tend to incorporate technology, like built-in compression, meant to enhance the wearer’s performance, but actual benefits are debated by both athletes and scientists (WGSN, 2011). These findings led to the further question of how an in-depth cross-industry collaboration of athletic wear designers and biomechanics experts could create an innovative new meaning for how athletic wear moves with the body. Product innovation creates differentiation for a brand, which leads to profits and revenues that attract capital investment (Moore, 2004).

Abstract

Jennifer Poage

This study was concerned with radical innovation to provoke an exit from the status quo way of thinking (HBE, 2003) of athletic wear, and Roberto Verganti (2009) was turned to for his theories on generating a new meaning for existing products. Verganti’s strategy for designdriven innovation was applied to investigate a new meaning for athletic through information gathered within a network of ‘interpreters’, or experts, who all deal with biomechanics in their respective fields. Exploratory, in-depth interviews were conducted with the experts, and thematic analysis was used to identify key themes of where biomechanics knowledge could be better incorporated within current athletic wear models. Action Research was applied to observe, test, and refine potential solutions generated within the network of interpreters, and the final propositions formed are meant to enablethe athletic wear design community to continue this innovative exploration on their own terms. Insights generated were used to createa practical front-end design innovation tool for athletic wear designers, consisting of two parts: a biomechanics guide for designers, and a workshop kit. The design innovation tool empowers designers to sustain an on- going exploration of the untapped potential of incorporating healthy biomechanics in athletic wear to promote innovation. The results back Ilpo Koskinen’s and Peter Gall Krogh’s (2015) proposition that design research is most effective when the outcomes are useful to design practitioners.

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Introduction Background and rationale

Athletic wear innovation context Athletic wear has been a growing market over recent years and looks to be expanding further still into the near future (McGregor, 2015), especially in niche markets, like wearable technology and smart textiles. According to Mintel (2015), fashion retailers are adding athletic wear to their mix, and established athletic wear companies are expanding product range. In terms of innovation, prominent athletic wear companies often try to dominate the performance market by developing apparel meant to make the athlete “bigger, faster, and stronger (Lee, 2009).” All this emphasis on extreme performance is meant give the athlete an extra boost, but what about allowing the body to work easier and more naturally? Could this be an innovative new approach to the meaning of athletic wear? Biomechanics background Biomechanics deals with the functional movement of the body and how it all works together as a system (Gupta, 2011). When engaging in sport, the brain sends a signal to the central nervous system to ‘go,’ which then triggers electrical impulses to stimulate muscle movement (Cashmore, 2010). Since muscles are attached to our skeletal system, muscle contractions move the body. The skeleton is made up of joints, which serve as levers to allow for movement, bending, and rotation in multiple axes. In addition to the bones and muscles, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons (see Figure 1.1) all play a major role in movement and the structure of the body. Another essential anatomical element that works with body function is the myofascial system, which is the connective tissue that surrounds all muscles and bones. When limbs move, the myofascia stretches along three planes of motion (see Figure 1.2) and then springs back into place (Earls, 2014).

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As stated above, much high performance athletic wear today focuses on innovative technology and textiles, like moisture wicking fabric, reflective trims, breathable body zones. These advances may serve to enhance the function and abilities of the wearer, but there is a lack of focus on necessary and natural body movement being considered in athletic wear. Discussing this issue with medical professionals trained in biomechanics raised ideas on clothing construction that may not be considered by designers who specialise in trend research, innovative technology, or even functional design. Andy Mansfield (2015), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, for instance, noted in an informal interview that women’s sports bras (and all bras) wrap around the body’s rib cage where the lungs need to expand most to take a full breadth. Also during conversation, Jessica Kern (2015), certified neuromuscular massage therapist, explained that exercise pants extending below the knee tend to get pulled down at the inseam in certain yoga poses. This interferes with proper groin muscle activation. These discussions led to the further question of how an in-depth crossindustry collaboration of athletic wear designers and biomechanics experts could create an innovative new meaning for how athletic wear moves with the body.


Introduction

Aims and objectives

The aim of this study was to produce a design tool for athletic wear designers to use in the ideation phase to promote radical innovation, or a new meaning, in the field.

Action Research was applied in constant “actionreflection-action” cycles (Greenwood and Levin, 1998) within the expert network assembled. The goal was to employ the knowledge generated through Action Research to enhance the ideation goals of the athletic wear designers. Thematic analysis (Creswell, 2014) was employed to code, categorize, and analyze the data, and the findings were incorporated into the final design innovation tool outcome. Ethical considerations, such as the participants’ professional reputations, and research limitations, such as potential interviewer bias (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014), were also taken into account.

 o research theories and practices T of biomechanics, athletic wear design, and design innovation.  o do a market survey of current T commercial athletic wear with biomechanics considerations.

 o conduct in-depth interviews with athletic T wear designers about internal design innovation strategies, as well as to test, analyse, and revise the structure and content of the design tool.

Methodology

 o create a front-end design tool for designers T to incorporate healthy biomechanics into athletic wear to push product innovation.

This exploratory study was conducted with an inductive approach using qualitative data, and conclusions were formed based on in-depth information (Creswell, 2014) gathered from biomechanics experts. Secondary research was completed on biomechanics basics, an athletic wear overview, design innovation theory, and practical design tools. After literature was reviewed on the selected topics, semi-structured in-person interviews were conducted on a variety of researchers and practitioners who deal with biomechanics. Open-ended questions about potential issues with contemporary athletic wear construction were posed to get individual professional opinions and feedback (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014). In-depth, exploratory interviews were then conducted with athletic wear design experts to learn about internal innovation strategies.

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Overview and structure

 o conduct in-depth interviews with T biomechanics experts to identify key themes for consideration in athletic wear design. To test, analyse, and revise themes within different expert groupings.

As this study aimed to identify the potential for innovation within athletic wear design by incorporating advanced biomechanics considerations, Action Research was applied by constructing a “community” of experts, or interpreters, who each deal with biomechanics in their respective fields. The generalised idea that biomechanics could be incorporated better into athletic wear was used to begin Phase 1 of the iterative process, and themes were then observed, tested, and refined through subsequent phases of inquiry with the interpreters. The resulting design tool based on the focused knowledge amassed through Phases 1-6 is meant to enable the athletic wear design community to expand innovation within their field. Timeline This was a cross-sectional study (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014) as it analysed biomechanics and design practice and research at the moment in time that it was conducted. While the interviews were conducted over a six-month period, both the biomechanics field and the athletic wear industry are global institutions that take years to shift in practice and thinking. The design tool produced reflects key biomechanics considerations and innovation techniques relevant at the time of the study.


Secondary research In addition to the literature review done before the primary research investigation, sportswear trend reports from trade publications were surveyed for athletic wear with biomechanics considerations. These findings served as initial concepts to test during the first round of expert interviews. Also, a literature review of academic journals and design tool websites was conducted to define relevant design tool methods and formats to test during the design expert interviews. Primary research In conjunction with the sportswear trend report overview, an online survey was done of advanced athletic wear retailers to identify current products with claims of biomechanics incorporation. Once a thorough survey of current models was assembled to test with the first round of interviewees, a network of interpreters was assembled (see Figure 3.3). The type of network utilised for this study was a brokered collaboration (Fleming, 2007), in which the researcher acts as the hub, or gatekeeper, through which all collaborators, or interpreters, interact.

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Athletic wear market analysis In 2015, athletic wear (listed at as sportswear) sales increased in current value by 9% to reach £2.6 billion (Euromonitor, 2016) and were predicted to see future growth into 2020 (see Figure 2.1). Mintel (2015) predicted sporting goods growth by 4.5-5.5% per annum through 2019 (see Figure 2.2), and 2016 was expected to be strongly influenced by the Olympics games and the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament. In the UK, there has been a heightened interest in sport and fitness, with running, cycling, and yoga as being the more popular activities as consumers shift away from athletics requiring extra equipment (Euromonitor, 2016). Euromonitor (2016) states that while the top 10 brands keep similar shares in the market, increasing consumer demand leaves room for new entrants. Wellness is seen as a growing trend as consumers appear more conscious of their mental, physical, and spiritual health (Euromonitor, 2016). Mintel (2015) reported that 80% of consumers said that being healthy requires sacrifice, and 58% said it is expensive. The consumers felt, however, this sacrifice was worth it. Mintel (2015) also reported a return to the experts when seeking health advice. Thus, athletic wear with more healthy biomechanics considerations could fill consumers’ desire for athletic wear that promotes wellness. Advanced performance wear In a 2011 sports innovation trend analysis, WGSN (2016) reported that technology innovation in athletic apparel was motivated by consumer desire to achieve quicker and better results. This fast-paced innovation in sporting equipment, however, has caused some controversy and led to increased injuries, such as examples seen in the toning footwear market (WGSN, 2016). Consumers appear eager to accept products that claim to enhance performance capabilities without any actual scientific backing. Often, when success stories fail to appear around new athletic wear innovation available on the market, the product life-cycle is short lived. Table 2.1 shows recent popular types of athletic wear with built-in advanced innovation.

Introduction

Literature overview Data collection The purpose of the data collection was to provide a theoretical context for this study, form research questions and propositions, and create a specialised and practical design innovation tool. A combination of secondary and primary research was conducted through a variety of sources. Areas of both design research and practice were explored. As Ilpo Koskinen and Peter Gall Krogh (2015) state, those who are active in design research strive to conduct research in a way that is meaningful and useful to practitioners.

Chapter One generated the research question address in this study, “How can biomechanics be considered more in athletic wear to promote design innovation.” Through a contextual research on the advanced athletic wear market and a literature review on design, or product, innovation a foundation was established to direct the primary research. Furthermore, by the theoretical and practical context behind the initial research question, two further research questions were generated.


Since this was a data-driven study, it used an inductive approach. Factors that made this an inductive study include (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014):  he study was not commenced with a clearly T defined theoretical framework.  elationships found between data were used R to develop further questions and propositions that were tested in further phases of data collection and analysis.  he final theory (and project outcome) T emerged from the data collection and analysis process.

Discussion

Introduction

Research design

This study was done under a pragmatist philosophy (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014) due to the subjective natures of design and innovation. Since design innovation may take on a variety of meanings and strategies depending on a company’s internal processes and goals, the innovation tool can be applied in whatever manner is best to meet an athletic wear designer’s needs and goals. The ideas presented in the tool and the way it is formatted were shaped by the data collection and analysis process.

Based on the above findings, the design innovation tool was planned as two parts – a biomechanics guide and a workshop kit. The seven initial coded themes from Phases 2-4 that did not appear in the design expert interviews were reclassified under the focused themes as key considerations to outline in Part 1 - the biomechanics guide. An overview of biomechanics basics followed by resources for advanced information was designed to provide an introduction on the subject for the reader. The workshop kit in Part 2 was based on common ideation techniques taken from the design tool survey that were modified to look specifically at the connection of athletic wear and body function. Common language used by all interviewee groups was noted for use in the tool to make it understandable and accessible for all who might use it. The graphics and text were organised to present a clear, focused message. As Randy Krum (2014) notes the point of an info graphic is to make complex information easier to understand. Present too much information, he says, and the viewer will be confused.

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Once a full draft of the design tool was completed, selected pages were sent to the interpreters to validate technical information, look for gaps in key considerations, and check for innovation potential. Due to possible Intellectual Property infringement, the full document was not sent out. The portions sent to participants were tailored to their area of expertise. Participants provided written feedback, which was then incorporated into the inal draft of the design tool. The biomechanics experts came back with a few minor corrections on the anatomy and body function considerations. They also indicated which points had been oversimplified during the summarising and coding process. All thought the ideation concept was ready to move forward to generate innovative possibilities for athletic wear. Due to professional time constraints only one design expert was able to comment on the design tool. He had more practical feedback on the format and content of the tool than the biomechanics experts did. One comment was to use more and better images for the biomechanics and anatomy examples. Coming from the perspective of a target user and someone without biomechanics training, this comment was carefully considered. Time and budget restrictions, unfortunately, limited usable images to those available in the Britannica ImageQuest database. A further development of this project could entail purchasing the rights to detailed anatomy images or hiring an artist to do original renderings. The resources page of the design tool includes a list of anatomy in motion reference books, recommended by Mansfield, that contain many useful biomechanics images for further exploration.


Contribution to Industry The results of this study strive to promote a new way of looking at athletic wear – a new goal for designers to produce innovative product. This new meaning is the path to radical innovation and a competitive advantage for a brand. The design innovation tool also empowers designers to sustain an on-going exploration of the untapped potential of incorporating healthy biomechanics in athletic wear to promote innovation. As discussed in Chapter 2, much of the advanced athletic wear currently on the market follows fads, like built-in compression, meant to enhance the wearer’s endurance or performance (WGSN, 2016). Often, popular products actually limit the wearer’s capacity (Mansfield, 2015), or the pitched enhancement properties are not effective. This can lead to a short product life-cycle or, worse, injury to the consumers (WGSN, 2016). By shifting the meaning of athletic wear from performance enhancing to allowing full range of motion and proper body function, products may see a longer life span. Consumers may become more loyal to a brand if their apparel helps them to reach their full, healthy fitness potential.

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Another limitation to this study is that it deals only with front-end innovation and does not venture into testing with upper management, shareholders, or end-users. Generally, the validity of radical innovation prototypes would be tested with users or customers (Verganti, 2011). Innovations will generally not be supported by upper management if there is no proof that they can be developed into marketable offerings (Rauth et al, 2015).

Recommendations

Summary of findings

The workshop kit created for Part 2 of the design tool would have been made more effective if it could have been run and tested in-person with the study participants. A key benefit to an in-person workshop is that members from diverse fields can more easily span knowledge barriers when interacting face-to face(Edmondson, 2016).

Henrik Floren and Johan Frishammar (2012) state that collaboration within the firm is essential to quickly eliminate bad new ideas and increase the number of promising innovations. Thus, while this study included designers in the interviews, further practical studies of design-driven innovation potential could include more internal stakeholders, such as personnel from development and marketing, to better vet new concepts for company feasibility. Also, a hybrid approach of group work balanced with individual work tends to produce more, better quality ideas (Floren and Frishammar, 2012). As the design tool produced from this study was compiled through group work, it would be useful to see how designers employ it to produce innovative products when working on their own. These designs can then be reviewed back through the group to ensure an accurate incorporation of biomechanics.

Introduction

Limitations

As was noted in Chapter 3, though face-to-face collaboration is a respected practice within Design Management to produce truly innovative solutions (Best, 2016), that could not be done for this study. The eight experts involved worked in three different countries, and a network assembled locally during the limited time frame would not have consisted entirely of experts.


Drawing upon biomechanics professionals to create a specialised tool for design innovation in athletic wear

Jennifer Poage MA Fashion Design Management

Evolving Innovation


MA Fashion Design Management

This dissertation investigates the gap between the overlap of the design industry, athletic wear, and biomechanics and explored the potential for design innovation found at the intersection of these fields. Recent models of advanced athletic wear tend to incorporate technology, like built-in compression, meant to enhance the wearer’s performance, but actual benefits are debated by both athletes and scientists (WGSN, 2011). These findings led to the further question of how an in-depth cross-industry collaboration of athletic wear designers and biomechanics experts could create an innovative new meaning for how athletic wear moves with the body. Product innovation creates differentiation for a brand, which leads to profits and revenues that attract capital investment (Moore, 2004).

Abstract

Jennifer Poage

This study was concerned with radical innovation to provoke an exit from the status quo way of thinking (HBE, 2003) of athletic wear, and Roberto Verganti (2009) was turned to for his theories on generating a new meaning for existing products. Verganti’s strategy for designdriven innovation was applied to investigate a new meaning for athletic through information gathered within a network of ‘interpreters’, or experts, who all deal with biomechanics in their respective fields. Exploratory, in-depth interviews were conducted with the experts, and thematic analysis was used to identify key themes of where biomechanics knowledge could be better incorporated within current athletic wear models. Action Research was applied to observe, test, and refine potential solutions generated within the network of interpreters, and the final propositions formed are meant to enablethe athletic wear design community to continue this innovative exploration on their own terms. Insights generated were used to createa practical front-end design innovation tool for athletic wear designers, consisting of two parts: a biomechanics guide for designers, and a workshop kit. The design innovation tool empowers designers to sustain an on- going exploration of the untapped potential of incorporating healthy biomechanics in athletic wear to promote innovation. The results back Ilpo Koskinen’s and Peter Gall Krogh’s (2015) proposition that design research is most effective when the outcomes are useful to design practitioners.

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Introduction Background and rationale

Athletic wear innovation context Athletic wear has been a growing market over recent years and looks to be expanding further still into the near future (McGregor, 2015), especially in niche markets, like wearable technology and smart textiles. According to Mintel (2015), fashion retailers are adding athletic wear to their mix, and established athletic wear companies are expanding product range. In terms of innovation, prominent athletic wear companies often try to dominate the performance market by developing apparel meant to make the athlete “bigger, faster, and stronger (Lee, 2009).” All this emphasis on extreme performance is meant give the athlete an extra boost, but what about allowing the body to work easier and more naturally? Could this be an innovative new approach to the meaning of athletic wear? Biomechanics background Biomechanics deals with the functional movement of the body and how it all works together as a system (Gupta, 2011). When engaging in sport, the brain sends a signal to the central nervous system to ‘go,’ which then triggers electrical impulses to stimulate muscle movement (Cashmore, 2010). Since muscles are attached to our skeletal system, muscle contractions move the body. The skeleton is made up of joints, which serve as levers to allow for movement, bending, and rotation in multiple axes. In addition to the bones and muscles, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons (see Figure 1.1) all play a major role in movement and the structure of the body. Another essential anatomical element that works with body function is the myofascial system, which is the connective tissue that surrounds all muscles and bones. When limbs move, the myofascia stretches along three planes of motion (see Figure 1.2) and then springs back into place (Earls, 2014).

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As stated above, much high performance athletic wear today focuses on innovative technology and textiles, like moisture wicking fabric, reflective trims, breathable body zones. These advances may serve to enhance the function and abilities of the wearer, but there is a lack of focus on necessary and natural body movement being considered in athletic wear. Discussing this issue with medical professionals trained in biomechanics raised ideas on clothing construction that may not be considered by designers who specialise in trend research, innovative technology, or even functional design. Andy Mansfield (2015), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, for instance, noted in an informal interview that women’s sports bras (and all bras) wrap around the body’s rib cage where the lungs need to expand most to take a full breadth. Also during conversation, Jessica Kern (2015), certified neuromuscular massage therapist, explained that exercise pants extending below the knee tend to get pulled down at the inseam in certain yoga poses. This interferes with proper groin muscle activation. These discussions led to the further question of how an in-depth crossindustry collaboration of athletic wear designers and biomechanics experts could create an innovative new meaning for how athletic wear moves with the body.


Introduction

Aims and objectives

The aim of this study was to produce a design tool for athletic wear designers to use in the ideation phase to promote radical innovation, or a new meaning, in the field.

Action Research was applied in constant “actionreflection-action” cycles (Greenwood and Levin, 1998) within the expert network assembled. The goal was to employ the knowledge generated through Action Research to enhance the ideation goals of the athletic wear designers. Thematic analysis (Creswell, 2014) was employed to code, categorize, and analyze the data, and the findings were incorporated into the final design innovation tool outcome. Ethical considerations, such as the participants’ professional reputations, and research limitations, such as potential interviewer bias (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014), were also taken into account.

 o research theories and practices T of biomechanics, athletic wear design, and design innovation.  o do a market survey of current T commercial athletic wear with biomechanics considerations.

 o conduct in-depth interviews with athletic T wear designers about internal design innovation strategies, as well as to test, analyse, and revise the structure and content of the design tool.

Methodology

 o create a front-end design tool for designers T to incorporate healthy biomechanics into athletic wear to push product innovation.

This exploratory study was conducted with an inductive approach using qualitative data, and conclusions were formed based on in-depth information (Creswell, 2014) gathered from biomechanics experts. Secondary research was completed on biomechanics basics, an athletic wear overview, design innovation theory, and practical design tools. After literature was reviewed on the selected topics, semi-structured in-person interviews were conducted on a variety of researchers and practitioners who deal with biomechanics. Open-ended questions about potential issues with contemporary athletic wear construction were posed to get individual professional opinions and feedback (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014). In-depth, exploratory interviews were then conducted with athletic wear design experts to learn about internal innovation strategies.

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Overview and structure

 o conduct in-depth interviews with T biomechanics experts to identify key themes for consideration in athletic wear design. To test, analyse, and revise themes within different expert groupings.

As this study aimed to identify the potential for innovation within athletic wear design by incorporating advanced biomechanics considerations, Action Research was applied by constructing a “community” of experts, or interpreters, who each deal with biomechanics in their respective fields. The generalised idea that biomechanics could be incorporated better into athletic wear was used to begin Phase 1 of the iterative process, and themes were then observed, tested, and refined through subsequent phases of inquiry with the interpreters. The resulting design tool based on the focused knowledge amassed through Phases 1-6 is meant to enable the athletic wear design community to expand innovation within their field. Timeline This was a cross-sectional study (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014) as it analysed biomechanics and design practice and research at the moment in time that it was conducted. While the interviews were conducted over a six-month period, both the biomechanics field and the athletic wear industry are global institutions that take years to shift in practice and thinking. The design tool produced reflects key biomechanics considerations and innovation techniques relevant at the time of the study.


Secondary research In addition to the literature review done before the primary research investigation, sportswear trend reports from trade publications were surveyed for athletic wear with biomechanics considerations. These findings served as initial concepts to test during the first round of expert interviews. Also, a literature review of academic journals and design tool websites was conducted to define relevant design tool methods and formats to test during the design expert interviews. Primary research In conjunction with the sportswear trend report overview, an online survey was done of advanced athletic wear retailers to identify current products with claims of biomechanics incorporation. Once a thorough survey of current models was assembled to test with the first round of interviewees, a network of interpreters was assembled (see Figure 3.3). The type of network utilised for this study was a brokered collaboration (Fleming, 2007), in which the researcher acts as the hub, or gatekeeper, through which all collaborators, or interpreters, interact.

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Athletic wear market analysis In 2015, athletic wear (listed at as sportswear) sales increased in current value by 9% to reach £2.6 billion (Euromonitor, 2016) and were predicted to see future growth into 2020 (see Figure 2.1). Mintel (2015) predicted sporting goods growth by 4.5-5.5% per annum through 2019 (see Figure 2.2), and 2016 was expected to be strongly influenced by the Olympics games and the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament. In the UK, there has been a heightened interest in sport and fitness, with running, cycling, and yoga as being the more popular activities as consumers shift away from athletics requiring extra equipment (Euromonitor, 2016). Euromonitor (2016) states that while the top 10 brands keep similar shares in the market, increasing consumer demand leaves room for new entrants. Wellness is seen as a growing trend as consumers appear more conscious of their mental, physical, and spiritual health (Euromonitor, 2016). Mintel (2015) reported that 80% of consumers said that being healthy requires sacrifice, and 58% said it is expensive. The consumers felt, however, this sacrifice was worth it. Mintel (2015) also reported a return to the experts when seeking health advice. Thus, athletic wear with more healthy biomechanics considerations could fill consumers’ desire for athletic wear that promotes wellness. Advanced performance wear In a 2011 sports innovation trend analysis, WGSN (2016) reported that technology innovation in athletic apparel was motivated by consumer desire to achieve quicker and better results. This fast-paced innovation in sporting equipment, however, has caused some controversy and led to increased injuries, such as examples seen in the toning footwear market (WGSN, 2016). Consumers appear eager to accept products that claim to enhance performance capabilities without any actual scientific backing. Often, when success stories fail to appear around new athletic wear innovation available on the market, the product life-cycle is short lived. Table 2.1 shows recent popular types of athletic wear with built-in advanced innovation.

Introduction

Literature overview Data collection The purpose of the data collection was to provide a theoretical context for this study, form research questions and propositions, and create a specialised and practical design innovation tool. A combination of secondary and primary research was conducted through a variety of sources. Areas of both design research and practice were explored. As Ilpo Koskinen and Peter Gall Krogh (2015) state, those who are active in design research strive to conduct research in a way that is meaningful and useful to practitioners.

Chapter One generated the research question address in this study, “How can biomechanics be considered more in athletic wear to promote design innovation.” Through a contextual research on the advanced athletic wear market and a literature review on design, or product, innovation a foundation was established to direct the primary research. Furthermore, by the theoretical and practical context behind the initial research question, two further research questions were generated.


Since this was a data-driven study, it used an inductive approach. Factors that made this an inductive study include (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014):  he study was not commenced with a clearly T defined theoretical framework.  elationships found between data were used R to develop further questions and propositions that were tested in further phases of data collection and analysis.  he final theory (and project outcome) T emerged from the data collection and analysis process.

Discussion

Introduction

Research design

This study was done under a pragmatist philosophy (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2014) due to the subjective natures of design and innovation. Since design innovation may take on a variety of meanings and strategies depending on a company’s internal processes and goals, the innovation tool can be applied in whatever manner is best to meet an athletic wear designer’s needs and goals. The ideas presented in the tool and the way it is formatted were shaped by the data collection and analysis process.

Based on the above findings, the design innovation tool was planned as two parts – a biomechanics guide and a workshop kit. The seven initial coded themes from Phases 2-4 that did not appear in the design expert interviews were reclassified under the focused themes as key considerations to outline in Part 1 - the biomechanics guide. An overview of biomechanics basics followed by resources for advanced information was designed to provide an introduction on the subject for the reader. The workshop kit in Part 2 was based on common ideation techniques taken from the design tool survey that were modified to look specifically at the connection of athletic wear and body function. Common language used by all interviewee groups was noted for use in the tool to make it understandable and accessible for all who might use it. The graphics and text were organised to present a clear, focused message. As Randy Krum (2014) notes the point of an info graphic is to make complex information easier to understand. Present too much information, he says, and the viewer will be confused.

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Once a full draft of the design tool was completed, selected pages were sent to the interpreters to validate technical information, look for gaps in key considerations, and check for innovation potential. Due to possible Intellectual Property infringement, the full document was not sent out. The portions sent to participants were tailored to their area of expertise. Participants provided written feedback, which was then incorporated into the inal draft of the design tool. The biomechanics experts came back with a few minor corrections on the anatomy and body function considerations. They also indicated which points had been oversimplified during the summarising and coding process. All thought the ideation concept was ready to move forward to generate innovative possibilities for athletic wear. Due to professional time constraints only one design expert was able to comment on the design tool. He had more practical feedback on the format and content of the tool than the biomechanics experts did. One comment was to use more and better images for the biomechanics and anatomy examples. Coming from the perspective of a target user and someone without biomechanics training, this comment was carefully considered. Time and budget restrictions, unfortunately, limited usable images to those available in the Britannica ImageQuest database. A further development of this project could entail purchasing the rights to detailed anatomy images or hiring an artist to do original renderings. The resources page of the design tool includes a list of anatomy in motion reference books, recommended by Mansfield, that contain many useful biomechanics images for further exploration.


Contribution to Industry The results of this study strive to promote a new way of looking at athletic wear – a new goal for designers to produce innovative product. This new meaning is the path to radical innovation and a competitive advantage for a brand. The design innovation tool also empowers designers to sustain an on-going exploration of the untapped potential of incorporating healthy biomechanics in athletic wear to promote innovation. As discussed in Chapter 2, much of the advanced athletic wear currently on the market follows fads, like built-in compression, meant to enhance the wearer’s endurance or performance (WGSN, 2016). Often, popular products actually limit the wearer’s capacity (Mansfield, 2015), or the pitched enhancement properties are not effective. This can lead to a short product life-cycle or, worse, injury to the consumers (WGSN, 2016). By shifting the meaning of athletic wear from performance enhancing to allowing full range of motion and proper body function, products may see a longer life span. Consumers may become more loyal to a brand if their apparel helps them to reach their full, healthy fitness potential.

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Another limitation to this study is that it deals only with front-end innovation and does not venture into testing with upper management, shareholders, or end-users. Generally, the validity of radical innovation prototypes would be tested with users or customers (Verganti, 2011). Innovations will generally not be supported by upper management if there is no proof that they can be developed into marketable offerings (Rauth et al, 2015).

Recommendations

Summary of findings

The workshop kit created for Part 2 of the design tool would have been made more effective if it could have been run and tested in-person with the study participants. A key benefit to an in-person workshop is that members from diverse fields can more easily span knowledge barriers when interacting face-to face(Edmondson, 2016).

Henrik Floren and Johan Frishammar (2012) state that collaboration within the firm is essential to quickly eliminate bad new ideas and increase the number of promising innovations. Thus, while this study included designers in the interviews, further practical studies of design-driven innovation potential could include more internal stakeholders, such as personnel from development and marketing, to better vet new concepts for company feasibility. Also, a hybrid approach of group work balanced with individual work tends to produce more, better quality ideas (Floren and Frishammar, 2012). As the design tool produced from this study was compiled through group work, it would be useful to see how designers employ it to produce innovative products when working on their own. These designs can then be reviewed back through the group to ensure an accurate incorporation of biomechanics.

Introduction

Limitations

As was noted in Chapter 3, though face-to-face collaboration is a respected practice within Design Management to produce truly innovative solutions (Best, 2016), that could not be done for this study. The eight experts involved worked in three different countries, and a network assembled locally during the limited time frame would not have consisted entirely of experts.


To identify the key components of a mobile shopping app that influences the consumer behaviour of millennial executive females purchasing UK luxury fashion brands

Joey Wong MA Fashion Design Management

Evolving Innovation


MA Fashion Design Management

Rapid development and growing population of the mobile commerce has been noticeable in recent years, and it is expected to continue growing in the future, yet it is not very common in the luxury fashion market at the moment. However, people are spending more and more time on their phones, making it essential for luxury brands to develop their own mobile shopping app to capture sales from this selling channel. The purpose of this research is to understand the function of mobile shopping and to identify the key design components of a mobile shopping app that affect consumer behaviour of millennial females in the UK luxury fashion market.

Abstract

Joey Wong

In this research, the current development of the mobile commerce and the outlook of the luxury fashion market in the UK was investigated through literature review, opportunity in future development was observed. Online survey was conducted to understand how consumers perceive the mobile shopping channels, followed by an online observation of a selection of existing mobile apps to investigate the structure of these mobile apps. Data collected was put forward to construct interviews with both industrial experts and potential consumers to acquire further knowledge of the impact of mobile app design components on consumer behaviour. Synthesizing all the findings and results from the secondary and primary research, recommendations for key components to be includedin a mobile shopping app was generated and listed as follows: 1. Well-Defined Customization 2. Enhanced Browsing Intention 3. Simple and Secure Payment 4. Provide Exclusiveness Consumers were found to put emphasize on the convenience and efficiency while they are shopping on the mobile app, the above factors aid to enhance the shopping experience. These recommendations were generated to provide insight for practitioners and academics, and contribute to the future development and growth of the mobile commerce.

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Background Smartphone use has grown rapidly in recent years; research shows that smartphones have overtaken laptops to become the most popular device to go online. in the United Kingdom (UK), findings also show that two-thirds of people in the UK own a smartphone and that they spend nearly two hours a day using it to browse the internet, for example to bank, shop or access social media. In 2015, more than half of the E-Commerce traffic has been taken up by access via smartphones or tablets, and, 40% of e-retail sales for fashion are of M-commerce (IMRG, 2015), this is one hard proof of the shifting domain in the use of online shopping devices. Therefore, it is vital that retailers should start to invest more in the mobile marketing and design suitable strategy at this great opportunity, and expand to this new rapidly growing and evolving market. Shoppable apps are not difficult to find within the fashion industry, however, they are often brands with a lower price range. Luxury brands seem to be hesitant about expanding to the online retailing sector (Soller, 2014), this may be due to the uncertainty of financial returns from investment (Strategic Direction, 2014). Kapferer (2012) suggested that luxury brands should be managed in a way different from brands of the other sectors, this may also be oneof the reasons that most luxury brands are not developing a shoppable mobile app, trying to stay exclusive from the mass.

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However, other research suggests otherwise, luxury brands should give consumers unique shopping experiences through new and innovative ways, which help luxury brands differentiate themselves from other brands (Kim et al., 2015). Developing a well-designed mobile app is, therefore crucial to successfully take advantage of the rapidly expanding selling channel of M-Commerce (Magrath et al., 2013). While the environment of a physical shop affects consumer behaviour, web design and atmosphere influence consumers buying decision making during web purchase (Manganari et al., 2009), this is also applicable to mobile shopping. Consumers’ recognition and positive response to a good shopping environment in luxury boutiques provide the brand exclusive brand image and positioning (Moore and Birtwistle, 2004), attractive and unique store display can distinguish differences between luxury brands from other brands (Kim et al., 2015), this should also be made applicable to the mobile app of a luxury fashion brand. Different design elements on a mobile app will affect the buying behaviour and perception of consumers towards a luxury brand, this may be related to the display, functionality and safeness of the app etc. This research project intended to identify the important elements in an app that positively affect buying behaviours. Rationale The three main fields of this research are mobile commerce, luxury fashion market and millennials consumer (Fig. 1.1). Although there are many researches that have explored the effects of the online shopping environment such as the web design, atmosphere, marketing strategy and etc. (e.g. Kim et al., 2015; Kim et al., 2011; Rowley, 2009), there seem to be a lack of research concerning the effects of the design elements of a mobile app. It is important that academics and practitioners notice the difference between online and mobile consumers (Magrath et al., 2013), in order to research and select the most important web design features for either channel.

Introduction

Background & rationale

The online shopping trend has grown rapidly in recent years, showing a great opportunity for the fashion industry to invest in this market. The internet enables frequent purchase, without time and venue constraints, while unobserved (Kukar- Kinney et al., 2009), making this sector of the retailing market the most globally accessible (Magrath & McCormick. 2013). With a rapid rise in mobile internet acceptance, the trend has extended to mobile shopping sector, providing luxury brands the opportunity to reach out to their consumers in this channel.


This paper focused on the millennials consumers, here defined as consumers aged between 25-34 years old. The millennial is a sizable demographic group which earn relatively well and are reported to be hedonistic impulsive spenders in the UK (Euromonitor, 2015), this consumer group with relatively high spending power and knowledge to technology is a large group of potential consumers for luxury products through m-commerce.

Introduction Methodology

Consumers cannot be presumed to have the same motivations, expectations and behaviours towards online and mobile shop due to the differences in screen sizes, internet speed and location usage (Magrath et al., 2013).

This is a cross-sectional study due to the time constraints of the research project, as well as the time sensitivity of the rapid development and growth of M-commerce.

Objectives:  o contextualize the mobile shopping T market and existing apps

 o identify the expectations of millennial T consumers towards M-Commerce and analyze the impact of mobile app features  o synthesize the key features and give T recommendation for creating a mobile shopping app that maximize purchase for luxury fashion brands

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Overview and structure

Aims and objectives

To identify the key components of a mobile shopping application (app) that influence consumer behaviour of millennial executive females purchasing UK luxury fashion brands.

 T  o analyze the impact of mobile shopping from the perspective of luxury fashion retailers

The interpretivism with an abductive approach was chosen because this research focused on individuals rather than objects (Saunders, 2013), it is therefore a subjective research. The abductive approach helped to generate new theories by incorporating existing theories (Saunders, 2013). The case study strategy was applied which offered understanding to real life cases and investigation into particular phenomenon, such as the impact of mobile app design. Multiple case study of i) Net-a-Porter, ii) ASOS, iii) Louis Vuitton, and iv) Zara were analyzed and compared to obtain a deeper understanding of the social phenomena. The sequential explanatory mixed methods research is chosen, the research was divided into different phases to allow expand and elaboration of initial findings, online survey and observation on existing mobile apps were carried out, followed by in-depth face-to-face interviews.

Research question: what are the key features of a mobile shopping app that affect female millennial executive’s consumer buying behaviour for luxury fashion brands?

 o investigate the theories and practices T of the acceptance of technology in the luxury fashion market

This is an explanatory study of the impact of mobile shopping application components on female millennial executive consumer behaviour in the UK luxury market.

Chapter 1 Introduction & Overview The background of study was introduced by defining the main fields of research. It also identified the significance of the topic, and specified the Aim and Objectives. Chapter 2 Literature Review This chapter is the contextualization of the research topic with a comprehensive literature review. It included three main fields, i.e. m-commerce, luxury market and millennial consumers. The chapter was summarized to reinforce the importance of the study.


Chapter 3 Methodology The selection of methodology was explained and elaborated in this chapter, research design was presented and justified. Detail and techniques of data collection were explained, as well as the ethical considerations. Methods for data analysis were also presented. Chapter 4 Results All the findings and results from primary research (i.e. online survey, online observation and interviews) were presented in this chapter, followed by the analysis of these data.

The luxury sector can be categorized, this research focused on the luxury fashion apparel and accessories when referencing luxury brands.

2.2.2 Managing luxury brands Luxury brands offer multisensory appeal to create brand equity, this also help brands to connect with consumers on an emotional level, adding a high intangible value to their pricing (Dion and Arnould, 2011). Heine (2012) explained the association between luxury brand characteristics and the marketing mix (Figure 2.1), showing how these characteristics help building the image of a luxury brand. Heine (2012) also suggested that the rise in one characteristic will increase the luxurious perception of a brand, e.g. an increase in the level of exclusivity will allow a brand to appear more luxurious to a consumer.

This chapter reviews relevant literatures to contextualize the three main subject areas, they are: luxury fashion brands, Millennial consumers and, Mobile commerce, to aid achieving the research aim and objectives. The chapter began with the brief accounts and definitions of the three main fields of the research, including the contextualization of the UK luxury market with the aid of a PEST analysis, in section 2.2 and a study of the mobile commerce using a SWOT analysis in section 2.4. The chapter continued onto the introduction and discussion of different technology acceptance models that aided the analysis of the research, followed by the illustration of the conceptual framework regarding mobile app design that guided the process of data collection. Conclusion of the chapter derived from the literature review was summarized in section 2.5. Luxury Brands

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Research design

Literature overview

Chapter 5 Discussion & Conclusion The chapter focused on the discussion of the main features that affect buying behaviour derived from the previous analysis, relating the primary and secondary information collected. This was summarized by a shortlist of recommendations that can positively affect consumer buying behaviour.

This study has adopted the Interpretivism research philosophy. This philosophy is chosen according to the nature of this research as it focuses on understanding the differences between individuals instead of objects, it provides an overall comprehension of individuals as “social actors� (Saunders, et al., 2012: 137). This study is about how individuals interpret the social world, therefore, this philosophy can help to give a deeper understanding to consumer behaviour while using the mobile commerce. With a subjective perception of the study, different points of view from individuals regarding mobile commerce were analyzed and evaluated accordingly.

Introduction

Definition Luxury brands take up a significant portion of consumer product sales (Annie Jin, 2012), even with relatively small numbers of luxury brands in the industry, they are highly influential (Ko and Megehee, 2012). Luxury is the only sector that provides luxurious margins (Kapferer and Tabatoni, 2010), these margins are the values that the luxury brands create, to fulfil consumers desire beyond the functional value of the products. Luxury has been a major and crucial commercial concept for centuries (Kapferer and Bastien, 2009), yet it is ambivalent and complex (Kapferer, 1998), and therefore difficult to be given a definitive definition (Heine and Phan, 2011).


3.4 Research strategy

Discussion

3.4.1 Case study strategy A distinct research strategy is the facilitator of a well-versed research design, this can be achieved by setting a framework for precise research questions (Easterby-Smith, et al., 200). A case study strategy is chosen for this research, it is a valuable way to explore existing theory and allows challenges towards them as well as provide insights to source of research questions (Saunders, et al., 2012). Case study strategy offers understanding to actual cases, and investigates into particular phenomenon, such as the impact of mobile shopping app design on consumer behaviour. The case study strategy is very beneficial to this research topic with the limited research and literature available due to the newness of the topic (Merriam, 1988).

Firstly, the research aim and objectives were reviewed to show the achievements of this research project in section 5.2. Followed by a set of theoretical and practical implications based on the findings and results analysis from the secondary and primary research, concluding recommendations for mobile app design in section 5.3. Finally, limitations of the research and recommendations for future study were critically discussed in 5.4, followed by the conclusion and dictations in section 5.5.

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Objective 1: To contextualize the mobile shopping market and existing apps The current development and environment of the mobile shopping market in the UK was analyzed, taking the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into consideration. It was observed that the m-commerce has a high population and a fast growing rate, leading to a great opportunity to further develop in near future. Yet, digital identity and user’s privacy are the main concerns that have to be solved to allow safe and care-free usage for consumers. Four existing apps in the market were studied, including ZARA, Louis Vuitton, ASOS and Net-aPorter. These apps were analyzed with guidelines from Magrath and McCormick’s (2013) conceptual framework of the mobile app design elements. Main findings are listed as follows:  nline retailers were observed to have better O developed and well-structured mobile apps, they are more user-friendly and includes more information, with a more detailed filtering system  uxury brands tend to have lower penetration L in the UK population, this might be due to the smaller target customer group. Yet, the space for potential growth was observed.  uxury brands do not offer promotions on their L app, maintaining a higher-end brand image and brand equity  ome features that were suggested in the S conceptual framework were not found in all four apps To conclude, the mobile market is growing and becoming more mature with the rapid developments, brands are willing and trying to put effort in developing their own app, and to invest into this channel. Improvements and further developments of these apps could be very beneficial to both consumers and retailers.

Introduction

3.3 Research approach The study adopted an abductive approach, which moves back and forth to combine the inductive and deductive approaches (Saunders, et al., 2012). This approach allows the development of new theories with incorporation of existing theories. In this study, a conceptual framework developed by Magrath and McCormick (2013) regarding mobile app design stimuli was applied and tested through primary data collection, in order to develop modifications and discover new elements to be added to the existing framework. Information collected from both i) existing literature and ii) new findings enabled a revision of the existing theory (Saunders, et al., 2012).

5.2 Objectives review This research aim to identify the key components of a mobile shopping app that influence consumer behaviour, in order to achieve this aim, five objectives were designed and achieved through secondary and primary research. The achievements of the five objectives were reviewed accordingly.


Introduction Findings from the secondary and primary research have provided this study marketing implications, aided to identify the key components that are needed for a mobile app to maximize purchase for luxury fashion brands. These recommendations were made to be useful for industrial professionals and academics, to contribute to the future development of the mobile commerce in the UK.

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Limitations

Summary of findings

This research aim to identify the key components of a mobile shopping app that influence consumer behaviour of millennial females purchasing UK luxury fashion brands. Mobile commerce was analyzed, and the outcomes showed a great opportunity for it to grow in the UK luxury fashion market. Besides, the millennials in the UK were reported to be impulsive spenders who are more likely to spend during an enjoyable shopping experience. In order to enhance mobile shopping experience to enhance their shopping intentions, the design components of mobile shopping app play an important role.

Some limitations were observed that constrained the research process, in order to enhance and improve the understanding of the mobile app design elements, several limitations and unexamined issues were identified and addressed to provide recommendations for future research. First of all, the lack of academic literature on the mobile commerce design and development in the UK was a challenge. Data regarding the mobile commerce were obtained mainly from the online findings and research, which may not be highly reliable. Secondly, all primary research was conducted in London, which most participants of the online survey and interviews are living in London, their response may not be representable for the whole UK market. Besides, due to the sensitive nature of the business policy, participants of professionals interviews were reluctant to reveal some information regarding their brand strategy. Lastly, it was the findings were constrained by the time limitation of the research, sample size of online survey is small and limited number of interviews were conducted within the short period of time. This may lead to a lack of generalization power of the result analysis.


An exploratory study of eco-innovation process to the Italian textile-manufacturing market, in order to determine its competitive advantage in supply chain design management of luxury

Lavinia Parroni MA Fashion Design Management

Transparent Environments


MA Fashion Design Management

This theoretical dissertation is an exploratory based on the application of eco- innovation to the manufacturing process of luxury goods in the Italian context, in order to evaluate its competitive advantage for the supply chain management of luxury brands. The research gap identified relates the areas of innovation, environmental sustainability and supply chain management in the context of the textile and manufacturing industry. Several studies focused on supply chain management or sustainability practices, but the relationship of green supply chain management and competitive advantage is still an under developed field.

Abstract

Lavinia Parroni

The initial research produced an overview of the Italian luxury industry, its peculiarity and its supply chain management; followed by an extended investigation of the eco- innovation field and the relevant application to the supply chain management of the fashion industry. The third element playing a significant role in this dissertation was competitive advantage theory and its relationship to green supply chain management. In order to fulfil the aim and research gap, the dissertation applied a structured methodology. The positivist philosophy influenced the choice of deductive as research approach and survey as the strategy to collect primary data. Due to time limitation a mono-method approach was chosen to gather data from participants via an online questionnaire. The presented findings were analysed trough statistical analysis and based on the extended resource based view framework. The main outcome presented is that tangibles resources are not the main influencers of the development of eco-innovation. Knowledge awareness is the key characteristic to be developed in order to meet sustained competitive advantage and company performance doesn’t affect the eco- innovation application. In the final chapter of this dissertation, a review of the aim and objectives is presented to show how the project answered to those key points. Right after, theoretical and managerial implications of this study are discussed, highlighting the contribution the study has made in theoretical and practical terms to the fashion industry context. The last section provides an overview of the study’s limitations, suggestions for further improvement and recommendations for future research in the subject’s field.

01


 contextualize the Italian luxury market To and its supply chain: the present structure and competitive advantage.  o identify the evolution of eco-innovation T process among supply chain management in the luxury textile-manufacturing market.  explore competitive advantage theories To and how they are relevant to green supply chain management in the textile manufacturing market.  o investigate the Italian luxury supply chain T and their perspective towards eco- innovation: a perspective from brands, suppliers an manufacturers.

Methodology

 o develop recommendations on how T eco-innovation can influence supply chain management for the future. In order to meet the criteria of the study and explore the subject of eco-innovation in the luxury industry, secondary and primary research were conducted driven by a research design inspired by Saunders’ (2009) onion research method. A positivism philosophy, part of the epistemology, was chosen to appropriately study the topic from a scientific perspective, measuring and evaluating the social reality observed by the researcher (Collis and Hussey, 2003). The study presented a first deep review of the academic literature and focused the data analysis on the existing theory of resource- based view; therefore a deductive approach was the most suitable one. Hypothesis were drawn from the literature review and then tested by quantitative methods.

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Overview and structure

Aims and objectives

The aim of the project is to explore the application of eco-innovation to the Italian luxury supply chain management, in order to evaluate its competitive advantage for the supply chain management of luxury brands.

Chapter 1 The first chapter introduces the subject area in which the study is conducted. Contextualising the topic, it provides the rationale for the study, as well as the aim and objectives related to it. A brief methodology outline is presented, accompanied by a visual framework of the research process. Chapter 2 The literature review contextualizes the Italian Luxury market in term of sustainability innovation, Supply Chain Management practices and competitive aspects of its structure. Subsequently the chapter identifies the relevant theory in the subject areas of green innovation and competitive advantage in order to indentify the gap in recent studies and lead the secondary research process. Chapter 3 The third chapter explores in detail the methodology chosen for the research. Underpinning the approach and methods used in the study, it will further discuss ethics and limitations linked to the research process. Chapter 4 Following the primary research on the field, this section will provide the data analysis of the collected information. Thus it will present the relevant findings and reflect on the influence on the final practice. Chapter 5 Chapter five summarizes the secondary and primary research findings and demonstrate how each objective has been achieved. Nevertheless, this section will provide industry suggestions and consider the limitations of the study, while proposing further research recommendations.

Introduction

In this dissertation the survey strategy was introduced to explore the secondary research, thus a mono-method approach was considered to collect data by an online questionnaire. Due to time constriction a cross-sectional time-horizon was applied to the research design (Saunders, 2009). Since the study only conducted quantitative method, the data collected was analysed with the statistical software of SPSS, simple analysis presented and overview of the data while correlation and regression techniques analysed the variables established and created the findings of this dissertation.


Literature overview

The first chapter provided an overall outline of the dissertation as a whole, while the following chapter presents the review of the academic literature influencing the scope and aim of the research. The first chapter provided an overall outline of the dissertation as a whole, while the following chapter presents the review of the academic literature influencing the scope and aim of the research. The first section, part 2.2, explores the Italian textile-manufacturing market in the luxury segment; family involvement, supply chain management and competitive advantage are the dominant topics discussed. Section 2.3, focuses its scope on eco-innovation, starting with defining the term, it then examines relevant literature concerned with green supply chain management, eco-innovation practices and stakeholder involvement. The third part of the chapter, section 2.4, focuses on the exploration of competitive advantage theories while contextualizing them in the context of ecoinnovation in the fashion industry. This section presents, as well, the resource-based view theory that will be the analysis framework for chapter four and the relevant hypothesis developed from the literature review. 2.2 The italian luxury textile and manufacturing industry In order to contextualize the Italian luxury textilemanufacturing industry, it is important to provide an introduction to the Italian luxury market. The following sections discuss the Italian textilemanufacturing system, its supply chain structure and competitive advantage in the current market positioning. Most of the contemporary data has been gathered from the Italian Institute of National Statistics (ISTAT), Altagamma-Italian luxury committee, Pitti Immagine-international fashion organization, Sistema Moda Italia-global representative of the fashion entities-and some academic journal.

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Despite this, the Italian textile-manufacturing sector is facing a decline due to the international crisis of consumption but also from a structural problem identified by Guercini (2004) as: the rise of new international competitors and a shift in the customers behaviour. At the same time ethical and environmental concerns are strongly influencing the supply chain practices of the industry (Da Giau et al., 2016, Nidumolu et al., 2009; Chen et al. 2012) while the technology sector of the country is adapting itself to the competitiveness of the market. A significant increase of research & development funds are demonstrating the new millennium commitment of Italy to align itself with the rest of the European countries, carrying out several reforms and investments in Research & Development departments of the different industries (Caiazza, 2013). While the luxury clothing industry represents 44% of the total Italian production (Pitti 2015), the key brand players are name such as, Prada, Armani, Max Mara and Ferragamo. Although the nature of the market players vary significantly between the types of produced goods and the company size, these major brands own most of the business control, belonging per majority to large international group corporations – LVMH, Kering and Richemont (Castelli and Sianesi, 2015). The structure of the Italian manufacturing industry is described as a singular and characteristic one compared to the typical model in the other European countries of vertical integration (De Marchi and Grandinetti, 2013; Guercini, 2004). Guercini (2004) analysed the complex structure and defined the following key aspects characterizing the Italian textile-apparel pipeline:

Introduction

2.2.1 Italian Luxury overview The Italian textile and manufacturing industry is amid the dominant participants of this sector (Guercini 2004). In the top 75 luxury goods companies, in 2012 (Deloitte, 2014), Italy itself counts 23 firms, followed by USA with 17 and France with 11. According to Scarso (1997), the Italian entry into the luxury manufacturing market goes back to the 1980’s, when the noticeable internationalization of the ”made in Italy” signed the market. Not only large corporations, but also medium-sized manufacturing business launched into the international landscape.


 he sector is structured around an elevated T number of firms and SMEs creating industrial districts with a high level of specialization.  he presence of a strong group T of independent retailers.

Research design

It is important to recognize the strong attitude towards cooperation between the different actors of the Italian supply chain. A well articulated structure is managed with flexibility while incorporating multiple external factors with a “lean manufacturing approach” (Scarso 1997, figure 2.2.1). Italy is divided in small and locally aggregated districts (Guercini, 2004) while under the creative inputs of well-recognized brands.

The choice of a specific strategy relies in its ability to answer the proposed research question and fulfil the objectives (Saunders 2009). According to Saunders (2009), survey strategy it is often associated to the deductive approach and is seen to be one of the most common strategies among business and management researches. The survey strategy looks patterns and casual relations that are not directly observable (Smith et al., 2012) and it is often used for either descriptive or exploratory studies by answering specific questions as “how much”, “who”, “what”, “where” (Saunders, 2009). Survey assumes the ability to identify regular pattern in organizational behaviour influenced by specific variables (Smith et al., 2012) by providing a numeric description of the studied sample of that population and generalise from it (Creswell, 2014). The aim of this exploratory study was to understand and assess the current situation of the development of eco-innovation in a strongly developed market, such as the Italian one, and define the key relationships. The discussed strategy allowed the researcher to gain relevant quantitative data about the topic and draw conclusion by inferential and descriptive data analysis (Saunders 2009). Although survey strategy presents several limits in term of number of questions, quality of questionnaire and reach of respondents (Saunders 2009, Gill and Johnson 2010); it is the most suitable strategy to analyses the current topic of sustainability practices due to the limitations of the of qualitative strategies acknowledgeable in this topic. The purpose was to gather data without any influence from the researcher in subjects’ responses and not run into personal bias, lack of rigor in the research and unmet skills for the development of the design.

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3.5 Research methods In order to gather data, several methods are available while including both qualitative and quantitative data collection (Saunders, 2009; Bryman and Bell, 2011; Collis and Hussey, 2003). In this specific dissertation, the mono method approach was decided as the most appropriate to pursue the research. Mixed method design integrates qualitative and quantitative research with the purpose to increase credibility of the study, stronger validity, define and test deviant dimensions and present different views (Smith et al., 2012). This method relies on the idea that every technique has strength and weaknesses; however using multiple methods collection could neutralize the flaws of each one. On the other hand, mono method is based on a single data collection technique and the reciprocal analysis (Saunders 2009). Which is synthesized as a simple and less reliable approach that has pros and cons that are not solved. Despite these criticisms, Smith at al. (2000) highlighted important limitations to the adoption of mixed methods such as: difficulty in replication, the use of more resources, the extra time consume, the skills required for the different methods and the need of a “competent overall design. Similarly, Creswell (2014) discussed that the main practical issue of mixed method design is that it is often difficult to produce a “good” research design caused by a lack of skills of the researcher. Although the chosen mono method technique didn’t provide a wealth of data, it led to avoid the multiplied unanticipated outcomes (Saunders, 2009) and gather contradictory results (Smith et al., 2012). Saunders (2009) believed that an inevitable relationship is present between the data techniques and the obtained results; hence the choice of the mono methods approach. Furthermore, due to the time constraint and complexity of acquiring both qualitative and quantitative skill, the research design was based on quantitative mono-methods data collection. 3.10 Conclusion The ambition of the chapter was to present the research design of the dissertation and further justify the design characteristics chosen to conduct the investigation. The methodology’s structure was based on Saunders’ (2009) research onion in order to determine each stage of the process clearly and thoughtfully. Therefore, with a deductive approach, a survey investigation was conducted in order to identify the variables influencing the application of eco-innovation among the different actors of the Italian luxury supply chain. The focus was on luxury brands, manufacturers and suppliers’ perspectives and the perception of eco-innovation as a competitive advantage.

Introduction

 he lack of primary natural and artificial T fibres: the supply chain is affected by the fluctuation of the international market of natural fibres supplies.


5.2.1 Objective n°1 To contextualize the Italian luxury market and its supply chain: the present structure and competitive advantage As a first action, the Italian luxury textilemanufacturing industry was presented and discussed to contextualize the broad topic of environmental practices in a specific scenario. Trough a brief overview of the country in the fashion context, the attitude towards a cooperative structure and a strong family involvement in the majority of the enterprises were found significant characteristics. In parallel Made in Italy, family involvement and pipeline structure were evaluated in term of possible competitive advantage drivers. In the specific of this industry, supply chain management was taken into consideration, as well as the intricate business-to-business relationship management. Although the literature provided a positive overview of the Italian sector with positive characteristics to the development of innovation, contrasting literature was identified to acknowledge the down side of the theoretical point of view. 5.2.2 Objective n°2 To identify the evolution of eco-innovation process among supply chain management in the luxury textile-manufacturing market. Secondly, the dissertation explored the concept of eco-innovation and the rise of a green supply chain management strategy. Due to the relevant newness of the environmental subject, defining what is eco-innovation process in the luxury industry, and what are the main drivers of this implementation, were undeniable steps to follow. This objective provided a closer look at green supply chain theories and on relevant strategies to pursue in order to create a better company’s performance. The reality of several limitations to the development of eco-innovation processes was presented and a brief analysis of how the fashion industry is implementing such practices was explained.

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The Italian landscape is currently moving forward in the development of sustainability practices, hence eco-innovations. However what the results suggested is heterogeneity of the actions and the objective of reducing environmental footprint. The skills set of the industry in question is undoubtedly powerful, but the business abilities in managing environmental innovation lack of expertise. 5.2.3 Objective n°3: To explore competitive advantage theories and how they are relevant to green supply chain management in the textile-manufacturing market. In order to provide relevant suggestions to the luxury industry about the application of ecoinnovation, it was necessary to explore pertinent literature in the competitive advantage field. The first recognition made was that, the luxury industry is driven by a differentiation strategy, where product originality and high craftsmanship push the advantage of the company in an elitist market place. High prices and low availability are contingent factors to the product differentiation and therefore a narrower segment is targeted. Some firms even pursue a focus differentiations strategy. Another aspect of advantage for company is their type of movement facing specific challenges. Two directions were mainly recognized: on one side company’s are reacting to external changes and acting consequently; on the other side they act in advance and proactively manage the challenges. Contextualizing the topic to the eco-innovation field, luxury companies are seen reactively responding to the external drivers and new law regulations, while only a smaller segment proactively engage with the sustainability challenges and possible advantages. In this context the concept of shared value chain was evaluated and critically reviewed based on the first two objectives. To conclude the section, a review of the resource based view model was conducted in order to identify the structure strategy to pursue competitive advantage. Therefore this framework was applied to greens supply chain management and proposed the strategic approach of the development of eco-innovation.

Introduction

Summary of findings

5.2 Overview of the findings from secondary and primary research The research dissertation aims to explore the application of eco-innovation to the Italian luxury supply chain management, in order to evaluate its competitive advantage for the supply chain management of luxury brands. To fulfil the aim of the project, five objectives were dictated and followed through the secondary and primary research.


The objective n°4 was realized based on the primary research conducted in the Italian luxury industry. The analysis of the questionnaire’s data was carried out by statistical analysis via SPSS software. The survey was created to audit the current scenario of the industry in relationship to the eco-innovation development and its perception of competitive advantage. Data in relation to drivers, limitations, collaboration network and knowledge awareness, were also collected.

Limitations

The data was gathered to verify the hypothesis deducted from the secondary research while studying the relationships influencing ecoinnovation development. The results and the findings discussion revealed interesting connections and disapproved some other that related to the literature outcomes. As an example, company size is not influencing the application of eco-innovation, although it was previously discussed that the lack of resources in SMEs is considered a limitation. Similarly the assumption that, inter-firm collaboration influences the application of environmental practices was suggested and proved. It has also been proved that company’s abilities and consequently capabilities, are a strong influence of eco-innovation application, hence a relationship with the creation of competitive advantage.

The present study was subject to significant limitations influencing the results. Secondary research was broad and allowed the span between multiple topic areas inspiring the study direction. The primary research was more limitative. Firstly, the timing of the research was extremely inadequate due to busy time of the year for the fashion industry between holidays and fashion weeks (end of August and September). This limitation also strongly affected the sample size of the survey strategy, which is not completely representative of the country as a whole. The range of actors in the manufacturing process of luxury goods is extremely wide, in such a short amount of time is has been complicated to reach the spectrum to fully validate the sample.

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Secondly sustainability and environmental issues are a sensitive topic in these years, NGOs and governments are targeting the misconduct of companies with severe punishments and discredit of brand image. For this reason participant were reluctant in answering sensitive questions, with the fear of damaging the reputation or giving a wrong answer. Since the topic is broad and relatively new to the field, the extreme lack of knowledge influenced the respondents as well. Not having a clear understanding of the topic misled the participants. Lastly, the mono-method approach drastically influenced the research. The use of one method didn’t allow the triangulation of data and the increase of the findings’ validity. In parallel, the use of only quantitative data collection narrowed the scope of the findings and didn’t instructed unexpected data or information. The topic remains significant to the academic and industry fields. Theoretical and empirical suggestions, insights and propositions were presented to provide a better understanding of the application of eco-innovation and the development of competitive advantage using sustainability as a driver in the fashion industry. Due to the wide dimension and complexity of the subject, this dissertation provided an extra understanding of it, focusing on a specific region, for both terms. The data collected was a primary overview leading several possibilities for future studies. In this case, further studies on eco-innovation practices in the fashion industry should focus on a longitudinal approach in order to primarily research at different moments and further evaluate the topic. The different time frame will also allow a broader scope reaching more actors of supply chain intensifying the quantity of respondents for each category. This type of research could also be applied to a mass-fashion industry in order to evaluate the differences between the grade of accessibility of products and their manufacturing processes due to the large difference in productive quantity. This research is a first step in the implementation of a greener mind in the luxury field, motivating the implementation of fully green supply chain in order to create economic and environmental benefits.

Introduction

5.2.4 Objective n°4: To investigate the Italian luxury supply chain and their perspective towards eco-innovation: a perspective from brands, suppliers and manufacturers


Introduction Recommendations

The topic remains significant to the academic and industry fields. Theoretical and empirical suggestions, insights and propositions were presented to provide a better understanding of the application of eco-innovation and the development of competitive advantage using sustainability as a driver in the fashion industry. Due to the wide dimension and complexity of the subject, this dissertation provided an extra understanding of it, focusing on a specific region, for both terms. The data collected was a primary overview leading several possibilities for future studies. In this case, further studies on eco-innovation practices in the fashion industry should focus on a longitudinal approach in order to primarily research at different moments and further evaluate the topic. The different time frame will also allow a broader scope reaching more actors of supply chain intensifying the quantity of respondents for each category. This type of research could also be applied to a mass-fashion industry in order to evaluate the differences between the grade of accessibility of products and their manufacturing processes due to the large difference in productive quantity. This research is a first step in the implementation of a greener mind in the luxury field, motivating the implementation of fully green supply chain in order to create economic and environmental benefits.

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Building brand equity: an exploratory study of customer-based brand equity with a focus on Colombian Generation Z and social media

Maria Paula Carmona Escobar MA Fashion Design Management

Connected Society


MA Fashion Design Management

With the competitive scenario generated by the entrance of foreign fashion brands into the Colombian market (Semana, 2013), Colombian fashion companies must build stronger brands to tackle the presented situation (La República, 2015). The term “brand equity” is defined as the added value a brand brings to a particular product or service as a result of a company’s marketing efforts. Positive brand equity occurs when the consumer is aware of a brand and holds favourable, strong and unique associations with it in memory (Farquhar, 1989; Keller, 1991, 1993; Aaker, 1991). Thus, brand equity should be considered as a critical brand asset for Colombian brands with the purpose of being less vulnerable to foreign competition.

Abstract

Maria Paula Carmona Escobar

The aim of this research is to investigate how the customer-based brand equity model of Kevin L. Keller (CBBE) could be adapted to the fashion industry in Colombia, with a focus on Generation Z. Such Generation has been catalogued as an important financial force worthy of study, in order to engage with them and deliver appropriate marketing messages to this upcoming consumer group (WGSN, 2015; Bergh & Behrer, 2016; Euromonitor 2016). An online survey was used as a method for gathering quantitative data regarding Colombian Generation Z’s behavioural patterns. The survey’s results helped in the building of a Colombian Generation Z consumer profile that includes the most relevant characteristic of this consumer group. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews with industry and brand experts were used as the technique for gaining rich qualitative information about brand equity’s dimensions and their relation with Colombian Generation Z, considering the interviewees’ experiences and perspectives from their roles in the Colombian fashion industry. After reviewing relevant literature regarding brand equity and Generation Z, and analysing the findings obtained from the survey and interviews, a brand equity model was developed, adapting Keller’s CBBE conceptual framework. The model, consisting in three dimensions, is presented as the main outcome of this research, providing marketers with a tool to make strategic decisions considering the Colombian Generation Z and its particularities.

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The mentioned contribution was possible, mainly, due to the policies that protected the industry with import taxes for foreign brands, preventing their entry into the Colombian market and inhibiting the achievement of competitive prices. However, since the beginning of the last century, Colombian government has focused its economic policies on free market theories and equal opportunities for foreign investors and the signing of several free trade agreements, which have created a new dynamic around the national fashion industry (Rendón, 2014). Although this scenario brings some growing opportunities for the industry’s players, it has also provided foreign competitors the guarantees to permeate the market and flood it with foreign brands (Semana, 2013). This situation has created a commercial struggle state that tends to favour foreign brands, which are stronger in several aspects such as their financial muscle, brand knowledge and price competitiveness (La República, 2015). The aforementioned situation represents a threatening juncture for the textile and apparel industry in Colombia, but also an opportunity for Colombian fashion companies to develop build stronger brands and develop strategies to conquer new markets and expand themselves to other countries (La República, 2015). Taking into account the current Colombian Fashion industry situation, those Colombian brands that acquire brand equity could positively engage with consumers and prosper in competitive scenarios. The term ‘brand equity’ is defined as the added value a brand brings to a particular product or service as a result of a company’s marketing efforts. Brand equity enhances the value of a product in consumers’ minds, and it occurs when the consumer is aware of a brand and holds favourable, strong and unique associations with it in memory (Farquhar, 1989; Keller, 1991, 1993; Aaker, 1991). Thus, brand equity should be considered as a critical brand asset for Colombian brands with the purpose of being less vulnerable to foreign competition, enhancing customer loyalty and reinforcing a better response to brand communications (Keller, 2006; Shobeiri, 2015; Gill & Dawra, 2010).

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Since the classic brand equity approaches of David Aaker and Kevin Lane Keller, the two most relevant contributors in such area, different models have been broadly tested in different contexts, but there is no evidence of a customer-based brand equity model adapted to the Colombian fashion industry. Moreover, a number of past studies imply the necessity of the modification of traditional brand equity frameworks into the present time context (Shobeiri, 2015). Therefore, the development of a brand equity model would be a suitable tool for Colombian brands in order to engage with future Colombian consumers and to cope with the presented competitive scenario. Born between 1996 and 2010, Generation Z makes up a quarter of the world’s population and will become highly influential in the following years (Bergh & Behrer, 2016). They have been catalogued as an important financial force that differs from previous Generations due to their realistic, self-aware, open-minded and technological-savvy personalities. Brands are suggested to understand Gen Z’s in order to engaged with them as they represent relevant and challenging consumers to target (WGSN, 2015; Bergh & Behrer, 2016; Euromonitor 2016). Taking into account the importance of this upcoming consumer group and the necessity of building strong fashion-oriented brands in the context of Colombia, this research presents a brand equity model integrating Colombian Generation Z consumer behaviour. The new brand equity model also integrates the powerful electronic word of mouth (E-WOM) Generation Z has, the way they experience brands through social media and the brand values they appreciate the most. Classical brand equity frameworks like Aaker’s and Keller’s CBBE models are undoubtedly valuable and relevant for creating and conducting marketing strategies at present time. However, by integrating Gen Z consumer behaviour and the challenges of the current social media revolution into a brand equity model, more accurate marketing strategies can be designed for fashion brands in Colombia, assisting them in the current challenging conjuncture the Colombian fashion market is facing.

Introduction

Background and rationale

Throughout history, the textile and apparel industry has represented an essential factor of growth in the Colombian economy, with over 100 years of tradition. This industry has substantially helped to create employment in the country due to its need of a massive workforce, contributing the 3.7% of Colombia’s GDP during early 90’s (ProColombia, 2015; Inexmoda, 2011).


The research onion (Saunders, 2009) was used for this study’s purpose as a way of depicting the issues underlying the chosen methodology (Figure IV). The first section of the chapter (3.1) uncovers two layers of Saunders’ onion: research philosophy and research approach. The second section of this chapter (3.2) explains in depth the methodological choice and techniques of this research. Next, the Data Collection section (3.3) depicts the time horizons layer of Saunders’ research onion (2009), the way data was collected and the strategy utilized to analyse the data. Finally, Limitations (3.4) and Ethical Considerations (3.5) of the conducted research will be presented.

With the purpose of generating an accurate outcome from a research, it is vital to have a clear research question and objectives, ensuring that the methods to collect data and analyse it will enable the researcher to meet them (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). This study responds to the question: How could Colombian fashion brands build brand equity considering the current Generation Z consumer behaviour?

The aim of this research is to investigate how the customer-based brand equity model of Kevin L. Keller could be adapted to the fashion industry in Colombia, with a focus on Generation Z. Objectives The aim of this study will be achieved by the fulfilment of the following five objectives: To define and contextualize Generation Z.  o explore contemporary theories and T practices of brand equity models with a special focus on Keller’s CBBE.  o identify Gen Z consumer behavioural T patterns in the Colombian context.  o investigate key factors of brand awareness T and engagement for Colombian Gen Z consumers.

Methodology overview

 o develop a brand equity model suitable T for Colombian Gen Z with a focus on social media.

This study was undertaken following an exploratory approach. Exploratory studies are used for understanding new happenings and to search new insights of a particular interest (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). This study explores Colombian Generation Z as a target group that had been studied globally, but not in the country’s context. Additionally, this research aims to explore the relation between members of Colombian Generation Z with brand equity, and how Keller’s CBBE model can be adapted to the Colombian fashion industry.

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Literature overview

The formulated research question guided the researcher in the literature review and in the decisions about the appropriate research designed for this study (Bryman & Bell, 2015), which will be explained in detail in Chapter III.

A number of past studies implied that traditional brand equity models need to de adapted for nowadays contexts (Shobeiri, 2001). In Colombia, adapting a brand equity model for the fashion industry would be relevant at present time, taking into account the country’s current competitive scenario and considering the fact that brand equity helps companies to prosper in competitive environments positively (Prasad & Dev, 2000; Shobeiri, 2001). Moreover, it would be appropriate and convenient for Colombian fashion brands to find in the model a special focus on Generation Z as an upcoming segment of the market to approach. The term “Social media” refers to the sites and services that emerged during the first decade of the twenty-first century, re-shaping the information and communication ecosystem. In the 2003, social network sites popularity increased changing the essence of online communities (Boyd, 2014). Whilst the first communities that emerged with Internet were organized around common interests, social networks changed the dynamic into socialization communities. By the mid 2000s sharing information through platforms like Facebook or Twitter became an integrated part of life (Happen, 2014; Boyd, 2014). The fast growth in popularity of social media and its perpetual evolution are changing the way brands must implement marketing and communication strategies. Traditional one-way communications are being replaced by multidirectional communications between consumers and brands, offering both firms and customers new ways of engaging with each other. (Schivinski & Dabrowski, 2015; Berthon et al. 2012; Owen & Napoli, 2016).

Introduction

Aims and objectives

Accordingly, a methodology was needed in order to understand the characteristics and behaviour of the mentioned generation in the context of Colombia, the most accurate engagement strategies with them and the most relevant current necessities of Colombian fashion brands.


In the Internet age, the reach of WOM has expanded considerably (Strutton, Taylor, & Thompson, 2011; Sahelices & Rodriguez, 2014). One of the reasons for such expansion is the viral dissemination of information via the Internet (Schivinski & Dabrowski, 2015; Nolan, 2014). Whereas word-of-mouth could spread into large groups, electronic word-of-mouth (e-WOM) is capable of disseminate at far higher speed (Happen, 2014). Furthermore, the fact that Gen Zers are sceptical of traditional advertising methods makes them particularly receptive to innovative WOM or e-WOM (Euromonitor, 2011). Consumers are now sharing their experiences through social media, followed by recommendations and opinions that affect the Imagery of nowadays brands (Kimmel & Kitchen, 2014). Recent studies have shown the acceptance of e-WOM among nowadays consumers, whom might consider social media as a more trustworthy source of information rather than traditional marketing communications. For instance, Gen Zers are likely to conduct a research online about a brand ahead of making purchase the decisions (Schivinski & Dabrowski, 2015; Nolan, 2014). Thus, it can be depicted the high influence e-WOM has upon Gen Zers. Additionally, the ‘shareable factor’ has enhanced Gen Zers’ power over brands. The alwaysconnected generation has the ability and necessity to share every moment and experience with others, becoming brand’s curators by the selection and communication of what they take time to enjoy or purchase (Happen, 2014).

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Research design

E-WOM Word-of-mouth (WOM) has been defined as interpersonal informational exchange between individuals familiar to each other (Brown & Reingen, 1987). In other words, WOM stands for a strategy that consists in giving consumers products in the hope that they will speak enthusiastically about them to other consumers (Euromonitor, 2007).

A research design is the general plan of how a research question is going to be answered (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). It provides a framework for the collection and analysis of data (Bryman & Bell, 2015). This research was designed with the purpose of finding how to build brand equity considering the current Colombian Generation Z consumer behavioural patterns. The research design utilized a mixed methods approach including qualitative and quantitative techniques. Such approach has emerged in the last decade as a popular one in many disciplines (Denzin & Lincoln, 2013; Bryman & Bell, 2015; Cottrell, 2014) especially in business and management researches (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). The use of mixed methods provides better opportunities for answering the research question and for finding the validity of the presented hypothesis (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). It is advised by many authors to undertake a study including multiple sources of data, since it reduces subjectivity and increases the reliability of a research (Bryman & Bell, 2007; Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009; Denzin & Lincoln, 2013). This multiplicity of sources is called triangulation. Triangulation secures an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon in question (Denzin & Lincoln, 2013). The triangulation method used in this research included the literature reviewed in chapter II as secondary research, and semi-structure interviews and an online survey as primary research. Both primary research techniques were used to gather patterns of Colombian Generation Z behaviour and to investigate key factors of brand awareness and engagement with such target group.

Introduction

Recognized as a blind spot for marketer, Gen Zers are worthy of study. They are becoming an important segment of the market to target due to their growing purchasing power and brand-conscience character (Euromonitor, 2011). In addition, the digital world represents an enormous challenge for traditional marketing. Fashion brands interested in bonding with Generation Z must invest heavily in new forms of branding and marketing, looking for the proper strategies that accentuate personality, placing an emphasis on authenticity, experiences and story telling (Kozinets, De Valck, Wojnicki & Wilner, 2010; Euromonitor, 2016).


The first section of the chapter (4.2) highlights the most relevant findings obtained after conducting the online survey with Colombian Generation Z as the sample who contributed to such research method. Discussions around the finding’s resonance with previous literature and with the four steps of Keller’s CBBE pyramid are elaborated. Furthermore, as a result of the obtained findings’ analysis, a profile of Colombian Generation Z is presented, including behaviour patterns and preferences of Colombian Generation Z. The second section of this chapter (4.3) addresses the most relevant findings obtained after the thematic analysis method used for depicting the interviews results (Clarke & Braun, 2006). The three final themes are explained in detail, using pertinent quotes and extracts from the interviews with brand and industry experts. Finally, in section 4.4 the most important outcome of this research is presented: a brand equity model adapted to the Colombian industry with a focus on Generation Z and their social media preferences. The developed Generation Z-based brand equity model gathers all of the findings obtained in this research, after a deep analysis of the survey and interview’s results in comparison with previous related literature.

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The Generation Z-based brand equity model (GZBE) was built in order to answer the research question of this study: How could Colombian fashion brands build brand equity considering the current Generation Z consumer behaviour? The GZBE is the appropriate way to acquire positive brand equity, providing Colombian fashion brands interested in the Generation Z target consumer, with a substantial and clear marketing and management guidance. A profile of Generation Z in the context on Colombia was also provided, summarizing the most relevant findings obtained through this research regarding such generation. The developed model (GZBE) is presented as a cycle to be repeated regularly, according to the rapid changes of the digital world and Colombian teenager consumers’ behaviour. Such cyclic approach also enhances the anticipation and flexibility character of a brand, which helps to prevent threatening situations and leverage challenging scenarios and changing environments. The model includes three main dimensions to tackle: ‘Customer and Brand Awareness’, ‘Brand Meaning’ and ‘Brand Responses’.The achievement of brand equity is considered a valuable and appropriate stage to accomplish; especially within competitive and challenging scenarios as the one the Colombian fashion industry is currently facing. As a result of a rigorous and deep investigation of the factors that affect the achievement of positive brand equity in the context of Colombia, the Generation Z-based brand equity model (GZBE) was developed and presented during this research. It provides fashion brands with a cyclic pathway to maintain permanent win-win relationship between the brand and its customers and retain Generation Z by the consideration of its needs and preferences. The developed model is suggested to be used as a tactical tool for marketers and brand managers to make strategic decisions, considering the Colombian Generation Z as promising relevant and powerful target consumer group to engage with.

Introduction

Summary of findings Discussion

Findings obtained during the research are presented and discussed in this chapter. They will be analysed in relation with Keller’s customer based brand equity model (CBBE), in order to identify the appropriate dimensions to include in the brand equity model-to-develop, which will be also presented as the main and final outcome of this research.

Considering the competitive scenario the Colombian fashion industry is currently facing, a Colombian Generation Z based brand equity model (GZBE) was presented as the main outcome of this study. This model fetched all the gathered data together giving the industry a tool to build stronger brands and tackle such competitive situation.


An investigation into the countryof-origin effect of Italian luxury products on Indian millennial’s buying behaviour in the handbags category

Swati Madan MA Fashion Design Management

Connected Society


MSc International Fashion Management

The growing impact of western culture and increasing awareness about fashion has led to an increase in the appetite for International brands in India. Consequently, most of the global brands are increasingly targeting women with growing purchase power and aspiration to own luxury products. The aim of the study was to investigate the Countryof-Origin (COO) effect of Italian luxury products on Indian female millennial’s buying behaviour, in the handbags category, by exploring the overall product-country image of Italy. The study also attempted to determine how international luxury brands highlight their the Countryof-Origin attribute and how this is recognized by consumers in the handbags category.

Abstract

Swati Madan

The study used a mix of primary and secondary research to investigate into the COO effect. A mixed methods approach was followed that involved an online questionnaire employing 181 respondents and 14 face-to-face interviews with consumers in New Delhi. In addition, 9 interviews were conducted with industry experts to gain an additional perspective on the subject. The findings from the study show that a positive perception is held towards Italy and its fashion luxury market. Its products are perceived and evaluated highly by Indian consumers. It is also revealed that COO attribute is an important consideration for Indian millennials. Perceptions are formed about a foreign country in terms of its overall image, cultural background, level of development and its product-country image. This impacts their product evaluation process and subsequently translates into their purchase decision proving the Country-of-Origin effect on Indian millennial’s buying behaviour in the luxury segment. Furthermore, consumers identified ‘’made in” labels, quality & care labels, name of the brand and logos as the elements through which they recognized the origin of a luxury product. This research serves as an original piece of work that contributes significantly to the COO research on developing countries, an area in which considerable less research has been conducted till date. It is also an important topic to study under fashion design management as the Country-of-Origin attribute has been identified as an effective marketing stimuli. It can be used by managers as a part of their design, marketing and branding strategy to positively influence the buying behaviour of consumers of a particular country through strategic design management.

01


India According to Verdict (2014), Asia Pacific has emerged as the driving force in the global market in the luxury segment consumption. This pattern is expected to continue to grow and account for 41.8% of global luxury expenditure by 2020. Out of the Asia Pacific region, India is considered as one of the fastest growing luxury market, making it one of the most desirable markets for luxury goods (Euromonitor, 2014). The presence of most luxury brands have been found in the capital city - New Delhi owing to its well- developed infrastructure, highest concentration of millionaires wealth and their strong purchasing power (Cushman & Wakefield, 2013). Luxury brands are expected to continue to increase their presence and penetration in this market in the coming years which in turn will help drive the growth of the luxury goods market in India. Therefore understanding this market and its consumers is crucial for the luxury industry.

02

Branding and consumer behaviour Once a brand is in a foreign market, it provides an opportunity for the company to influence the perception of customers by differentiating itself through merging its image and identity with appearance, brand name and product characteristics (Clifton, Simmons and Ahmad, 2003). Accordingly to Ahmed et al. (2004), consumers use product information or cues to help them during their product evaluation process. Consumers also tend to link a country’s brands and its products with preconceptions about its origin, popularly known as the Country-of-Origin effect as defined by Roth and Romeo (1992). This effect impacts how they perceive and evaluate products and their characteristics from certain countries which in turn effects their purchase intention. Numerous studies that have investigated consumer attitudes towards products from certain countries have found that the country image is used as a attribute for product evaluation by consumers as they tend to form stereotypes about certain countries and the products originating from them (Lotz and Hu, 2001; Ahmed et al., 2004; Dinnie, 2004; Yasin, Noor and Mohamad, 2007). Therefore, this is an important subject area and is particularly relevant for the luxury industry as luxury brands invest heavily in building up their image based on their association with a particular country and their long held heritage value as a way of differentiating from the other brands.

Introduction

Background and rationale

International retailing and luxury market In the past two decades, fashion brands are buying, selling and interacting beyond their local borders. In the face of globalization and an increasingly inter-connected world, numerous companies have began to expand overseas and trade internationally (Hollensen, 2014). A market report by Mintel (2015) estimates the global luxury market to be worth 237 billion Euros and suggests that the easier access to international markets has enabled luxury brands to target a global segment of luxury consumers and aggressively expand to foreign markets as a part of their expansion strategy. International luxury brands are particularly shifting their attention towards the developing economies owing to a plethora of opportunities offered by the increasing power of the masses, growing purchasing power, improved infrastructure and high growth rates (ATKearney, 2015). Developed countries, on the other hand, are currently facing long periods of stagnation, forcing brands to look for opportunity in new emerging markets (Drapers, 2015). As a result, research on consumer trends in new emerging markets has become an important area of study.

Millennials In many developing markets, the millennials segment, born between 1982 and 2000, are an affluent generation, exceeding the income levels of their parents, and are keen to demonstrate this through their purchasing power (Euromonitor, 2014). For instance, in India, the millenials population forms a major section of the consumer market (Focus, 2015). A marketing research report published by Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), indicates that the increased exposure to foreign luxury brands, rising disposable income, growth of luxury outlets and increasing appetite for luxury products in India have led to a noticeable rise in the buying and spending patterns of this segment (IIFT, 2015). Presently, very less studies exist on India that assess the buying behaviour of millenials in the luxury goods segment. Therefore, this area can help provide important inputs for global brands to understand the millennial attitudes towards foreign luxury goods.


The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of Country-of-Origin effect on Indian millennial buying behaviour in the luxury goods segment with a focus on Italian luxury products. The product category that this study will focus on is luxury handbags which is considered as symbol of affluence and has been found to be one of the best- selling categories in India (Bhattacharya, 2015). The study will also explore the different ways in which the origin attribute is represented in a product and identified by Indian consumers. Overall, the study aims to contribute to both academia and the fashion industry by filling the gap identified in the research on Country-of-Origin studies. Relevance to the industry Increasing globalization has opened doors for brands all over the world to enter into new markets providing consumers more product choices than ever and making the need for Country-of-Origin studies even more relevant than before. A better understanding of the role of Country-of-Origin in influencing consumer buying behaviour will help in designing of better focused marketing plans and strategies for marketing and brand managers. It is extremely important for foreign brands to know how people from a certain country perceive their products. It is also vital to investigate the elements through which consumers identify products belonging to different countries. This information can help foreign luxury brands to tailor their design and marketing strategy to incorporate these elements specifically for the Indian market.

03

Introduction Aims and objectives

Problem discussion There have been numerous studies suggesting that COO effect has a significant influence on consumer buying behaviour, however research on different age segments, product categories and different countries have revealed different results. There has been a disagreement among researchers in this subject area regarding the generalisation of the Country-of-Origin effect results. Owing to its complexity this concept is still not very well understood in academia. Therefore, a focused study on the Country-ofOrigin effect of foreign goods on the consumer behaviour of a particular age segment, particularly the millennials, a new lucrative market segment, is relevant in the Indian context given the fact that majority of the luxury brands present in India today are foreign and have a non-Indian heritage.

The main aim of the study is to investigate the overall image and product-country image of Italy and its impacts on Indian millennial’s buying behaviour in the fashion luxury segment. To this effect the research seeks to fulfill the following objectives:  o explore and understand the Indian luxury T market, its consumers and the penetration of foreign luxury brands in India.  o explore theories related to the CountryT of-Origin effect and its impact on consumer buying behaviour.  o investigate the impact of Italy’s overall and T product-country image on Indian millennial’s perception, product evaluation and purchase intention of Italian luxury handbags and how they recognize the Country-of-Origin of a luxury product.  o establish how is the Country-of-Origin T attribute represented in a product by International luxury brands present in India.  o develop a theoretical framework to establish T the Country-of-origin effect on consumer buying behaviour.


Research methods

Structure

Research Philosophy

Pragmatism: a pragmatist approach has been adopted for this study for this study. The stance of a pragmatist is said to view reality from an external point of view It allows the researcher to adopt a position that best answers the research question and adopt both subjective and objective point of view (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007).

Research approach

Abductive: an abductive approach has been employed in this study where known premises are used to generate testable conclusions. The data collected has been used to explore the selected phenomenon, identify themes and patterns and test it through primary research.

Strategy

Survey: the primary research has been conducted using survey methods utilizing in depth interviews and online administered questionnaires targeted to collect information from millennials living in New Delhi. Interviews with International luxury brand managers and marketers have also bee conducted for triangulation of data in order to find out how is COO attribute used and represented in a product by International luxury brands.

Choice

Mixed methods: a mixed methods approach will be used employing both qualitative and quantitative research.

Time horizon

Cross Sectional: due to constraint of time, this study was cross sectional in nature.

04

Section

Answering the questions

Chapter

Content

1

Why

1&2

Introduction Literature review

2

How

3

Research methodology

3

What did I find 4

Findings & analysis

4

So what

Discussion & conclusion

5

Chapter

Title

Content

1

Introduction

Introduces the different aspects of the research area, describes the context and rationale of the study, states the gap in the literature and informs the research aim and objectives.

2

Literature review

Discusses in depth the three main areas of the research reviews the previous literature, followed by discussion of the findings from prior research.

3

Research methodology

Describes in detail the research philosophy, approach, strategy, sampling method and the methodology undertaken for carrying out primary research. The Chapter also discusses the limitations of the study and ethical considerations.

4

Findings and analysis

Analyse the data collected and describes the findings from the research.

5

Discussion

Summarize the main findings from the research leading to the development of a theoretical framework that is followed by managerial implications and conclusions of the study.

Introduction

Overview & structure Methodology overview

The Research Onion model by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007) has been used to determine the appropriate research methodology for this study. Table 1.1 below shows the research methods and the structure followed in this study. Source: Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007)

Field and Hole’s (2003) model on ‘’Answering Questions’’ has been used to explain the different sections of the study and the corresponding chapters. The model consists of four sections that has been used to define and answer the ‘‘why’’, ‘’how’’, ‘’what did I find’’ and ‘’so what’’ of this research. Table 1.2 and 1.3 below gives an overview of the different sections of the study, the corresponding chapters and their content.


The focus of this study will be to explore the Country-of-Origin effect in the context of the Italy’s product country image. Italy is an important country for this study and this can be easily seen from the presence of numerous Italian luxury brands in India. Out of the total 71 international luxury brands present in India, 32 brands are from Italy. This study will also be beneficial for other Italian brands that wish to enter into India. In today’s time of increasing globalization countries are competing with each other in a manner similar to how brands complete. Therefore, determining the impact of a country’s image on consumer’s buying behaviour is vital for brand managers to understand how people from a certain country perceive their products. While the COO effect has been researched upon extensively on developed countries, not much research has been conducted on emerging markets especially India and even fewer studies investigating this concept in the luxury segment (Bandyopadhyay, 2014).

05

Research design

Literature overview

From the literature review it may be inferred that there is a lack of clarity on the extent of Countryof-Origin effect on consumer buying behaviour as the same have been found to differ by country, product type and category. Furthermore, the multi-country association and its impact on consumers have not been explored in depth in previous researches. Therefore, to overcome the limitations identified in this area, this study seeks to investigate the Country-ofOrigin effect on the buying behaviour of Indian consumers in the luxury product segment. This study will also examine the impact on consumer behaviour when the country-ofmaking changes to a different country. The study will focus on the Indian millennial age group, which is an important upcoming segment on which very limited research has been carried out previously. The study will also aim to overcome the limitation of past research of using student samples by focusing on working professionals.

This chapter illustrates the methodology undertaken for the study and describes in detail the research approach, design and method taken for the study. Research design The Research Onion model by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007) has been used to design the research methodology for this study (Figure 3.1) In order to undertake research work, first and foremost, researchers need to establish the research philosophy they would like to adopt and incorporate into the study. This philosophy shapes the approach, strategy and design of the research (Creswell, 2003). A Pragmatist approach has been used in this study. Pragmatists are concerned with the application and solutions to problems (Patton, 2002). This philosophy ascertains that the meaning of a concept is its practical consequence so the focus is laid on practical applied research. Therefore, the main focus of this study was on trying to understand the research objectives and using all those methods available that will best help in answering them. Pragmatists acknowledge that each method has its own limitations and hence justify the use of multiple approaches as being complementary to each other (Morgan, 2007). 3.1.2 Purpose of the research The purpose of any research can be broadly classified into exploratory, explanatory, investigatory or descriptive (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007). The purpose of this research is investigatory. An investigatory study is most useful when the intent of the research is to find out what is happening to gain new insights, or to get familiar with an existing phenomenon (Kothari, 2004).

Introduction

While the existing literature on luxury is diverse, it does not emphasize much on consumer behaviour within a particular cultural context. Therefore, this study attempts to fill the gap in the research in these three areas by providing new insights and developments. This study will be the first of its kind to study the Country-of-Origin effect of Italian luxury brands on the Indian millennial’s perception, product evaluation and purchase intention in the luxury segment, serving as an original piece of research


Branding strategy A thorough knowledge and understanding of the consumer behaviour of a particular country can prove to be advantageous for a brand manager. Such knowledge can be incorporated into the designing and management of a successful marketing and branding plan. Brands today market themselves in a way that there is one design element through which a consumer is able to recognize the brand and consequently form associations with. The below mentioned elements in Table 5.1 are recommended for managers to include in their branding strategy to highlight the Country-of-Origin attribute of their products in order to create design differentiation through branding. Marketing strategy These attributes can also be used by brand marketers as a part of their marketing communication strategy through campaigns, press releases, in-store events and shop window displays. History behind a product’s origin country, its culture, heritage and background can be used to engage customers through the different stages of consumer journey. This is crucial, as it was found through the expert interviews that some foreign luxury brands in India do not explicitly highlight the Countryof-Origin of their products. For these brands this element is inherent in its products and does not need to be highlighted to the consumers, clearly indicating a gap in the understanding of the Indian market.

06

Therefore, in today’s globalized world, where countries and brands are competing against each other for their share of global markets and its consumers, Country-of- Origin attribute can be used as a effective design, marketing and branding tool that makes use of a country’s image to lure customers and positively impact their purchase intention.

Following the results of the perceptions held by respondents towards Italy, it can be concluded that the overall image in the mind of the consumers about Italy and its fashion luxury market is very high. Italy is considered as a trend-setter with a very well established fashion luxury market. It holds a very strong reputation for the luxury brands and products that originate from the country. In terms of the perceptions held by consumers about the luxury product originating from Italy, it was found that Italian luxury products are considered to have a very high level of design and innovation, the products are considered as exclusive, unique and of high quality. In terms of value, the products are considered to be highly priced and expensive and made using finest craftsmanship. These findings are consistent with the seven characteristics of luxury products defined by Vigneron and Johnson (2004). It was found that a change in the Country-ofOrigin of a product led to a change in the evaluationof product attributes by consumers and subsequently their purchase intention. In this study the handbag made in Italy was evaluated highly in terms of their quality, price value, functionality and craftsmanship. However, when the same handbag was labeled to be made in China, the evaluation of the above mentioned attributes reduced drastically. Similar behavioural patterns were observed for purchase intention as well. The positive evaluation further translated into the higher intention towards buying the handbag made in Italy as compared to the Chinese handbag.

Introduction

Managerial implications A framework that explains the Country-of-Origin effect on consumer’s buying behaviour is of great importance for managers. It can help them to plan their business strategy which is suitable for the Indian market. According to Wiedmann, Hennigs and Siebels (2007), managers should not restrict themselves with the established business strategies of the brand as each market is culturally diverse from the other. Country-ofOrigin attribute can be therefore, used by managers to design, develop and manage a localized strategy. This strategy can help built a stronger brand value for a foreign company in India while positively influencing the Indian consumer’s attitudes towards its products. Summary of findings

Discussion

Design strategy “Made in” labels, quality & care label, name of the brand, logos and colours have been identified by most of the consumers in this research, as a way through which they recognize a brand and its origin cues. This information can be used by a manager as a criteria to select the portfolio of products or collections meant to be sold in India. Collections targeted for the Indian market can be designed in a way that uses the above mentioned elements to specifically highlight the product’s origin cues.


Introduction

Therefore, it can be ascertained that while luxury products from Italy are perceived and evaluated quite highly in terms of products attributes discussed above, the same is not true when it comes to products from countries like China. The reason behind this was found to be that China is neither known for fashion nor for its luxury products and that it is known for duplicating luxury products. The findings show that a country with a stronger image in a particular product category positively impacts the consumer’s perception, product evaluation and purchase intention and the same was found to be true in the reverse scenario as well. It can also be inferred that the perception held about a certain country, its image and the products originating from it impacts the consumer evaluation process and translates into their purchase decision, proving that the Country-of-Origin effect does exists and has an impact on the Indian consumer buying behaviour in the fashion luxury segment. These findings answer the first research question defined in Chapter 3 and meets the third objective of the research defined in Chapter 1. Also the above findings are consistent with the findings of authors - Roth and Romeo (1992), Dawar and Parker (1994), Li and Wyer (1994), Iyer and Kalita (1997), Thakor and Katsanis (1997) discussedin Chapter 2. This research has also found out that the Country-of-Origin of a product is an important consideration for consumers in the luxury category. A country’s overall image, its cultural background, level of development and its product-country image speaks to the consumers about the key attributes of the products originating from it. These includes quality, design aesthetics, craftsmanship, price value, reliability, durability and prestige value. The primary way through which a customer recognizes the origin of a product was found to be through the name of the brand, ‘’made in’’ label, quality & care label, logo and the colours used in the product. These findings answer the second research question defined in Chapter 3 and meets the fourth objective outlined in Chapter 1.

07

Limitations

The proportion of respondents willing to buy a Chinese handbag fell significantly to almost half when the same bag was labeled to be made in China.

The study focused on the Indian luxury market and the buying behaviour of the Indian millennial age segment, which are both relatively new areas with limited prior academic research and excising theory. As a result, a major part of the secondary research on these topics relied on commercial sources rather than academic sources, which was a risk. However, these resources helped provide the most relevant and current insights, which was of supreme importance for the purpose of this research. Given the nature and scope of the research, it was only possible to focus on the Country-ofOrigin effect of one foreign country and one product segment, so in terms of generalisation, the results may only be applicable to countries that are similar to Italy and are known for their fashion and luxury segment. As the research sample was taken from female millennials residing in New Delhi, the capital city of India, the sample does not truly represent the entire Indian female millennial population. The findings of the research are more applicable to consumers living in metropolitan cities (tier 1) rather than tier-2 and tier-3 cities of India. Due to time and distance constraints, the expert interviews could only be conducted through telephone due to which the facial expressions and body language cues could not be judged. The emotional involvement of the interviewees could have helped provide additional insights into the research topic as well as in building up supplementary questions during the interview. Participant bias, through the network used is another limitation of this study. As most of the consumer participants were from the researcher’s network, it is possible that other people were not represented in the sample for the study. To reduce this bias, a mixed methods approach was used and triangulation of data was done to ensure validity and reliability of data collected.


Introduction Recommendations

It has been discovered through this study that Country-of-Origin associations exist in the Indian market and have an impact on the Indian millennial’s buying behaviour in the luxury segment. This makes it important to carry further research on this topic, which can prove advantageous for academia as well as for other International luxury brands aiming to enter India. Future research can be carried out in other tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India and can include other fashion countries like France, USA and England to measure the impact of their Country-of-Origin information on the buying behaviour of Indians. It would be interesting to see if the COO effect varies geographically across borders and nations. It would also be beneficial to include other luxury product categories like apparel, shoes, watches that are used by both male and females to find out the gender differences as well as the Country-of-Origin effect in different product categories to gain more insights on Indian millennial buying behaviour. This would also lead to a more holistic understanding of the Indian luxury market and its consumers. This kind of research can prove to be extremely useful for International luxury brands having limited knowledge about India and its consumers to ascertain the readiness of the market for their entry and their product offerings. In addition, by using this research, a luxury brand can design its business, marketing and branding activities in a way that is consistent with the behaviour exhibited by the consumers of that particular country.

08


A practice-based study to design a mobile app for an integrated luxury shopping experience in the UK

Varun Jain MA Fashion Design Management

Evolving Innovation


Abstract

Varun Jain

MA Fashion Design Management

The luxury retail brands worldwide have realised the importance of embracing modern technology and effectively integrating the online and offline sales to create a seamless and holistic shopping experience for the luxury consumers. The online luxury fashion market in the UK is forecasted to reach £780 million by 2018 with a CAGR of 18% and is set to be Europe’s leading luxury shopping market by 2018. About three-quarters of luxury goods market is affected by the digital presence of the brand. This study aims to provide integrated online and offline shopping experience for luxury consumers through the framework of a mobile application. The study contextualises UK luxury market and existing mobile shopping apps of UK luxury retailers. Further, this study explores theories related to consumer behaviour in regards to Luxury retail such as motivational theory, experiential theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, UTAUT theory, etc. and previous literature on strategies such as personalisation, gamification, loyalty programs, etc. Primary data is collected by in-depth interviews of luxury consumers and focus group of industry professionals to identify key components for an integrated shopping experience in the luxury fashion retail industry. A framework for a mobile app is developed as a solution based on the set of recommendations of primary and secondary research that will improve the luxury customer experience online and offline. This mobile app framework is arguably the first of its kind as it focuses on providing hedonistic pleasure to the luxury consumers. This app includes features such as Magic Mirror, New For You, Wish List, Shopping Rack which provide holistic shopping experience and also a platform to engage more with the brands. Finally, an online survey is carried out for validation of the luxury shopping mobile application framework. 101 out of 113 survey participants expressed positive opinions towards the proposed mobile app as it caters to the experiential needs of luxury consumers.

01


Introduction According to data from Bain & Company (2014), the global luxury market valued €850 billion in the year 2014 which reflects the growth rate of 7% from the previous year. The personal luxury goods market has grown three folds in last two decades and has strongly rebound from the financial crisis of 2008. The online luxury market has also achieved 12 times growth in the last decade and currently contributes to 5% of all sales. According to research firm Bain & Company, this €250 billion personal luxurygoods market is projected to reach €265 billion by 2017, reflecting 4% to 6% growth rate (Bain& Company, 2014). The firm projects that the future luxury market would be characterised by unsettling innovations, such as augmented reality, cashless payments, facial recognition, 3-D printing, etc., however still 35% of luxury brands are not selling their products online (Bain & Company, 2014).

02

Aim and objectives

Background and rationale

The fashion brands are experiencing fierce competition in the dynamic global market and for creating a stronger bond with the consumers; they are changing the appearance and experience of the retail outlets (Bell et.al, 2012). The stores are increasingly aware of the digitally empowered consumers and have integrated their interactive and sensory elements for creating a holistic experience for shopping (Medina, 2013). As Massimo (2016) observed, today’s consumers cannot be segmented as offline or online as they want multiple channels for engaging with the brand. Therefore, the brands must not treat their in- store business and online business as separate activities and rather both must be integrated to create a seamless shopping experience.

The aim of this study is to provide integrated online and offline shopping experience for luxury consumers through the framework of a mobile application. Objectives:  o contextualize & investigate the features T of existing mobile shopping apps for luxury retailers in the UK and the relationship of technology to the consumer shopping experience .  o discuss the theories relevant for consumer T behaviour for the luxury consumers. To give a luxury market overview of the UK.  o conduct empirical research to identify key T components in integrated luxury shopping experience with industry.  o develop a framework for a mobile app as T a solution based on a set of recommendations and research that will improve the luxury customer experience online and offline.


Chapter 3 discusses the research methodology adopted to achieve the research objective and seek the answer to the research questions. It reviews the research design and approach and justifies the research methods adopted and their purpose in the study

This research study uses motivation theory (as previously examined by McGuire, 1974; Tauber, 1972; Westbrook and Black, 1985 and Edwin Boring, 2005) for examining the motivational factors for the shopping behaviour of luxury retail consumers towards online and offline shopping for these brands. The next theory applied for analysis would be the experiential theory (as previously examined by Pine and Gilmore, 1998; Neihm et al. 2007; Kim, 2001) to understand how the shopping experiences motivates and satisfies the consumers.

Chapter 4 presents an analysis of collected data from the focus group of industry experts, and 7 in- depth interviews with the UK luxury consumers and review of the literature. It also includes reflection on the creative process of a practicebased project. Finally, this chapter presents the project summary with the outcome i.e. a mobile application design along with a sitemap attached with it.

1.4.1 Research approach The abductive approach will be applied in this research study as it is most suited when there is an availability of relevant literature, but still, there is a possibility of the emergence of unknown data during exploration that may affect the outcome. (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2012).A multi- method approach will be used for a triangulated understanding of the research questions as it provides an overall understanding of the research problems (Creswell, 2014). For the collection of primary data, In-depth interviews of consumers (set parameters) are used and focus group of professionals for obtaining qualitative data about luxury consumer’s motivations and experiences.

03

Chapter 5 presents conclusion with research evaluation regarding aims and objectives of the research. The feedback received from luxury consumers about the proposed mobile app is also discussed. Further, the chapter discusses research limitations, evaluates its contribution to existing literature, and assesses the implication for luxury brands and scope for future research. 3.4 Research philosophy The research philosophy for this study is pragmatism paradigm for it will help to acquire a greater understanding of the subject complexities and at the same time remain flexible to adapt as per the consumer needs (Saunders et al., 2012). Pragmatism asserts that the concepts are considered to be relevant only if they are supported by appropriate action (Kelemen and Rumens 2008), and this philosophy is suitable for the solution based approach of this study.

Introduction

Overview and structure The research philosophy for this study is pragmatism paradigm for it will help acquire a greater understanding of the subject complexities and at the same time remain flexible to adapt as per the consumer needs (Saunders et al, 2012).

Research design

Methodology

Chapter 2 presents project contextualization and review of the literature. This chapter is divided into three key parts: The first part provides an overview of the UK market through the Drapers Record Report on the UK luxury market. The second part discusses the key theories relevant for the luxury consumer’s behaviour. The third part investigates the features of existing mobile shopping apps for luxury retailers in the UK and the relationship of technology to the consumer shopping experience.


Summary of findings

Further, the chapter discusses research limitations, evaluates its contribution to existing literature, and assesses the implication for luxury brands and scope for future research.

5.2 Implications for luxury brands This study proposed an integrated and seamless luxury mobile shopping app which caters to the utilitarian as well as hedonistic needs of the luxury consumers. This study has following implications on the luxury brands offering mobile shopping application:  he study suggests that effective integration T of online and offline shopping platform could positively enhance the shopping experience of luxury consumers.  eatures such as Magic Mirror, New For You, F Wish List, Shopping Rack and Customer Service helps in providing holistic shopping experience to luxury consumers and also provides platform to engage more with the brands.

04

considered to be equally important by luxury consumers but the current online platform lagged in providing absolute hedonistic pleasure while shopping. This study provides industry insights and consumers opinions about their desirability for an integrated shopping platform.

Limitations

This chapter presents conclusion with research evaluation regarding aims and objectives of the research. The aim of this study is to provide integrated online and offline shopping experience for luxury consumers through the framework of a mobile application. Firstly, the study utilised secondary research for contextualising existing mobile applications in UK luxury market and for exploring theories related to consumer behaviour in luxury retail. Second, a mobile application framework was developed as a solution based on a set of recommendations of primary and secondary research that will improve the shopping experience of luxury customers both online and offline. The chapter also includes the process and outcome of each objective. The feedback received from luxury consumers about the proposed mobile app is also discussed.

5.3 Contribution to academia There are several significant theoretical implications which can be drawn from this study. This study has attempted to fill the research gap as there is lack of studies about integrated online and offline shopping channels for luxury consumers and have mostly focused on analyzing the motivations of consumers for online shopping of luxury goods, (for instance, Liu et al., 2013; Riley and Lacroix, 2003; Wiedmann et al., 2011) However, this study explains the benefits that the luxury industry derives from the integration of both online and offline platforms. The hedonistic benefits were

Recommendations

Discussion

Arnold and Reynolds, 2003; Kaltcheva and Weitz,2006; Pine & Gilmore, 1999; Garvin, 2009; Kim, 2001; Schiffman, 2008) and the acquired knowledge was then applied to developing the framework of mobile application for providing integrated online and offline shopping experience for luxury consumers (Saunders et al., 2012).

Although this study addressed its aim and objectives, there were some research limitations. First of all, the validation survey of 113 participants might not fully reflect the perception of entire UK luxury consumers. Further, there can be presence of researcher bias while the data interpretation. Another limitation is the participant bias during the interviews and validation survey where the participants might have answered the interview questions with false responses (Saunders et al, 2012).

Several recommendations can be made for future research. The lack of studies on experiential retailing and hedonistic motivations in the area on online luxury shopping provides an excellent opportunity for further research. The future research can also investigate the integration of online and offline luxury platforms for a holistic shopping experience. Furthermore, the difference in consumer attitudes towards the online and offline shopping of luxury brands and whether they find online stores of luxury brands as appealing as their offline counter-parts, also requires further investigation.

Introduction

3.5 Research Approach The abductive approach is applied in this research study as it is most suited to apply when there is relevant literature, but still, unknown data analysis could emerge during the exploration that may affect the outcome. (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2012). This approach helped in understanding the theoretical framework including the motivational, experiential and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theories (Babin et al.,1994;


An exploratory study on how fashion stores use third space to enhance the customer experience in the UK middle market

Yuan LI MA Fashion Design Management

Kinetic Culture


MA Fashion Design Management

Abstract

Yuan LI

The current context of retail in UK middle market is extremely challenging. Retailers are finding new ways to offer customers something unique or special in order to encourage traffic to physical stores. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of third space in fashion retail on customers’ experience to better understand the role of third space as a means of communicating the brand’s objectives, which are mediated by a consumer’s perception of the brand and store, the goals he or she brings to the experience, and the situational determinants of the shopping experience. 01


Introduction As a new format within a retail environment, third space has become more evident over the last five years; particularly within the fashion market. Oldenburg (1999) explains the third space as somewhere that is not home, the first place, or work, the second place, but as a comfortable space in which to browse, relax and meet people. Recently, it has begun to be referred to within a retail context, which offers entertainment, cultural experiences, and products to customers who are increasingly seeking lifestyle experiences (Nobbs, 2014). Moreover, third space is prevalent within the luxury sector. Some authors recognise that the new phenomenon has emerged in luxury flagships, but few academic theory can be found in the middle market. As a form of experiential retailing, third space began to play an important role to attract customers to compete with the online retail.

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Therefore, it provides a potential opportunity for fashion retailers if they can offer differentiation by third space experience. This chapter begins by providing an overview of the development of third space, outlining the major theories presented throughout this study. Then, rationale and justification are discussed, followed by the aim and objectives that guide the whole research procedure. Outlines of methodology and chapters are provided in the last two sections.

Aims and objectives

Background and rationale

Retailing has accounted for a key role in the United Kingdom. For consumers in the United Kingdom, they consider shopping as a kind of leisure enjoyment in their daily life. In face of increasingly fierce competition in the industry, managers have been fully aware of the importance of taking consumers’ feelings and experience into consideration to gain competitive advantage over other competitors (Arnold et al., 2005). According to Frasquet et al., (2002), it is more likely for consumers to be attracted by the pleasant and comfortable shopping atmosphere, which could be taken as an effective competitive strategy by retailing enterprises.

This study aims to explore different forms of third space and investigate its influence on customers’ experience of fashion retail. This aim can be achieved through the fulfillment of five objectives presented as follows: To contextualise the UK fashion mid-market  o understand customer experience theories T and applications in fashion retail  o evaluate how customer experience T is influenced by third space  o investigate how third space can T be adapted to the fashion mid-market  o develop potential recommendations of third T space for retailers in UK fashion mid-market


Research approach: deductive In this paper, research is conducted both inductively and deductively. On the one hand, the deductive approach employed in this paper is to propose a hypothesis in accordance with previous theories, following the design of research strategy with the intention to testify such assumption (Wilson, 2010). Conversely, the inductive approach is employed owing to the absence of related studies and theories in this field. Thus, it is utilised to explore and develop theories(Lewis, 2015) . In the setting of this study, as third space retailing is a relatively new phenomenon, the first research data would be analysed to induce a conclusion. Research strategies: case study and survey The strategy of this research involves a case study of best practice cases that offer insight into the application of third space, and various surveys to investigate customers’ attitude and feedback towards third space. Methodological choice: mixed methods A qualitative strategy will be employed in the primary research to understand the detailed change of customer experiences. Considering the intention of this research, diverse methods will be applied to facilitate a relatively complete understanding of problematic factors in the research (Creswell, 2012). A triangulation of methods was used to collect the data; including store observations, questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with customer and professionals in the relevant fields. This study was a cross-sectional study due to time limitations.

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Introduction Overview and structure

Methodology

Research philosophy: interpretivism The proposed methodology employed in this paper is interpretivism paradigm as this will bring an understanding of the intricacy of the phenomenon (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2012) and fresh insights into real-life concerns as well as problems (Burrel and Morgan, 1985). Conducted on the basis of interpretive philosophy as well as epistemology, the research will concentrate on people as its object and the interpretation of their actions in certain situations (Saunders et al., 2012). While understanding the importance of consumer behaviours in the retailing setting, the interpretative paradigm is then performed to grasp the meanings of such actions (Burrel and Morgan, 1985).

Chapter 1: introduction The first chapter sets the context of the research and highlights the research gap, along with its aims and objectives. Further, the choice of research methodology and proposed structure are briefly outlined. Chapter 2: literature review The second chapter is composed of four sections. It begins by contextualising the current UK mid-market and fashion retail. It analyses the key drivers of market development, summarises hidden obstacles, and identifies potential improvements. Then, the customer experience theories are discussed to understand how to apply these theories into practice and their advantages and limitations. Finally, third space theories and applications are explored to understand the influence on customer experience. In addition, how design thinking theory can help to connect customer experience and third space will be discussed. Reviewing previous studies in order to underpin related field and build conceptual framework before conducting primary research. Chapter 3: methodology The main methodology is summarised in this chapter and is supported by the Saunders’ (2009) Research Onion. It explains the applied research philosophy, approach, strategies, and techniques. Time horizons are also included in this chapter, along with the research’s ethical consideration and limitations. Chapter 4: findings This chapter presents the results of primary research. It combines store observation of fashion retailers, questionnaires, and interviews for finding out how customer experience can be influenced by the third space and their preference for it. Chapter5: Discussion and Conclusion In the last chapter, a new model is built for managers to adopt third space in the UK middle market, as well as limitations and recommendations for future studies in this field.


Literature overview

After drawing an outline of this thesis as a whole. This chapter reviews relevant literature affecting the research aim and objectives. The organised structure is outlined below. To understand the overall commercial background of UK, this chapter begins by discussing the UK fashion market in section 2.2. Factors driving the fast development, potential obstacles, and possible future improvements are going to be highlighted. Section 2.3 reviews the previous studies of customer experience theories, with a focus on the change of both consumer’s behaviour and retailers’ strategy to engage with customers. Section 2.4 discussed the previous studies of third space, including forms and functions of third space; the impact it has on customer experience and the development potential. Section 2.5 discusses largely how design thinking theory plays a role in the whole process to make third space match with customers’ need. The conclusion and research area of this study derived from the literature review are summarised in the final section. 2.2 UK fashion middle market It is important to collect some background data first in order to fully contextualise the fashion mid-market in the UK. However, due to the lack of academic secondary data on the UK midmarket, information has been gathered primarily from UK newspapers, business reports, and websites. Key factors for UK fashion retailers’ growing, current obstacles and possible improvements and development are discussed below. 2.2.1 UK fashion market and retail development Retailing has accounted for a key role in the United Kingdom. For consumers in the United Kingdom, they consider shopping as a kind of leisure enjoyment in their daily life. The pursuit after fashion acts as the main driven force for more than 30 percent of consumers in the United Kingdom to go shopping(Drapers, 2014).

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In spite of the economic recession, consumers in the UK still hold a positive attitude towards the fashion consumption though their constrained spend on fashion items has greatly intensified the competition within the industry. It should be admitted that the environment with thriving consumption demands would alleviate the fierce competition in the fashion retailing industry to some extent (Retail Week, 2014), however, changes in consumers’ preference of clothing retailers should not be ignored. The United Kingdom has acted as the leading country in the frontline of fashion industry by continuously conducting innovations. In face with the changing consumption habits and preferences, the fashion retailing industry in the UK should also take actions to make adjustment to these new challenges. In fact, they have been equipped with the ability of quickly adapting to the new consumption environment. It has been noticed that retailers with innovative ideas, products and designs are more likely to stand out among the fierce competition in the fashion retailing industry in the UK. As a result, the UK is known as the potential market with great opportunities and innovations for international brands. While this philosophy continues to gain momentum among shopping- savvy Brits, the middle market has its roots in the UK. It is no surprise that brands in the UK such as Jigsaw, Reiss, Whistles, Sandro and The Kooples are among the most popular in the rapidly expanding market. The report produced by Stylecompare (2015) shows that a sharp rise in mid-level retail with brands like Urban Outfitters scoring well. The average consumer spend has risen by 8.03% year on year on pricier items.

Introduction

In past a few years, the fashion retailing industry in the UK has witnessed dramatic changes. As a result of the most prevalent financial crisis and recession, the United Kingdom has to go through uncertainties in finance and slow recovery after the financial shock. In addition, the wide application of information technology and computers has also brought great changes in the fashion retailing industry by transforming consumers’ preference in consuming fashion products (Retail Week, 2014).


The purpose of this chapter was to outline the research design and methods for gathering secondary data and conducting primary research. The structure of the methodology was guided by Saunders’ (2009) research onion. In order to fulfil the research objectives of observing fashion retailers with third space, the customers’ attitude to third space and investigating relationships between the UK mid-market customers’ attitude and preferences to third space and the fashion retailers, the following actions were conducted; namely, case study, store observation, questionnaires, and interviews. The main aim of presenting this chapter is to analyse critically the data that has been collected through the primary research; namely, interviews, store observation, and questionnaire. This chapter forms three phases of primary research and presents their findings. Store observations were conducted among 10 fashion retailers from the mid-market to gain knowledge of the forms and functions of third space. Interviews with both experts and customers were conducted as a part of a case study of Jigsaw, to analyse how third space influence customers’ experience. The questionnaire was designed based on the results of the literature review, interview and store observation, in order to discover the public’s general attitude towards, and preference for, third space.

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Introduction Limitations

Research design Summary of findings

Two types of research methods can be found in the available literature: one is deductive, in which a theoretical structure is adopted for data collection; the other one is inductive, in which theory is built from observation of empirical data (Collis and Hussey, 2009; Saunders et al., 2009). In this dissertation, both deductive and inductive approaches were employed (figure 3.1). Firstly, by reviewing academic literature on the customers’ experience theory, third space strategies, and UK middle market, the primary research questions and structures were established. Then, the approach was transferred into an inductive approach, as it aims to articulate suitable suggestions and provide new third space model to the UK mid-market fashion brands.

This section identifies a number of limitations, which should be considered when interpreting this study. As Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) specified, the researcher will be positioned as a relatively ‘powerful’ person during the face-to-face interviews in the data collection procedure, even if the interviewee is a manager because the interviewer is capable of formulating questions in a short time, however, probing the questions are. Nevertheless, this may introduce discomfort or even pressure. Moreover, in terms of the questionnaire, it may become problematic as technical terms or phrases may not always be understood appropriately by the participants (Saunders et al., 2012). The accuracy of the data collected from questionnaire cannot be guaranteed because the participants are from the internet. You cannot ensure they take the questionnaire seriously. Consequently, data distortion can occur. More importantly, the greatest limitation of this study is the attempt to gain access to the sales of retailers as it is hardly possible that any brands are willing to release their sales data to strangers or the general public. In addition, all the primary research were conducted in London, it cannot cover all the area in the UK.


Beatrice Rosenqvist MA Fashion Retail Management

Kinetic Culture

The ‘Yummy’ e-scape: a qualitative case study of hedonic and utilitarian aspects of the online fashion environment and its impact on young, urban men’s consumer behaviour in the UK


Abstract

Beatrice Rosenqvist

MA Fashion Retail Management

The primary aim of this study is to analyse the hedonic and utilitarian aspects of the online fashion environment in terms of experience, atmospherics as well as product information alongside its overall impact on young urban (‘Yummy’) millennial men’s increasing consumption and general consumer behaviour in the UK. This study contributes to the field of fashion retail management with in-depth insights on millennial men’s online fashion consumer behaviour. Three main themes emerged from this study. The first theme: impact of online stimulus cues on young, urban, millennial men’s consumer behaviour, outlines how online atmospherics influence men’s consumer behaviour differently depending on their general interest in fashion as well as their shopping frequency. The second theme, young, urban, millennial men’s fashion consumer behaviour, assesses men’s shopping motivations. Findings suggest that men who shop apparel less frequently appreciate a higher level of personalisation than those who shop more often, who, in turn, value a higher level of control in website design. The final theme, best practice of experiential and atmospheric cues for contemporary menswear web-shops, details shifts in the design of menswear web-shops towards the offering of more low task-relevant cues such as editorial content, alongside an increase in personalised services. This study contributes to extant theory with a revised framework assessing the hedonic and utilitarian aspects of the e-scape. The proposed model highlights the following topics relevant for further research: editorial content, links to social media, and the impact of personalisation on menswear web- shops. Practical recommendations on how to attract young, urban, millennial male consumers in the UK are provided in forms of a checklist. The results suggest an updated conceptual framework informed by the OSEF framework as well as the S-O-R model, evaluating the online atmospherics environment, providing significant new insights into the field of online atmospherics.

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List of abbreviations E-commerce – Electronic commerce E-tail – Electronic retail E-tailer – Electronic retailer HTR – High task-relevant cues LTR – Low task-relevant cues LOL – Laugh out loud OSEF – Online Store Environment Framework Pics – Pictures Promo – Promotion S-O-R – Stimulus-Organism-Response VCPF – Virtual component presentation framework VMD – Visual Merchandising Background As the online fashion environment continues to evolve with the technological innovations of the Internet, customers’ expectations for streamlined and personalised shopping experiences are continuously increasing (Spybey 2016; Chapman 2016) and the competition amongst online retailers is growing (Spybey 2016; Chapman 2016; Ha and Stoel 2012). Despite extensive research on the impacts of the physical environment on consumer behaviour within the fields of marketing and management (Kotler 1973-1974; Bitner 1992; Eroglu et al. 2001, 2003; Manganari et al. 2009; Mari and Poggesi 2013), there is a general lack of research reflecting recent changes in the online environment, and therefore a need to revising existing frameworks. To effectively attract and engage consumers, an understanding of the impact of the shopping atmosphere on consumer behaviour is considered fundamental (ibid.). The terms ‘servicescape’ and ‘atmospherics’ are widely accepted as essential to comprehending the physical environment (Mari and Poggesi 2013).

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Kotler (1973-1974) describes atmospherics as a method that aims to enhance purchase probability through altering the store environment in order to stimulate specific emotional effects via main sensory channels. Bitner (1992) contributes to Kotler’s study, supported by environmental psychologists, arguing that people interpret the servicescape holistically, and depending on customers’ internal responses (cognitive, emotional and psychological) they finally decide to either ‘approach’ or ‘avoid’ the product or service (ibid.). This study aims to analyse the applicability of these theories when assessing contemporary web-shops use of online atmospherics. The focus amongst marketing studies on consumer behaviour has shifted from offlinetowards online environment and e-commerce (Mintel 2014a). New technologies offered by the Web 3.0 allow companies to collect information before, during, and/or after contact with their customers, which, in turn, can be used to personalize their products, brands and services (Garrigos-Simon et al. 2012). Furthermore, this study concentrates on millennial men’s consumer behaviour due to the increasing purchasing power of young men, which, in turn has led to a shift in industry focus from womenswear (still representing a larger market share than men’s clothing) to opportunities in menswear (Mintel 2015a; 2016a; Verdict Retail 2015a; 2016a). The ‘E-Scape’ and online atmospherics Several scholars have proposed adapted versions of the servicescape to the online environment, referred to as the e-scape, e-servicescape or cyberscape (Koernig 2003; Hopkins et al. 2009; Williams and Dargel 2004; Eroglu et al. 2001, 2003). Since online shops are constructed and managed to trigger certain effects, just like physical stores are, the adoption of Bitner’s (1992) servicescape model to the online environment has proven somewhat successful (Hopkins et al. 2009). The three general dimensions of the shopping environment (ambience, function, and design) are easily transferred online (ibid.). However, they fail to cover the parameters pertaining to the product itself. The fact that the online product is merely a representation of the physical product imposes restrictions on the way the e-scape and the product interact with each other. Hence, consumer behaviour online may differ from offline (Childers et al. 2001), a subject that this study intends to further investigate.

Introduction

Background and rationale

The purpose of this study is to contribute to the field of fashion retail management with in-depth insights on millennial men’s online consumer behaviour, as well as analysing best practice cases of contemporary menswear web-shops. This chapter will start by introducing the research background of the subject, followed by the overall context providing justification for the study, backed up by references to relevant literature. Next, the overall aim and objectives will be defined, followed by an outline of this research paper.


Because of the pre-purchase limitations to physically examining a product, the perceived level of risk from buying apparel online is often higher than offline. Several scholars agree that a well designed website is an effective solution to increasing the overall customer satisfaction online (Lou et al. 2012; Novak 2000; Goldsmith and Flynn 2005; Berman and Evans 2013). Another strategy towards reducing this risk is the provision of information that enhances the overall perception of quality. These information components can be divided into ‘high task relevant’ (HTR) and ‘low task relevant’ (LTR) (Kim et al. 2007). High task-relevant components include components that facilitate utilitarian shopping needs, whereas low task-relevant refers to hedonic aspects, both important in enhancing customer satisfaction (Kim et al. 2007; Childers et al. 2001; Ha et al. 2007; Ha and Lennon 2010). By applying HTR and LTR cues to the atmospherics framework, this study aims to contribute with knowledge on the impact of online environmental cues in relation to men’s utilitarian and hedonic motives to purchase fashion online.

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Young, Urban, Millennial men’s consumer behaviour in the UK. The ‘yummy’ or young, urban male (Stock 2014; Peterson 2014) communities in the UK are fashion conscious (Bakewell et al. 2006; Barry and Martin 2015). As part of the ‘millennial’ generation, these men belong to the first age group that has grown up alongside the birth of online shopping (Chapman 2016). In the UK, millennials represent the largest generation with increasing spending power (Mintel 2015b). Young men have expanded their spending on personal apparel and bought more clothing in the last 12 months, than other age groups (Mintel 2015a; 2016a; Verdict Retail 2015a; 2016a). While women are still the most inclined to shop for fashion online, the amount of men buying fashion online has significantly increased during recent years (Mintel 2014a; Trebay 2015). One main reason for this increase given by men is the convenience compared to buying clothes in physical stores (Mintel 2014a). A recent Mintel (2015b) report highlight two issues related to current marketing targeting millennials: firstly, only 13 % of millennials feel that they can relate to models in advertisements, and secondly, traditional advertisement generally fails to seize the attention of millennials, of which 13 % reportedly prefer advertisement that they value as entertaining. Hence, this study will focus on best practice cases of contemporary menswear web-shops including entertaining aspects. Another issue regarding online shopping relates to the physical limitations, exemplified in a recent Mintel (2016b) report showing that about half of all men are looking for innovative technology guiding for sizing and 28 % for styling advice (Mintel 2016b). Online pure-player Thread, recently shortlisted for the Drapers Awards 2016 as ‘Best Innovation in Fashion Retail’ (Geoghegan 2016), offers a personalised shopping experience for men by combining personal styling and algorithms. A new concept, which is believed to be the reason for Thread’s relatively low return rate compared to other online pure-players (Knowles 2016a). Another awarded market leading example offering entertaining content is Mr Porter (Geoghegan 2012), also shortlisted for Drapers Award 2016 but in the category ‘Fashion Pureplay Etailer of the Year’ (Geoghegan 2016).

Introduction

Eroglu et al. (2001, 2003) adopted Donovan and Rossiter’s (1982) ‘Stimulus-Organism- Response’ (S-O-R) model to online shopping, as seen in Figure 1. Their results raise certain concerns regarding the framework’s limitations, arguing that researchers should further consider the effects of specific atmospheric cues to gain deeper understanding of consumer behaviour online (Eroglu et al. 2001, 2003). Moreover, Manganari et al. (2009) introduced the ‘Online Store Environment Framework’ (OSEF), which further explores the stimulus factors in the S-O-R model, shown in Figure 2. By dividing stimulus into four main virtual themes (layout and design, atmospherics, theatrics, and social presence) they provide a more comprehensive framework to assess the online environment. However, due to the online environment’s constant evolution, it is likely that the OSEF framework might not be as relevant in 2016 as it was in 2008. Thus, this study intends to evaluate the applicability of the OSEF framework on the contemporary menswear web-shops.


Introduction Previous research has confirmed that there are differences between customer perceptions of HTR and LTR cues within store atmospheres. It is suggested that women in general, demonstrate positive reactions to hedonic shopping environments (LTR cues), in contrast to men who tend to prefer utilitarian atmospheres (HTR cues) (Kim et al. 2007; Borges et al. 2013; Maurer Herter et al. 2014; D’Astous 2000). However, Ahtola (1985) argues the relationship between hedonic and utilitarian behaviour to be more complex, meaning one cannot simply divide behaviour as either hedonic or utilitarian since it includes both aspects. In line with this argument, this study investigates how online HTR and LTR cues impact millennial men’s consumer behaviour and motivations to purchase. Research Gap and Knowledge Contribution After completing a thorough study of previous theory and recent reports in the two main fields ‘E-scape’ and ‘’Yummy’ millennial men’s consumer behaviour in the UK’, it is clear that a vast amount of studies have transferred frameworks to measure these impacts on consumer behaviour from offline to online stores. Several scholars highlight the difference between men’s and women’s consumer behaviour, yet a majority of studies in fashion consumption focus on women. Thus, in the light of the growing menswear opportunities (Mintel 2015a; 2015b; 2016a; Verdict Retail 2015a; 2016a), a gap remains regarding men’s perceptions of the LTR and HTR cues aspects in the online fashion environment and its influence on their behaviour. In addition, this study will contribute to the field of male fashion consumer behaviour in the UK with qualitative research, a subject that mainly consists of quantitative research (Mari and Poggesi 2013).

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Aims and objectives

Thread and Mr Porter are therefore included in this study as best practice cases of contemporary menswear shops responding to current market demands.

To analyse the hedonic and utilitarian aspects of the online fashion environment in terms of experience, atmospherics and product information and its overall impact on young urban (‘Yummy’) millennial men’s consumer behaviour in the UK. Objectives:  o contextualise the contemporary online T menswear retail sector that is targeting millennials in the UK.  o review theories of e-scape, online consumer T behaviour, and motivations to purchase with particular focus on hedonic and utilitarian values.  o assess best practice cases of contemporary T men’s fashion web-shops approaches to experiential atmospherics  o critique the impact of online environmental T cues in the online fashion retail environment on young, millennial men’s consumer behaviour and motivations to purchase in the UK.  o propose a framework to analyse the hedonic T and utilitarian aspects of the e- scape and information components of apparel web-shops in order to provide recommendations on how to attract young, urban, millennial male consumers in the UK.


Overview and structure

The research approach is informed by abduction: the secondary data collection followed a deductive approach, whereas the primary data was conducted in line with both deduction and induction logics by assessing the application of a conceptual framework based on theory, whilst remaining open for emerging patterns arising (Farquhar 2012; Bryman and Bell 2015). Furthermore, this is a multiple case study of qualitative nature. A triangulation of methods have been applied via (1) a discourse analysis of secondary data, (2) followed by primary data in terms of an observational study of the best practice cases, which, in turn, informed (3) the design of the online focus groups. The 13 participants were identified using ‘snowball’ (convenience) sampling (Bryman and Bell 2015). Data was collected during a single point in time until reaching theoretical saturation (Mann and Stewart 2000; Sweet 2001; Bryman and Bell 2015).

Chapter 1: introduction The research background on the subject will be presented followed by the overall context providing justification of the study, backed up by references to relevant literature. Next, the purpose, research aim and objectives will be defined, followed by an outline of the rest of the study. Chapter 3: methodology A chapter introduction will present the parts that will be covered, indicating how the chosen theoretical framework will be used to address the study’s aim throughout the research. The overall problem, purpose and contribution will be defined followed by a description of the scientific perspective.

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Chapter 5: discussion The chapter will start with an introduction followed by a discussion of findings in relation to theory, literature, aims and objectives. The ways in which the theoretical framework may impact the findings will be reflected upon, as well as the choice of method. The chapter will end with a conclusion summarizing how findings support or challenge previous literature. References Appendices

The aim of this study is to analyse the hedonic and utilitarian aspects of the online fashion environment in terms of experience, atmospherics and product information and its overall impact on young urban men’s (‘Yummy’) consumer behaviour in the UK. The literature review of this study consists of two main fields: (1) the ‘E-scape’; and (2) ‘young, urban, millennial men’s consumer behaviour in the UK’, including two best practice cases of online menswear shops offering styling advice. This chapter provides a critical review of previous studies and market reports within the two main fields. Finally, the conclusion summarises key contributions within these fields, followed by a justification for the study as well as identified research questions. E-scape This field discusses the E-scape discourse, with a particular focus on the key theories: atmospherics, servicescape, and the S-O-R framework. Figure 4 highlights the discourse development throughout history, concentrating on those relevant to this study. The discussion will be structured in line with Figure 4.

Introduction

Then, the method for data collection will be presented: including specification of sample and how the data will be analysed. Finally, the ethical considerations will be discussed, and the methodology concluded.

Literature overview

Methodology

The methodology outline is described following the structure of the applied research onion (Saunders et al. 2009) in Figure 3. This study’s research philosophy follows the logic of ‘interpretivism’, which is based on the understanding that each person interpret the environment they live in differently depending on his or her perceptions (Farquhar 2012).


He further argues that humans understand the atmosphere via mainly four sensory channels: (1) sight, (2), sound, (3) scent, and (4) touch. Kotler’s (ibid.) atmospherics framework excludes the fifth sense, taste, yet he admits that some aspects in an environment can evoke memories of tastes. A subject that despite having been further debated (Hultén 2011; Spence et al. 2014) in recent studies has limited applications to this particular study due to its focus on online atmospherics. Mehrabian and Russel (1974) introduced the S-O-R paradigm as a framework to investigate the impact of store environments on consumer behaviour, which in turn, Donovan and Rossiter (1982) successfully applied to the retail environment. The ‘stimulus’ relates to cues that trigger consumers to ‘approach’ (stay, explore, or communicate) or ‘avoid’ (leave or avoid interacting with) an environment (Mehrabian and Russel 1974). The customer’s ‘response’ to an environment depends on his or her emotional state (i.e. organism), introduced as ‘pleasure’ (i.e. the extend to which the customer feels good), ‘arousal’ (i.e. the consumers’ stimulation level), and ‘dominance’ (i.e. the degree to which the consumer feel in control) dimensions (ibid.) However, Donovan and Rossiter (1982) argue that the ‘dominance’ state is limited in its application to the retail environment. Building on Kotler’s (1973-1974) framework, as well as the S-O-R model (Mehrabian and Russel 1974; Donovan and Rossiter 1982), Bitner (1992) coined the term servicescape.

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She argues that the consumers’ internal responses (i.e. cognitive, emotional, and psychological) to an environment, or servicescape, influence his or her behaviour within that atmosphere. The model corresponds to the S-O-R framework (Mehrabian and Russel 1974; Donovan and Rossiter 1982) but differs in terms of its inclusion of both customers and employees and their interactions. Bitner (1992) argues that consumers holistically interpret the servicescape, which consists of ‘ambient conditions’ (e.g. temperature, light, music, as introduced by Kotler 1973-1974), ‘spatial layout and functionality’ (e.g. employees’ ability to perform within the environment, or in-store crowding); and ‘signs, symbols, and artifacts’ (e.g. signage, artwork, photographs, material etc.) (Bitner 1992). This study aims to draw from these key theories to assess the applicability of atmospherics as stimulus cues and their impact on consumer behaviour, in particular. Next session discusses the extent to which atmospherics, the S-O-R, and the servicescape can be transferred to the online retail environment. 2.1.2 Bridging the gap between offline and online retail spaces The rise of the Internet has had several implications on the fashion retail environment and consumer behaviour therein (Koernig 2003; Williams and Dargel 2004; Hopkins et al. 2009). Both Kotler’s (1973-1974) and Bitner’s (1992) frameworks have been transferred to assess the online environment to various extent. The electronic servicescape, ‘e-scape’ or ‘cyberscape’, relates to the transfer of Bitner’s (1992) servicescape to the online environment (Koernig 2003; Williams and Dargel 2004; Hopkins et al. 2009). The e-scape is limited to a virtual environment that, in comparison to a conventional retail store, does not allow for the consumer to touch or try on a product (Koernig 2003; Ha et al. 2007; Ha and Lennon 2010). The e-scape is only capable of providing a mere replication of the physical product. Hence, the perceived risk related to a purchase online is higher than its offline equivalent. The higher the perceived risk of buying a product, the more likely the consumer is to research for information about the product so as to decrease the uncertainty of a purchase commitment (Koernig 2003).

Introduction

2.1.1 Assessing the offline environment’s impact on consumer behaviour Before the rise of the Internet in the 1990s (Doherty and Ellis-Chadwick 2006), the focus within marketing research was on the conventional, physical retail environment’s impact on consumer behaviour. Kotler (19731974) provided a seminal contribution termed atmospherics, founding the basis of contemporary consumer behaviour research. Atmospherics refers to the management and design of a store to create certain emotional effects that in turn enhance overall purchase probability (ibid.). Kotler (ibid.) argues that consumers’ decision-making is based on their response to the ‘total product’, that the tangible product (e.g. a shirt, a chair) only plays a minor part in the final buying decision. According to Kotler (ibid.) the ‘total’ product includes external factors (e.g. service, packaging, images) that in some cases play a more significant part in consumer response than the product itself. In some instances, the environment, or atmosphere, per se is the primary product.


Introduction Research design Discussion

This study has been conducted with a triangulation of methods, as seen in Figure 7: (1) firstly, a discourse analysis was conducted based on secondary data, forming the literature review; (2) secondly, primary data was collected through an observational study of the best practice cases, which informed the design of the (3) third method consisting of primary data retrieved from two online focus groups. This multi-method approach allows for crosschecking of findings and strengthening of conclusions (Farquhar 2012; Bryman and Bell 2015) The qualitative nature of this multi-method study is in line with common data collection techniques applied to match an interpretivistic research philosophy (Saunders et al. 2009).

Young, urban millennial men’s fashion consumer behaviour This theme focuses on young, urban, millennial men’s motivations to purchase fashion products in general and its impact on their consumer behaviour. The following analysis is based on the data findings from the two online focus group sessions in relation to previous research and market reports. In order to get a more in-depth understanding of young, urban, millennial men’s consumer behaviour, participants were asked to specify how often they buy fashion garments. Findings suggest that participants who shop every other day, and demonstrated a passion §for buying clothes in general, preferred Mr Porter. Conversely, those men that shopped less frequently in comparison (every 2- 6 months), and reportedly disliked shopping in physical stores, preferred Thread. Another key finding indicates that men generally do not trust advice of sales assistants, demonstrated in Table 16. General shopping interest amongst young, urban, millennial men in the UK

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Results from the data analysis of the online focus groups show that out of the 13 young, urban, millennial men participating in this study, only half of them had strong preferences for shopping online in comparison to offline. After having taken part in this study, 3 men preferred shopping online to offline whereas 3 other men claimed the opposite. In addition, 2 men said they were willing to try shopping online, whilst 1 man said that he valued online and offline as one channel. In regards to those 6 participants who did not express a strong preference for online or offline, they all disclosed that they shop both online and offline, as seen in Table 15. This is in line with recent market reports highlighting that about 71 % of UK men age 25 to 34 shop clothing online (Mintel 2016a). Moreover, all participants reportedly shopped clothing for themselves within the past six months, 3 out of 13 said they shop fashion products every other day, as seen in Table 15, indicating that the selected participants are representing the average Londoners, of which 91 % bought clothes within the past year (Mintel 2016a). More than half of all the men participating in this study preferred shopping fashion alone, yet, most shop with friends and sometimes involuntarily with their girlfriend, as explained by participant 15 in Table 15. Regarding preferences between online and offline channels, participants in Table 15 indicate that they like shopping online because it is easier to filter as well as comparing products and prices. Additionally, 4 out of 13 participants expressed concerns about fit and size when shopping apparel online.


Introduction Summary of findings

The data analysis demonstrates that certain online stimulus cues have higher levels of impact on young, urban, millennial men’s consumer behaviour, than others. In particular, those cues related to personalisation of content appear to have had higher impact on both those men who appreciate it and those who don’t. On the other hand, editorial content seems to have a limited influence on men, since few participants noticed them. Both cases include human aspects in their web-shops, which is in line with the current personalisation trend (Mintel 2016a). Thread offers a significantly higher level of personalisation compared to Mr Porter by assigning customers with personal stylists. However, the analysis indicates that most men suspected that the stylist was a computer, which some found more disturbing than others. Overall, most men appreciate personalisation of products or services but only if relevant and not too overwhelming, demonstrating the complexity of the matter. Furthermore, participants expressed a dislike for asking sales assistants for advice, highlighting trust issues as well as the risk of underestimating the customer. Another key finding relate to the editorial content as well as links to share content on social media, offered by both cases, which can be seen as a method to attract Millennials, who are less responsive to traditional advertising messages (Mintel 2015b).

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When shopping apparel online, men value clarity, filtering as well as comparison of products and price. This confirms Eroglu et al.’s (2001, 2003) proposition that one main reason for customers to shop online instead of offline is that the online environment offers an increased level of control. Furthermore, participants expressed a concern for evaluating size and fit when shopping online as a main reason to shop in physical stores. This is in line with a recent report suggesting that men are looking for innovative solutions to provide advice on size online (Mintel 2016a). Both cases provide visual and text-based product information, aspects that participants admitted to be useful, which most likely limit the risks associated with buying apparel online, confirming Koerning’s (2003) suggestions. Overall, the findings suggest that Thread has been successful in targeting men who do not like shopping clothes in general, whilst Mr Porter has established a certain level of trust in terms of their product assortments and editorial content amongst those men that expressed a stronger liking for shopping, and shop more frequently. Thus, illustrating two different best practice strategies to attract and engage male consumers. The next chapter will further interpret findings in relation to the study’s aim and objectives. Reflections on the results in relation to previous research will be made with a focus on the conceptual framework developed in the literature review, so as to conclude the study’s theoretical and practical contribution, alongside limitations, and potential transferability to other cases.


Revisiting aims and objectives The aim of this study was to analyse the hedonic and utilitarian aspects of the online fashion environment in terms of experience, atmospherics and product information and its overall impact on ‘yummy’ millennial men’s consumer behaviour in the UK. In order to do so, the aim was broken down into 5 objectives. The first objective was to contextualise the contemporary online menswear sector targeting millennials in the UK. The literature review addressed this objective, showing an increase amongst online retailers offering personalised services (Mintel 2015c; 2016a). In light of this focus, Mr Porter and Thread were identified as two best practice cases of menswear web-shops offering various levels of personalised content, styling and grooming advice (Kansara 2013; Barron 2014). Furthermore, the literature review highlighted that ‘yummy’ millennial men are increasingly buying more fashion products than ever before (Mintel 2015a; Verdict Retail 2015a; 2016a), and that 91% of male Londoners bought clothes within the past year (Mintel 2016a). The second objective included a review of theories of e-scape, online consumer behaviour, and motivations to purchase. The literature review of these key theories exposed a gap between key extant frameworks, recent market reports, and contemporary best practice cases of online menswear shops. To reflect the recent technological development on the Internet and fill this gap, a conceptual framework was proposed based on the OSEF framework (Manganari et al. 2009) as well as the S- O-R model (Eroglu et al. 2001, 2003), as seen in Figure 6 (p.80).

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Introduction Limitations

Conclusion

This chapter reflects on the findings in relation to reaching the overall aim and objectives of the study. Objectives 1 and 2 are discussed in relation to the literature review, whilst 3 and 4, deduced from the identified research gap, are addressed by this study’s empirical findings; finally, the 6th objective concludes the applicability of the proposed conceptual framework. Furthermore, the study’s contribution to knowledge in the field is evaluated in theoretical and practical terms with regard to previous studies. The ways in which the choice of method may impact the findings will be reflected upon. This is followed by a discussion of the overall limitations to the study and the level of transferability of the results. Finally, recommendations for future research are listed. Since this study has been limited to ‘yummy’ millennial men living in urban UK, future studies may benefit from expanding the selection and scope to other demographics and countries, so as to gain added insight to men’s consumer behaviour. Considering that UK represents one of the market leaders within online shopping, a further understanding of men’s preferences in relation to different markets would allow for web-shops to tailor their content to each market, thus, maximising sales potential. This would be of particular relevance to those e-tailers operating in multiple markets. The proposed model shows that the contemporary best practice cases of menswear web-shops include links to social media channels. Yet, more research is needed to evaluate social media channels’ impact on ‘yummy’ millennial men’s consumer behaviour online. Another topic identified within this study that would be suited for future research relates to the limitations of personalisation options on menswear web-shops. The data collection for this study was limited to a short period of time. With hindsight, this study may have benefited from a longitudinal perspective in order to gain more in-depth understanding. In addition, the design of the online focus group study was of an experimental nature, findings suggests that future studies could complement this study with more in-depth, qualitative insights via interviews to complement the focus group sessions. Finally, results from this study indicate that there is a risk of personalisation of content to go wrong, ending up annoying the consumer more than helping, future research would benefit from further analysis of this matter.


Mariana Cecilia Mora MA Fashion Retail Management

Kinetic Culture

An investigation on the role of the third place on brand resonance in the mid-premium UK fashion-lifestyle independents from an experiential and socio-cultural perspective


Abstract

Mariana Cecilia Mora

MA Fashion Retail Management

Within marketing and consumer behaviour research, particularly in the fashion independent sector, the study of consumer’s needs and its relationships with place meaning in the fashion Third Place is non-existent. This research not only seeks to explore consumer’s attachment to place but also the impact of the Third Place in Brand Resonance. The findings suggests that physical and emotional needs were most important in attaching meaning to place; nevertheless, the social dimensions of retail environment affected consumers’ sense of security, sense of belonging and sense of warmth. However, there was no evidence of social connection between consumers. The impact of the Third Place in Brand Resonance indicated that customers seek for feelings of excitement, warmth and security as well as a differentiated experience in order to develop ‘Behavioural Loyalty’, ‘Attitudinal Attachment’ as well as ‘Sense of Community’. Furthermore, it is suggested that ‘Active Engagement’ may occur when retailers provide engaging and participative customer experiences in the Third Place. This research is intended not only to equip fashion independents with fashion Third Places retailing strategies but also to investigate the role of such places in Brand Resonance. The managerial implications are provided with the aim to achieve Brand Resonance in the Third Place. This paper contributes to the scant literature in fashion Third Places and the literature on the social and communal dimensions of the retail environment and its implications that this have on loyalty.

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Introduction Background and rationale

Over the past 20 years, online channel has provided an important stream of sales growth. More consumers are using this channel for clothing purchases. There has been an exponential rise in internet sales as online retailers competes for market share; online sales reached 75.1% in 2015, with a total growth rate of +127% over 2011-2016 period (Verdict, 2016). This has left fashion independent stores with a dilemma: persuading customers to visit their brick and mortar stores. As a result of the convenience, ease of access to product information and value offered by online shopping, (LS:N Global, 2010) consumers have less reasons to visit physical stores (Rees & Laughlin, 2014). However, the ‘Recasting the Retail Store in Today’s Omni-Channel World’ report (Brown et al., 2013), highlights that consumers spend 61% of their shopping time in stores. In addition, 89.6% of clothing shoppers in the UK used physical stores to purchase clothing over the last 12 months (Verdict Retail, 2016). It can therefore be said that retail stores continue to play a key role in building relationships with consumers as well as supporting economic performance (Brown et al., 2013). Due to market fragmentation experienced by UK clothing retailers, ensuring customer loyalty has become more difficult than ever, with consumers purchasing their clothing from a diverse range of retailers (IBISWorld, 2016). Therefore, building a strong brand could contribute significant benefits to fashion independents. Keller (2001) affirms that the power of the brand resides in the minds of consumers; for this reason, this research will undertake a consumer perspective approach.

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In today’s changing marketplace, factors such as the high level of competition, severe discounting and the rise of e-commerce are leading independent UK fashion retailers to find different ways to increase sales and footfall within their physical stores (Todd, 2015). According to ‘The Tomorrow Store’ report, retailers should offer experiential, social, mobile and theatrical experiences in order to compete in this challenging environment (Key, 2011). Rather than competing on the basis of price, style, quality, location and demographics (IBISWorld, 2016), independent fashion retailers should consider where customers want to spend their valuable time and money, what would make them remain there and why they would return for repeat visits (Pine & Gilmore, 2011). Furthermore, they must recognise and explore what the fashion store can offer that can‟t be found in other channels. As suggested by Gobé (2009), retail spaces should be where brands develop emotional relationships with customers and build brand image. Due to consumers’ increased technology adoption, sophistication and time scarcity, (Rees & Laughlin, 2014) many retailers are not only incorporating in-store cafés, bars, bookshops, grooming areas and galleries in order to increase consumer footfall and dwell time (Nobbs, 2014; WGSN, 2015) but also offering an experiential dimension that can‟t be replicated by online channels (WGSN, 2015). Moreover, the boundaries between home and work have become blurred. This is due to different factors which are affecting peoples‟ lives such as the rapidly increasing adoption of technology and longer commuting hours experienced in urban cities. In addition, according to Mintel’s ‘Transumer’ trend report (2015), UK consumers are spending an average of forty-one minutes commuting as well as employing their time in ‘places in between’.


Introduction

It can be said that fashion independents are allocating space for coffee shops and grooming services as intentions for ‘Third Place’ (Nobbs, 2014). The urban sociologist Oldenburg (1999) conceptualises a ‘Third Place’ as a neutral and public ground where people gather and feel comfortable beyond the dimensions of home (the first place) and work (the second place). However, this concept has evolved. Crick (2015) introduced the commercial third place, which is specially designed to increase the amount of time and money spent as well as to encourage repeat visits by consumers. According to Nobbs (2014), Third Places in the context of fashion are where culture, leisure and retail convergeas an answer to postmodern consumers‟ lifestyles.

Also defined as Brand Relationship, Brand Resonance is the fourth and final step of the Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model. This model assists managers in building strong brands; in doing so, brands can significantly increase profitability in addition to customer loyalty. Academic research has identified how customer perceptions have been affected by experiential retailing in the fashion SME context in terms of sensory experiences (Clarke et al. 2012). Rosenbaum (2006) studied the relationship of Third Places linked to consumers‟ needs and loyalty in the service industry and recent research has been conducted on the functions and features of the Third Place in the fashion field (Alexander, 2016). However, there is no research on how social dimensions of Third Places in fashion independents have influenced customer- brand responses, place meaning and ultimately, brand resonance. Crick (2015) invites further research in Third Places which considers different markets and consumer segmentations.

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Brown et al., (2013) assert that independent fashion retailers need to offer an engaging experience in their brick and mortar stores in a highly competitive and challenging environment; differentiating their offerings as digital innovation and online commerce are taking over the transactional side of the business.

Aims and objectives

It can be argued that Third Places within retail spaces offer not only an experiential realm that can’t be found in other channels but also help develop a sense of belonging (attachment to place and/or a brand) and a sense of community by fostering emotional relationships and social interactions with consumers that will eventually lead to Brand Resonance.

Rosenbaum (2006) also encourages investigating the role of third places in consumers’ lives in different contexts. It can be said that there is no evidence of research carried out on the role of Third Places within mid-premium independent UK fashion retailers, which is the premise of this study.

The aim of this research study is to investigate the role of the Third Place within independent fashion-lifestyle stores in London, UK in order to understand the impact of Third Places on consumer-brand relationships; and thus propose Third Place management strategies from an experiential and socio-cultural perspective. Objectives:  o define and understand the notion of third T place within experiential retailing theory from a sociocultural perspective  o contextualise the UK mid-premium T fashion independents sector and the usageof Third Place  o investigate consumers’ needs and T place meaning within independent fashion Third Places  o identify the impact of Third Places T on Brand Resonance  o propose Third Place retail strategies T for fashion independents from an experiential and socio-cultural perspective


1.3.2. Research approach The research takes a deductive approach as data collection will be used to test a theorybased conceptual framework derived from the Relational Third-Place Theory (Rosenbaum, 2006) and the Customer-Based Brand Equity framework (Keller, 2001) (See Figure 2.7. page 27). In addition, an ethnographic strategy will be applied in order to investigate the role of selected Third Places within the UK fashion independent context (Yin, 2009). 1.3.3. Data collection Data collection was completed using a multimethod qualitative approach by employing non-participant observations from fashion independent retailer Third Places in order to examine social interactions and behaviours in an unobtrusive way in real time (Hackett, 2015). In-store participant observations and semistructured interviews (pre & post) are used to gain insights into customers’ emotions & opinions (brand responses); thereby identifying their needs in the context of independent fashion stores and verifying the impact of those brand responses on brand resonance (Hackett, 2015).

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Chapter 2: literature review This chapter reviews the literature of the experiential discourse to understand the concept of Third Place within experiential retailing, after which different conceptualisations of the Third Place are discussed. Moreover, the importance of adopting a socio-cultural perspective of the fashion Third Place is underlined. In addition, an overview of the UK fashion market is presented. Lastly, the concept of Brand Resonance is introduced as this project seeks to investigate the role of fashion independent’s Third Places in building lasting relationships. Chapter 3: methodology This chapter reviews how the current research was undertaken in order to accommodate the proposed aim and objectives. The project’s research philosophy, approach, and research strategy are presented. This will be followed by a justification of chosen strategy and data collection methods in order to answer the project’s research questions. Data analysis methods and ethical considerations are presented towards the end of the chapter. Finally, reliability and validity criteria and methodology limitations are considered. Chapter 4: findings & discussion This chapter presents and discusses the findings from primary research. The findings are presented thematically and structured around research questions and additional themes that emerged from data analysis. Chapter 5: conclusion This chapter illustrates to what extent the aim and objectives have been addressed through the study. Moreover, this section highlights theoretical and practical recommendations of the study. The latter are presented according to the order in which findings were presented to provide fashion independents with Third Place retailing strategies. Alongside with these strategies, this chapter acknowledges limitations arising from the study as well as provides recommendations for future research within the Third Place field.

Introduction

Overview and structure Methodology

This project will adopt a subjectivist view of reality as it will try to indicate that culture and social phenomena are entities that are conceived and reconceived through a complex array of experiences. These include social interactions and the impact of the physical environment to which individuals attach certain meanings, rituals and myths (Saunders et al., 2012). An interpretivist philosophy will recognize observable phenomena, consumers’ subjective meanings and social phenomena from an empirical context as satisfactory knowledge (Saunders et al., 2012).

Chapter 1: Introduction This chapter introduces the context and rationale for the project. It sets the parameters of the research as well as presents the aim and objectives.


Brandscapes Riewoldt, 2002 Brandscaping: Worlds of experience in retail design. Experiential retailing Kim and Sullivan, 2007 Experiential Retailing Customer experience Gentile et al., 2007 How to Sustain the Customer Experience: An overview of experience Components that Co- Create value with the customer. Customer experience management Verhoef et al., 2009 Customer Experience Creation: Determinants, Dynamics and Management Strategies. Experiential marketing Schmitt, 2010 Experience marketing: concepts, frameworks and consumers insights. Customer experience Sachdeva & Goel, 2015 Retail store environment and customer experience: a paradigm.

Topic Author-Date Title of Publication Atmospherics Kotler, 1974 Atmospherics as a Marketing Tool. Experiential Consumption Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982 The Experiential Aspects of Consumption: Consumer Fantasies, Feelings and Fun. Servicescape framework Bitner, 1992 Servicescapes: the impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees. Experience Pine and Gilmore, The Experience Economy realms 1999/2011 Experiential Marketing Schmitt, 1999 Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act and Relate to your Company and Brands. Atmospherics Turley & Milliman, 2000 Atmospheric effects on shopping behaviour: A review of experimental evidence Emotional Branding Gobé, 2001 Emotional Branding: The new paradigm for connecting brands to people

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Customer experience- loyalty Srivastava and Kaul, 2016 Exploring the Link between Customer Experience – Loyalty – Customer Spend.

This chapter reviews how the current research was undertaken in order to accommodate the proposed aim and objectives. Firstly, The Research Onion model (Saunders et al. 2012) is presented as shown in Figure 3.2 to illustrate the project‟s research philosophy, approach, and research strategy. This will be followed by a justification of chosen strategy and data collection methods in order to answer the project‟s research questions. Thirdly, towards the end of the chapter, data analysis methods and ethical considerations will be presented. Finally, reliability and validity criteria and methodology limitations will be considered. Aim, objectives and research questions The aim of this research study is to investigate the role of Third Places in Brand Resonance within independent fashion-lifestyle stores in the UK in order to propose Third Place management strategies from a socio-cultural perspective.

Introduction

This chapter aims to present the depth and breadth of the experiential discourse in order to understand the concept of Third Place within experiential retailing. Firstly, this section highlights the evolution and contributions of experiential theory, after which different conceptualisations of the Third Place are discussed. Moreover, the importance of adopting a socio-cultural perspective of the fashion Third Place in order to foster a sense of belonging and attachment between consumers and place is underlined. Secondly, an overview of the UK fashion market is presented, focusing on the challenging and struggling fashion independent sector and its usage of the Third Place. Lastly, the concept of Brand Resonance is introduced as this project is interested in investigating the implications of fashion independent‟s Third Places in building lasting relationships; by understanding these implications, it is suggested that this sector can manage and build strong brands. Literature Contributing to Experiential Retail Theory

Research design

Literature overview

Customer Experience Schmitt, 2003 Customer Experience Management: A revolutionary approach to connecting with consumers.


Methodological choice The project‟s philosophy and approach influenced the methodological choices. The Interpretivist philosophy is associated with qualitative research (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005; as cited in Saunders et al., 2012). The most common qualitative research begins with an inductive approach. Nevertheless, it might start with a deductive approach by using qualitative techniques to test existing theoretical propositions (Yin, 2009). The most common research methods employed by the interpretivist philosophy are interviews and observations as they enable researchers to acquire multiple perspectives (Robson, 2011). By employing a multi- method qualitative strategy, accesses to subjective meanings as well as a deeper understanding of customers within the fashion independent retailer were achieved. The aim of this study was to broaden understanding rather than seek explanation (Saunders et al., 2012).

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Third Places in the UK fashion independents A total of seven independent fashion stores were visited in the borough of Hackney. This area includes Shoreditch, Hackney and Dalston neighbourhoods. The location of the observed retailers is known for independent stores as high street retailers are not prevalent there. he observations took place during the months of August and September of 2016. The observations took place between 12 pm and 3pm. All visited retailers featured Third Places. The prevalent type of Third Place chosen by fashion independents is the café followed by grooming areas such as barber & beauty salons, event and entertaining spaces as shown in Table 4.2 (page 52). Refer to pictures in Figure 4.2. (Appendix 7, page 181) Third Places typologies According to Crick’s (2015) Third Place Typologies, the Third Places observed were described as ‘traditional’, ‘commercial’ and ‘hybrid’ as shown in Table 4.2. Traditional Third places As seen in Table 4.2, some of the observed Third Places were described as ‘traditional’, as conversation featured as a predominant activity. Nevertheless, in some Third Places, people were alone or working with laptops as shown in Figure 4.2.1.1. In ‘traditional’ Third Places conversation is generally between friends and colleagues; Thus, one can say that the retail environment elicits social relationships with others which may provide a sense of social connection (Johnstone, 2012). As Oldenburg (1999) noted, these Third Places exhibited neutral grounds where customers feel comfortable outside the limits of home and work. In addition, it is suggested that these Third Places may be frequented by regulars, people who live or work around Dalston and Shoreditch. Therefore, one can argue that these ‘traditional’ Third Places represent a place that encourages community unity (Shoreditch/Hackney community) as they are located nearby such premises. Furthermore, one can say that the community is also represented by an affinity with others associated with the brand-store as suggested by Keller (2001).

Introduction

Discussion The research strategy has been described as the researcher‟s plan to answer the research questions; it links philosophy and choice of methods. As this study explored and investigated a real-life context and the meanings attached to it, an ethnography strategy was adopted (Hackett, 2015). It has been proposed that this strategy seeks qualitative responses and rich insights that attempt to understand consumer behaviour in a non-numerical way (Hackett, 2015). Ethnography involves the immersion of the researcher in a particular setting and to get involved with the people being studied in order to truly understand the lived experience from the participant‟s point of view. The ethnographic approach is particularly relevant for this study as it attempts to gain in- depth insight into an understudied field(Robson, 2011).

The previous chapter explained the methodological choices undertaken to investigate the role of Third Places within UK fashion independents from a consumer perspective. The following chapter presents and analyses findings from the primary research. The findings are presented thematically and structured around research questions and additional themes that emerged from data analysis. The findings are then discussed against the literature.


This chapter revisits the aim and objectives of the study, illustrating to what extent these have been addressed. Furthermore, this section highlights the theoretical and practical contributions of the study. Managerial recommendations are presented according to the order in which findings were presented to equip fashion independents with Third Place retailing strategies that will attempt to enhance Third Place influence in achieving Brand Resonance. Along with managerial implications, theoretical contributions are discussed. This chapter acknowledges limitations arising from the study as well as provides recommendations for future research within the Third Place field.

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This exploratory research also has intrinsic methodological limitations. A longitudinal study could have been used to become more fully immersed in the research field; this would have enabled the researcher to identify regular consumers and develop a more complete understanding of the social dimensions of place.

This study identifies some areas that merit further research. For example, it would be helpful to examine fashion Third Places from a retailer perspective in order to understand existing retailing and marketing strategies. Additional research might consider exploring the characteristics of experiences that make consumers engage and participate within the Third Place. Moreover, further research could address sensory experience in the Third Place, helping to provide a framework by which retailers could differentiate their environment and facilitate excitement among customers. Further research will be necessary to examine the theoretical differences between the closed community of friends and family and ‘Brand Community’ literature (Collin- Lachaud and Kjeldgaard, 2014). It would also be beneficial to examine Brand Resonance quantitatively. However, in order to do so, instruments that measure Brand Resonance in the Third Place must be further developed.

Introduction

Limitations Conclusion

The results suggest that social interaction is associated with consumer’s personality and intention to relate with others as suggested by Walls et al. (2011a, b). In addition, it was found that commercial and non-commercial relationships in the fashion Third Place may not transform the retail environment into a place of significance, as noted by Rosenbaum‟s (2006).

Another limitation is that the findings were restricted to a single retailer which was based in London, UK. Another weakness is that the revised conceptual model hasn’t been empirically validated. Thus, it is suggested that future research could test the framework in other fashion Third Places.

Recommendations

Summary of findings

Overall, a key finding to emerge from this study was the lack of influence of the social environment on the fashion Third Place in building Brand Resonance among the studied market segment. It was found that the social dimensions of place affected each consumer’s emotional responses in terms of sense of security and sense of warmth but there was no evidence of the need for social connection’ among consumers. However, it can be argued that retailers are not providing Third Places that foster a ‘Sense of Community’ (social connection) by encouraging social relationships among consumers as posited by Johnstone (2012).

There are several limitations that need to be considered when reading the results of this study. Firstly, the participants interviewed were not regular or loyal consumers of the featured Third Place. Hence, this could have had a significant impact on the meanings attached to place and therefore, loyalty outcomes. If loyal consumers had been interviewed, the findings may have been different or could have given a greater insight into the consumer-brand relationship analysis.


Marieke Berendsen MA Fashion Retail Management

Kinetic Culture

The feasibility for a dresses brand targeting female millennial consumers in the Netherlands: a practice-based study exploring start-up business models


MA Fashion Retail Management

Abstract

Marieke Berendsen

This dissertation is a practice-based research that studies the feasibility of an affordable and fashionable dresses brand targeting female Millennial consumers in the Netherlands. A significant amount of start-ups fails in the first years of operation. Studying the feasibility of a business idea is therefore necessary in order to decide whether the business opportunity is viable. This study consists of two documents. Document 1, the evaluative commentary, provides evidence for the conclusions made in document 2, the feasibility study. It is found that the lean start-up approach fits well with the dress-wear brand and this approach is therefore used in all the elements of this study. A key element of the lean start-up approach is to test a business model by seeking continuous feedback from consumers. This study therefore uses qualitative and quantitative research strategies to analyse the feasibility of the dress-wear brand from a consumer perspective. It is found that a store specialized in affordable and fashionable dresses is feasible from a consumer and industry point of view. Since the market feasibility can be confirmed, the next step is to study the financial feasibility of the business idea. No studies were found about the consumer behaviour of Dutch female Millennials in terms of dresses. This study thus provides a significant contribution to the existing literature, both academically and practically.

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The Eurozone debt crisis had a big impact on the economy in the Netherlands in comparison to other core countries (Mintel, 2014). Consumer confidence was low, which is translated into a decline in value growth of the apparel and footwear industry in the last couple of years. However, in comparison to other product categories, dresses and skirts were relatively popular among female Dutch consumers, and is forecasted to grow with 1.9% in the following five years (Euromonitor, 2016a). In addition, the debt crisis has led to an increasing demand of low-priced clothing, which urged an increasing market share of affordable clothing brands (ING, 2013). This could thus signal that there is market potential for an affordable dress brand in the Netherlands. It is observed that the affordable dress-wear market of the Netherlands can be divided into four categories. Some foreign pure players such as Missguided, Zalando and Asos offer affordable and fashionable dresses. However, buying online limits the opportunity to see, touch and feel the garment (Shek et al., 2003). In addition, high street brands, such as Zara, H&M and Cos, and small boutiques, include a limited amount of dresses in their product offerings. Moreover, primary research showed that existing stores that are specialized in dresses offer expensive dresses for an older consumer or untrendy dresses for a younger consumer. This could therefore suggest that a niche exists for an affordable and fashionable dress-wear brand targeting young consumers in the Dutch fashion market.

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Introduction

Background and rationale

This report is a practice-based research that studies the feasibility of starting a womenswear brand specializing in dresses targeting female Millennial consumers in the Netherlands. In terms of product categories, dresses have a market share of 21% worldwide (Edited, 2016), which could signal a market opportunity for womenswear brands specializing in dresses. To narrow down the scope of the research, the Netherlands has been chosen as the main subject of research.

It is found that 75% of new ventures fail to exist (Blank, 2013). Studying the feasibility of a project is therefore critical in order to decide whether the business opportunity is viable. The aim of this master project is therefore to study the feasibility of a dresses brand targeting female Millennial consumers in the Netherlands. In achieving this goal, the following objectives are being addressed. 1. T  o contextualize the womenswear market and the female Millennial consumer in the Netherlands. 2. To explore the theories and frameworks of start-up business models in order to select the most appropriate business model. 3. To assess and evaluate the consumer perceptions of Dutch Millennials and their buying behaviour in terms of dresses. 4. T  o conduct market research in order to identify competitors, potential collaborators and macroenvironmental factors that could influence the company’s performance. 5. T  o develop a feasibility study in order to assess the viability of an affordable dress-wear brand targeting Millennial consumer in the Netherlands. The final outcome of this study is thus a feasibility report, which is indicated as document 2. A feasibility study is defined as “a controlled process for identifying problems and opportunities, determining objectives, describing situations, defining successful outcomes and assessing the range of costs and benefits associated with several alternatives for solving a problem� (Thompson, 2005, p.185). This study is mainly focused on analysing the market feasibility of the dress-wear brand. This means that that it is studied if there is a gap in the market based on a consumer and industry point of view (Nykiel, 2007).


The third chapter involves a description of the methods used to answer the research question. Following the iteration meta-pattern used by the lean start-up approach (Maurya, 2012), this study uses qualitative and quantitative research to analyse consumer perceptions and behaviour towards dresses. Interviews are used to provide a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. In addition, a questionnaire is utilized to verify the results of the interviews. Furthermore, in this chapter, limitations of research are highlighted and ethical considerations are provided. Chapter 4 comprises the project development. Results of primary research are presented and evaluated in order to assess the feasibility of the dress brand from a consumer point of view. In addition, the fifth chapter of the evaluative commentary provides a validation of the research conducted. In this section, results of secondary and primary research are summarized and combined in order to conclude whether an affordable dress brand targeting Millennial consumers in the Netherlands is feasible.

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To contextualize the womenswear market and the female Millennial consumer in the Netherlands. What is the size, structure and growth rate of the apparel and womenswear market in the Netherlands? What are the characteristics of the Millennial consumer in the Netherlands? Chapter 2: Literature review To explore the theories and frameworks of start-up business models in order to select the most appropriate business model. 3. How are business models defined, and what is their purpose? Which business model and framework is the most appropriate for a start-up? Chapter 2: Literature review To assess and evaluate the consumer perceptions of Dutch Millennials and their buying behaviour in terms of dresses. Is there interest for an affordable and fashionable dresses brand by Millennial Dutch consumers? What are the Millennials’ perceptions about and consumer behaviour towards shopping for dresses? What are the preferred channels for the purchase of dresses by Dutch Millennial consumers? Chapter 4: Project development and feasibility study (document 2) To conduct market research in order to identify competitors, potential collaborators and macroenvironmental factors that could influence the company’s performance. Which macro-environmental factors influence the performance of the dresses brand? Who are the direct and indirect competitors of the dress brand? What are the trends in terms of dresses in the Netherlands?

Introduction

Aims and objectives The feasibility study is supported by an evaluative commentary (document 1). This document is structured as follows. In the second chapter, secondary research is used to contextualize the apparel market and Millennial consumer in the Netherlands. In addition, since a feasibility study includes a proposed business model, literature about this concept is explored in order to propose the most appropriate business model for a start-up company. It is found that the lean start-up approach fits well with the dress-wear brand and this approach is therefore used in all the elements of this study. The end of chapter 2 provides project contextualization conclusions, which indicate the identified gaps in the literature that need to be studied further by primary research.

To study the feasibility of a dresses brand targeting female Millennial consumers in the Netherlands.


Introduction

Methodology

Chapter 4: Project development and feasibility study (document 2) 5. To develop a feasibility study in order to assess the viability of an affordable dress-wear brand targeting Millennial consumer in the Netherlands. 11. What can be recommended to include in the lean business model canvas? 12. Is the dress-wear brand feasible?

Overview and structure

Chapter 6: Validation In this chapter, the research design is explained and justified. The first section starts with a discussion of the aim, objectives and research questions. This is followed by an outline of the feasibility study. In addition, the different layers of the research onion are discussed in detail. After that, the limitations and ethical considerations of the research methodology are deliberated.

Aim: To study the feasability of dresses brand targeting female Millenial consumersin the Netherlands Objective 1: To contextualize the womenswear market and the female Millenial consumer in the Netherlands.

Objective 2: To explore the theories and frameworks of startup business models in order to select the most appropriate business model.

Objective 4: To conduct market research in order to identify competitors, potential collaborators and macro-environmental afctors that could influence the company’s perfomance.

Objective 3: To asses and evaluate the consumer perceptions of Dutch Millenials and their buying behaviour in terms of dresses.

Objective 5: To develo a feasability study in order to assess the viablity of an affordable dress-wear brand tagerting Millenial consumer in the Netherlands

Literature Review

The apparel market in the Netherlands

The Millenial Consumer

Start-up business models

Research Methodology Web based questionnaire

Semi Structured Interviews Triangulation of Data Discussion & Conclusion

Feasability Study

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Pooja Das MA Fashion Retail Management

Connected Society

An exploratory study of export barriers and enablers of SME’s – Indian leather handicrafts to the UK accessory market: a case study approach


This study attempts to identify key barriers and enablers affecting export competitiveness of SME’s specifically Indian handcrafted leather accessory exporters while exporting leather handicrafts tot the U.K. market. Present export scenario of the industry highlights the growing demand for Indian handicrafts in western markets which is evident from the continuous growth of handicraft exports since 2009 (EPCH, 2016). Yet, handicraft contribution to world export remains minuscule (Sengupta, 2011).

Abstract

Pooja Das

MA Fashion Retail Management

Leather handicraft as a category seems to have a lot of potential in western accessory market but the challenges to export leather handicrafts act as a barrier for exporters (Ghosh, no date). Moreover, increase in the demand curve for accessories particularly among the U.K. millennials makes it an attractive sector for marketing Indian handcrafted leather accessories.Therefore, the study further focuses on the various barriers and enablers existing internally or externally while exporting Indian hand crafted leather accessories to the UK market. The study is based on the exploration of present theories on internationalisation and export competitiveness of SME’s leading to identification of a key framework suitable for the Indian handicraft industry. Essential themes from the framework has been explored and modified undertaking an abductive approach. Further case study strategy has been pursued employing useful isights of industry experts and customer’s opinion. The internal and external barriers along with enablers faced by the Indian hand crafted leather accessory exporters has been identified acknowledging the limitation of the study. The study leads to key discoveries including the role of selecting an appropriate distribution channel while marketing handcrafted leather accessories acting as a major barrier affecting export competitiveness of the industry. Certain enablers related to product’s authenticity and high degree of customisation acts as a facilitator for Indian leather handicraft exporters. As a result, a modified framework adapted from Tesfom et al. (2006) on factors influencing export marketing of SME’s was developed and a strategic model for marketing Indian leather handicrafts in the UK market was proposed for marketers.

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Introduction

“It must be predominantly made by hand. It does not matter if some machinery is also used…work lending it an element of artistic improvement… ornamentation….substantial nature and not a mere pretence” (USAID, 2006; p2). Present literature on Indian handicrafts’ provides several studies within specific categories of handicrafts such as embroidery, jewellery, hand woven textiles, home accessories and carpets but little focus has been given to other categories of handicrafts produced in the country (Mohi-ud-din, Mir and Bhushan, 2014). India has a wide variety of handicrafts belonging to different regions which are influenced from various eras. Leather handicrafts are one of the most diverse and labour intensive categories that possess enormous potential to generate foreign exchange for the country (Tyagi, 2008). 1.1 Indian Handicraft Export Scenario The Indian handicraft sector is not only the largest decentralised and unorganised sector but also one of the greatest revenue generator for the country (Vijayagopalan, 1993). The states and regional clusters contribute significantly to the overall handicrafts’ export. The Indian handicraft industry is very fragmented, with more than 7 million regional artisans and 67,000 exporters promoting regional art and craftsmanship within the domestic and global markets (IBEF, 2015). Therefore, it is extremely relevant to gain a better understanding of India’s handicraft export business from a global perspective

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Aims & objectives

Background & rationale

One of the main issues attached with the handicraft sector is in the way handicrafts are perceived based on the ambiguous definitions and classifications. According to handicraft export case study of Khatura (1986) variance in the interpretation of handicrafts’ definition across countries was considered to be one of the initial factors acting as a barrier to export handicrafts. Several definitions exist within the handicraft’s research field yet, there is no universally accepted definition for the term “handicrafts”. However, for the purpose of this study the following definition has been adopted;

Aim: To explore export barriers and enablers of Indian leather handicrafts within the UK accessory market in order to increase market share and identify the best channels for marketing Indian handcrafted leather accessories. Objectives: To contextualise the scale of Indian handicraft industry and potential market sector in U.K. To explore Internationalisation theories, export competitiveness and its relevance to Indian handicraft industry. To analyse the U.K. consumer perception towards product appeal of Indian handcrafted accessories. To investigate export barriers and enablers of selling leather handicrafts through online and offline channels. To provide recommendations to the exporters in order to optimise export of leather handicrafts in the U.K through the best identified channels.


Qualitative research included in-depth semistructured interviews with professionals from Indian handicraft export business to gain industrial perspective and quantitative method includes an self-completed survey of consumers to acknowledge consumer’s perspective towards hand crafted products. This was carried out using multiple case study approach where 3 different cases; non- profit UK based Indian handicraft organisations were studied and interviewed to explore the major barriers and enablers faced by them from leather handicraft exporters in India. Due to the limited time available, the academic study was conducted over 3 months time period adapting cross sectional time zone. Also, several ethical considerations have been taken while conducting the primary research.

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Chapters Description Chapter 1 Introduction: This chapter introduces the topic of the research, states the problem statement, purpose of the research, aims and objectives followed by informing the methodology and addressing the limitations of the research. Chapter 2 Literature Review: This chapter is intended to cover the specific research questions derived from the first three objectives of the research informing the theoretical base of the research. This includes discussing Indian handicraft export sector, several internationalisation theories, export barriers and enablers faced by SME’s and export competitiveness of Indian handicraft industry followed by UK accessory market overview exploring various market channels in detail. Finally, understanding consumer behaviour and perception theories including Country of Origin, authenticity and sustainability issues towards foreign products. Chapter 3 Methodogy: This chapter informs the research design undertaken for the study which includes justification of the philosophy, approaches, methodological choices, strategies, time horizon, data collection and analysis techniques followed by addressing the validity and limitations of the chosen methodology. Chapter 4 Findings and Discussing: This chapter triangulates the data collected from interviews and survey using template analysis technique. The qualitative and quantitative data findings are represented in charts and tables discussing the export barriers and enablers alongside. Chapter 5 Conclusion: This chapter draws conclusion by suggesting ways to tackle the identified export barriers and improve industrial competitiveness of Indian leather handcrafted accessories along with making academic implications by modifying the existing framework identified in the literature review. Further scope for research in this area has also been suggested.

Introduction

Overview & structure Methodology

The research design and methodological choices have been depicted with the help of a visual map in figure 1.2. The philosophy followed for the study is pragmatism as the nature of research question requires to view a problem from various position at different stages depending upon the most appropriate choices available (Saunders et al., 2012).The study further undertakes an abductive approach with initially exploring several theories on internationalisation and identifying suitable frameworks which is used to develop questionnaire and interview questions for primary research. Due to the exploratory nature of the study, mixed method was adopted; incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The study has been broken down into five chapters corresponding to various stages of a research. Each chapter focuses on a different topic and is interlinked with each other.


Indian leather handicraft export industry is presently at a global static position and specialises in human, natural and financial resources yet is not able to utilise its potential due to several marketing barriers faced by the industry. It is crucial to identify the barriers and enablers in order to facilitate export of handicraft to overseas markets. This shall be achieved by applying internal and external factors framework for export marketing of SME’s developed by Tesfom et al, 2006 to conduct multiple case study analysis. The UK market is a highly attractive market for leather accessories with maximum purchases made by millennials. Customer segmentation of UK millennials suggest that, they are ethically conscious consumer and prefer to shop accessories from affordable value brands such as Zara, Topshop, H&M, etc. However, these brands do not market handcrafted leather accessories to the consumers, therefore it would be important to identify if demand for Indian hand crafted accessories exist in the U.K. with the help of conducting a survey which will also be help to determine the most preferred shopping channel for consumers to purchase Indian handcrafted leather accessories. Finally, understanding U.K. consumer’s perception towards Indian handcrafted leather accessory in terms of its country of origin, ethical perceptions and authenticity might result into significant positive or negative perceptions which needs to be explored in order to propose product design and process related suggestions to the exporters. This shall also be achieved with the help of a questionnaire. The objectives of the research impose certain questions as highlighted in table 2.5 based on which appropriate methodological choices have been made.

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3.2 Validity and Reliability For in depth interviews it was necessary to maintain some standardisation in order to gain reliable data (Easterby-smith et al. 2008; Silverman 2007) which was considered by maintaining a neutral tone and body language during the interview to avoid any possible bias in interviewees’ responses. Participation and generalisability bias was avoided by carefully selecting the sample after personally meeting the participants to gauge their willingness to participate in the interview. Also, english was kept as the code of language so that the responses could be validated through true interpretation of the participants responses (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). The data collected were recorded and transcribed the same day to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of data. In case, of questionnaire a data requirement table was designed (see appendix I) to ensure internal validity by carefully considering appropriateness of the questions asked (Bloomberg et al., 2008). Further, content validity was maintained by providing adequate coverage to the research questions. To test reliability internal consistency was maintained by including “check questions” in order to compare the responses to alternative forms of group questions (Mitchell, 1996). Also, a pilot test on 10 consumers was conducted to assess question’s validity and reliability of the data collected by ensuring no confusion was faced in understanding the questions from respondents point of view (Fink, 2009) Further, data triangulation between the interview and questionnaire was done to improve the accuracy and reliability of the conclusion by comparing data derived from multiple methods (Bouchard, 1976; 268)

Introduction

Research design

Literature overview

The review of literature on Indian handicraft sector, internationalisation theories, export barriers and enablers, UK accessory market and consumer perception highlights several factors which will form the bases of the interview and survey questions for primary research.

The research design for this particular study has been presented with the help of the research onion in figure 3.1 depicting the overall plan of how the objectives of the research were met (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). It highlights the systematic choices made in terms of research philosophy, approach, methodology, methods, strategy, data collection techniques and analysis in congruence with the research questions and objectives. Due to the nature of research conducted for academic purpose over a short period of time cross-sectional time horizon was adopted. (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). The choice of research design has been explained in detail in the following sections of this chapter.


The first stage comprised of ethical issues during research design and gaining access where interview participants were contacted over telephone and email in order to explain the background and purpose of research by seeking preliminary consent for participation. This was followed by sending a detailed participation information sheet (see appendix J) informing the participant about the research topic, purpose of research, background themes, choice of confidentiality and anonymity, permission for audio recording and participants right’s to maintain privacy, participation withdrawal at any point of the interview, etc (UK Data Archive 2011a; Silverman, 2007) during the next stage. A total of twenty experts were approached to take part in the interview but only five agreed to sign the consent form (see appendix K) and participate in the interview. Therefore, it was ensured none of the prospective participants were obliged to take part in the interview. Special care was taken not to force participants to answer a particular question, considering their convenience, availability and avoid any demeaning questions (Sekaran and Bougie, 2009).

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4.1 Barriers and Enablers: Exporters Perspective Industry experts having more than 15 years of experience in the field of leather handicrafts discussed about several barriers and enablers to export leather handicrafts has been discussed in detail in the following subsections. While discussing the each factor, expert’s quotes has been represented with alpha numeric labels in text corresponding to the labels mentioned in table 4.1. Both experts have previous experiences of working with leather handicraft export companies and are presently professors at India’s leading leather design and handicraft promotion institutes; National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) respectively. Previous studies on SME’s by Roy, Shekhar and Vyas (2016); Makrini (2016); Rund (2015), Ahmed and Skalerrudh (2015); Pradhan and Das (2013), Makhinde (2012) had highlighted several barriers of exporting but this study unfolds additional barriers as well as enablers to export business which has not been discussed before, particularly Indian leather handicraft exporters resulting into new knowledge to the existing research. Overall, the comparison of the responses of both the experts suggests that the industry faces more barriers as compared to enablers which are mostly subjected to strong internal factors affecting the export competitiveness of the industry.

Introduction

Discussion 3.3 Ethical Considerations Several considerations were made to maintain ethical code of conduct at different stages of the research process; research deign stage, data collection, analysis and reporting (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012).

This chapter focuses on representing the primary research findings in a systematic manner in the form of tables, charts and graphs discussing the results alongside. The data has been analysed in three parts. First part of the data analysis involves viewpoints of the industry experts; representing the Indian exporter’s perspective by highlighting the main barriers and enablers faced by them. The knowledge gathered are presented under the five major themes identified during the literature review. The second part features the enablers and barriers under the aforesaid themes from the importer’s perspective by comparing the views of the three cases; non profit organisations in the form of multiple case study analysis. Each theme and sub theme has been pre coded in the code book presented in appendix G. However, the analysis has been colour coded with the enablers highlighted in green and barriers in red colour with numerical allocation corresponding to each attribute. Finally, consumer survey results of 100 respondents have been analysed categorically to gain customer’s perspective and validate the interview findings through data triangulation.


Introduction Summary of findings

Moreover, procedural issues under market factors was not encountered during the research required editing. The framework incorporates enablers along with barriers which were not included in the previous framework and has been presented in figure 5.1 that can be applied in the future study while testing the key influencing factors to export for other relevant handicraft categories or SME’s. Industrial Implications

Academic Implication The study led to the examination and discovery of new learning in the field of internal and external factors affect export competitiveness of SME’s in a broader context and Indian leather handicraft exporters in more refined situation. This implied some modifications to be made in the internal and external factor framework influencing export marketing of SME’s (Tesfom, 2006) in order to make suitable recommendations for the industry. This was mainly because of the significance of selecting the most suitable distribution channels emerged as a sub theme under company factor which was not discussed in the previous studies. Also, under product related marketing factors only product quality and technical adaptation were included. However, on completion of the data analysis several other sub-themes emerged under product factors such as product design, value, authenticity, colours and sustainability which led to make some modifications and rename the sub theme from ‘Product quality’ to ‘Product characteristics’ in order to incorporate all the product attributes.

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Examining the level of motivation among Indian leather handicraft exporters to internationalise and considering the demand of Indian authentic handcrafted products in the U.K. a list of recommendations is summarised under each of the key theme in order to overcome the export barriers faced by the industry in table 5.2. A strategic model suggesting a marketing strategy for exporting IHCLA to the U.K. market has been proposed for the exporters in figure 5.2. The recommendations and marketing strategy model can be followed by the exporters to overcome some major obstacles faced by them while exporting products and marketing the handicrafts effectively in the international markets. This will further help them to improve their export business in the short term directly leading to increase in India’s world export share in the longer run. The highlighted suggestions will not only help exporters to revive their business but also have a trickle down effect on the society by increasing employment, wages, working conditions and lifestyle of the artesian resulting into improved economic conditions. This will further lead to foreign exchange earnings and the overall development of the Indian economy.


Introduction

Conclusion

The aim of the research was to explore the barriers and enablers of Indian leather handicraft Industry and identify the best suitable channel for Indian leather handicraft exporters. This was primarily achieved by testing the internal and external factors framework affecting export marketing of SME’s particularly in regards to IHCLA exporters by conducting intensive secondary as well as primary research including interviews of experts and customer survey. To contextualise the scale of Indian handicraft industry and potential market sector in U.K. The first objective was achieved primarily by reviewing export promotion government websites where no specific classification of leather handicraft category was found making it difficult to measure the export scale of handcrafted leather accessories.

The importance of consumer perception towards product appeal was identified as a significant factor during the literature review in order to fulfil the overall aim of the research. The key factors that were chosen to determine consumer’s perception through online survey including country of origin, authenticity and sustainability were explored through various responses of the consumers.

However, EPCH data and experts opinion revealed that the exports of Indian handcrafted leather accessories took place in small scale but braced high demand and potential of growth in the coming years.

To investigate export barriers and enablers of selling leather handicrafts through online and offline channels

To explore Internationalisation theories, export competitiveness and its relevance to Indian handicraft industry. On exploring several internationalisation and export competitiveness theories from academic text books and peer reviewed journal articles, it was found that in spite of comparative advantage (Heckscher,1949; Ohlin 1933; Smith,1776; Ricardon, 1817) of having robust financial and human resources, the export competitiveness of the Indian handicraft industry was quite low as compared to its competitors. Further, on analysing the industrial point of view from the interview data it was found that IHCLA exporter’s heavy reliance on manual operation and low technical adaptation effected their supply chain resulting into low export competitiveness. To analyse the U.K. consumer perception towards product appeal of Indian handcrafted accessories.

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On interpreting all the insights gained from industrial perspective a total of 37 enablers and 49 barriers were identified which acted as influencing factors while marketing IHCLA through various distribution channels. The influencing factors have been summarised in figure 5.1 in the form of a modified framework. Consumer survey results were also included which indicating how consumer’s positive perception towards product’s design, price, authenticity and country of origin could act as enablers whereas negative perceptions about quality and sustainability factors act as barriers. To provide recommendations to the exporters in order to optimise export of leather handicrafts in the U.K through the best identified channels. After analysing the key barriers and enablers of exporting Indian handcrafted leather accessories to the U.K., recommendations were made for each barrier faced by the industry under separate categories as mentioned in table 5.2 to make industrial implications which could be used by exporters to boost their business effectively.


While collecting primary data, interviewing multiple exporters to attain their perspective was not possible due to the limited cross sectional time frame; hence only two experts from the export field were interviewed who shared their insights on behalf of the Indian handcrafted leather exporters. Although the insights were substantial for this research as they were highly experienced and had been working with handcrafted leather accessory export companies for more than 15 years. The data collected were cross verified from the importer’s perspective along with customer’s point of view to increase its validity; yet standpoints of the exporter’s could have resulted into more credible and generalised findings. The study highlighted two significant factors which could allow Indian handcrafted accessories to gain competitive advantage among machine made accessories which were ‘sustainability’ and ‘fair trade’. Both factors were mentioned frequently by experts and consumers but need further investigation and verification from sourcing and production point of view to make an absolute judgement. Also, consumer survey responses were limited to participants based in London as it was not feasible to travel across different cities in the UK in order to physically hand in the questionnaire and collect responses. Hence, the analysis was based on the responses collected from customers living in London who represent the U.K. consumer’s. In terms gender ratio, majority of participants were females as they were more willing to participate in the survey as compared to the men, hence the consumer perception findings are majorly based on the female’s stance.

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Introduction Recommendations

Limitations

Due to the limited time frame for this research, the study is subjected to certain limitations in terms of generalisability of responses collected from the exporters perspective, depth of research on certain export influencing factors and plausible bias in consumer perception caused due to disproportionate gender and location factors.

This study was able to identify several factor’s acting as barriers and enablers to export Indian leather handicraft’s within the U.K. market. Further research can be carried to understand if other handicraft categories also face similar problems while exporting handicrafts to the UK market. One could also explore the export barriers and enablers of marketing leather handcrafted accessories to other European markets such as Germany, France, Netherland and Italy to further facilitate export of Indian handcrafted leather products across the European continent increasing their international operation. Also, it would be interesting to study the marketing strategies that could be adapted by exporters keeping in mind sustainability and ethical trading factors. For example, an in-depth investigation about sustainable practices behind hand crafting process of leather handicrafts can be achieved in order to generate a practice based output by designing a promotion campaign focused on generating awareness about sustainability among the U.K. consumers as also suggested in the recommendations. This would further guide exporters to understand how the recommendations can be executed effectively to develop their export businesses within the U.K. Overall, the exploratory nature of the study was able to test and modify the internal and external barrier of export marketing as per the present environment further leveraging academic research to be carried on by re-testing the model for different types of small scale businesses keeping in mind the constant modification needed in the field of research as per the inevitable changes in environmental factors of a market.


Rafael Rodriguez Solis MA Fashion Retail Management

Transparent Environments

An exploratory study of Mexican millennials’ sustainable fashion consumption


MA Fashion Retail Management

The purpose of this study is to investigate Sustainable Fashion Consumption of Mexican Millennials, it focuses on the level of Awareness and Consumer Behaviour young millennials have towards Environmental Sustainability in Mexico. The lack of previous studies and the lack of sustainable knowledge in the fashion industry in Mexico acted as a barrier for this study. A new framework was created out of the combination of two previous models, demonstrating the relationship between Awareness and Consumer Behaviour.

Abstract

Rafael Rodriguez Solis

Survey data via questionnaires from 214 respondents drawn from mexican millennial population, from 18 to 25 years old, are used in this study; 28 statements composed the questionnaires and was divided into two sections, the first one regarding the Awareness Dimension (Waste, Organic, Animal Welfare, Locally Sourced and Fair Trade) comprising twelve polar statements (Yes, No, Not Sure), two for each dimension; the second section concerning Consumer Behaviour containing sixteen statements segmented into three components, Subjective Norm (2 statements), Attitudes (5) and Behavioural Control (9). Analysis using the software SPSS was required to find the frequency of the variables and regressions to establish the level of significance on the relationship between the independent variables and the Behaviour, having as a result, the restructuring of the main framework and two variables acting as mediator variables, thereby, the dynamics of the relationships thought changed, meaning mexican millennials are aware of the environmental sustainability issues and have positive attitudes towards it, however, the influence of social pressure (Subjective Norm), and its perceptions of difficulty of Environmental Sustainable Fashion (Behavioural Control) act as barrier. This study is one of the first to explore Sustainable Fashion Consumption in Mexico, hence, the lack of previous literature on the topic, and its importance for future investigations; it can be useful as well for any company or brand wanting to explore the mexican market as a potential target, given that Mexico is one of the largest countries in the world with an extensive population to investigate.

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The world is in greater need of minds that see it in a sustainable way (PRNewswire, 2016). Over the last 50 years, there has been an enormous flow of scientific warnings about the status of the planet and how slowly the human is destroying it; however, this has served to increase the amount of awareness, regulations, technology advances, knowledge and several organisations about the environment helping to prevent its decay (Haigh & Hoffman, 2014). With a value of 1.1 billion pounds, the textile industry has a significant impact worldwide (Diaz, 2010), where people also need to be not only aware of environmental sustainability but be part of the cycle, and fashion is a great way to start (El Economista, 2013). There is an existing pressure where most of society continues to act upon certain expectations and duties on a given period of time. On a daily basis, the population grows at a fast rate, leading to a tendency of over-consumption and creating a ‘throw-away’ society, resulting in social, economic and environmental degeneration (Hume, 2009). Ibarra (2015), claims that environmental sustainability has changed over the last decade with the constant growing of overpopulation, lack of energy resources, deforestation, climate change, global warming and water scarcity. Therefore, environmental sustainability has now become a main objective for any company and individual, no matter political and cultural barriers (Ibarra, 2015). It is imperative for the consumer to understand specific issues regarding environmental sustainability in the fashion industry, as the retailing of apparel product represents heavy environmental impacts (Hill & Lee, 2012). For the apparel industry, the challenge remains to manufacture the same level of high quality garments without damaging the environment and reducing the natural resources in the process, where environmental sustainability needs to be part of since the beginning, built into the supply chain, more towards a circular, closed loop system and move away from a linear model (Potts, 2015). This correlates with, a rising culture over last decade of impulse buying in the fashion industry, developed from low-cost production, outsourcing from overseas and the change on consumers’ attitudes (Mintel, 2007).

02

According to Aggarwal (2011), the increase of humans in the last half century is troublesome, with doubling its number from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 6.9 billion in 2010, creating new problems like the availability of clean air and water. Demands from the public to be more transparent and high demands by governments and environmental institutions are putting pressure on businesses to be more sustainable, tackle the climate change issue, and create a change now for better a better life for future generations (Aggarwal, 2011). Leading to a new attitude arising, where consumers spontaneously decide to purchase eco-friendly products instead of others, allowing for new market trends and new opportunities are appearing, a positive trend of accepting ecological friendly products, where consumers are participating more on the environmental protection and realising is not a task given only to companies or institutions (Dutta, 2014). Although Mexico has not changed in a sustainable way, the interest for environmental sustainability is growing in the Mexican consumer, this being an advantage for businesses which incorporate green practices (Ibarra, 2015). Anonymous (2015), argues that the consumers today need to look what is beyond the piece of clothing they are acquiring, not just buying something that later will throw away and pollute. Pasricha & Kadolph (2009), discuss that in the past, dealing with labour and related issues were priority, however, today, the concern about the environment has become equally significant, and the group in charge of creating a change are the millennials (Pasricha & Kadolph, 2009). This generation has been raised within the subculture of watching cartoon that make recycling ‘cool’, they see the world as social construction and are worn-out with consuming, seeing sustainability as community orientated, appealing to socially conscious and small business, they are extremely aware of a global environment as well as local (Pasricha & Kadolph, 2009). Engaging with this generation is of the outmost importance in this era, where consumers are becoming progressively disloyal and the expectations of businesses to resolve problems that society faces are surprisingly high. (Haghshenas, Espelid & Schmiegelow, 2014). Furthermore, ‘El Economista’ (2013) concludes that fashion is the best way to start inspiring mexicans to being more sustainable, and not just buying sustainable clothing but to be part of the fashion sustainability cycle (El Economista, 2013).

Introduction

Background and rationale

The chapter regarding the introduction, outlines what the study will be investigating and the key issues is trying to examine; its beginning presents the rationale, provided to find and understand in a broad sense the gap in the academic literature, later finding the main research question. Next, having stated the research question, the aim and objectives are propositioned, followed by a proposed research methodology, and this chapter ends describing the structure of the entire dissertation for clearer understanding of the process involving this study.


Objectives: To define Sustainable Fashion and its key elements in Mexican Millennials’ Fashion market  To understand the key influences on Sustainable Fashion Consumption / Behaviour.  To explore the role of Awareness on Sustainable Attitudes / Perceptions by Mexican Millennials.  To create recommendations of how to influence Mexican Millennials on Sustainable Fashion.

Methodology

Introduction

Aims and objectives

To investigate the key influences on Mexican millennials’ sustainable fashion consumption behaviour.

The way the aim and the four objectives will be approached, secondary research is needed first, and then leading to a primary research data collection. Following a philosophy of Positivism and a deductive research approach, the secondary research is undertaken firstly to provide an insightful understanding of: 1. Environmental Sustainability 2. Millennials 3. Consumer Behaviour The first topic to research is the Environmental Sustainability, the reason being the word ‘Sustainability’, nowadays, could mean different things depending on the context, Human, Social, Economic and Environmental; the only significant for the study is the environmental area. The next topic to investigate is the millennials, and as the previous one, the problem being the word has a broad meaning, so even though the millennial generation ranges throughout 20 years, this study focuses on the latter years, meaning the young millennials.

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The last topic to investigate is the Consumer Behaviour, focusing on millennials. It should be noted that, this research is going to use all the resources available, however, the lack of information about Mexico, acts as a barrier. The secondary research includes journals, academic books and periodicals which are accessed through the digital library belonging to the school this investigation is part of, that is, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Given the lack of information concerning Mexico, the secondary research will be looked from a broad perspective, meaning worldwide, and slowly narrow it down until reaching the mexican market. Based on the existing knowledge from the secondary data, statements are built and afterwards, tested in the primary research phase through questionnaires. The primary research, explores the Awareness of the mexican millennial population through six dimension, followed by the consumer behaviour, segmented in three components, Subjective Norm, Attitudes and Behavioural Control. It is investigated through questionnaire containing 28 statements, the first twelve regarding awareness via polar statements (yes, no, not sure), the next two statements concerning subjective norm via Likert Scale (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree), the following five about attitudes, using Likert Scale as well, and the final nine statements regarding behavioural control with the Likert Scale. After the primary research, the use of the software SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) is needed for analysing the results. The software is helpful to find relationship between the variable and discovering which one are significant, leading to a deeper understanding about the millennial generation in Mexico and its relationship with environmental sustainability.


The next chapter, number two, is concerning the Literature Review, where it investigates firstly, the Environmental Sustainability, examining it from a global perspective, that is, mentioning history of Sustainability and its relationship with the Fashion industry; followed by an insight of Millennials, who are they, their description, attitudes, behaviours, their connexion with technology, and discussing numerous key pointsof their relationship with environmental sustainability. Next, is the literature examining the Consumer Behaviour and linking it with the previous ones, that is, the way millennials behave towards environmental sustainability. Having already linked the three main topic, now the literature examines the level of Awareness, based on six different dimension, and to explore even further this topic, each dimension required to be investigated. This chapter finalises with the creation of a framework relating the Awareness dimensions and the consumer behaviour. Throughout this chapter, several indications of Mexico are mentioned; as previously cited the lack of information regarding Mexico acts as a barrier since the beginning of this study, therefore, there is no section specifically discussing Mexico, but it is discussed all throughout the literature review. The following chapter, the third one, investigates the methodology step by step according to the research onion, where each layer is an element, which altogether form the way the research is understood and investigated. The layers are: ‘Philosophies’ followed by ‘Approaches’, ‘Strategies’, ‘Choices’, ‘Time Horizons’ and ‘Techniques and Procedures’. The order is important because the outer layer embodies the impact on the next layer. This chapter outlines the methodological procedures applied for the data collection.

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The final chapter, the fifth one, discusses the findings of the primary research. Contrary to the fourth chapter, this is about reflecting and comparing the results of this study with the previous studies, discovering its agreements and its divergences. Furthermore, this chapter correlates the findings with the aim and objectives of this study, addresses the theoretical and managerial implications, its limitations and considers the recommendations for the future.

Literature overview

The fashion industry has been growing at a rapid pace over the last few decades, up to the point where is requiring an excess amount of natural resources, damaging the environment. The goal of this chapter is to evaluate the interaction of the fashion industry with the environment worldwide, and slowly narrow it down to Mexico. The first part of this chapter, serves as an introduction of the world of sustainability within the fashion industry, providing different arguments of a wide range of currents issues, exploring the contemporary status of fashion and its relationship with the environment regarding Mexico. The second part, examines the millennial generation, analysing its main characteristics, attitudes, behaviour and seeing how mexican millennials are reacting to existing environmental issues. The next part analyses the general behaviour towards environmental sustainability, and in order to discuss the main sustainability topic further, awareness dimensions were investigated, and examine one by one to get a clearer notion of the framework later used. In summary, this chapter provides an overview of environmental sustainability in the fashion industry and going deeper into Mexico current status, aiming to elaborate where the country is lacking of, how is its level of awareness, its weaknesses and strengths, to find a proper gap to be investigated.

Introduction

Overview and structure

The next chapter, number four, presents the results of the primary data collection; at its beginning, it shows the results of the questionnaires, statistically analysing the data through SPSS, statement by statement according to what is needed, either a frequency or a correlation.

The introductory chapter gives a broad perspective of what is expected about this study, providing the rationale and finding the gap in the academic literature; moreover, it sets the research aim and objectives, and describes the proposed methodology in order to find them; finalising with the general structure of the dissertation, to have a better understanding of the whole study.


Questionnaires As stated before, a mono-method approach was chosen, a large number of respondents were needed and being a quantitative research, survey was chosen as the research method, specifically questionnaires (Saunders et al., 2009). According to Ghauri and Gronhaug (2005) a questionnaire denotes a respected tool for exploring attitudes and cause-effect relationships, and can be statistically analysed (Gill and Johnson, 2010). Design Ghauri and Gronhaug (2005), as well as Gill and Johnson (2010) suggest that the structuring, phrasing and scaling the questions is vital when creating a questionnaire. In this particular case,the questions were statements, and they followed the four interrelated issues proposed by Gill and Johnson (2010) Focus The questionnaire focused on gathering sufficient information on the perception of Millennials in Mexico when it comes to environmental sustainability issues, and their behaviour towards it. All the statements were gathered and modified to suit the present study.

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Waste The statements regarding ‘Waste’ were 1 and 7, and their response were positive. With an average of 81.85 stating ‘Yes’, it can be settled that when it comes to Recycling topics, millennials responded positively. This can be linked as reviewed in the literature that according to Bahaee et al (2014), millennials react positively when it comes to environmental sustainability, especially on recycling issues, and mexican designers looking for ways to incorporate natural raw materials into its garments (Diaz, 2010). This dimension was also the highest percentage of positive response, meaning is the topic most people relate when they think of sustainability, in accordance with Kagawa (2007), Wgsn (2012) and Gwilt et al (2012). Organic The statements 2 and 8 were concerning ‘Organic’ and their response were positive. An average of 74.4 affirming ‘Yes’, therefore, it can be established that when it comes to organic sustainability, millennials’ responses were positive. Having a high positive response, can be related to PRnewswire (2016), where the use of organic cotton is seen as a way for being environmental sustainable, and Ibarra (2015) saying being organic is more beneficial for a brand, creating a web of loyal consumers conscious about the planet. It was the second highest response out of the six dimensions, meaning people do relate organic as sustainable, so having organic materials in the composition of their clothing, millennials see it as sustainable. This is linked to Diaz (2010), where according to the UNCTAD (United Nations on Trade and Development), Mexico has the potential for growing several natural resources, such as, organic cotton, bamboo, wood and sustainable silk.

Introduction

Discussion Research design

A conceptual framework (Figure 3.3) was constructed in order to further explain the relationships of the variables, considering the type of research, data collection and analysis (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2005 quoted in Saunders et al., 2009),

Awareness The respondents were asked if they consider the statements examples of Sustainable Fashion, and when analysed, the percentage of response was highly inclined towards a positive answer, 5 out of 6 dimensions resulted in a positive answer, meaning mexican millennials do relate the environmental sustainability dimensions as sustainable topics. It can be assumed that, as mentioned before in the literature, millennials in Mexico have the right mindset on sustainability, even though Mexico as a country, in behindhand on this global issue.


Locally Sourced This dimension had the statements 4 and 10, and as most of the other dimensions, its answer was positive with 58.65 declaring ‘Yes’. ‘Locally Sourced’, as the name implies, was looking for sources within the same country of manufacturing, in this case, sources inside Mexico, so it can have helpful consequences for the country like supporting the local economy and supporting the local businesses. This dimension had the lowest percentage of positive-response dimensions, meaning not many people see it as a sustainable, and it is the dimension that drives more economic variables for a country as stated by Joy et al (2012), Ozdamar & Atik (2014) and Castano (2014). Concerning Mexico, there is debating over the percentage of locally produced and importing from Asia, in accordance with Castano (2014), it would be useful that seeing there is potential for growing the awareness in Mexico, more textiles are used in the manufacturing process, leading to constructive ramifications like generating more local jobs.

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Summary of findings

According to the needs of the study, the participants had to be millennials, and within that category, the ‘young millennials’, between 18 and 25 years old. The reason why ‘young millennials’ was chosen as a requirement, was that as a generation, they are the one growing up with environmental issues (Wgsn, 2012), and the even though the generation includes people born between 1980 and 2000 (Worldwide, 2011), the young side of this generation (18 to 25 years old) seemed appropriate as they are bachelor students. Another requirement was they needed to be mexican, that is, born and raised in Mexico. The gender was not relevant for the study as a requirement, however, it was asked to see the slant among gender. The past of each respondent did not seemed relevant nor the location. This chapter presented the findings of the primary research data collection; the questionnaires were designed to investigate the Awareness through six dimensions and the Consumer Behaviour through three variables, Subjective Norm, Attitudes and Behavioural Control. Correlations and Regression were needed to measure relationships between variables; the quantitative findings revealed that one of the variables is acting as mediator, changing the dynamics of the original framework.

Introduction

Animal Welfare There were two statements about ‘Animal Welfare’, 3 and 9, having a positive response, and an average of 65.1 asserting ‘Yes’. As most of the other answers, millennials reacted positive when speaking about the ethical treatment of animal in the fashion industry. This dimension was the third one with the highest percentage of positive response, however, according to Sorensen (2011), is the most visible and spread with its ban of fur in garments, so it is inconclusive that two other dimensions were on top of it. As examined on the literature, even though ethical animal treatment according to the results is seen as a sustainable fashion issue, it would be useful and more accurate to investigate the degree of awareness regarding leather as mentioned by Sorensen (2011), in some cases, the leather is seen as a second product which is used only because for its meat, however on other cases, like fur or exotic skins (e.g. snakeskin, alligator, ostrich, stingray) the animal is killed primarily for its skin, therefore, it would be noteworthy to investigate in which cases do people think is sustainable when it comes to animals’ skins.

Custom The statements 5 and 11 were associated with ‘Custom’, and the majority response was negative with an average of 52.35 stating ‘No’; the conclusion being mexican millennials do not think fast / slow fashion as a sustainability issue. It was the lowest average out of the six dimensions and the only one with a negative result. As discussed on the literature, fast fashion is bad for the environment, and the lack of knowledge of the consumer in agreement with Thøgersen (2000), Wilhelm (2009) and Connell (2010) acts as constraint. Additionally, Tokatli & Kizilgun (2009) mentioned the rapid turnover is keeping the customer coming back weekly, meaning fast fashion, which agrees with the findings of this dimension where mexican millennials do not see fast fashion as danger to environmental sustainability. There are not many studies regarding environmental sustainability and young consumers as mentioned by (Carew and Mitchell, 2002; Kagawa, 2007; Gam and Banning, 2011), and this dimension being the only one using unusual terminology like fast / slow fashion, could be the reason why the low score.


Introduction Conclusion

Fundamentally, environmental sustainability can be achieved by changing the mind of the consumer, lessening the desire for consuming constantly, to be more thoughtful when purchasing or try to purchase in a more sustainable way, however, consumers, tend to support environmental sustainability without making sacrifices in their current lifestyle. Since the decade of the 90’s, there is a new ecological wave of designers trying to approach fashion in a more sustainable way, standing against chemical pollution and industrial waste. (Ng, Yan & Dong, 2013). Many strategies are trying to be implemented to be more sustainable in the present world regarding the fashion industry, like the creation of new sustainable materials, the use of eco-friendly raw materials and processes, incrementing the efficiency of processes (i.e. less energy, water and waste), the extension of the life span of clothing (e.g. recycling), among others (Ng, Yan & Dong, 2013). Slow fashion is the antithesis of fast fashion, the contradiction to the excesses fashion is generating, where this uncontrollably growth may end in the rise of high street prices, however, some argue that this rise will take place when the inflation stabilises as a natural result of economic recovery, raising the wages, and a better lifecycle of garments within the fashion industry (Russel, 2014). Fashion industry has long been criticised for its fair trade, its exploitation of garment workers, lack of proper working conditions, low wages and child labour; with big retailers earning high profits and paying its workers minimum wages, fashion has produced suppliers to struggle achieving its deadlines, having not enough workers when needed, short lead times, big and unpredictable orders, leading to subcontracting more workers to keep up with the unreasonable demands (Ozdamar & Atik, 2014).

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Regarding the organic issues of environmental sustainability, there are current trends, the first one being the rise of organic cotton initiatives, where companies are already setting plans in motion for achieving sustainable goals, even though a small number of companies, it is a growing trend. The second trend is data, with the ongoing usage of data worldwide, companies are focusing more measuring their processes, quantifying their usage of water, energy, lifecycles, footprints, and knowing where they can reduce the negative impact on the environment and at the same time reducing costs. Another trend linked to the previous one is, with the rise of data worldwide, the new generations are more conscious about the environment, especially the millennial generation, which is leading to more prominent brands are looking for transparency, going deeper into their supply chain, extending it through the entire company, improving the social situation where it lacks of, and trying to create a closed loop on recycling, (Russell, 2015a). According to the INEGI (2015), the millennial generation in Mexico was 36.7 million, and these young consumers have a growing interest for environmental sustainability (Ibarra, 2015), trying to be part of the sustainability cycle (El Economista, 2013), however there are several barriers acting against them.


Recommendations

Introduction Limitations

Although this study was carefully investigated, it is understandable to have its limitations. It needs to be taken into account the amount of time given for the achievement of a study of this magnitude. Another limitation was the lack of resources, especially when researching Mexico and environmental sustainability, the amount of previous studies discussing this topic is practically non-existence. The next limitation was the sample not being representative in terms of the whole population of millennials, approximately 36.7 million in 2015 according to INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, National Institute of Statistics and Geography) compared with the 214 respondents, it is definitely not representative of the whole mexican millennial population. The last limitation was that the group of respondents, even though millennials, there were from 18 to 25 years old, categorised as ‘young millennials’, meaning is just a small part of a larger generation.

Considering the limitations of the present study, it is recommended to extend the number of respondents to a more statistically correct sample, also, given the total area of the Mexico, it would be beneficial for future studies to segment the millennial generation in regions or by state. Furthermore, it is suggested to use these findings as a future base for upcoming studies or market research any kind of brand could need to enter the mexican market. It is also advised, to be aware of the rapid changes sustainability has, which could influence certain environmental issues, therefore, at the time a future study happens, the research on this study could be out-dated. The most important recommendation is the significant to research more sustainability issues in Mexico, the lack of information was astonishing and it acted as a barrier on this study, therefore, it is of the outmost importance to encourage others to study deeper into sustainability and Mexico.

This information lead to discover the gap in the academic literature, later to create the aim of the study being to investigate the key influences on Mexican Millennials’ Sustainable Fashion Consumption / Behaviour. To find the answer to the research, it was reviewed other studies discussing these topics to be used a base, later a survey was created via questionnaires, there were 214 participants, between the age of 18 and 25 years old, to discover the level of Awareness through six dimensions, Waste, Organic, Animal Welfare, Locally Sourced, Custom, Fair Trade, and the Consumer Behaviour through three components, Subjective Norm, Attitudes and Behavioural Control. To conclude, findings revealed that mexican millennials are awareness on the majority of the topic regarding environmental sustainability; lack of information about sustainability acts as a barrier against mexicans, which relates to almost non-existence studies on Mexico and sustainability issues. The most important finding of this study was the transformation of the framework, where it had to be redrawn according to the results, where the new one shows that Subjective Norm and Behavioural Control were acting as mediators variables changing the dynamic of Consumer Behaviour, in other words, millennials are aware of the environmental sustainability issues and have positive attitudes towards it, however, the influence of social pressure (Subjective Norm), and its perceptions of difficulty of Environmental Sustainable Fashion (Behavioural Control) act as barrier.

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Thanaporn Sopchokchai MA Fashion Retail Management

Kinetic Culture

A practice based study of how online experiential values can enhance perceived value of own brand ‘Moress’ a mid market Thai jewellery brand: developing an atmospheric website for ‘Moress’


MA Fashion Retail Management

Abstract

Thanaporn Sopchokchai

In recent years, companies have increasingly been offering consumers brand experiences as emotional reward becomes ever more important in consumer purchasing decisions. Conventional marketing can no longer satisfy consumers as it lacks brand experience which is fun and enjoyable. Experiential retailing has become a key competitive tool utilised by many companies to strengthen brand values through interactive and entertaining shopping experiences. This aspect will be discussed in the literature review along with the consumer perception theories. Presently, the development of technologies allow consumers to enjoy convenient and interactive shopping experiences. As a result, online shopping has become a retail channel which allows companies to enhance perceived brand value and quality through the use of experiential cues. The main aim of this dissertation is to study how online experiential values can enhance Moress’ perceived brand value in the Thai mid market, with special focus on the interaction between the brand itself and the consumers. In order to comply with these objectives, empirical research was conducted with Moress’ existing consumers through focus group interviews. Although online stores has been developed in many brands a crossed the US and Europe, it is still considered a new emerging trend in Thailand. The dissertation concludes with the use of online experiential values enhances perceived brand value through successful atmospheric website design. Consumer feedback of Moress’ new atmospheric website also provides future development of Moress’ atmospheric website in the Thai consumer perception.

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Background and rationale

The jewellery retail market has become very competitive in recent years as it continues to grow globally (Dauriz et al, 2014). Many new brands are appearing in the market and consumers are opening up to more purchasing choices (Academic.mintel, 2015). Conventional marketing strategies are no longer enough for retailers to operate in this competitive market. As consumers’ purchasing habits stem from emotional rewards, many new companies are developing strategies to allow customers to consume brand experiences which are fun and enjoyable (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982, Pine and Gilmore, 1999, Mathwick et al, 2001, Eroglu et al, 2001 ). As such, experiential retailing is becoming a key competitive tool to enhance brand value through an interactive and entertaining shopping environment to satisfy the emotional needs of consumers (Arnold and Reynolds, 2003, Levenburg, 2005, To and Sung, 2014). Presently, many consumers are shopping more through online channels using their mobile phone or computer (The Nation, 2014, Retailinasia.com, 2016). The development of technologies created growth in online shopping (Inside Retail Asia, 2016) and as a result traditional retailing is declining (Eroglu et al, 2001, Hoover, 2016 ). Online shopping becomes convenient, (Eroglu et al, 2001) and interactive (Demangeot and Broderick, 2006) through the conscious design of website environments (Dailey, 2004). Manganari et al (2009) proposed web elements in order to create an atmospheric website, these are ‘virtual layout and design’, ‘virtual atmospherics’, ‘virtual theatrics’ and ‘virtual social presence’. These elements can create online experiential cues which improve consumer satisfaction (Brakus et al., 2009), consumer emotions, perceived brand quality (Oh et al., 2007) and perceived product value (Levenburg, 2005).

02

Moress is a Thai fashion jewellery brand with range of products from bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces and charm beads (See Appendix A). Currently, the brand have several stores in Thailand, mainly in the central Bangkok area. Due to the competitiveness of the industry, the brand is losing its value due to a lack of online engagement with consumers and deficiency in providing experiential services. As Thailand is currently one of the biggest markets for internet retailing in Asia, it is beneficial for Moress’ brand to adhere to the trend of online atmospheric website retailing. This can expand the brand awareness and value with rapid growth potential (Ashton, 2015). There has been several studies into online experiential retailing. However, research on online experiential retailing specifically in the accessories market is still scarce, especially in the Thai market context. This study is beneficial for both existing and new jewellery brands in Thailand as there is high growth potential in the online market (Retailinasia.com, 2016). The study aims to develop an atmospheric website for online jewellery brand using Manganari et al (2009) online store environment and Shobeiri et al (2013) experiential values and website personality dimension framework, as better engagement and communication with audiences can increase perceived brand value (Levenburg, 2005). Further research could extend the current study by looking at the impact of online experiential retailing in other types of retail which will need application of alternative experiential values to jewellery retailing.

Introduction

In 2015, Thailand was ranked the second largest online retail market in Southeast Asia, according to consulting company Bain & Company (Retailinasia.com, 2016). The value of internet retailing in Thailand is expected to grow over 74.9 percent between 2014 and 2018 (The Nation, 2014a). It can be observed in Thailand that many brands both international and national such as Pandora, Ohm beads or Mimoism have shifted towards online retailing strategy. By adding experiential values to online retailing, it offers consumers shopping experiences that go beyond traditional values of price and quality (Shobeiri et al, 2014). Poddar et al. (2009) consider ‘website personalities’ to be important in attracting consumers to visit and revisit retail sites by meeting consumer’s needs. These personalities were adapted by Poddar et al. (2009) to be ‘solidity’, ‘enthusiasm’, ‘genuineness’, ‘sophistication’ and ‘pleasantness’.


Introduction Methodology Aims & Objectives

The aim of this project is to research online experiential retailing and develop an atmospheric online shopping website for ‘Moress’ brand to increase its perceived brand value in Thai mid market online accessories. Objectives:  o contextualise the Thai mid market online T jewellery market  xplore theories and practices of online E experiential retailing  o observe best practices of online accessory T brands to inform the development of an effective atmospheric website.  o investigate Thai mid market consumers’ T responses toward online experiential cues  o develop an atmospheric website for Moress T and enhance perceived brand value through online experiential retailing.

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The research onion from Saunders et al (2012) provides a guide to research methodology overview. The proposed research philosophy this study applied is the interpretivism as it integrates human interest and in-depth data collection of consumers through interactive and cooperative environment (Saunders et al., 2012, Research Methodology, 2016). Using qualitative methods of analysis, this philosophy aims to understand and interpret the social worlds and contexts (Silverman, 2013, Saunders et al., 2016). An abductive approach is used as it combines both deductive and inductive approaches. There are theories and patterns to be reviewed using the deductive approach to gain knowledge of existing research. At the same time this study also aims to discover on the basis of interpretation of collected data using the inductive approach (Reichertz, 2010). According to the objectives of this research a mixed-method strategy will be used. To gain in-depth information on best practices of online accessory brands, primary research through multiple case-studies was conducted focusing on leading brands with a strong online experience and similar product offerings such as Tiffany, Thomas Sabo, Links of London and Pandora. There is a lack of studies in online experiential retailing in the Thai market, therefore survey and focus group interview were used to understand Thai consumer’s perspectives towards online shopping and responses to online experiential cues. A reflective log will accompany this study, documenting the primary research process.


2. Review of the literature This chapter will guide the reader through relevant subject area and field of practice 2.1 Online Experiential Theory This section will provide a critical synthesis of existing work. Theories and practices of online experiential retailing. 2.2 Best Practices of Online Accessory Brands This section will be looking at best practices of online accessories brands using a self-directed observation shaped through OSEF framework (Manganari et al, 2009) 2.3 Jewellery Market in Thailand This section will define and explore Thai jewellery market. 2.4 Summary 3. Methodology This chapter will justify the methodological process and methods used within this study. 4. Project Development Discussion and Evaluation This chapter discuss about the entire process in the creation of this project, analysing and discussing the results from the exploration. 5. Validation This chapter concludes and summarise the process of this study, reflecting on the final outcome of this project. 6. References 7. Appendices

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Hoffman et al. (1996) The usage of website as a commercial medium by sharing and providing information to create positive consumer mood and satisfaction. Doherty et al. (1999) The study explored the potential of internet retailing as a new retail channel in a commercial format. Advantages and potential developments were discussed. Mathwick et al. (2001) Experiential value in online shopping environment Research explores experiential values and how it can be use to enhance perceived brand value. Eroglu et al. (2001) Atmospheric qualities of virtual shopping outlet Research examined online store environment and its effect on shopper behaviours. Palmer (2002) Dimension of website success The success of website performances including navigation, website download, interactivity and responsiveness. Levenburg (2005) The research examined the use of the internet to enhance company image and perceived brand value. Demangeot and Broderick (2006) Dimension of website experiential intensity Context familiarity, product presence, visual impact and site-user. Enhancing consumer’s navigation on website to increase positive consumer reactions. Manganari et al. (2009) The online store environment framework (OSEF) The research proposed a framework consisting of different web elements to construct a favourable online store. Poddar et al. (2009) The role of website personalities The research conceptualised the effects of website customer orientation on consumer behaviour. Shobeiri et al. (2013) Experiential value and website personalities dimension The researcher proposed a model focusing on experiential values and the impact on web personalities

Introduction

Literature overview Overview and structure

1. Introduction This chapter provides the context and rationale for this practice-based project. It also sets out the aims and objectives providing an overview of what will be investigate.

Cockburn and Wilson (1995) Explored the possibilities of using the internet world wide web as a business medium. Online catalogue, virtual mall and virtual shops with instant access to millions of people.


This chapter will discuss the main findings of the entire primary data collection process, and the creation of Moress’ atmospheric online shopping website in the Thai mid market online accessory sector. The chapter is divided into stages of primary research process. Initial research was via survey with Moress’ consumers, which provided information of consumer perceived brand value. Moreover, the observation looked at four best cases of online accessory brands utilising the elements of the OSEF framework (Manganari et al., 2009), with findings guiding the creation of Moress’ new website. Lastly, a focus group interview was conducted in order to evaluate the effect of Moress’ new atmospheric website on perceived brand value. The primary research used thematic analysis to identify key themes by highlighting repeated contents. The findings from primary research together assisted the creation and evaluation of Moress’ new atmospheric online shopping website.

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Introduction Summary of findings

Research design Discussion

In this study a mixed method research has been used, combining quantitative and qualitative data, whilst keeping data collection and analysis separate (Saunders et al., 2012). The mixed method research was suitable to gain more in-depth data from different aspects of phenomenon (Silverman, 2013). Initial quantitative methods of exploratory study using social survey were appropriate for this research, which provided scoping of Thai consumer perspectives of online retailing and the brand ‘Moress’. Subsequently, qualitative methods of observation and focus group interview data were collected to explore practices of online retailing and Thai consumer responses to online experiential cues. Relating to the research method and strategy, a data triangulation technique was used to ensure the data’s validity in understanding and creating an atmospheric website for the Thai mid market (Bryman and Bell, 2015, Saunders et al., 2016)

This study contains 5 objectives which were achieved through secondary and primary research. Each objective is discussed below: Objective 1: To contextualise the Thai mid market online jewellery market The initial objective was to contextualise the Thai mid market online jewellery environment and to understand Thai consumers online shopping behaviour. This objective was fulfilled through secondary research of existing literature and reports. The research showed growth in the Thai economy and indicated the sales of jewellery will continue to grow (Portal.euromnitor.com,2015). The increase in jewellery brands both domestic and international also suggests increased consumer demand for branded jewellery (Thairath, 2015). Branded jewellery in the Thai mid market is shifting into digital marketing as online communities are becoming important tools to communicate with target audiences (Portal. euromonitor.com, 2015c). The report shows Thai consumers are more likely to make online purchases of branded jewellery than unbranded, where there is more trust in the product quality (Portal.euromonitor.com, 2015c). However, lack of service excellences in online platforms can effect consumer buying decisions (Portal.euromonitor. com, 2015c). The questionnaires covered the empirical research of the Thai online jewellery market from the consumer perspective, which will be discussed further in objective 4. Overall, the contextualisation of the Thai mid market online jewellery environment has provided positive opportunities in online expansion in the market.


Extensive research was conducted into online experiential retailing, which considered this sales medium one of the important retail channels for increasing business performance, by reaching out to target audiences through networking (Levenburg, 2005, Oh et al., 2007, To and Sung, 2014). Later research from 2001 looked at website design, with a view to maximising favourable consumer perception. Providing experiential cues through careful website design can result in positive consumer responses and enhance perceived brand value (Eroglu et al., 2001, Mathwick et al., 2001, Levenburg, 2005, Manganari et al., 2009).

Conclusion

The online store environment framework (Manganari et al., 2009), which was utilised to help aid the observation primary research, was further divided into sections and explored in depth through existing literature.

Correspondingly, this study proposed to revise the Experiential Values and Website Personality Dimensions model (Shobeiri et al., 2013), to exclude the customer return on investment (CROI) value. This experiential value was not considered applicable to the research as it cannot be measured. Affordable jewellery does not by definition possess a tangible value to the customer, as rather it elicits an emotional response or emotional value. Overall, the revised framework is category specific within affordable jewellery and has made contribution to academia, as current studies on online experiential retailing do not focus on a specific retail sector. Contribution to Industry The final outcome of this study is a mockup website for an online accessory brand for the Thai market. The website design and function was developed through the combination of secondary and primary research collected through Thai consumers. The atmospheric website elements can be further developed and implement in many emerging domestic jewellery brands in Thailand. As more atmospheric websites appear in the market, Thai consumers will become more comfortable with online purchasing which will help increase the overall growing sales of jewellery in the Thai market (Portal.euromonitor. com, 2015).

Contribution to Academia As the topic of online experiential retailing remains in its infancy in Thailand, this study provides useful research for the Thai market and online experiential retailing. Findings from this study provided a strong background for future research of online retailing in Thailand.

The study provides opportunity for jewellery brands in Thailand to offer Thai consumers with atmospheric online shopping websites. The website design can be implemented by Thai online jewellery brands to enhance perceived brand value. This research suggested adding ‘product themes’, ‘product promotions’ and ‘product inspirations’ (Author’s own) within a website could provide online retailers with a more appealing site for Thai consumers.

This study used two existing framework of the OSEF (Manganari et al., 2008) and Experiential Values and Website Personality Dimensions model (Shobeiri et al., 2013) which established an in-depth research into the impact of experiential cues and Thai consumers.

The website will be developed further to fully satisfied Thai consumer needs via the consumer feedback received. The mockup website will be converted into a fully functional online shopping website, serving as an online retailing channel for Thai consumers.

06

Introduction

Objective 2: Explore theories and practices of online experiential retailing The second objective was to explore the theories and practices that were embedded in the topic of online experiential retailing. This objective was fulfilled through secondary research which explored existing literature on online experiential retailing. Traditional shopping has shifted as consumer demand for experiential shopping services has increased. Although online channels offer diminished opportunity for experience creation than offline, it is however possible to create quality interactions online with consumer who can easily network.


Introduction A greater amount of literature could have been looked at to provide more detail of the Thai online jewellery market. However with limited secondary resources in Thai consumer perspectives, questionnaires have been put together to further explore this for Moress and online jewellery shopping.

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Recommendations

Limitations

As this study was a cross-sectional study it was conducted over a 3 month period according to the academic course, making data collection and the research constrained. The focus group interview was the most challenging as it was conducted through Skype interview with consumers in Thailand from the UK. There were difficulties with some of the participant’s internet signal causing delays in the focus group interview. Consumers are also less likely to give negative feedback in a focus group environment, as they will feel more pressured by the presence of a brand representative. So, whilst the research suggests the new atmospheric website resulted in a perceived increase in brand value, it is not infeasible that the data collection method also played a partial role in this perceived increase. The data collection was conducted solely through Moress consumers databases which was a specific target audience, the study therefore cannot be generalised to the net ire population of Thailand. Furthermore, this study only explored 4 best practice cases of online accessory brands. Therefore, this study cannot be generalised to all other cases or applicable to other retail sector.

Given that research of online experiential retailing in Thailand is still scarce, there are still opportunities to further explore its impact and effect on consumers. Hence, considering the rise of online consumers in Thailand, it can be beneficial to explore other retail sectors and not limiting the research solely on jewellery products. As this research examined the impact of online experiential retailing towards Moress consumers, most of which are female, future research could investigate a wider group of participants to more effectively generalise the research to the population of Thailand. Future research can also look at the study of online experiential retailing in neighbouring countries to generate an atmospheric website for a bigger audience not limited only Thailand. As noted by other researchers, digital online strategies must be constantly reevaluated and improved, given that new technologies are frequently emerging and consumers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding. Therefore, future research can look at the possibilities of incorporating new technologies to further generate favourable online shopping through the use of experiential cues.


Victoria Adereti MA Fashion Retail Management

Kinetic Culture

An exploratory study to examine the relationship between in-store multi-sensory retailing strategies and consumer purchase intension in flagship stores within the midmarket womenswear sector of the UK fashion retail high street


MA Fashion Retail Management

Abstract

Victoria Adereti

This paper yields a new theoretical direction/framework as well as managerial insight/implications which will enrich understanding of sensory retailing and purchase intentions. A multi method strategy will be applied to the primary data collection for this paper, in order to obtain qualitative and quantitative data. A major limitation of this research paper is that it focuses purelyon flagship stores. This means that the data generated cannot be generalised to all mid-market womenswear fashion retailers in the UK. 01


Background and rationale

In recent times, the fashion retail industry has been undergoing major changes, which some attribute to the rise of ‘Fast Fashion’ and the rapid advancement of technology (Retail Week Reports, 2014).This has inevitably led to a change in consumer behaviour. Academic discourse reveals that consumers of today are actively seeking and receiving environmental and social stimuli as informational inputs aiding internal decision-making (Stewart, 1994). As a result of this, consumers now occupy an increasingly active position with regards to decision making. This is a completely different stance to the preconceived notion that consumers are passive as was previously suggested by some theorists.

According to Schmitt (1999) experiences occur as a result of encountering stimulations to the senses, the heart and the mind. Pine II and Gilmore also propose that “Companies stage experiences when they engage consumers” (1999 p. 4). More recent research shows that this continues to be the case, by suggesting that in-store environments exert strong influences on purchases; because marketers engineer the purchasing environment to allow for connection with consumers at the exact time decisions are made (Solomon, 2009).

1.2 Context

1.2.3. Purchase intentions Previous studies on buying behaviour typically adopted economic, psycho dynamic and behavioural points of view (Freud, 1856-1939) cited in (Stewart, 1994) and (Watson and Rayner (1920), these authors suggested that the decision making process is rational. However, recent studies however no longer consider these approaches as realistic; suggesting that factors such as environmental and situational factors affect consumers purchasing behaviour (Kotler and Armstrong, 2010; Lancaster and Massingham, 2011; Schiffman and Kanuk, 2006) cited in Ogbeide (2015).

1.2.1 Multi-sensory Previous approaches and research into atmospherics reviewed and made decisions about each individual sense (in isolation) as relates to the consumer (Foster and McLelland, 2015). However, the need for a more integrate approach arose, as consumers began seeking experiences that produce sensory pleasures that stimulate them on multiple levels psychologically (Kim et. al, 2007). These sensory pleasures further explained by Krishna as sensations relating to gratification (2010). Roberts (2005) acknowledges the importance of multi sensorial stimulation; he proposes the senses work together; and when they are stimulated at the same time, unforgettable results are achieved.

Holbrook and Hirschman (1986) prescribe that to gain a better understanding of consumer behaviour, a more cognitive/ hedonic perspective should be adopted as opposed to a utilitarian perspective which suggests the consumer can be rational where multi-sensory factors are involved. Shiffman and Kanuk’s revision of the ‘Theory of Buyer Behaviour’ Model that was previously introduced by Howard and Sheth (1969) (2007) takes this into consideration by adopting a more hedonic approach to the revised model. This was achieved by acknowledging the role of the senses in decision making. The S-O-R model (Figure 1) can be applied to further understand how individuals react to their environment (Russell, 1974) cited in (Kim et al., 2007).

As the retail landscape continues to change, the role of the Brick-and-Mortar retailing channel has and also continues to change rapidly; as retailers attempt to entice consumers back to store by re-engaging them on a deeper level (WGSN, 2013). In the retail environment of today, it is suggested that to be successful , brands should aim to invest in their Brick-and-mortar outlets to create superior shopping experience for the consumer (KPMG, 2013).

02

Introduction

Further research conducted in the field also suggests that these sensorial experiences are essential, as they engage more than one of the human senses: sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing at once -making them multi-sensory by nature (Hulten et al, 2009, 2011).


Introduction Figure 1: S-O-R model This model suggests that when an organism encounters stimulus responses are achieved. In the context of this research paper, this model can be interpreted as when a customer encounters multi- sensorial stimulus, a response (possibly purchase intention) is evoked. This model also insinuates that only when retailers are armed with an understanding of how consumers behave, can they design strategies and tactics that fit seamlessly into the consumers shopping experience (Sullivan and Adcock, 2002). 1.2.4. Market context The UK fashion industry contributed £26 billion to the UK economy (British Fashion Council, 2015). The average growth rate between 2010-2015 was 2.9% (Verdict, 2015). Consumer’s expectations continue to rise, meaning that retailers will need to do more to stand out (Mintel, 2015). The UK high street has been struggling with the decline in football, this dropped by 1.4% in 2015 (PCR- online, 2015). This is the best performance in seven months, as physical retailers continue to fight back against their online counterparts. Mintel (2016a) suggests that women have a propensity to spend their disposable income on leisure activities in preference to clothing, thereby presenting an avenue for retailers to indulge them through creating dining and entertainment experiences within their stores. The UK mid- market fashion brands sales rose by 3.7% in 2015 (Drapers Online, 2015). The UK clothing, footwear and accessories market is estimated to be worth £50bn and is estimated to grow by 4.5% between 2015 and 2020 (PWC, 2016). The rise in disposable income, shift towards spending on experiences, deflation in clothing price and clothing retailer innovation have all been highlighted as driving forces behind the rise in clothing, footwear and accessories market value (PWC, 2016).

03

This research paper will be focusing on mid-market brands as there does not appear to be much research available on assessing multi-sensory retailing within this market compared to its luxury counterpart. Mintel (2016a) identifies Urban Outfitters and Oasis as Mid-market womenswear brands. Rationale On the premise of the context established in this chapter, it can be deduced that it is essential for retailers to understand the factors that psychologically stimulate consumers and how they can be implemented to aide purchase in-store. Of course, one might argue that multi-sensory retailing has an effect on consumer buying behaviour, given that retailers continue to adopt this strategy to entice consumers to their flagship stores. This is evidenced in the example of the Build-A-Bear Workshops that provide interactive retail-entertainment experiences for customers. It allows visitors to make their own personalised stuffed toy with the option of adding sound and smell (KPMG, 2013). Although not a fashion industry brand, this example proves the logical under-pinning of the S-O-R model. One could therefore suggest that there is a need for research to be done to assess the applicability of multi-sensory retailing strategy in driving purchase intention. This research paper will be adding to the plethora of research on both the multi-sensory and buying behaviour particularly purchase intentions subject areas by attempting to provide an in- depth understanding of whether multi-sensory retailing experience could lead to purchase intention within the mid-market womenswear flagship stores on the UK fashion retail high street. Retailers will in-turn be able to apply this information to make more accurate judgements on how to better use in-store multi-sensory retailing to optimise purchase intention within their flagship stores.


Objectives:  o explore the theories and practices that T underpins Multi-sensory retailing and Purchase intension and contextualise the mid-market womenswear sector of the UK fashion retail high street.  o critically examine relevant multi-sensory T practices in flagship stores within the midmarket womenswear sector of the UK fashion retail high street.  o investigate the extent to which multiT sensory factors influence consumers purchase intension in flagship stores within the mid-market womenswear sector of the UK fashion retail high street.  o provide recommendations on how in-store T multi sensory retailing can be used to optimise purchase intension within the mid-market womenswear sector of the UK fashion retail high street.

Methodology

Introduction

Aims and objectives

The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between in-store multi-sensory retailing strategies and consumer purchase intension in flagship stores within the mid-market womenswear sector of the UK fashion retail high street.

This research paper is subjective by nature (Millmore et al, 2007). It will be adopting a pragmatic philosophical stance. An abductive approach will be adopted in this paper, as it is working from theory to hypothesis and is also trying to explain the causal relationship between multi-sensory and purchase intentions (Saunders et al, 2012). A multi method strategy will be applied to the primary data collection for this paper, in order to obtain qualitative and quantitative data. Multi method strategy of often recommended, due to its many benefits. By adopting a multi method strategy, this paper is able to offset the weaknesses of each individual method as well as provide stronger inference (Robson, 2011). It could be argued that quantitative data will sufficiently satisfy the objectives; however, obtaining qualitative data will provide a deeper understanding.

04

The first method will be a self-administered online survey, which will consist of both closed and open-ended questions. Open-ended questions will provide a wealth of information regarding consumers awareness of, attitude towards multisensory (Kumar, 2011), whilst the closed questions will help with making correlations. The second method will be the use of participant observation, which is a qualitative research tool amongst others and it is popularly used in behavioural science research (Stewart and Shamdasani, 2015). This method will provide in depth understanding of the relationship between consumers attitude towards multi- sensory and also their level of awareness with regards to multi-sensory cues. With regards to data analysis, the self administered online survey will be analysed using SPSS; this will offer simple summary statistics (O’Leary, 2014) as well as allow for correlations to be assessed. The transcribed data gathered from the participant observation will be thematically analysed (Silverman, 2011), providing grounded interpretation in the particularities of multi-sensory retailing from the participants’ perspective. During the process of gathering data for this project, ethical considerations were of utmost importance. None of the participants were coerced into taking part in the participant observation or filling in the online survey. All participants were briefed of the aim and objectives of the project before hand to help them with deciding to take part in the research or not.


2. Literature Review This chapter presents all the secondary data collected as a result of reviewing academic discourse and trade sources already available on the three main fields of study in this paper. This detailed analysis allows for a strong understanding of the core concepts: multi-sensory, Flagship stores and Purchase Intentions. 3. Research Methodology This chapter addresses and justifies the philosophical stance, approach, strategy and chosen research methods adopted to fulfil the aim and objectives of this research project. It also provides detailed explanation of the data collection procedure and also the analysis approach employed. 4. Findings and Research This chapter presents critical analysis of the data collected from the primary research conducted and how this enriches academia and industry.

Literature overview

5. Conclusion In this chapter, the paper culminates with a summary the entire research project and the conclusions drawn based on the literature review and the primary research conducted. It also addresses the limitations of the research project whilst also making recommendations for further research.

This research paper begins by examining existing academic discourse on the concepts of multisensory retailing, flagship stores and purchase intentions. An attempt is then made to explore the relationship between these three subject fields. The information contained in this chapter will form the foundation upon which this research project is built. Multisensory: In recent times, consumers are faced with many challenges some of which include time deficiency, increased connectivity and an enormous amount of choice (Ballantyne et. al, 2006); making them increasingly knowledgeable about what they want to buy and where to buy it (Ander & Stern, 2004). As a result, consumers now seek experiences that produce sensory pleasures and stimulate them psychologically (Kim et. al, 2007). Otherwise referred to by Krishna et. al as sensations relating to gratification (2010).

05

According to Berlyne (1971) hedonic perspectives postulate that experiencing multisensory cues is an important form of influencing consumer response (cited in Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). Some authors propose that emotions play a significant role in decision making (Eysenck and Keane, 2015) and how consumers behave whilst shopping (Morrison and Mundell, cited in Stahlberg and Maila, 2012) Experience Economy and Experiential Retailing A key factor in influencing consumer purchase decision making process is ‘Experience’. The rise of the ‘Experience Economy’ has been attributed to the increasingly hyper competitive market place (Pine and Gilmore, 1999; Shaw and Ivens, 2002). Barkus, Schmitt and Zarantonello (2009) describe brand experience as the sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments. According to O’Sullivan and Spangler (1988, pp.326), the experience economy refers to “individuals or organizations whose sole purpose is to create a differentiate experience for their clients”. Davidson (1992) agrees with this point of viewby suggesting that the process by which sustainable competitive benefit is built in orderto achieve consumer loyalty is referred to as experience economy. When examining the experience economy philosophy, Barlow and Maul (2000) reveal that at every level of their transaction or interaction with a brand, consumers expect a positive, memorable and emotional experience. Contrary to the common notion of offering more and more to gain the objective of experience economy, brands are in fact not encouraged to do what the others do not offer rather they should offer services with a global experience to their customers so as to remain in their minds forever. On the above, researchers believe that the issue of the experiences remains debatable as consumers’ want more and more experiences because demand always plays a key factor influencing consumer’s decision making (Pikkemaat & Schuckert, 2004). Pine II and Gilmore propose that “Companies stage experiences when they engage consumers” (1999 p. 4). In line with this, research shows that in-store environments exert strong influences on purchases; as a result, marketers engineer the purchasing environment to allow for connection with consumers at the exact time decisions are made (Solomon, 2009). It is also proposed that in order to build strong brands, it is imperative that there is an emotional link between the brand and the customer (Hulten, 2011).

Introduction

Overview and structure

1. Introduction This chapter establishes the background information relating to this research paper, by explaining the context and rationale of the research and identifying the research gap. The aim and objectives of this project are also outlined in this section.


Summary In previous studies, researchers in this field have investigated the relationship between brand equity and consumers’ purchase intention (Irshad, 2012). It was discovered that there is a significant relationship between brand equity and the willingness to purchase and also willingness to recommend brand purchase to others (Azizi and Ajini, 2012). Divolf (2005) proposes that increased brand awareness has a high propensity to lead to heightened levels of brand association in the mind of the consumer. This according to Tih and Lee (2013 consequently positively influences the consumers’ decision to purchase from that brand. A significant amount of previous studies also revealed that there is a significant relationship brand image and purchase intentions of consumers tested (Arslan and Altuna (2010); chi et al. (2008); Tariq et al. (2013). However, there is a lack of studies that assess the relationship between multi-sensory retailing and purchase intention; as a result, this paper aims to fill that gap within academic literature and also with the proposal of a theoretical framework.

06

Mantere and Ketokivi (2013) refer to this approach as interpretive research involving a conversational engagement between theory and empirical phenomenon (cited in Bryman and Bell, 2015). This approach presents a balance between the deductive and inductive approaches, as the advantages of one offsets the disadvantage of the other. This mode of reasoning was considered as best suited to this research paper as it provides the platform to make logical inferences and build theories about the relationship between multisensory retailing and purchase intentions (Bryman and Bell, 2015). Also this research paper seeks to use data collection to explore the effects of multi sensory retailing on consumer purchase intention, in order to identify patterns and themes which can then be used to create conceptual frameworks which can then be subsequently tested. There are two main research approaches, inductive and deductive (Saunders et. al, 2009). Deductive approach is simply explained as testing theory (Saunders et. al, 2009); it is often referred to as scientific research as it is the art of working from theory to hypothesis. This approach attempts to explain the casual relationship between variables by assessing causation. It lends itself to quantitative data collection methods as this allows for generalisation of conclusions. Although this approach can be viewed as a low risk approach, one of the disadvantages is that there are risks of non-return questionnaires. Inductive approach on the other hand is synonymous with building theory (Saunders et. al, 2009). The researcher is expected to gain an in-depth understanding of the nature of the problem at hand and analyse their findings in the form of theory formulation (Saunders et. al, 2009). Inductive research aims to gain an understanding of how humans interpret events; as such it is better suited to qualitative data collection methods. This allows the researcher to gather in-depth information and also gives the flexibility to adapt the research focus as necessary throughout the research (Saunders et. al, 2009).

Introduction

Research design Further research conducted in the field suggests that experiences occur as a result of encountering stimulations to the senses, the heart and the mind (Schmitt, 1999). These sensorial cues are essential as they engage one or all of the human senses: sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing; making them multi-sensoryin nature (Hulten et al, 2009, 2011). They can also be harnessed to excite and engage customer (Morrison and Mundell, cited in Stahlberg and Maila, 2012) as well as control the customers’ response (Easey, 2009).

This research paper however adopts an abductive approach which is the combination of both deductive and inductive approaches. In recent years, this new approach has become popular in business research, particularly amongst qualitative researchers (Bryman and Bell, 2015).


Upon collating the findings, it became apparent that customers particularly from the participant observation did not feel as though all their senses are often engaged at once when within a womenswear flagship fashion retail store. This buttresses the point raised in the literature review section which stated that it is essential for the customer’s senses to recognise the sensory cues the retailer is engaging. This then posses an opportunity for improvement in the area of fully engaging the customer’s senses during their shopping experience within flagship fashion retail stores.

Cronbach’s alpha was subsequently extracted to ensure that the scales used were reliable. The third technique employed was Pearson correlation test, to assess the relationship between each of the 3 independent variables and the dependent variable. Finally, the fourth was regression analysis which was conducted to evaluate the relationship between the identified factors. The data gathered from the participant observation was thematically analysed to enable for better understanding of the customer’s perspective and also to allow for recommendations to be made concerning how retailers could optimise multi-sensory retailing to drive purchase in store.

07

Limitations Recommendations

Summary of findings

The data gathered from the participant observation was thematically analysed to enable for better understanding of the customer’s perspective and also to allow for recommendations to be made concerning how retailers could optimise multi-sensory retailing to drive purchase in store.

A number of statistical and qualitative analysis techniques were employed in this chapter. The quantitative data was analysed first; to begin with, some descriptive analysis was conducted using the frequency table tool in SPSS as well as pie charts. This was then followed by exploratory factor analysis with Varimax rotation to decipher how each item in the self- administered online survey contributed to distinct factors.

This study set out to present the consumers perspective on multi-sensory retailing and purchase intension. To achieve this, the paper aimed to explore the terrain of multi-sensory retailing and purchase intensions within womenswear mid-market flagship stores. In order to achieve this, the following objectives were set.

A major limitation of this research paper is that it focuses purely on flagship stores. This means that the data generated cannot be generalised to all mid-market womenswear fashion retailers in the UK. The scope of the research is also limited to the mid-market sector of the UK fashion retail high street. That being said, it should be noted that all not all sectors of the UK fashion retail high street engage multi-sensory retailing as highlighted in the literature review section.

It would be my recommendation that a similar study to the one conducted in this paper should be carried out for the mid-market menswear sector of the UK high street. Whilst conducting the research for this paper, trade sources revealed that the UK menswear market has grown significantly in the last few years and is forecasted to grow even more in the coming years. Some sources even suggest that millennial men are becoming more fashion orientated than their female counterparts. Research could be conducted on visually impaired customers to observe how their awareness of multi-sensory, their attitude towards it and the sensations that are evoked as a result of multisensory affects their purchase intentions.

Introduction

Conclusion

Discussion

A number of statistical and qualitative analysis techniques were employed in this chapter. The quantitative data was analysed first; to begin with, some descriptive analysis was conducted using the frequency table tool in SPSS as well as pie charts. This was then followed by exploratory factor analysis with Varimax rotation to decipher how each item in the self- administered online survey contributed to distinct factors. Cronbach’s alpha was subsequently extracted to ensure that the scales used were reliable. The third technique employed was Pearson correlation test, to assess the relationship between each of the 3 independent variables and the dependent variable. Finally, the fourth was regression analysis which was conducted to evaluate the relationship between the identified factors.


Vincenzo Speciale MA Fashion Retail Management

Disruptive Enterprise

An explanatory study on intra-industry co-branding collaborations involving British small and medium fashion companies and their effect on consumer-based brand equity


MA Fashion Retail Management

In today’s highly competitive business world, affected by fierce rivalry and rapidly changing customer demands, it has become arduous for fashion brands to stand out of the crowd. Small and medium enterprises (SME) are especially vulnerable and need to find distinct means to differentiate themselves from competitors, and one way to do this is through the development of co-branding strategies in order to foster brand strength and to build long-term relationships with customers. The aim of this study is to analyse co-branding theories and reveal their potential to improve the brand equity of small and medium UK-based fashion companies. The research was conducted to overcome difficulties in current marketplaces and to recommend the ideal level of brand strength for British fashion SMEs.

Abstract

Vincenzo Speciale

A cross-sectional mixed-method approach, consisting of qualitative and quantitative data analysis, was adopted to achieve an insightful understanding of the topic from both a consumer and industry perspective. Research was conducted using a multiple case study strategy and purposively selecting three distinct cases of fashion SMEs. The data were obtained through semi-structured interviews with industry practitioners to explore key drivers and motives of co-branded collaborations and to investigate their impact on brand equity dimensions. Furthermore, a consumer-based questionnaire was used to investigate consumers’ attitudes towards collaborations in order to complete existing findings and confirm or reject formulated propositions. Research findings identified access to firm core competencies, to new consumer bases and to high visibility as main motives driving fashion SMEs to collaborate. The interviews and the questionnaire highlighted the effectiveness and success of co-branding within the SME sector, since a positive impact on consumer-based brand equity and on heightened brand familiarity was demonstrated. However, brand loyalty was the least affected component of brand equity, signifying that the behavioural dimension of equity is highly complex. This study also proposes a theoretical framework that serves as a tool to analyse the impact of co-branding on brand equity, and, at the same time, consumers’ attitudes and perceptions towards the collaboration. The model contributes to extant academic research and can be used in subsequent studies. A checklist has been produced as a general practical guide for SME’s brand managers in the UK to assess the ideal level of brand strength and optimising their co-branding collaboration activities.

01


It is widely acknowledged that co-branding is a cooperative marketing strategy involving combinations of two or more independent brands to create a separate and unique product (Park et al., 1996; Lanseng and Olsen, 2012). The international marketing literature has used the term with similar concepts such as brand alliance, joint promotion, ingredient branding, dual branding, composite branding and sponsorship (Darby 2006; Gammoh and Voss, 2006); and has recognised higher return on equity and investment and higher product evaluations as positive strategic alliances’ outcomes (Aaker, 1996; Keller, 2003). Academic research on strategic alliances has also focused on studies analysing consumers’ attitudes towards co-brand and co-branded products (James et al., 2006; Washburn et al., 2000). Simonin and Ruth (1998) stated that high familiarity of partner brands exerts a significant impact on attitudes towards co-brand and eases spillover effects across constituent brands, thus becoming an important element that can influence the outcome of a co-branding strategy. In the fashion industry, different co-branding strategies have been successfully developed in the form of intra-industrial collaborations (e.g. H&M-luxury houses) as well as interindustrial partnerships (e.g. Prada-LG mobile) (Todeva and Knoke, 2005). Ahn et al. (2010) asserted that fashion companies preferred intra-industry collaborations to inter-industry schemes to create a win-win situation through mutual promotion and equity building activities (Oeppen and Jamal, 2014). However, it should be noted that all the above-mentioned studies were mainly focused on specific product contexts (e.g. FMCG and electronics) and collaboration patterns involving established and renowned fashion brands.

02

Therefore, their findings can have limited generalisability for small and medium fashion companies. There exist several reasons driving companies to co-brand. Wigley and Provelengiou (2011) developed an extensive and comprehensive framework of industry-specific motives behind the strategic decisions of fashion companies to collaborate. However, their research was a case study focused on a single collaboration, which limits its generalisability and applicability to all fashion contexts and collaboration arrangements. Therefore, it is important to treat this model as a reference and conduct further investigation to analyse key drivers and motives of intra-industrial co-branded collaborations involving small and medium fashion companies. The success of any collaboration cannot be assessed without understanding the process by which consumers evaluate them. According to Uggla (2004) the characteristic of co-branding is that both brands transfer associations to one another and to consumers. Hence, determining brand equity is believed to be important in collaboration activities as the value of the brand name is transferred to another brand (Washburn et al., 2000). The term “brand equity” has been interpreted in several ways as the value a set of brand’s intangible assets has in customers’ minds (Aaker, 1996; Lassar et al., 1995). Keller (1993, p.8) defined consumer-based brand equity as the “differential effect that brand knowledge has on consumer response to the marketing activity of the brand”. If a co-branding strategy is well managed by combining both brand equities it creates positive brand reputation, differentiation and brand image (James, 2006; Rollet et al., 2013). Conversely, these alliances may have a negative impact on consumers’ perceptions thus, diluting the brand equity (Washburn et al., 2000). Aaker (1996) proposed a conceptual framework to assess consumer-based brand equity identifying four measuring dimensions, namely brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations and brand loyalty. Moreover, Simonin and Ruth (1998) acknowledged two effects related to consumer-based brand equity: a positive change in consumer evaluation after a brand alliance (enhancement) and a negative change in consumer perception subsequent to a brand alliance (dilution). Therefore, the models developed by Aaker (1996) and Simonin and Ruth (1998) are of critical interest for the scope of this study in order to evaluate the effect of intra-industry co-branded collaborations on the brand equity of British fashion SMEs.

Introduction

Background and rationale

In a highly competitive world where consumers easily access information and share their ideas, small and medium fashion brands must adopt branding techniques to differentiate themselves from competitors in order to enhance their brand images and to offer unique solutions that astonish customers. Strategic development, such as co-branding, is therefore explored as an option to foster brand strength and create enduring relationships with consumers (Luck et al., 2014). In order to understand the role of co-branding in the contemporary branding era, this study aims to investigate intra-industry collaborations and their impact on consumerbased brand equity, focusing on the British fashion market SMEs as an illustrative example.


Rickey (2013) reported that the growth of British SMEs in the clothing manufacture segment is highly dependent on the support of large retail chains like Topshop and Marks & Spencer or some globally recognised fashion brands. Therefore, it can be assumed that British fashion SMEs can improve their market success through brand equity enhancement by developing intra-industry co-branded collaborations with larger and established fashion brands. These organisations have received little attention from researchers in comparison with luxury brands or large enterprises. This substantiates the necessity to analyse British fashion SMEs and conduct a specific investigation to reveal how co-branding practices can benefit them in achieving their goals.

03

Aims and objectives

The ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report prepared by the London Stock Exchange (2016) included such small and medium fashion brands as Orlebar Brown, Seasalt, Cath Kidston, Cornish and several others. According to Gbadamosi et al. (2013), the UK market also had a large number of fashion designer SMEs. They are significant contributors to the UK economy and other European economies and are an integral part of sustainable economic development (Kyro, 2015). However, small and medium fashion brands are associated with a high risk of failure due to severe competition and require significant investments to reach good industry recognition and a stable financial position in view of the UK economic instability associated with a slowdown in sales and the sterling depreciation after Brexit (Euromonitor 2016). Small and medium enterprises attempt to overcome this issue by participating in trade shows and expand their reach through entering co-branding schemes.

The aim of this study is to investigate intra-industry collaborations involving British fashion SMEs and their impact on consumer-based brand equity. This purpose is achieved through the following objectives:  o explore theories and practices of co-branding T collaborations and their influence on consumerbased brand equity.  o contextualise the UK fashion market SMEs T and their propensity to engage in intra-industry co-branded collaborations.  o analyse key drivers and motives of T co-branded collaborations for UK fashion market SMEs.  o examine consumer attitudes towards T co-branded collaborations of British SMEs and to determine the effects of such collaborations on consumer-based brand equity.  o formulate recommendations for small T and medium UK-based fashion companies to assess the ideal level of brand strength and optimise their co-branding collaboration activity.

Introduction

Whilst co-branding activity has been practiced for some time there is no sign of it regressing, especially in the UK market. Indeed, collaboration activity is still prevalent within fashion brands as it leverages brand equity and has a strong impact on consumers’ attitudes (Washburn et al., 2000). Much of the existing literature on co-branding in the fashion industry is limited to either a consumer-related perspective (Kim et al., 2012; Lee and Park, 2010; Luck et al., 2014; Washburn et al., 2000;) or to a business perspective through case studies and strategic analysis (Oeppen and Jamal, 2014; Wang et al., 2012; Wigley and Provelengiou, 2011) or to both a consumer and business perspective through inter-industry and intra-industry collaborations (Ahn et al., 2010; Alexander and Contreras, 2016; Todeva and Knoke, 2005). Little empirical research has been conducted on the topic of intra-industry collaborations involving British fashion SMEs as the existing findings can have limited generalisability for small and medium fashion companies in the UK context.


Overview and structure Methodology

This explanatory study adopts a subjectivist and pragmatic philosophy and is conducted in a deductive basis (Gliner et al., 2009). The philosophy has been chosen to make sense of meanings while understanding the complexity of the phenomenon (Saunders et al., 2009). As the purpose of the study is to understand the effects of co-branding on brand equity, reality must be perceived as subjective, in order to analyse customers’ attitudes, actions and intentions in a exhaustive and meaningful way. The research approach taken in this study is deductive, which represents the best combination between theory and research (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Since the concept of co-branding, particularly within fashion SMEs, is widely unexplored in academic literature, a multiple case study strategy is chosen to explore this field of research further. The case studies (Anya Hindmarch, Orlebar Brown and Lulu Guinness) are then investigated to analyse intra-industry collaborations and to explain why small and medium brands activate them and their impact on brand equity. According to Yin (2014) a case strategy approach improves the reliability of the study providing a more solid and compelling investigation representing literal replications of real world context. This study implements a cross-sectional mixed-method strategy consisting of qualitative and quantitative data analysis – industry and consumer insights to shed light on each case – to allow triangulation and to improve the quality and trustworthiness of the data (Saunders et al., 2009).

04

This study consists of five chapters, namely introduction, literature review, research methodology, research findings and discussion, and conclusion. Chapter 1: introduction This chapter provides an overview of the research topic by delivering the rationale of this study. The research gap is identified and aim and objectives stated. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the methodology selected and chapter overview. Chapter 2: literature review This chapter provides a critical review of the existing literatureon co-branding theory, specifically in the fashion industry. It conceptualises intraindustry collaborations and presents key motives driving fashion companies to co-brand. Then, a definition of consumer-based brand equity is identified along with theoretical frameworks and measuring dimensions and its relationship with co-branding. Finally, the British fashion SMEs market is analysed and examples of intra-industry collaborations within the market identified. The literature review chapter concludes with the formulation of propositions and their adaptation intoa theoretical framework. Chapter 3: research methodology This chapter describes the methodology used to collect and analyse data to achieve the research objectives. The research philosophy, approach, strategies, techniques and tools implemented in this study are explained in detail. The chapter concludes with a discussion of validity and reliability of the study, ethical considerations and research limitations. Chapter 4: research findings and discussion This chapter analyses and discusses the findings gathered from the interviews with experts and the consumer-based survey. Research propositions are then evaluated against the background of these results. Chapter 5: conclusion This chapter provides the research conclusions based on results previously analysed. Academic and industry contributions and implications are given as well as possible limitations and recommendations for future research.


It has been analysed in such industries as food, retail, leisure and travel as well as the fashion industry (Dorozala and Kohlbrenner, 2008). The strategy of co-branding can assume different forms. Aaker and Keller (1990) term co-branding as a special type of brand extension (category or line extension) into other product classes; while Dorozala and Kohlbrenner (2008) categorise co-branding into a vertical form (up or down the value chain such as ingredient branding) and into a horizontal form (brands on the same value chain level). Blackett and Boad (1999) have developed the most explicit model to classify co-branding collaborations in terms of shared value creation

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Research design

Literature overview

The study of co-branding has become increasingly important to both academics and practitioners as research has revealed a multitude of contributions to collaboration and alliance theories in recent years (Kapferer, 2004). Broadly defined, the logic of co-branding is that two distinct and independent brands (constituent brands) are paired together to create a new and unique product (composite brand) (Park et al., 1996). More precisely, co-branding has been defined as “a cooperative marketing strategy involving combinations of two or more individual brands” (Lanseng and Olsen, 2012, p. 1108) with “significant customer recognition, in which the participants’ brand-names are retained” (Blackett and Boad, 1999, p. 7). This physical or symbolic association of brand names can be either long or short-term and extends to various contexts including products, advertisements, product placements and retail outlets (Dickinson and Heath, 2008; Rao and Ruekert, 1994). Cobranding has been widely applied by a variety of industries and market segments since the 1960s, when Kellogg’s started making Pop-Tarts with Smucker’s fruits (Kapferer, 1997).

This chapter describes the methodology used to collect and analyse data to achieve the research objectives. First, the rationale of research design and procedures of the main study is provided. Then, the explanatory nature and pragmatic philosophy are outlined, followed by the deductive approach, case study research strategy and mixed-method strategy consisting of qualitative and quantitative data analysis used in methodological choice. Furthermore, the justification for methods of data collection and analysis are presented. The chapter concludes with a discussion of validity and reliability of the study, ethical considerations and research limitations. Research Strategy and Choice A multiple case study strategy was applied in this research as it provides in-depth understanding of the previous exploration by linking historical phenomena within the contemporary context (Yin, 2008). According to Collis and Hussey (2003), multiple case studies are much more appropriate and more robust than single case study to holistically explore the research topic (Yin, 2014). Analysing co-branding strategies, their drivers and motives allowed to build a clearer understanding of intra-industry collaboration activities in terms of chosen brands, their features and outcomes, in order to produce relevant recommendations as to how British fashion SMEs can assess the ideal level of brand strength and optimise their cobranding collaboration.

Introduction

Summary and Conceptual Framework This study provides an extensive overview of the relevant literature regarding co-branding within the fashion industry, consumer-based brand equity and the UK fashion SMEs. With respect to research on co-branding, a definition of intraindustry collaborations and a conceptual framework to understand the driving motives to co-brand were provided. Consumers’ attitudes towards co-branding were analysed with the occurrence of two main effects, namely enhancement and dilution (Simonin and Ruth, 1998). Consumer-based brand equity is a complex concept that is highly significant for fashion brands (Aaker, 1996). While there exist many methods of increasing brand equity (Keller, 1993), this study is focused on co-branding and aims to reveal how collaboration with major fashion companies can improve the brand equity of British fashion SMEs. The analysis of consumer-based brand equity has revealed four key constituent dimensions, namely brand awareness, brand associations, perceived quality and brand loyalty. These dimensions, along with the moderating effect of brand familiarity, can lead to the enhancement or dilution of brand equity within the scope of intra-industry collaborations (Aaker, 1996; Simonin and Ruth, 1998).


Discussion

The main research outcomes are established in this chapter. Brief presentations are given for each of the selected case studies to establish their respective backgrounds. The chapter is structured around the themes deduced from the literature review and those that emerged from the interviews. The qualitative evidence is discussed in detail via content analysis. The main findings obtained from the interviews are also triangulated against what was stated by the questionnaire respondents. A cross-case comparative analysis concludes the chapter with the identification of key drivers and motives for British fashion SMEs as well as confirmation or rejection of research propositions.

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For instance, brand loyalty impacts were different from what was noted regarding brand associations, brand awareness and perceived quality suggesting that there are fundamental differences between these concepts. In other words, if consumers evaluate the collaboration favourably, these positive associations are likely to transfer to post-attitudes towards the small and medium brand, with only brand loyalty not being evaluated more favourably. This reinforces the assertion that brand equity is a complicated network of connections linked to both company actions and subjective perceptions. The conceptual framework proposed in the literature review (Figure 2.5, p. 24) fits the purpose of this study as no additional variables were identified when conducting the research. The model is an academic contribution because it may be used and generalised to other future co-branding studies (not only within the fashion sector) that attempt to look at consumer-based brand equity but also at the impact on brand enhancement and dilution under the moderating factor of brand familiarity.

Introduction

Summary of findings

Therefore, three cases of contemporary British fashion small and medium companies, which have developed co-branding activities, were assessed to analyse intra-industry collaborations and to explain why SMEs activate them and their impact on brand equity. Orlebar Brown, Lulu Guinness and Anya Hindmarch were selected for analysis, and specifically, the one-off collaborations between Orlebar Brown and Emilio Pucci in 2015 with their capsule collection of swimwear for men and women, the limited Lulu Guinness t-shirt collection for Uniqlo in 2014 and the womenswear collections of Anya Hindmarch for Barbour released for the Autumn Winter collection 2010. Cases of intra-industry collaborations were created with secondary research (mainly trade articles and companies’ blogs). These brands are positioned in the UK SMEs fashion market segment and have a strong history of carefully chosen collaborations with globally renowned fashion brands. According to Yin (2014) a case strategy approach improves the reliability of the study providing a more solid and compelling investigation representing literal replications of real world context, co-branding activities in this case.

This research attempted to develop a deeper understanding of intra-industry co-branded collaborations involving fashion SMEs and their effects on consumer-based brand equity, an un-researched field of study, with a clear contribution to extant academic research and to industry. In terms of theoretical implications, this study extends the field of research by making a new connection between different topics: driving motives of intra-industry collaborations (Todeva and Knoke, 2005; Uggla, 2004; Wigley and Provelengiou, 2011), consumers’ attitudes and perceptions towards intra-industry collaborations (Simonin and Ruth, 1998; Washburn et al., 2000), consumer-based brand equity (Aaker, 1996; Keller, 1993; Lassar et al., 1995) and contemporary British fashion SMEs (Agostini et al., 2015; Euromonitor, 2016; Gbadamosi et al., 2013; Kyro, 2015; London Stock Exchange, 2016). Although the approaches of Aaker (1996), Keller (1993) and Lassar et al. (1995) were found to be useful to this study some considerations arose.


Numerous studies on co-branding and brand equity have relied on those established frameworks to obtain reliable and valid results but they have always been applied separately and their effects have never been jointly examined. Therefore, the proposed framework is a new and unique contribution to knowledge because it combines two existing models together, from Aaker (1996) and Simonin and Ruth (1998), which has never been done before in scholarly research. By investigating two different perspectives, industry and consumer, the model provides a strategic way to assess the impact of cobranding on consumer-based brand equity and, at the same time, to analyse consumers’ attitudes and perceptions towards the collaboration in order to establish whether their evaluations are positive or negative after the co-branding activity. Moreover, it gives a relevant insight of how this type of strategy could bring a real opportunity for brand enhancement or a risk of brand dilution within the specific industry segment. In terms of managerial implications, this study supported the identification of recommendations for SME’s brand managers to improve cobranding activities that will help to strengthen a brand’s position, thus achieving the objective five of the research. In order to become a strong brand, a company must create a point of differentiation from its competitors and offer unique solutions that better fit consumers’ needs.

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To explore theories and practices of co-branding collaborations and their influence on consumerbased brand equity (objective 1). The key assumption at the core of this study was that intra-industry collaborations can enhance consumer-based brand equity. Addressing research objective one, co-branding theories and practices were explored and contextualised through the extensive analysis of previous research on intra-industry collaboration, co-branding motivations, consumers’ attitudes towards this type of strategy and the impact on consumerbased brand equity. Brand equity was conceptualised as a sum of 4 elements, specifically, brand awareness, brand associations, perceived quality and brand loyalty (Aaker, 1996; Keller, 1993). According to these authors, brand collaboration can have a positive influence on each of those dimensions. At the same time, the outlined components of brand equity were substantially dissimilar. For instance, brand loyalty was largely a behavioural dimension while brand associations pertained to the cognitive aspect. This raised an issue of whether the impact of intra-industry collaborations was consistently positive throughout the framework of brand equity. Therefore, theoretical models from Simonin and Ruth (1998) and Aaker (1996) and previous research in this specific context, supported the development of a conceptual framework and the formulation of propositions on co-branding impact on consumer-based brand equity. However, academic literature on the topic of collaborations by SMEs is still nascent. Whilst there is evidence from the trade literature that SMEs collaborations with large brands are prolific, the academic research is lacking behind it.

Introduction

Conclusion Aaker (1996) proposed a model to assess consumer-based brand equity identifying four measuring dimensions while Simonin and Ruth (1998) analysed consumers’ attitudes towards brand alliances substantiating two effects under brand familiarity, namely enhancement and dilution.

The overall aim of this research was to examine how intra-industry brand collaborations initiated by fashion SMEs in the UK can influence consumer-based brand equity and to identify how small and medium fashion brands can assess the ideal level of brand strength to optimise their co-branding collaboration activity. The majority of studies on intra-industry collaboration (Ahn et al., 2010; Hennings et al, 2013; Oeppen and Jamal, 2014; Todeva and Knoke, 2005; Wang et al., 2012) are focused on strategic alliances involving fastmoving consumer goods (FMCG) as well as established and renowned luxury fashion brands and fail to cover the intra-industry collaborations involving small and medium companies, specifically within fashion. This created a substantial research gap that this study fulfilled through reviewing relevant literature and collecting primary data. Specifically, six research propositions were proposed and tested and a theoretical framework was developed providing the prominent indicators and considerations for fashion SMEs intending to conduct intra-industry collaborations in the UK.


Introduction It is also acknowledged the study was focused exclusively on fashion SMEs while their partners were not examined directly in the interviews or the quantitative questionnaire. This limited the amount of insight that the researcher was able to obtain related to the concept of brand and product fit and to co-branding’ impact on brand equity. Finally, the framework was limited to only one moderating factor, brand familiarity, and to one type of collaboration, co-branding. It could be argued that there are several other factors that can influence consumers’ perceptions towards brand collaborations, such as likeability and brand congruence (Baumgarth, 2004; Gammoh et al., 2006), product trial (Washburn et al., 2000) and complementarity (Park et al., 1996) as well as that fashion SMEs may conduct other forms of business collaborations besides co-branding.

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Recommendations

Limitations

While the research project has managed to achieve the proposed research objectives, the outcomes are limited regarding generalisability. The sampling was limited in size and scale as the number of questionnaire respondents was equal to 106 individuals with 74% being female. Since the participants of the study were not selected on the basis of probability sampling, it is impossible to extend the outcomes of the study to the UK population. In other words, customers in the broader UK context may have held different perceptions regarding the dimensions of brand equity. However, lack of time (limited to only three months for the entire research project) made difficult the achievement of a larger sample and a representative distribution of the population.

Obtaining a larger sample both in terms of the consumers and the companies participating in intra-industry collaborations would be highly beneficial. Moreover, it could be worthwhile undertaking research that equally incorporates a male and female perspective to investigate whether attitudes towards co-brand are different by gender. Changing the research context may also be beneficial. For instance, other European countries can be examined to analyse whether the patterns defined in the study are still valid in these geographical settings. It is admitted that the above propositions are reliant on the assumption that it will be possible to obtain access to the primary data from a large sample of respondents or from a different geographical area. In addition, further empirical research could test the validity and reliability of the proposed framework outside of the stated cases and in different industry sectors. The functionality and applicability of the model could be also tested under different moderating factors, such as likeability and brand complementarity. Moreover, it could be relevant undertaking research on partner brands in order to investigate the match-up effect by analysing the consumers’ fit association in the context of co-branding collaborations involving SMEs. Lastly, the empirical cases discussed in this study are mainly categorised into co-branding. Therefore, other forms of collaboration that fashion SMEs might develop could be explored in further research to ensure a better comparison and more insightful results.


Adeola Bolutife Ogunsanya MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Connected Society

How user generated content helps build online brand communites in the fast fashion industry


Abstract

Adeola Bolutife Ogunsanya

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

The rise of the Internet means that consumers have more access to fashion brands than ever before. Online consumer engagement has become very important for fashion brands to build relationships with potential consumers through various marketing strategies. This research explores user generated content and its effect in building brand communities on social media platforms and considers the future and development of social networks towards more private messaging apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat. The investigation uses an adopted theoretical sampling, where the information is initially gathered, then coded to be investigated for results. The following brands were used to research brand communities Asos, Topshop, New Look, Missguided on prominent social media platforms Facebook, Twitter as well as discussing other platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. These interactions between fashion brands and consumers on the social media platforms have led to the development of online brand communities with shared focus and needs. Today’s traditional marketing coexists with consumer generated advertising (CGA); fashion brands are now aware that user generated content (UGC) can either positively or adversely affect their brands and brand communities. This has led to a dynamic conversational strategy used by fashion brands to engage with their customers. Social media gives an opportunity for fashion brands and consumers to engage with each other. This study strives to contribute to the limited but growing body of research area on the transition of social activities to private communication with brands on messaging apps. The study concludes that the distinctions between each social media platform and messaging app imply that, in the social media landscape means that they strategies used to build online brand communities will be informed by previous platforms but will evolve differently. The variety of messaging apps and social media platforms will have the capacity to flourish and develop close by each other in the informing the use by different fashion brands for various purposes.

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1.1 Statement of the Problem The importance social media for brands has been widely covered in academic literature (Williams, Crittenden, & McCarty, 2012; Keller, 2001) yet there has little development in understanding the effect of user generated content in the success and formation of fashion brand communities. Though there is little unanimity on how brands should advance in the fashion landscape, in order to understand the effect of user generated content on fashion brand social media marketing strategy research is needed considering the impact it will have on the future of social media and messaging apps. The objective of this study is to bridge the gap in social media marketing and movement towards messaging apps by conceptualising User Generated Content and consumer brand communities. This research will help academics and marketers better understand how can user generated content build online brand communities in the fast fashion industry. Fashion brands make use of rhetoric to appear to encourage participation and user generated content, in reality fashion brands strategically use participation, as there is always a profit motive. For consumers and social media users it is not always a process of interactivity but one of control by brands. This research is an analysis on how user generated content can help build online brand communities in the fast fashion industry, focusing on defined social media platforms and developing strategies for building brand communities on messaging apps. The main focus of this project will be based on Fast Fashion brand Asos and their activities in the social media environment particularly exploring the role of user generated content in building online communities. The analysis and discussion are based on results from case studies, content analysis and questionnaires.

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1.2 Background of the Research Fashion brands have one of the largest social media brand communities with a significantly larger following in their brand communities than other industries. Social media marketing is a complex phenomenon that has been immensely studied through experimental and theoretical research (Algesheimer et al. 2005; Bridgen, 2012; DiMauro, V. (2011), however there is little consensus on how fashion brands should develop a social media marketing tactic through the use of online brand communities. Traditionally the fashion industry dictated the communication for consumers through the use of designers, stylists, magazine editors and cultural gatekeepers. Today social media has evolved into a platform for building communities (Habibi, Laroche and Richard, 2014) that enables brands and consumers to communicate their values and messages to each other (Colliander and DahlĂŠn, 2011). Commercial messages or branded messages are now being integrated on social marketing platforms through paid advertising (Williams et al. 2012). This creates remarkable challenges for fashion brands, as this social marketing strategy defies traditional marketing approaches (Berthon, Pitt, McCarthy, & Kates, 2007). How then can fashion brands incorporate social media strategies to appeal to consumers? Fashion brands understand the opportunity to reach and attract consumers as successful engagement increase their consumers thus increasing their profits. These customers can subsequently engage with fashion brand and become members of a brand online communities, creating content and advocating the brand (Zailskaite-Jakste and Kuvykaite, 2012). Social media is actively creating a new cultural intermediary encouraging a two sided communication (Bridgen, 2012). This research develops the knowledge on user generated content and brand communities by providing broader knowledge on the benefits for high street retailers and strategic applications. 1.4 Justification of Study/purpose The motivation for choosing this research topic is due to a general interest with fashion and social media and the expected transition from public to private social activities in the form of private messaging apps. As messaging apps grow in popularity, this research will be the first of its type considering strategies for using this new platform efficiently. Fashion brands venturing to the next phase of social media will find a useful tool in the suggested strategy proposed.

Introduction

Background and rationale

Over the last decade the tools and approaches used by fashion brands for interacting with their customers have been significantly changed with the development of social media. Social activity is transitioning away from public and converging to private groups and messaging apps such as Snapchat, Messenger and WhatsApp. This revolution is disputing marketers’ previous knowledge about social media. The capacity of social media in building online communities has sparked interests in social media as a marketing tool (Surchi, M, 2011). Today’s traditional marketing coexists with consumer generated advertising; fashion brands are now aware that user generated content (UGC) can either positively or adversely affect their brands and brand communities. The effect of user generated content lead to the research question of this project: how can user generated content help build online brand communities in the fast fashion Industry?


Introduction

How does user generated content help build online brand communities? The aim of this question is to highlight the forms of user generated content that help build brand communities. Brand community is an interesting topic for both brand managers and marketers as it highlights theoretical perspectives on key concepts, has social media actually encouraged consumer participation?  What are the social media strategies used by fast fashion brands? The aim of this research question is to identify the marketing strategies used by fast fashion brands to build online communities. Fashion brands are increasingly understanding the importance of their brand presence on social media not only in controlling brand marketing and monitoring consumer generated content around the brand. Marketing has moved from customer acquisition through to customer retention (Smith, P.R &Taylor J. 2004). In order to answer this question fashion brands will be examined on user generated interaction and engagement What encourage users to interact with fashion brands on social media? The aim of this question is to understand and identify consumer motives that encourage participation in online brand communities. While fashion brands cannot control consumer to consumer messages about the brand, brands however have the powers to influence the consumer conversations (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). The aim of the final question is to understand consumer’s participation in fashion brands online brand communities and the type of content they react to since a key aspect of membership and participation (Algesheimer et al., 2005).

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Methodology

Aim and objectives

The aim of this research is to understand how user generated content on brands social media affects the growth of online brand communities. The following questions were developed to develop the objectives of the study and to understand online brand communities and how user generated content can help these online brand communities in the fast fashion industry. How user generated content builds online brand communities and user responses are examined. In line with the exploratory nature and purpose of this study, it asks the following research questions:

This chapter outlines the methodological approaches of the research of this study. This chapter details the approaches for data collection, data sources, data analysis and the theoretical framework. To address the research question how can user generated content help build online brand communities in high street fashion brands, research was carried out on the following brand; Asos, Topshop New Look, Missguided on the prominent social media platforms Facebook, Twitter as well as discussing other platforms YouTube and Instagram. The web has since turned into an instrument by numerous scholastics for information collection in data collection in marketing and consumer research (Abbott 2001). The medium of the web has informed the technique for information gathering for this study. A mix of techniques; netnography, content investigation, and questionnaires will be used to allow a wide approach comprising of both quantitative information and qualitative information. To guide the investigation of stated research topic, a conceptual framework developed by Kietzmann et al was used taking into account the motivational way of online networking use and the communication feature of brand communities in social networking.


Fast Fashion Messaging apps

This study is divided into five chapters.

Social media marketing is a complex phenomenon that has been immensely studied through experimental and theoretical research, however there is little consensus on how fashion brands online brand communities can be grown through the use of strategic user generated content. This review of literature examines the gap in current literature and focuses on brands use of social media as a part of their marketing strategy. It highlights the importance of user generated content on social media for fashion brands, providing a theoretical framework based on the body of literature and research for UK high street brands.

Chapter 1 introduces the background of the research, statement of research problem, justification of study this study. Chapter 2 is a review of the literature used for this study, it contains a range of theoretical and academic underpinning for the research. Chapter 3 details the methodology of this study. The methodology chapter briefly addresses the selected theories and framework as well as an in-depth review the data sources, interview design, data presentation and limitations. Chapter 4 discusses a thorough analysis of the result of the research findings detailing the strategies for brands to use. Chapter 5 is the conclusion of the study containing recommendations and giving a general closing discussion and recommendation for future research on brands user generated content and messaging apps in the social media environment.

Literature Overview

User Generated Content

Social media has become a platform for brand building, subsequently fashion brands have been forced to rethink their traditional practices, the brands that will thrive in the current media landscape are those who encourage a two sided communication (Bridgen, 2012). The aim of this chapter is to introduce the fields that this research project lies within. Social activity is transitioning away from public and converging to private groups and messaging apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp.

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Research design

Overview and structure

Online Brand Communities

The investigation uses an adopted theoretical sampling, where the information is initially gathered, then coded to be investigated for results. A wide approach consisting of; netnography, content analysis, and questionnaire were used to allow for a combination of approach consisting of both quantitative data and qualitative data. The research further looks in messaging apps exploring the motives of consumers to engage with fashion brands on social media/messaging apps (2) online engagement/user generated content with these brands. The proposed framework is constructed to demonstrate the relationships between user generated content and the creation of online brand communities, conducting research on the proposed conceptual framework in focuses on main concepts: user generated communication, virtual brand communities and user responses to social media marketing.

Introduction

This revolution is disputing marketers’ previous knowledge about social media. This section considers various concepts and four main themes that guide the direction of the study:


Introduction These distinctions between each platform imply that, in the social media landscape, a variety of apps will have the capacity to flourish and develop close by each other in the informing application commercial centre. Also, for a sign of exactly what impacts applications like these can have on the landscape, we just need to look to China and the amazing accomplishment of WeChat. 66% of computerized buyers in China are utilizing WeChat, exploiting its expansive usefulness that encourages everything from internet shopping and VoIP calling, to eateries reservations, taxi-hailing or regular check-ups.

The results have demonstrated that while brands grasp online networking they ultimately control and shape it through the 7 blocks of the honeycomb framework; presence, identity, sharing, communities, reputation, conversations and identity to fit with brand marketing strategies as per their own particular interest.

The data in the world is pointing towards the undeniably significant role of mobile in the growth of internet commerce, and this growth being fuelled by the rise of social messaging apps, WhatsApp leading the pack with its huge user base. Conversational Commerce has become a reality now and is touted to be the next big disruption in the world of business with the unprecedented growth of social messaging app users on mobile. The mobile internet now accounts globally for more time spent online than the desktop and shows no signs of slowing down, according to marketer.

Marketers around the world have a new challenge in the form of social messaging apps like WhatsApp with their high user engagement Fashion brands make use of rhetoric to appear to encourage participation and user generated content, in reality fashion brands strategically use participation, as there is always a profit motive. For consumers and social media users it is not always a process of interactivity but one of control by brands. This research is an analysis on how user generated content can help build online brand communities in the fast fashion industry, focusing on defined social media platforms and developing strategies for building brand communities on messaging apps.

This study strives to contribute to the limited but growing body of research area on the transition of social activities to private communication with brands on messaging apps. Developing the documentation of new strategies of online consumer behaviour related to fashion brands marketing. This study contributes to existing research on social media, user generated constant and online brand communities in the fast fashion industry. The findings reported in this study form a 5 preliminary understanding of how fashion brands can develop their marketing strategies on messaging apps.

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Limitations

Discussion

Online brand communities have completely transformed the strategies used by brand in today’s digital age. The Internet has made brand-consumer relationship complex with wider interactions as a result of social media. The purpose of this research was to determine how user generated content helps build online brand communities Attention was paid towards emerging marketing practices existing within the fashion industry; Facebook, Instagram and also messaging apps, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Most fashion brands have a social media presence across different platforms from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to Tumblr and brand blogs. These brands make use of multiple advertising strategies discussed in this section such as the use of specific hashtags, competitions and empowering consumers develop their online brand communities.


Agnes Julianna Kiss MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Evolving Innovation

Mobile application and marketing plan for improving sustainability communications


Abstract

Agnes Julianna Kiss

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

Present paper introduces the research background and development process of the ‘Culture of Care’ concept created for the Kering Award 2016. Aim of the project was to raise awareness of sustainable practices of Stella McCartney, the vegetarian luxury fashion brand within the Kering Group. The concept incorporates powerful online marketing communications practices. The explored techniques were implemented into a mobile application, supported by a marketing campaign plan. Main objective of the study was to explore the challenges that sustainable brands are facing in the luxury fashion industry. The investigation particularly focused on marketing communications and its potential to draw customers’ attention to sustainability values and aspirations of the company and the industry. The study includes secondary research on the brand and marketing communications tools. Primary research was conducted in order to underpin the findings of secondary research and ensure the strategic fit and feasibility of the idea. The primary research consisted of two main stages: case study research, in order to analyse the brand whose characteristics the concept was tailor-made for, as well as previous online marketing campaigns that utilised the tools that are also incorporated in the ‘Culture of Care’ platform. In the second stage, in-depth interviews were conducted with industry professionals and collaborators who supported the development process. The research results contributed to the creation of the bespoke mobile application, designed based on the proven hypothesis, namely that the combination of storytelling, user- generated content and community creation is an effective way to raise awareness of sustainability issues. The marketing plan involves a thorough analysis of the brand and its environment: overview of vision and mission, brand identity prism, product-, price- and place analysis, SWOT and PESTLE models. The realisation of the concept is described in details via the 4P model, financial and operational plans.

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Present concept was developed for Stella McCartney, one of the brands within the Kering Group. Stella McCartney is a vegetarian luxury fashion company, committed to operating a responsible, honest and modern business. The brand is aware of the bad reputation of the fashion industry which has been labelled as the second most damaging industry on the planet. With this in mind, the ethos at Stella McCartney places responsibility on them to be honest and open in working practices, whilst designing beautiful clothes and accessories that contribute to the well being across the supply chain. Brief of the Kering Award asked for exploration of positive impact within the fashion business to find a ‘balanced fashion metabolism’ and how the interaction with fashion can enhance the nature and the lives of the designer, the maker and the wearer. From a strategic marketing perspective, the identified challenge was to find ways how to make a positive contribution not

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Aim & objectives

Background & rationale

The section gives an overview of the main context in which the idea of the ‘Culture of Care by Stella’ mobile application was born. Concept of the bespoke mobile application was developed for the Kering Award 2016. The initiative is the result of the collaboration between Kering and Centre for Sustainable Fashion. By its slogan – ‘Empowering imagination’ – Kering encourages its brands in more than 120 countries to reach their potential in the most sustainable manner. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion is a research centre within London College of Fashion, supporting sustainable design and viable innovation in the fashion industry. Intention of both organisations is to bring together the knowledge and expertise of academia and industry to shape a better future through fashion. The challenge of final year undergraduate and master’s students was to demonstrate exceptional innovation and rigor in the fields of fashion and sustainability, applied to business, design and communication.

Main aim of the study is to develop a bespoke mobile application along with a marketing plan for Stella McCartney in order to engage customers both to the brand and sustainability.  iscuss sustainability in the social context D and within the luxury fashion industry.  esearch the effectiveness of emotionally R engaging marketing communications techniques such as storytelling, user-generated content and community creation. Identify and respond to challenges that sustainable fashion brands – such as Stella McCartney – are facing when communicating sustainability.  ssess Stella McCartney as a sustainable A luxury fashion brand and its current marketing communications activity.  esign a mobile application along with D a marketing communications plan to improve sustainability communications of Stella McCartney.

Introduction

only to the natural but also the social environment of the brand, while keeping in mind the core values, brand image and key performance indicators. Stella McCartney has sustainability incorporated in its brand ethos, although, in its PR and marketing communications, the company tries to avoid to put too much emphasis on sustainability, rather the outstanding design of collections. It is likely to prevent the brand from truly engaging its audience to sustainability. However, taking advantage of its reputation, the youthful and cool brand image that attracts a diverse clientele, Stella McCartney could become a real game-changer in the luxury fashion segment. Attempt was made to find those critical elements in the brand’s communications strategy that can be improved in order to enhance its effectiveness. The response to the challenge is a concept that introduces a new approach to sustainability communications based on powerful online marketing tools, hoping to demonstrate a holistic viewpoint on the fashion industry, its critical dimensions in ecological, economic, cultural and social terms.


Same research technique – interview with Michelle Lowe-Holder – was applied to identify challenges of sustainable brands. Brand analysis of Stella McCartney was provided based on secondary data, mainly relying on a Harvard Business School case study, and multiple source data from interviews and reports. Structure of marketing plan – particularly the financial aspects, implementation and evaluation – was based on in-depth interview conducted with Andreas Stefanovsky, Marketing Manager and regional CEO of Procter and Gamble. Technical background information for the mobile application design was provided by Gabor Szabo, Managing Director of the high-tech design company, Innova Control Ltd., who supervised the project development from a technical point of view.

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Chapter II: Literature review Chapter II discusses sustainability in the social and industrial context with particular focus on the luxury fashion market. It also provides an overview of previous studies, investigating emotionally engaging marketing communications techniques that are incorporated in the project concept. The section briefly highlights current views on sustainability communications and its importance, indicating significance of present research paper and the developed concept. Chapter III: Rationale and research methodology Chapter III covers the research design, philosophy and approaches as well as methods of analysis and sampling, ethical considerations and limitations of research. It also touches upon the practical component of the project as it also required research and outside assistance. Chapter IV: Project development Chapter IV discusses and reflects on results of the research and how these supported the project development. Both primary and secondary research data are presented, along with results of the literature review and commentary of the researcher, highlighting how all of these contributed to the evolution of the concept. Chapter V: Project validation Chapter V summarises the project development process and reflects on the final outcome, discussing whether the research aims and objectives have met. It also highlights the contribution that the work has made to the field of research by outlining main differences between existing and new practice. Recommendations for future research were made based on limitations of what have been done in this study. Chapter VI: Marketing plan In the marketing plan, main brand attributes and the company’s environment are analysed. It explains the mobile application and the supporting marketing campaign. It also considers the operational and financial aspects of creating the application and managing the marketing campaign.

Introduction

Overview & structure Methodology

In order to explore the effectiveness of marketing communications practices, case study research was applied, analysing marketing campaigns of two premium / luxury lifestyle brands, Calvin Klein and Burberry. The research investigated what impact the incorporated techniques had on the brands’ social media and overall performance. These two initiatives were chosen based on the marketing communication techniques – storytelling, community creation and user- generated content – utilised in them, as these are the tools that the ‘Culture of Care’ campaign was built on. In-depth interview with marketing strategist and trend analyst, Jeanette Nkwate, helped to further investigate storytelling, community creation and user-generated content in the sustainable luxury fashion context.

Chapter I: Introduction Chapter I puts the project in context by outlining the research background, main aim and objectives of the study as well as summarises the research methods used to meet these goals.


The chapter explains the importance of effective marketing communications that can move brands forward by being more open and engage customers to sustainability. Opinions of various professionals were highlighted to underpin the effectiveness of online marketing communications tools and their ability to convey complex messages in a more digestible way, thus changing the mind-set of a broad audience on sustainable brands. Concept of sustainability In the twenty-first century, sustainability is one of the main phenomena that catalyses changes in the world. There are multiple definitions of sustainability. Some of them look at is as part of corporate social responsibility (Bansal and Roth, 2000 in Joy et al., 2012), which indicates that it is rather to be discussed in a business context. However, sustainability is an essential part of life on multiple, even personal level. The HRH Prince of Wales’ Cambridge Program for Sustainable Leadership supports this approach by saying that ‘a sustainable economy is one which achieves and maintains a high level of well being for all people, now and in the future, that works within the constraints of nature’ (Hurth et al., 2015). Joy et al. (2012) share a similar, human-focused view, as according to them, its about ‘meeting the current generation’s needs without compromising those of future generations.’ Seidman’s (2007 in Joy et al. 2012) approach touches upon all the areas where sustainability shows relevance: ‘Sustainability is about much more than our relationship with the environment; it’s about our relationship with ourselves, our communities, and our institutions.’

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Purpose of the research was to find the ideal combination of marketing communications practices that helps to enhance the effectiveness of communicating sustainability-related values in the luxury fashion market. As the literature review provided an overview of previous studies, it helped to develop more insightful questions about the topic and led to the areas explored in the primary research (Yin, 2012). Based on findings of the literature review, the following hypothesis was developed and tested in the primary research: Investigated marketing communications practices including storytelling, user-generated content and community creation are able to effectively raise awareness of sustainable values of Stella McCartney. The research design is split into two main parts. First stage of the research is a holistic analysis of Stella McCartney, as the recommended marketing communications strategy had to be in congruence with the brand’s mission, vision, image and identity, as well as the environment of operation, including market trends, competitor landscape, target audience and product lines. To assess the brand, secondary data was the main source of information, heavily relying on a case study on the company. Findings are presented in a structured way in the marketing plan in which all aspects of the brand are explored. Second stage of the research touched upon the aspects of sustainability communication, and the results were used to prove the hypothesis. In-depth interviews were conducted with industry professionals to investigate the effectiveness of marketing communications techniques in the sustainable luxury fashion context. In addition, primary research helped to develop the marketing communications plan which supports the ‘Culture of Care’ mobile application. Both the application design and the plan were created based on in-depth interviews, relying on the opinion of experienced industry professionals.

Introduction

Different approaches to sustainability were critically analysed to better understand its complexity. Sustainability is then discussed in the fashion- and luxury fashion context, explaining the issues arisen due to the commonly known practices of the industry that are not in congruence with the principles of sustainability. Attempt was made to disprove the common idea of the non-sustainable nature of fashion and luxury. The chapter examines luxury brands as pioneers in the fashion industry and the challenges they are facing, including their communication boundaries.

Overall, it can be declared that sustainability has become part of human lives even if it happened in an unobtrusive way. Therefore, it is crucial to raise awareness of it and embed the fact in people’s minds that changes have to be made and everyone is able to contribute to environmental, corporate and social innovations as we are equally responsible for the future of the planet and the human race.

Research design

Literature overview

In this chapter, previous studies were brought together to provide an overview of sustainability, sustainable luxury and fashion, as well as effective marketing communications methods that could be used by sustainable luxury fashion companies in order to enhance customer engagement, not only towards the brands but also the values of sustainability.


Aim of this section is to introduce the project evolution. Structure of the chapter is based on the three stages of the Kering Award: Initial response to the brief Interim challenge based on brand presentations and the first feedback session Development of final concept The brief asked to explore more deeply the notion of well being and positive impact within fashion to find a ‘balanced fashion metabolism’. Written and visual content along with primary and secondary research findings as well as influencing comments of the aforementioned professionals were shared to provide a transparent and logical outline of how the concept evolved. Review of main aim of study Main aim of the study was to develop a bespoke mobile application along with a marketing plan for Stella McCartney in order to engage customers both to the brand and sustainability. The application design was a continuous process mentored by brand managers from Kering and Stella McCartney, industry professionals from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion as well as the high-tech design company, Innova Control Ltd. which provided technical support along the programme. Finalised mobile application mock-up was presented to the Kering top management and approved by Head of London College of Fashion, Professor Frances Corner in the official feedback. Marketing plan, supporting the concept, was created with the contribution of brand and industry professionals, considering main attributes of Stella McCartney as a niche brand and touched upon all elements of preparing and realising a marketing communications campaign.

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Review of research objectives and findings One of the main project objectives was discussing sustainability in the social context and within the luxury fashion industry. With regard to sustainability in the fashion industry, experts agreed that luxury brands have responsibility to set examples not only on an industrial but also on social level. It requires openness and effective communications in order to successfully deliver their messages to the crowds. In this study, attempt was made to bring marketing communications practices together that have proven efficiency in terms of emotional engagement, and develop a concept that can enhance the quality of sustainability communications. The concept was developed specifically for one of the biggest players in the sustainable luxury fashion market: Stella McCartney. Thorough investigation of the brand helped to identify elements of current marketing communications strategy that can be improved in order to engage customers both to the brand but sustainability. This way, the concept helps the company achieve its main goal: finding a ‘balanced fashion metabolism’. Another objective of the study was researching the effectiveness of emotionally engaging marketing communications techniques such as storytelling, UGC and community creation. For that, most current marketing communications trends were investigated through case studies for the purpose of finding the combination that is a right fit for the brand and its mission. Reflecting back on the best practice in the field, researched marketing campaigns and their proven success underpinned the reason why the three given techniques were decided to be the starting point of the ‘Culture of Care’ concept development. Main challenge was to find the right message that can help raising awareness of sustainability and can be communicated through the aforementioned tools, ensuring brand image and reputation enhancement. Based on these requirements, main aim of the concept was chosen to focus customers’ attention on eco- conscious fashion consumption from a different perspective. As the problem of overconsumption is rarely communicated in the fashion industry, as it is built on encouraging customers to buy new items every season, the context in which the concept is put in is certainly unique. As there have not been any sustainable brands before that used such platform in order to promote sustainability, the project’s main contribution to the research field is that it shows a new way of using emotional engagement in sustainability communication by utilising storytelling, usergenerated content and community creation.

Introduction

Discussion

As the ‘Culture of Care’ concept was created during the six-month mentoring scheme, not only the research conducted for the study influenced the development of the project, but also the continuous professional guidance provided by colleagues of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion – Michelle Lowe-Holder, Amanda Johnston and Dilys Williams – and the management team -of Kering and Stella McCartney. Brand managers provided information on the Lab Day as well as at the interim and final presentations and additional monthly feedback sessions. On these sessions, Sustainability Manager of Stella McCartney, Claire Bergkamp represented the values and requirements of the company, thus contributed to the project immensely.


The reward system was based on direct interactions between brand and customer, that is missing from the other campaigns. This add-on has the potential to create a driver in those customers who are not concerned about sustainability but see the opportunity of getting ‘five minutes of fame’ on social media by receiving feedback on their looks from a world famous designer, which is increasingly valued amongst young people who are the campaign’s targeted group.

Summary of findings

One of the main differences compared to the analysed campaigns is that the platform designed for Stella McCartney is entirely digital, optimised for iOS and Android operation systems, whilst the Calvin Klein and Burberry platforms are both web-based and integrated into their websites. However, the website-based nature of the Culture of Care X Stella community allows the brand to run a website with the same content that could be reached through any browser on a mobile device or computer. The chapter presented the results of research and how these contributed to the development of the ‘Culture of Care X Stella’ concept. The findings underpinned the assumptions regarding the effectiveness of investigated techniques and all the practices had been incorporated into the final version. In conclusion, the hypothesis that assumed that storytelling, UGC and community creation could be utilised by the brand to enhance the effectiveness of its marketing communications, has been proven. The concept was presented for the Kering top management and representatives of London College of Fashion who approved the feasibility and strategic fit of the concept. Overall, main aim and objectives of the project have met.

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Another limitation of the project stems from the nature of the brand. Even if the concept works well for Stella McCartney, it is not obvious that other, smaller brands who are facing similar challenges when communicating sustainability could succeed by following this practice. Its main reason is that in the concept, the established name of Stella McCartney is an element that hugely contributes to the success of the campaign. In order to investigate the issue, Nick Thompson, director of the creative technology agency ‘Knit’, was approached to conduct interview with on his recent project for HUIT Denim. HUIT Denim is a small brand with strong ethical values and sustainability aspirations, utilising storytelling and UGC in their marketing activity. However, the interview could not be conducted due to Thompson’s holiday schedule, it is highly recommended to investigate the researched marketing communications practices in terms of smaller sustainable brands as well. Regarding the mobile application, even if the partner company, Innova Control Ltd. agreed on developing a test version of the app running on mobile device, the offer was refused following up on a feedback session with Bergkamp. Additional reason was the lack of financial support to cover the cost of development. However, if the company decides launching the app, it is necessary to create a tangible mock-up that provides the same user-experience as the real version for prior customer research and software testing.

Introduction

Limitations

Discussion

Previous campaigns using the same combination of techniques were explored and were proven to be successful in reaching out to large audiences and emotionally engaging them. On this front, the ‘Culture of Care X Stella’ concept showed the versatility of the practice, as it is implemented in a field that is not necessarily associated with values that are able to generate a movement amongst customers. Despite of that, the project’s main goal was to reach out to both existing and aspiring customers of the brand and inspire them to take better care of their garments in the name of sustainability. The challenge was to create a platform that is engaging both visually and conceptually, thus able to attract users to be part of the ‘Culture of Care’ community. Therefore, social media- related functions such as content sharing and a basic reward system were implemented to achieve a better reach of the target group.

As the project is more strategy- rather than consumer behaviour-focused, effectiveness and strategic fit of the concept was proven based on similar initiatives and confirmation of industry professionals and brand managers, rather than research conducted with potential customers. As Stella McCartney is a niche brand with a relatively narrow customer base, it would have been challenging to conduct primary research with the appropriate selection of participants. However, as Stefanovsky (2016) suggested, prior to the campaign launch, it is ideal to conduct focus group research with a small sample of the target audience in order to test and fine-tune campaign elements. Although Bergkamp was approached with an enquiry related to the demographics and other characteristics of consumers targeted through the brand’s marketing campaigns, as the company’s customer database is highly confidential, adequate information necessary for a non-biased primary research was not available. However, Joanna Pitt (2016), Manager of the Stella McCartney flagship store, confirmed that the brand is continuously updating its customer record with up-to-date – even personal – information that can be a solid starting point for a reliable analysis conducted with relevant participants.


Anastasia Sonina MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Connected Society

An exploration of millennials’ engagement with luxury fashion brands on Instagram


Social media has significantly impacted the way brands communicate with consumers. Although luxury fashion brands have been slow to integrate social media marketing communications into their strategies, the majority of them now use many social media platforms.

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

This dissertation is focused on a particular platform, Instagram, and on a specific audience that of millennials. Millennials are a core audience for fashion marketing as they are likely to be tomorrow’s big spenders. There have been some earlier studies on brands’ usage of Instagram, but nothing specific about how consumers, specifically millennials, engage with luxury fashion brands in this way. Thus, this research broke new ground in its focus on millennials’ engagement with luxury fashion brands via Instagram. The study explored how Instagram as a marketing tool affects millennials’ attitudes towards luxury fashion brands, and discovered where the Instagram effect had more significance as well as exploring preferences regarding content.

Abstract

Anastasia Sonina

The study was informed by extensive secondary research, online observation of luxury fashion brands and mixed-methods primary research. Qualitative semi-structured interviews allowed the subject to be explored in depth and a quantitative self-completion questionnaire designed in Smart Survey allowed for more robust findings about the role of Instagram, how users relate to it and how it influences attitudes and behavior. 145 survey responses were analysed using the statistical tool SPSS. Qualitative interviews were conducted face-to-face and online which added another dimension to the mixed-methodology. The ‘social’ nature of social media was explored in paired depth interviews. The online one-to-one interviews allowed for more private and considered personal responses. Recordings of face-to-face interviews were transcribed and along with the email survey responses analysed with a thematic analysis, so as to highlight emerging themes and patterns. The dissertation discovered that luxury brands’ use of Instagram influences millennials’ brand perceptions and brand attitude in a positive way, and also influences attitudinal loyalty. However, the impact on increased loyalty is less significant than the impact on brand perceptions. Furthermore, the research explored the most engaging types of content, along with the differences between consumer engagement of younger millennials and older generation Y.

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This project is, hence, focused on Instagram, a fast-growing social media platform that has, as yet, been little researched, and it will study millennial luxury consumers’ engagement with luxury brands on this platform. Today brands can benefit from Instagram activity as Instagram shows higher customer engagement (Pathak, 2015) than Facebook amongst this audience. Furthermore, a study (Souza, 2016) found out that Instagram is the most used platform by some of the biggest luxury fashion companies. Luxury fashion brands are based on exclusivity and status (Kapferer, 2012; Liu et al., 2012). As it is important for luxury brands to cultivate relationships (Mohr, 2013) with their customers (Mohr, 2013), brand loyalty becomes an important topic to explore. Brand loyalty can be characterized as an attraction of a consumer to one brand rather than the other, and it is shown through an intended purchase behaviour (Okonkwo, 2007). The luxury fashion industry has perhaps been slow to integrate social media into their marketing strategies (AdWeek, 2014). Mohr (2013) reports that 2009 was the year of this initiation. However, many of renowned fashion companies are now embracing social media, and social media platforms are likely to become increasingly important for the luxury fashion world (Li and Mousseaux, 2013). A key characteristic of social media marketing is that it is a “two-way communication” tool (Kim and Ko, 2010) and this conversation and interactive engagement with consumers is felt to be essential in our digital age. Euromonitor (2015, p.15) reports that today fashion companies need to integrate social media marketing into their companies’ strategies in order to grow and engage more personally with customers. Social media is extensively used by brands to generate buzz and engage with consumers (Ryan and Jones, 2013).

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Social media helps build brand awareness and customer engagement and can motivate consumers to consider purchasing products (Mohr, 2013). The topic of social media is strongly related to consumer brand engagement – how brands generate and maintain strong relationships with customers (Brodie et al., 2013). Mohr (2013) further argues that social media can be an effective marketing tool to increase brand awareness and build relationships with consumers. Therefore, customer engagement on social media is an important topic in the fashion marketing field. DeMers (2013) argues that some of the advantages of social media marketing are communication of a company’s brand identity, increased brand awareness and loyalty of consumers. A study (Hajli, 2014, p.387) demonstrates that social media activity can result in enhanced trust and increased aspiration to purchase from one brand rather the the other. In addition, Kimuyu (2015) claims that social media marketing can be used to alter brand perceptions. The potential aims of digital marketing can be categorized into different categories, and one of them that is particularly relevant to this study is the psychological category (Heine and Berghaus, 2013). In fact, studies say that customer brand engagement is highly influenced by psychological aspects, and thus by affective and cognitive elements (Bowden 2009a; Holleebeek et al., 2011; Brodie et al., 2013, p. 106). As this paper pays more attention to Instagram impact on millennials’ attitudes, it is important to mention that brand perception and attitudinal loyalty are affective as they are characterized by feelings and emotions. Although there is an extensive literature about social media marketing, it is still essential to explore it further as social media will continue to play a huge role in digital marketing (Ryan, 2015). Today’s social media environment has expanded (Ryan, 2015, p. 205) populated by various platforms aimed at different consumers’ interests and activities. Habrial (2013) calls Instagram a “visual social media” platform, as it allows photographs and video sharing, compared to other platforms like Twitter that are more textual (Brinded, 2016). The visual characteristic of Instagram is particularly relevant for luxury fashion companies, as fashion needs to be seen in order to attract and engage the target audience (Jones, 2014; Brinded, 2016; Luxury Daily, 2016). Cartner-Morley (2015) describes Instagram as “fashion’s new front row” (Manikonda et al., 2016), which highlights how Instagram has become the platform with greatest leverage for fashion brands.

Introduction

Background & rationale

Academic research on social media marketing of luxury brands is developing but to date most studies are focused on Twitter and Facebook (Kim and Ko, 2010; Kim and Ko 2012; Seung and Jin, 2012; Michel 2011; Chu et al., 2013; Dhaoui, 2013; Li and Mousseaux, 2013; Kontu and Vecchi, 2014). Hence, there is room for investigation of newer platforms (Gong, 2014). Likewise, Vecchi and Kontu (2014) argue for further research on social media marketing in the field of fashion. Recently Facebook has lost influence with certain audiences. It may be popular with Baby Boomers’ (Bell, 2015) but it is reported that millennials, in many cases, have now moved on to other platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.


Introduction Aims & objectives

Today’s social media marketing seems to be all about engagement. Time and again reports and studies talk about the importance of consumer engagement achievement (Kim and Ko, 2012; Brodie et al., 2013; Aichner & Jacob, 2015). So, in the primary research this project’s focus will be on exploring what engagement on Instagram with luxury fashion brands can lead to, in terms of attitudes and behavior. Instagram has been chosen for this study, as it has enjoyed spectacular growth since launch in 2010 and it is disrupting marketing of fashion brands (DeMers, 2014; Kontu and Vecchi, 2014). Kontu and Vecchi (2014) in fact, claim that the new social media tools, such as Instagram, have made the conversation and interaction between consumers and brands possible and more attractive. This research will look at a fast evolving phenomenon, the use of Instagram by luxury fashion brands and its implication. Other studies have looked broadly at social media or have focused on Facebook and Twitter. The most researched themes have been about brand attitude and behavior. This research will focus on exploration of consumer engagement, which is believed to encompass both attitudes and behavior. More specifically this study will closely examine consumer engagement with luxury brands on Instagram with original primary research conducted with millennials in Summer 2016.

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To explore millennials’ consumer engagement with luxury fashion brands on Instagram.  o examine how luxury fashion brands T use Instagram as a marketing tool  o explore how and why millennials engage T with Instagram  o focus on the relationship between luxury T fashion brands and millennials on this platform – how does the Instagram activity influence attitudes and behavior and feelings of loyalty towards brands  o explore what type of Instagram content T engages this audience or turns them off  o critically evaluate the impact of Instagram, T used by luxury fashion brands, on millennials’ customer engagement

Methodology

Background & rationale

Millennial, or generation Y, grew up with social media (Ryan, 2015), and it is important for brands to understand this. Ryan (2015) says social media is here to stay. Millennials are the next luxury consumers, as today they already show a significant interest in luxury fashion (Luxury Society, 2015). They also use social media extensively to show off themselves to their peers (Luxury Society, 2015), and they are especially reactive to social media marketing and digital innovations (Phan, 2011; Brinded 2016). Furthermore, a marketing professional Pam Danziger (Rein, 2016) argues that millennials are expected to become the biggest consumer age group by the year 2035.

To reply to research questions a multi-method approach was chosen for the primary research. Interviews carried out with millennial luxury consumers and Instagram users contributed to a a deeper understanding of what millennials think of Instagram and how they feel when engaging with luxury brands on the platform. At the same time a survey was distributed online to gather a minimum of 100 responses from millennial luxury consumers and Instagram users. The self-completed questionnaire was complimentary to the interviews so that the researcher could provide a more comprehensive analysis and reply to research questions.


Chapter 3 provides a justification of the chosen methodology to conduct the research. A critical explanation of the execution of research methods is discussed, as well as a reflection on limitations of the research. Chapter 4 is dedicated to analysis of the primary research findings. It is divided between observations gathered from online observation findings, qualitative interview findings and results from data analysis of the quantitative survey. With triangulation of these different data sets an interpretation of the ‘so what?’ is given. What is the insight gained from the mixedmethodology research? Where are the findings consistent and where, if at all, is there conflicting or inconsistent learning that might warrant further attention if the project were developed. Chapter 5 concludes the research, reviewing the key learnings, acknowledging elements that warrant further study and identifying limitations and considerations for future research. The chapter includes a reflection on whether the results have answered the research questions, as wells as an evaluation of managerial implications and recommendations based on the results.

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Social Media Marketing There is extensive literature about social media marketing, and it is essential to explore it further as new developments in social media play an increasingly important role in digital marketing (Ryan, 2015). Marketers and researchers identify social media both as a powerful tool for communicating with audiences and for interacting with them, creating a two-way marketing communication (Goor, 2012; Schivinski and Dabrowski, 2014; Erkan, 2015). This two-way dialogue is a new experience for brands. They don’t just send out messages to passive consumers. Consumers can now be active in engaging in dialogue making the process more open. The power has shifted to the consumer (called user amongst digital marketers) and marketers have to be aware that their content will be scrutinized and commented on by this consumer or user. Social media marketing motivates conversation and leads to word-ofmouth (Jatto, 2014). Cunninghan and Brights (2012, p.73) argue that the main focus of social media marketing is interaction with consumers and among consumers, and not influence (Jatto, 2014). However, by encouraging communication among consumers and therefore creating word-of-mouth, consumers get more influenced and persuasion is generated (Solis, 2011; Castronovo and Huang, 2012; Jatto, 2014). Digital word-of-mouth is a powerful form of user-generated promotion that brands really want to tap in to. Today the social media environment has become “fragmented” (Ryan, 2015, p. 205) populated by various social media platforms (Pustylnick, 2011; Goor, 2012;), aimed at different consumers’ interests and activities. Social media is divided into different types as listed by Aichner and Jacob (2015, p. 4). Relevant to fashion are social networks, blogging sites, “microblogs”, forums, video sharing sites like YouTube and reviews (Aichner and Jacob, 2015, p. 4).

Introduction

Literature overview Overview & structure

Chapter 2 is a literature review providing an overview of social media marketing, a definition of luxury fashion with an outline of luxury fashion brands in the social media environment,an explanation of the phenomenon of Instagram’s rise on the social media landscape and its use by luxury fashion brands, and an understanding of the millennial generation.

The literature review conducted was influenced by three main subjects: social media, luxury fashion, and the millennial generation of consumers. Social media marketing was explored in the context of luxury fashion, consumer engagement, brand attitude, and brand loyalty. Brand perception, brand attitude, and brand loyalty are all interconnected and affect how consumers relate to and interact with luxury fashion brands. Exploring commentary about millennials is an important focus of the literature review so as to understand the needs, desires, behaviours and attitudes of the generation.


Literature overview

This project was in part deductive in that primary research was informed by hypotheses emerging from secondary research which, for example, highlighted that ‘engagement’ and what this means is a rich area to study. On the other hand, there was also an inductive element as the researcher was determined to keep an open mind and explore data and see what emerged from it. With social media channels and their influence changing daily this project, by definition, had to be flexible and exploratory iterating as it went along and as new evidence emerged.

Social media assists brands in achieving brand awareness and increased customer engagement and therefore motivates consumers to consider buying their products (Goor 2012; Mohr, 2013; Gong, 2014). Mohr (2013, p. 18) further argues that “social media is now viewed as an opportunity to improve customer relationships and to ultimately capture a larger audience”. DeMers (2013) also argues that some of the advantages of social media marketing are communication of a company’s brand identity, increased brand awareness and loyalty of consumers. A study (Hajli, 2014, p.387) demonstrates that social media influences consumers in a way that they trust the brands more and consequently desire to purchase from them. In addition, Kimuyu (2015) claims that social media marketing can be used to alter brand perceptions. Another study (Schivinski and Dabrowski, 2014) also confirms that social media marketing strategies impact customers’ brand perceptions.

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A pragmatic, interpretative philosophy under pinned the research. The researcher was prepared to grapple with ‘messy’ data that emerges from qualitative exploration. Immersion in the detail of respondents’ stories produces deep information. (Saunders et al., 2012). On the other hand, as an academic exercise and to explore a more scientific, rigorous approach SPSS was used for ‘hard analysis’. Whilst the research had some in-built phases, first desk research including an audit of some Instagram usage, then pilot qualitative interviews and then the quantitative survey there was also a degree to which there was an overlap with qualitative and quantitative happening at the same time in the Summer of 2016. In this respect there was an interplay with insight from one methodology feeding into development and analysis of the other (Bryman and Bell 2007). Some of the later qualitative interviews used lines of questioning from the quantitative research around preferred types of content. Gender differences which were hinted at in the qualitative research could then be further explored by analysing these two sample sets within the SPSS work.

Introduction

Research Design

To explore Instagram’s impact on millennials as a marketing tool for luxury fashion brands a multi-method research approach was conducted. Mixing qualitative probing, exploratory work with statistical quantitative research is advised as the small-sample qualitative work relies heavily on the subjectivity and interpretation of the researcher (Proctor, 2000).


The perceptions of the platform were investigated in both interviews and survey and the objective 2 was met. Overall, millennials in UK are mostly using Instagram as the platform to engage with luxury fashion brands, as they like Instagram’s visual attribute. However, the new Instagram’s feed algorithm disturbs them, which may lead to young users to use Instagram less often, and brands must be prepared for that. Exploration of generation Y consumers’ engagement on Instagram with luxury brands included finding out how and why they engage with luxury brands on Instagram, and discovering content that engages them most. Literature has shown some general reasons for people to use Instagram. It is said that people use Instagram extensively to stay up to date with fashion and to get information about products (Rath et al., 2015). Primary research confirmed these reasons and added inspiration as another important factor to engage with luxury brands on Instagram for millennials. Respondents tend to feel that luxury brands use Instagram to communicate their brand image and sell their products. Very few think that brands want to establish a conversation with them. Possibly, because of that millennials don’t want to comment, perhaps because they think they won’t be listened to and their comments would just get lost. Or perhaps because it’s too much effort and they are not that committed. The way millennials engage primarily with luxury brands on Instagram includes liking, followed by sharing, expressed to be less preferred in the survey. However, the paired interviews showed that sharing is quite popular between friends. It is important to note that giving feedback to luxury brands through comments on brands’ content, is the last thing millennials would do. The interviews provided a plausible explanation to millennials’ unwillingness to comment on luxury brands’ posts. Millennials don’t think that luxury brands acknowledge them enough, and

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this may lead to brands loosing potential consumers in future. In fact, the qualitative findings confirmed that millennials perceive that luxury fashion brands use Instagram to communicate their identity and sell products. In addition, some respondents said they don’t feel the two- sided communication from luxury brands on Instagram. Participant F claimed “I understand if you have a large number of audience, but it’s nice to acknowledge them one way or the other, maybe by publishing a post thanking the followers” (Participant F, 2016; Appendix 9). Stopgap (2016b) reports that millennials greatly enjoy the content with videos. This study suggested that millennials prefer images to videos, when looking at luxury fashion brands Instagram pages. This, however, is not generalizable to the whole population, as the study was conducted in UK and focused on a specific segment of fashion industry. Thus, this information might be relevant for luxury fashion brands, which are starting to use more and more videos on their Instagram thinking it can lead to better interaction. The survey showed content generated directly by brands as more preferred by millennials, than the user-generated content. This contradicts the interview findings in which the user-generated content was said to be more appealing. Therefore, more research should be conducted on this matter. Asking survey participants to look at Chanel’s page was appropriate for this study, as it aims to explore engagement with heritage luxury fashion brands like Chanel. In addition, the brand has the highest number of followers compared to other luxury fashion brands (Iconsquare Index, 2016), which makes it a well-recognized brand, especially by luxury consumers. Findings from the survey showed that Chanel’s Instagram impacts the brand’s followers quite effectively, especially their perceptions and desire to buy from the brand. Followers’ attitudinal loyalty is also more positively influenced than the nonfollowers’ loyalty. People previously not familiar with the page, are only affected in their perceptions. The comparison between followers and non-followers was quite insightful, which showed that familiarity with the page differentiates the way people react.

Introduction

Summary of findings

Looking back at the primary research results, it can be stated that this study’s objectives have been met. The first objective was fulfilled by reviewing the literature and conducting an online audit of three luxury fashion brands on Instagram. This audit guided the research as it was necessary to understand what content the high-end fashion brands post on their pages.


Introduction Summary of findings

The research aimed at exploring the impact of luxury fashion brands’ use of Instagram on millennials’ attitudes. It can be concluded that Instagram has an impact on millennials’ attitudes towards luxury fashion brands, and the most impact is seen in the influence on brand perceptions. Although the survey findings showed that more positive perceptions influence greater loyalty towards a luxury brand, it did not align with the qualitative findings. From the qualitative interview data it was noticed that people’s brand perceptions may change in a more positive way when engaging with luxury brands on Instagram, but full loyalty was not thought to be the end result. As such, further research investigating this relationship between perception and loyalty is required. Finally, the results discussed in chapter 4, lead to the conclusion that Instagram use by luxury fashion brands does not result in consumer “empowerment” as in consumers feeling strongly that they have authority to give their feedback to the brands. This finding does not match Brodie et al (2013)’s research, in which engagement leads to “empowerment”. To conclude, the findings show that engagement with brands via Instagram has an effect on millennials in attitudinal terms to do with trust, loyalty, and emotional connection. This meets Brodie et al., (2013) theory saying that consumer engagement on social media results in all of the above mentioned elements. In addition, the study added to the literature, as it found out that aspiration towards purchasing from luxury brands is also one of the main outcomes of consumer engagement on Instagram. The survey analysis showed that all perceptions were significantly positively influenced. However, achieving brand loyalty, as one might expect, is still harder to achieve than positively influencing brand perception and attitude.

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The findings cannot be generalised to the entire population, as the respondents in this research were part of a convenience sample and the investigation was conducted over a short period of time during Summer 2016. The research was conducted in London and focused on the millennial audience primarily UK citizens and/or people living in UK, who are luxury consumers and Instagram users. Thus, the findings can only be relevant to this particular segment. Although the findings, of this research were quite satisfactory, further research could be conducted to deepen understanding of many of these topics. For example, it would be interesting to focus a research only on males and explore in-depth their consumer engagement with luxury brands on Instagram. It could also be insightful to do a crosscultural study to compare how different nationalities differ in their engagement. As this particular research focused more on evaluating the impact on attitudes rather than behavior, future research could aim to deepen understanding about potential behavior change and whether ultimately Instagram can or cannot be said to be effective in leading to repeat purchases of luxury fashion products. This dissertation has been a journey. The researcher had some ideas about Instagram at the outset but these have been challenged and informed by the online audit, the qualitative interviews and the quantitative survey. A myriad of different views and perspectives have emerged showing that how digital media is used by brands and received by consumers is ‘all up for grabs’. It would be brilliant to do further research on this topic as every month there is a different angle on this topic. Overall, some big picture learnings have emerged but it is clear that ‘the devil is in the detail’ and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.


Griselda Ibarra MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Evolving Innovation

Fashion, advertising & VR: is virtual reality an effective advertising medium for the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage with female millennial consumers?


Abstract

Griselda Ibarra

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

Many researchers, such as Kasatanakis and Balabanis (2012) describe the millennial generation as the main driving force behind this global trend redefining marketing communications. The millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, consists of young consumers born between 1981 and 2000 (Engel et al., 2011). Studies show (Al- Zaidy, 2016), audiences are interacting and enjoying entertaining content more than ever before due to the millennial generation’s influence. In a field as competitive as the mid-market luxury fashion sector, industry professionals state this is the opportunity to offer millennial consumers the experience they crave (Euromonitor International, 2016). However, there is very little or no academic research regarding whether virtual reality is an effective advertising platform within fashion or whether consumers want to engage with the fashion industry through a virtual reality media platform. The aim of this study was to evaluate if virtual reality, as an advertising medium, is an effective strategy for the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage with female millennial consumers. Based on the explanatory nature of this research, the following objectives were investigated and analyzed: the nature of this study was conducted through an explanatory perspective with an interpretivism philosophy. Applying this perspective allowed for flexibility to increase the general understanding of the relationships and effects between fashion, advertising, and virtual reality (Saunders et al., 2012). For this study, the data was collected through qualitative methods. Nine female millennial consumers were interviewed before watching a virtual reality advertisement on the Google Cardboard headset.

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Background and rationale

“As marketing looks into the future and ponders the world that is opening up, it must realize that the entertainment industry and the fashion business are increasingly overlapping” (Hegarty, 2010). Many researchers, such as Kasatanakis and Balabanis (2012) describe the millennial generation as the main driving force behind this global trend redefining marketing communications. The millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, consists of young consumers born between 1981 and 2000 (Engel et al., 2011). Studies show (Al-Zaidy, 2016), audiences are interacting and enjoying entertaining content more than ever before. Google’s YouTube video platform receives more than one billion unique visitors per month (Al-Zaidy, 2016). Furthermore by 2017, it is predicted that video will account for more than 69 percent of internet traffic (Al- Zaidy, 2016). Consequently, this generation is also redefining the mid-market luxury fashion sector. According to a recent Goldman Sachs survey, twice as many millennials as non- millennials believe the following statement, “When a brand uses social media, I like that brand more” (Deloitte, 2015). This is an example of how the millennial generation not only exhibits a new set of consumer habits, but also how this generation expects brands to communicate with them (Valentine and Powers, 2013; Fry, 2015). Evidently, the increasing digital media usage by millennials is increasing the digital advertising strategies used by mid-market luxury fashion brands to reach their target audience (Smith, 2011). However, many millennials are becoming progressively annoyed with online digital advertising making it difficult for fashion brands to engage with their audience (Al-Zaidy, 2016).

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Mid-market luxury fashion brands Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Ted Baker and Coach are some of the early adopters experimenting in engaging consumers with virtual reality (Hyland, 2016; Edelson, 2015; Arthur; 2015). Their experiences have been showcased at New York Fashion Week and at each label’s retail outlets (Hyland, 2016; Edelson, 2015; Arthur; 2015). In reviewing the literature, there is evidence upholding the potential for the virtual reality platform to revolutionize the way marketers engage with their consumers (Kassaye, 2007). Therefore, industry analyst Rob Walker states, over the next five years virtual reality will be a major feature at fashion shows for brands to engage their audience and advertise their fashion shows in-store Euromonitor International, 2016). Furthermore, researcher Kassaye (2007) argues an immersive media platform such as virtual reality would engage their target consumer and essentially have a much longer trace in their memory. In a field as competitive as the mid-market luxury fashion sector, industry professionals state this is the opportunity to offer female millennial consumers the experience they desire (Euromonitor International, 2016). However, there is very little or no academic research regarding whether virtual reality is an effective advertising platform within fashion or whether consumers want to engage with the fashion industry through a virtual reality media platform.

Introduction

Fortunately, industry professionals argue the recent emergence of the virtual reality platform to be the solution in resetting digital advertising (Marvin, 2016). Studies show that within any medium, in order to immerse users in an experience there must be a connection among the human mind, the technology and the environment (Li, Daugherty, and Biocca, 2002). In using virtual reality and its 360-degree video format, brands are able to engage the consumer by putting the viewer at the center of the experience and transport them to a different environment (Cassidy, 2016). Additionally, Google’s introduction of Google Cardboard has made it easily accessible for the customer to engage with the content (Ellis, 2016). Resulting in Juniper Research predicting more than 12 million virtual reality headset sales by the end of 2016 and 30 million by the end of 2020 (Cassidy, 2016).


To describe the succession, the initial letters for each mental state and effect form the AIDA acronym: awareness, interest, desire, and action (Van Dyck, 2014; Vakratsas and Ambler, 1999; Gabriel, Kottasz, and Bennett, 2006). AIDA Theoretical Framework To properly frame this study, the theoretical framework applied was the AIDA model as shown in Figure 1.1 (Fill, 2005). The AIDA sequence was one of the first formal advertising models developed in 1898 by the famous US advertising pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis (Van Dyck, 2014). The model is most recognized by E.K Strong’s adaption in 1925 to personal selling as a reminder for salespeople on how to develop a pitch (Gabriel, Kottasz, and Bennett, 2006); however, traditionally, it is used when testing the effectiveness of consumer’s responses to an advertisement or a medium (Van Dyck, 2014; Gabriel et al., 2006). Since then, these types of models have dominated advertising research and education (Vakratsas and Ambler, 1999). The literature describes (Van Dyck, 2014) the AIDA model as focusing particularly on the large group of consumers classified as light buyers. Studies show these buyers are an effective target market for persuasive advertising; they are inclined to buy into the brand and are large enough group to make a difference (Van Dyck, 2014). To frame this study, the AIDA model was used to evaluate campaign effectiveness on millennial consumers interested in mid-market luxury fashion brands, due to the immense size of the generation, they are large enough to make a difference and ensure advertising efforts are cost-efficient (Van Dyck, 2014). Overall, the purpose of the model is to academically evaluate campaign effectiveness to persuade consumers to continue engaging with the brand or to make an immediate purchase (Fill, 2005; Van Dyck, 2014).

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An important matter in the AIDA model is the consumer’s involvement (Ghirvu, 2013), it embodies the time, energy, and different resources used by people in the processing of engaging with a brand. Below are the four stages that advertising drives the customer into start consumers must experience to evaluate an advertisement’s effectiveness (Van Dyck, 2014; Ghirvu, 2013; Fill, 2005). Attention: The main goal under this effect is to gain the attention of a prospective customer for a particular brand (Van Dyck, 2014). The advertiser has to promote the product to the consumer in a way that seizes the attention of the consumer (Ghirvu, 2013). Interest: In this stage the advertisers aim is create a positive brand attitude (Van Dyck, 2014). After the consumer’s attention has been elicited, her interest needs to be stimulated to create a sense that the brand will offer an added value (Fill, 2005; Van Dyck, 2014). Desire: This stage should resonate with the consumer’s aspiration to a particular product (Ghirvu, 2013). Once they are interested the next step relies on creating positive feelings for the consumer to engage with the brand (Ghirvu, 2013; Van Dyck, 20140. Action: The final stage either represents the final step of the buying process or the final step of further engagement to eventually purchase the product (Ghirvu, 2013). Once the desire for the product or service has been provoked, the consumer should be motivated to take action (Van Dyck, 2014).

Introduction

Ultimately, AIDA model is based on a hierarchy of effects explaining how the consumer must be drawn through a continuum of mental states in order for them to be motivated by external stimuli to engage with the brand or purchase the product (Van Dyck, 2014; Fill, 2005). The model proposes that the advertising effects occur in three linear stages: cognition, affect, and behavior.


 xamine through a literature review the values, E lifestyles and media habits of female millennial consumers and how they impact digital advertising effectiveness  xplore the literature regarding the definition, E market value, millennial consumption habits and how they impact the current digital advertising practices witin the mid-market luxury fashion sector  ontextualize virtual reality as a digital C advertising medium through secondary research of its features, psychological process, and current practices in the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage female millennial consumers  valuate the attitudes and responses, by using E the AIDA model, of female millennial consumers towards the concept of virtual reality as an advertising medium to engage with mid-market luxury fashion sector This study highlights the current trends and challenges of marketing communications within the mid-market luxury fashion sector and the advertising industry. The purpose of this study is to provide a better understanding into the academic evaluation of using virtual reality as an advertising medium within the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage with female millennial consumers. The information provided in this study may be useful for advertisers interested in implementing virtual reality into their marketing communications strategy. Millennials prefer experiences and new interactive experiences are being created every minute (Rein, 2016). “The goal is to get ordinary people to crave extraordinary things so that when they grow up and make it big, that extraordinary purchase will be their everyday� (Rein, 2016). This study offers insight into what millennials want from fashion brands regarding marketing communications

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The nature of this study was conducted through an explanatory perspective with an interpretivism philosophy. Applying this perspective allowed for flexibility to increase the general understanding of the relationships and effects between fashion, advertising, and virtual reality (Saunders et al., 2012). The research was conducted through an action research strategy and the data was collected through qualitative methods. Nine female millennial consumers were interviewed before watching a virtual reality advertisement on the Google Cardboard headset. Following the video advertisement, the interview was continued asking the participants questions regarding the virtual reality advertisement. The interviews were conducted in a semistructured manner. Additionally, a direct observation technique was implemented while the participants interacted with the advertisement; the data was collected through video recording. The analysis of the data was compared against the four stages of the AIDA model (Van Dyck, 2014). Delimitations The following boundaries were set in regards to the scope of the research:  he study included only information regarding T digital advertising; all other forms of advertising were left out.  he main focus of this study was on the digital T media formats found in advertising for engagement, the influence of the creative content was taken into consideration; however, it was not a focal point.  nly the mid-market luxury fashion sector and its O digital advertising practices were focused on during this study.  hose interviewed in this study consisted T of female millennial (born between 1981 and 2000) consumers familiar with the mid-market luxury fashion sector.

Introduction

Investigate the purpose, trends, and communication theories behind effective digital advertising through secondary research

Methodology

Aim and objectives

as well as an analysis of the primary consumer data regarding female millennials’ reactions, responses, and attitudes towards virtual reality. Additionally, the information can function to fill the gap regarding academic resources within fashion advertising as an introduction into the research of the practice.

The aim of this study was to evaluate if virtual reality, as an advertising medium, is an effective strategy for the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage with female millennial consumers. Based on the explanatory nature of this research, the following objectives were investigated and analyzed:


Introduction Investigate the purpose, trends, and communication theories behind effective digital advertising through secondary research (Chapter Two)  xamine through a literature review the values, E lifestyles and media habits of female millennial consumers and how they impact digital advertising effectiveness (Chapter Three)  xplore the literature regarding the definition, E market value, millennial consumption habits and how they impact the current digital advertising practices within the mid-market luxury fashion sector (Chapter Four)  ontextualize virtual reality as a digital C advertising medium through secondary research of its features, psychological process, and current practices in the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage female millennial consumers (Chapter Five) The accumulation of the objectives provides an insight into the academic theory underpinning what constitutes an effective advertising strategy to engage female millennials consumers within the mid-market luxury fashion sector. Similarly, the current forces affecting advertising and the mid-market luxury fashion sector will be reviewed. At the end of these chapters, it is expected to have a thorough understanding of the key issues examined how they affect the overall research purpose of evaluating whether virtual reality is an effective medium for female millennial consumers to engage with the mid-market luxury sector.

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Research design

Literature overview

As stated in Chapter One, the following four chapters consist of the literature review. Each chapter is dedicated to exploring and evaluating the secondary research regarding the following objectives:

Saunders, et al. (2012) explains that the purpose of a research strategy is defined as a plan of action of how the researcher will go about answering his or her research question and answer their final goal. In answering the final goal of this study, the action research spiral strategy was implemented with a clear purpose of evaluating virtual reality as an advertising medium within the context of the mid-market luxury fashion sector (Saunders et al., 2012). Fact-finding and analysis were derived from the review of the literature, thus taking action and evaluating that action in cycle 1. Implementing cycle 1, allowed evaluating and planning further actions for subsequent cycles throughout the process. Academics Eden and Huxham (Saunders et al., 2012) link this process for the development of a theory; however, they emphasize that consultants who use this strategy are “more likely to focus on the subsequent transfer knowledge gained from one specific context to another.� Thus concluding the knowledge gained can be transferred to inform other contexts. Furthermore, this strategy allowed for a deductive approach to be applied in which the data was compared against the AIDA model in filling the gap between the idea of virtual reality as an effective medium for mid-market luxury advertising and whether the response from female millennial consumers elicited all the events in the framework (Fill, 2005).


Overview of the Problem The mid-market luxury fashion sector holds some of the fastest growing companies worldwide; Kate Spade & Company, PVH Corp, Fossil Group, and Tory Burch LLC have been high-growth companies listed in the Fastest 20 ranking for the past three consecutive years (Deloitte, 2016a). Industry analysts argue, “… [Mid-market] luxury brands tend to be more volatile, but can deliver faster growth in the early stages of development” further implicating that the mid-market luxury brands have an inherently limited lifespan (Chitrakorn, 2015). I n order to prevent these brands from ceasing to exist, it is essential to attract and engage the new millennial generation, which are considered the mid-market luxury sector’s light buyers. This means targeting female millennial consumers will make a large enough to make a difference and ensure advertising efforts are cost-efficient (Van Dyck, 2014). In a field as competitive as the mid-market luxury fashion sector, industry professionals state this is the opportunity to offer millennial consumers the experience they desire (Euromonitor International, 2016). However, there is very little or no academic research regarding whether virtual reality is an effective advertising platform within fashion or whether consumers want to engage with the fashion industry through a virtual reality media platform. Purpose Statement and Research Questions The aim of this study was to evaluate if virtual reality, as an advertising medium, is an effective strategy for the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage with female millennial consumers. Based on the explanatory nature of this research, the following objectives were investigated and analyzed: Investigate the purpose, trends, and communication theories behind effective digital advertising through secondary research  xamine through a literature review the values, E lifestyles and media habits of female millennial consumers and how they impact digital advertising effectiveness

06

 xplore the literature regarding the definition, E market value, millennial consumption habits and how they impact the current digital advertising practices witin the mid-market luxury fashion sector  ontextualize virtual reality as a digital C advertising medium through secondary research of its features, psychological process, and current practices in the mid-market luxury fashion sector to engage female millennial consumers  valuate the attitudes and responses, by using E the AIDA model, of female millennial consumers towards the concept of virtual reality as an advertising medium to engage with midmarket luxury fashion sector.

One of the major findings discovered in this study was the mere fact that all participants were intrigued by the experience of viewing a fashion advertisement through the Google cardboard headset. They all enjoyed the experience and were engaged past the one-minute mark. However, their responses regarding the use of virtual reality as an engagement tool were also interesting. The participants stated that if a brand were to disguise behind technology as a way to reach out to millennials, they would automatically retreat and no longer engage with the brand. Furthermore, industry professionals (Cassidy, 2016) and researchers (Li, Daughtery, and Biocca, 2002) have predicted the success of virtual reality and stated 3D advertising would stimulate a new media as a virtual experience Li et al., 2002). However there have not been any studies conducted that include all three variables. Providing this information is a major finding for future managerial implications. Many marketers are excited to trial a campaign on the platform; however implementing a campaign on virtual reality is costly and there isn’t any past evidence regarding the virtual reality being effective. The data gathered in this study offers insight into what millennials want from fashion brands regarding marketing communications and brand engagement.

Introduction

Summary of the study

Summary of findings

Discussion

This chapter presents a summarization of the study and important discussion drawn from the data presented in Chapter Seven. It provides key points regarding implications for action and recommendations for further research.


Leonie-Charlotte Zimmermann MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Transparent Environments

Conscious fashion communications: a business plan based on the potential of sustainable marketing communications for the German fashion industry


MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

The interest in sustainability is growing. The fashion industry is affected by this trend development and currently changing a lot. Concepts for sustainable management are built to satisfy the increasing demand of green consumer groups and processes are improved. The idea of including sustainability in marketing issues likewise is researched, but very generalized. The role of marketing is discussed in several theories with the outcome that the power of marketing is underestimated and that it could play a sigfinicant role in the evolution of sustainability in businesses. Secondary research in this paper reveals that the research is very theoretical, but not well implemented in practice yet. Also, results are not industry-specific what makes suggestions and outcomes vague. Due to the lack of specification existing outcomes and primary research is adapted to the fashion industry. It is one of the most affected industries regarding the sustainable development and provides an opportunity of improvement in the marketing section. The topic in this paper is very significant for the fashion management and practice, as it delivers a consistent theory and practice for sustainable marketing in the fashion industry, which does not exist yet.

Abstract

Leonie-Charlotte Zimmermann

The paper ‘Conscious Fashion Communications: a business plan based on the potential of sustainable marketing communications for the German fashion industry’ is a practice- based project. With secondary and primary research a theoretical outcome is generated that is interpretated practically. The research was conducted in two steps. To indentify a research gap and to build a frame of knowledge, secondary research was done. Based on this the primary research was designed to answer the indentified gap in the industry. Expert internviews from the focussed industry, the sustainable fashion industry, helped to narrow down from the general to the specific. A survey with German consumers interested in green products aims to add information from the consumer perspective to the gained knowledge. The research leads to a definition of sustainable marketing for the fashion industry. A manifesto is created that includes different perpectives and elements relevant for its implementation, based on secondary and primary research. Also, a framework is designed that helps fashion brands to implement sustainable marketing communications consistently. A business plan follows this theoretical part to demonstrate its realization. Conscious Fashion Communications is an agency offering sustainable marketing services for fashion brands, considering the generated theory.This piece provides the opportunity for fashion brands to integrate sustainability more efficiently with an optimized way to conduct marketing.

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Introduction Background and rationale

This chapter introduces the dissertation “Conscious Fashion Communications A business plan based on the potential of sustainable marketing communications for the German fashion industry”. The rationale and objectives of the research are presented as well as the structure of the piece and the used methodology. 1.2. Research Background The condition of the environment is diminishing. Topics such as the overuse of natural resources, pollution and climate change are priorities for worldwide economies and politics (WHO, 2010). “Green touches the lives of all people around the globe” (Ottman, 2011: p.18), and this is why interest in it is growing enormously. Sustainable management processes have been developed and optimised in international business models and are demonstrated in Corporate Social Responsibility Reports. The fashion industry plays a significant role in sustainable development as it embodies the “second dirtiest industry in the world”. (Ecowatch, 2016) Due to the growing interest in green products, brands develop sustainable strategies for their operations. The fashion industry especially aims to optimise a green and socially fair production. Although there is a lack of trust when it comes to green fashion products, it is mainly caused by fast fashion production scandals and nontransparent business structures. (Atkinson, 2014)

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1.3 Research Rationale This work deals with the link between sustainability, consumer behaviour and marketing communications. As research has mainly been done on each topic individually, but not well in combination, the thesis addresses a current and relevant topic for the fashion industry. This research was done due to the assumption that the power of marketing is underestimated and that it has a lot of potential in terms of sustainable fashion products and green consumer groups. Because of that, the key issue addressed in this paper is the current definition of marketing. Currently, the role of marketing is limited to selling products with the aim of achieving profits for the business. Theoretical discussions encourage businesses to give marketing a greater value as it has the potential to play an important role in the sustainable management development. With a great impact on its consumers, sustainable marketing offers a major opportunity for a business to raise trust and awareness in terms of sustainable topics. (Gordon et al., 2011) Presented in this thesis is a concept for sustainable marketing communications for the fashion industry, which is connected to the needs of green consumer groups. This idea has the potential to make a fashion business much more sustainable with little effort by addressing already existing structures that need to improved. Due to the rising importance of sustainable management for businesses, the connection between sustainability and marketing in the fashion industry is very current and relevant for further strategic improvements.


This research paper is characterised through mixed methods. The theoretical part of this work has an inductive approach as it aims to generate a theory. An in-depth investigation of the latest and most relevant findings within the field of interest are presented and followed by primary research. Qualitative interviews with experts from the international fashion industry and a quantitative survey with German consumers are used to expand the results of the secondary research. Based on the generated theory of this part, the deductive and practice-based part is presented in the form of a business plan.

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Chapter 2 (Project Contextualisation) Followed by this introduction is the second chapter, the project contextualisation, where a Venn diagram is presented to visualise the field of interest. The latest and most important findings of the secondary research within the selected topics are pointed out to set the framework and key focus of the work. In this case the topics of sustainability, consumer behaviour and marketing communications are discussed and reveal the identified research gap of this work. Chapter 3 (Methodology) The third chapter justifies the chosen methodology for this research. The methodological choices such as the research philosophy, the approach of the paper and the implementation of the methods are explained. Also, the relevance and development of the research instruments are vindicated. Chapter 4 (Project Development) The fourth chapter is the project development, where the primary research is discussed and evaluated. The findings of the survey and interviews are analysed and related to the results of the secondary research. The entire research process is reflected in this chapter. Chapter 5 (Validation) The project development is followed by the validation. The final outcome is presented in this chapter demonstrates the relevance of the research. The theoretical outcome is linked to the following practice-based part of the project, and the Business Plan for Conscious Fashion Communications, an agency offering 360 degrees of marketing communication services for sustainable fashion brands is presented. The plan contains the creative design of the brand image and corporate design of the agency, as well as the strategic and financial planning.

Introduction

Overview and structure Aims and objectives Methodology

The aim of this piece of work is to reveal the potential of the interaction between sustainability, consumer behaviour and marketing communications to define sustainable marketing communications based on the demands of green consumer groups. To achieve this, the first objective is to explore challenges and opportunities for sustainable marketing in fashion. With this, the work strives to define characteristics for successful and sustainable marketing communications. Also, another objective is to investigate green consumer groups’ demands and behaviours in terms of sustainable communications. The combined results are then used to contextualise the German compliance for sustainable marketing communications in the fashion industry. Based on that the last objective is to produce a business plan for Conscious Public Relations, a 360-degree marketing agency for sustainable fashion brands in Germany.

Conscious Fashion Communications: a business plan based on the potential of sustainable arketing communications for the German fashion industry is a practice- based project that is divided into two parts. The first and theoretical section is segmented into five chapters.


Elements of sustainable marketing One key text regarding sustainable marketing is from Gordon, Carrigan and Hastings. In their article “A framework for sustainable marketing”, the authors define the concepts of green marketing, social marketing and critical marketing. In their opinion sustainable marketing can be successfully achieved with these three sub-disciplines. The framework they built, shown in Figure 2.2, shows the correlation between green marketing, social marketing and critical marketing and that the interaction forms the actual concept of sustainable marketing. This means that businesses, citizens and markets are equally included to achieve sustainable marketing. For Gordon et al. sustainable marketing needs to consider the idea of “developing and marketing more sustainable products while introducing sustainability efforts at the core of the marketing and business concept” (Gordon, Carrigan, and Hastings, 2011). Different approaches about green marketing inspired the authors for their own definition (e.g., Peatti, 1995,1999; Thogerson and Crompton, 2009). They agreed that as for Peatti (1995), green marketing is about implementing sustainable decisions in business operations consistently. Based on their research they came to the result that green marketing has the goal to gain profit and to enhance the corporate image. They stated that green marketing does not address and change consumer behaviour— why the achieved impact can only be minute. Social marketing, which for them aimed to “encourage social behaviour” (Gordon, Carrigan, and Hastings, 2011), extends the limitation of green marketing as it is focussed on individual sustainable behaviour. With an insight-driven method social marketing intends to

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influence consumer behaviour to benefit society as a whole. Additionally, critical marketing has to be implemented to round out the idea of sustainable marketing. For Gordon et al. critical marketing is about questioning current methods consistently to achieve an innovative level of marketing decisions. Marketing and its regulatory, when adapted to environmental changes, can increase a business’ competitiveness. The authors presented a marketing framework that covers sustainability while considering the business, the consumer and the innovation level of marketing. Their biggest critique regarding sustainable marketing involves including the consumer. Rather than including them in marketing decisions, they suggested to influence them to achieve a better sustainable behaviour. The influence of marketing and the consumer is currently unilateral. (Gordon, Carrigan, and Hastings, 2011) Socialecological Mitchell et al. presented another approach. The authors found out that sustainable marketing consists of three different factors: economic, social and ecological. They referred to the concept of the “socialecological” by Sheth and Parvatiyar (1995), which says that sustainable marketing can be reached though guided markets, where “corporations and society agree on a combination of economic, political, and social and ecological norms to govern the marketing-based economy” (Mitchell et al., 2010: 164). These markets would be characterised through visible hands to make marketing more transparent and sustainable. The relevance of marketing channels A different issue can be identified regarding the role of marketing when looking into the concepts of marketing communications. The focus of the reviewed literature is mostly on marketing in general. There is a lack of research addressing specific marketing communication channels. The exception is a framework of the Integrated Marketing Communications concept, the content marketing matrix presented by Chaffey. He revealed four dimensions of content relevant for a brand: entertain, inspire, educate and convince. Within these dimensions he placed the tools that are relevant for a 360-degree marketing integration. Figure 2.5 shows selected tools within the matrix. (Chaffey, 2015)

Introduction

Literature overview

This chapter introduces the subject area for the piece of work. The current state of research and knowledge is presented in the fields of sustainability, marketing communications and consumer behaviour, as shown in the Venn diagram in Figure 2.1. The aim for this part is to identify the research gap and initial questions for future research. Key references were chosen to set a clear scope and to provide the latest and most relevant results within this field of practice.


3.2.1 Research Philosophy The philosophy behind this work is interpretivism. In terms of ontology, the “nature of reality and existence” (Smith, Thorpe and Jackson, 2015: 46), this research is based on a complex nature of reality. Rather than focussing on one truth or generalisations, multiple meanings and realities were considered to achieve the work’s aim. Regarding the epistemology, the nature of knowledge, interpretations and perceptions were mainly used to gain knowledge. As theories and concepts are too simplified, the purpose of this paper is “to create new, richer understandings and interpretations of social worlds and contexts” (Saunders, Thornhill and Lewis, 2015: 140), which is typical for an interpretivist approach. It was key to subjectively analyse data and to personally interpret information, so that the research had a value-bound role. (Saunders et al, 2015; Smith et al, 2015) 3.2.2 Research Process The research started with the clarification of the topic. Topics of interest, in this case sustainability, consumer behaviour and marketing communications, were defined. Before reviewing the literature, a first draft of research objectives and the aim was created. The literature review helped to strengthen the understanding of the topics and their connection. This gained knowledge lead to an adaption of the objectives. Also, the research gap was identified as well as initial questions for the project. With this, the research design followed. Primary research instruments were designed that would suit the research gap, the aim and the objectives. Mixed methods, qualitative expert interviews and a quantitative consumer survey were chosen as being most appropriate to answer the questions and objectives of the piece of work. The data collection followed and was conducted ethically. The interviews were then analysed before the survey and both were related to the objectives and the results of the secondary research. Finally, the writing was done after collecting all results necessary for the project.

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This chapter presents the discussion and evaluation of the piece of work. The chosen primary research methods are based on the identified research gap in the project contextualisation to answer the initial questions of this paper. As a weakness of theories was identified due to fact that they are not related to a specific industry, this research is focussed on the sustainable fashion industry. Challenges and opportunities for sustainable marketing as well as characteristics for success are identified. The behaviour of green consumer groups regarding the usage of media channels and their way of gaining information is investigated. To specify the terms of sustainable marketing communications in greater detail, this research focuses on the green consumer groups in Germany. Expert interviews and a survey of German consumers are the chosen methods to manifest the objectives of this piece of work. The entire process of the paper is reflected in this chapter and a framework build that is based on the combined results of this primary research and outcomes from previous works presented in the project contextualisation. 4.2 Expert interviews 4.2.1 Introduction and Interviewees Qualitative interviews were held to understand the phenomenon of sustainable marketing and the position of green consumer groups. Four experts, all involved with sustainable fashion, answered the same questionnaire of six questions. All experts are familiar with the sustainable fashion industry and green marketing, but each from a different perspective. All fully answered interviews can be found in Appendixes 5–8. Ellen Köhrer is a journalist and the owner of the blog “Grün ist das neue Schwarz” (“Green is the new black”). On her blog Köhrer talks about green fashion—a topic that she has been dealing with for four years. She also recently published a book called “Fashion Made Fair”. Eleanor Snare is a teacher of fashion marketing in the UK and works for sustainable events and communication companies. Thimo Schwenzfeier is the director of marketing and communications for the Messe Frankfurt (a fair in Frankfurt). He also works for the Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Week in Berlin, which are two fashion fairs concentrating on sustainable fashion during the bi-annual Berlin Fashion Week. Christine van Dorp works for Kuyichi, a sustainable brand in the Netherlands. She has handled the brand’s public relations for a few months and previously worked for another ethical brand for three years.

Introduction

3.2 Evaluative Commentary

Discussion

Research design

This chapter defines the methodology of the research. A justification of the methodological process and the used methods is given. It is explained how instruments were developed and realised to achieve an appropriate result. Furthermore, its data analysis, the used triangulation and limitations are justified. As shown in this chapter, the ethics were always respected.


5.2 Summary and Reflection 5.2.1 Secondary research Conscious Fashion Communications – A business plan based on the potential of sustainable marketing communications for the German fashion industry aims to reveal the potential of the interaction between sustainability, consumer behaviour and marketing communications to define sustainable marketing communications based on the demands of green consumer groups. In the literature review the current state of knowledge about sustainable marketing, marketing communications and consumer behaviour, and green consumer groups were presented. The reviewed literature helped to find first answers for the objectives to explore challenges and opportunities for sustainable fashion marketing, to define characteristics for successful sustainable marketing and to investigate green consumer groups. Furthermore, gaps within these objectives were identified and should be filled with the adapted primary research. It is conspicuous that theories are rarely focussed on certain industries and researched generally. As sustainability is a complex topic with different understandings, issues and opportunities in each industry, sustainable marketing also needs to be individually defined. Another gap identified in the research is the merger of concepts of sustainable marketing, marketing communications and green consumer behaviour. Theories contain similar elements and provide the opportunity to be linked into a greater and more focussed understanding about sustainable marketing for the fashion industry.

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Introduction

Summary of findings

This chapter is the conclusion and reflection of the piece-of-work. It not only summarises processes and results, it is also considers how the results can be implicated for the field and what contribution the outcome makes for the fashion industry. The gained knowledge is related to previous work and the defined aim and objectives of the piece-of-work. It is explained how these were answered and how successful the chosen approach was in achieving them. In addition, future recommendations are given.

5.2.2 Primary research The primary research aimed to fill the research gaps and to adapt the concept of sustainable marketing particularly for the fashion industry. Interviews with four experts of the sustainable fashion industry were held to understand the phenomenon of sustainable marketing within the fashion sector. The importance of marketing, challenges and opportunities were discussed and later linked to previous work. An extended definition of challenges, opportunities and characteristics of success was given. The experts also gave answers for the objective to investigate green consumer groups, as they named their power in terms of influencing marketing and the relevance of an interaction of both parties. The strong relevance of marketing for sustainable fashion was identified, due to the complexity of the topic. Due to the experts it provided the opportunity to achieve more focussed marketing and to give sustainable products a special meaning. They also mentioned the opportunity the trend development provides, because of the increasing interest in green products. Transparency and credibility were the main challenges named, as well as the term of greenwashing and the possibility to exaggerate sustainable marketing. The weak understanding of consumers was also a challenge mentioned, confirming the assumption made within the literature review. According to the experts, an increase of green consumer groups is causing a rise in their influence. One respondent, however, was critical about that, as for her the diversity of green consumer groups lead to the different interest they represent. Because of that, it is difficult to influence large sectors of marketing. The interaction between society and marketing already has been happening for the experts, although there is much potential to better understand consumers and to make marketing more efficient with that knowledge. Considering green and non-green consumers is also a term not mentioned in the reviewed literature. This can provide the opportunity to learn more about challenges for sustainable businesses.


Introduction Recommendations

The research paper gives a good understanding of sustainable marketing for the fashion industry. Further questions can be found to extend the concept even further. For instance, an interesting approach for future practice demonstrates the consideration of non-green consumers for green marketing decisions. Investigating non-green consumers to establish green marketing strategies can bring a new perspective into the topic and raise the credibility of sustainable fashion, while better understanding emotional barriers. It would also be interesting to see how other industries are effected by sustainable marketing and in which the core concept would change. A comparison is recommended to gain a further understanding of the individuality of sustainable marketing for each industry. A lot of research has been done about sustainable marketing. Due to its complexity there are still different approaches that are unexplored and are interesting to compare to and combine with the developed outcome of this paper. It is essential to convert the theory into practice. A further evaluation of the practically implemented outcome can show the effectiveness of the gained theoretical knowledge. It might also help to improve and specialise the idea even more for the fashion industry.

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Minh Hanh Phung MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Connected Society

Initial barriers to a fashion SME’s internationalisation


MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

Globalisation has enhanced the pressure from competitors, while also allowing easier internationalisation, which could support a small to medium-sized firms’ (SME) long- term growth. However, despite the opportunity to engage in low-risk internationalisation activities - such as exporting - last year only a quarter of them had some form of operation in foreign markets (EC.Europa.eu, 2015). SMEs have a <99,5% representation in European economies (Eurostat, 2016), which leads to their significant contribution to a nation’s economical and social prosperity. This is why they have been in the center of governmental policies’ interest and by identifying the barriers one can understand why current exporters cannot reach their full potential in foreign markets and what factors hold non-exporters back from internationalisation.

Abstract

Minh Hanh Phung

Therefore, the current research aims to identify the key barriers that influence small to medium-sized enterprises’ (SME) engagement in international activities. The study’s aim to investigate a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context (Yin (1994, p.13.), suggested a multiple case study research strategy and in-depth interviews were conducted among five young, Hungarian fashion brands selected with the typical case sampling method. Analytic generalisation was applied using evidence from documentations, archival records and in-depth interviews; which allowed an appropriate level of triangulation. The findings indicate that, within the context of Hungarian brands, the major issues that have been hindering their internationalisation performance are the lack of: education focusing on fashion management; foreign market information; international network and experience, moreover the available financial and governmental support in the country. Since the study was conducted with Hungarian fashion SMEs, caution should be taken into account when generalisation across different markets is considered. However, the results could provide insights for the management of a firm that is interested in internationalisation. Furthermore, it could provide public policy makers with suggestion regarding the areas that should be targeted with national export assistance programs.

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Firms operating in small and open economies (SMOPEC) like Hungary, face restricted political and economical conditions and a domestic market ruled by foreign multinational brands, which acts as push factors in their motivation to seek markets abroad (Luostarinen and Gabrielsson 2006; Reynolds, 2007). In the meanwhile huge global open markets and globalization pressure also pull them to expand abroad (Yip 1989; Zou and Cavusgil 2002). In the case of SMEs, it is stated that export is the most common method when they choose to enter a new market (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2009). However, there is still a respectively big amount of SMEs who have not engaged in export activities yet, although compare to other forms - such as direct investments - it requires smaller financial commitment and commercial risk from the company (Lages and Montgomery, 2004; Agndal and Chetty, 2007). Moreover, these companies are under strict resource constraints (Laanti, McDougall, and Baume 2009), and therefore have to limit their possibilities for adapting to foreign countries. Recently, in Hungary support of the creative industry has gain more interest subject to considerable funding from venture capitals. Brands who have received a significant capital infusion and build their presence abroad represent the first breed of international Hungarian brands and domestic market players eagerly await the reports of their performance.

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Previous studies in internationalisation and the research gap considering the growing number of retailers seeking foreign business activities, the increasing attention from academic interest and publications on internationalisation is no surprise. In the topic of internationalisation, researchers have identified different types of internal (e.g. international experience (Zou and Cavusgil, 2002)) or external (e.g. globalisation conditions, (Alexander et al. 2006)) barriers hindering international expansion (e.g. Morgan and Katsikeas, 1997 or Doherty, 2000). Alvarez (2004) argued that the nature of barriers vary according to the firm’s internationalisation stage. The perceived barriers have a more significant role in initial phase because they can greatly influence a firm’s decision to engage and also determine future performance in foreign markets (Leonidou, 1995; Love et al., 2014). However, there is limited extensive literature specifically based on the barriers perceived by SMEs (Leonidou, 2004; Altintas et al., 2007) furthermore past studies tended to concentrate on the internationalisation of large and established firms (Ahmad and Julian, 2006; Zeng et al., 2008). Since 99,8% of companies belong to the SME sector and 40% of the Hungarian GDP was generated by SME companies in 2015 (Hungarian Marketing Association/Magyar Marketing Szövetség, 2016), this sector bears with significant strategic importance for the Hungarian economy. They provide output, export and employment (73% of the active, working population was employed by a small or medium company (ksh.hu (b), 2016)), which is why identifying the barriers that hinder their international growth may be beneficial on both company and government level. The Hungarian fashion industry mainly consist Womenswear designers therefore this research focuses on this segment and this will be reflected in the sampling criteria as well. Regarding the geographical scope of past researches, those related to export has been targeted primarily on the American and European continent (Sternquist, 1997; Ibeh, 2003 and Neupert et al., 2006). However, in the Eastern European region and Hungary in particular, there has been a scarcity of studies targeting small companies and their export development processes. The importance of undertaking researches in neglected geographical regions suggests an important gap in the existing literature that would be beneficial to address. In addition, expansion paths, such as born globals (Knight and Cavusgil, 1996; Chetty and Campbell-Hunt, 2004) or globalizing internationals (Gabrielsson et al., 2006) which are common strategies among young Hungarian designers have also received relatively little attention compare to traditional internationalisers (Johanson-Vahlne 1977).

Introduction

Background and rationale

The face of Hungarian fashion industry has changed significantly since the fall of the communist political system in 1989. While a shift in mind-set was needed, industry players gradually adapted to the free market conditions and the first generation of designers growing up in this era were ready to conquer foreign markets and organize their business according to international requirements. However, contemplating the current landscape of global fashion industry, one can hardly name any familiar Hungarian brands in general. Magyar Brands, which is the Hungarian and country specific version of Interbrands, produces an annual list of the country’s most valuable brands based on the aspects that contribute to the their value, such as: history, tradition, reputation and identity. From the 2015 results, it is clear that the majority of Hungarian brands that made onto the list, belong to the “Food and Beverages Industry” (MagyarBrands, 2015). The most successful ones, with the biggest audience are information-technology related, such a Prezi (prezi.com) or Ustream (ustream.tv). Local fashion brands lack name recognition even within the home market, although some of them – e.g. womenswear brand, USE Unused showcasing at the Berlin Fashion Week 2015 – are getting growing recognition internationally.


 o detect how the domestic fashion industry’s T evolution influenced young, Hungarian niche brands’ strategic position.  o discuss related themes (e.g. motivational T factors, market entry strategies etc.) within the topic of SME internationalisation in previous research.  o assess young, Hungarian fashion brands’ T market expansion strategies as SME companies.  o identify critical success factors T and as a result, establish a framework of company and country related barriers that Hungarian brands face when entering international markets.

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Methodology

Introduction Aims & Objectives

This paper’s aim is: To distill the initial barriers that limit Hungarian based, SME fashion companies’ internationalisation. Therefore, the research focuses on understanding the background reasons of why Hungarian fashion houses have lagged so far behind some of their Western competitors in terms of expansion strategy. Furthermore, how the changing variables could influence their outlooks for embarking a successful international career from a country and company standpoint. The following objectives are active statements about how the study is going to achieve this aim. Moreover, they provided guidance in the development of the study and also define scope of the research.

This dissertation’s aim is to extend existing literature in the topic of internationalisation and the nature of the research suggested an interpretivist philosophy. During this study inductive approach was applied, in order to explore and develop more knowledge about the challenges that young Hungarian fashion brands face (Crick, 2007; Kneller and Mauro; 2007). In order to understand their situation and get industry insight, qualitative multiple case research method has been used(Yin, 2003). The sources of evidence involved in this study were: documentation, archival records and interviews. Documentary analysis of previous studies, industry specific articles and reports established the academic foundation of the study and helped with developing interview questions (Gill and Johnson, 2010). Since the knowledge in the literature review covered a broader scope within the subject of internationalisation, focusing on certain areas was essential in order to produce detailed analyses. Therefore, the collected materials were reviewed with a pattern-matching, analytic strategy to detect emerging themes and to concentrate on discussing these topics in-depth. To gather real life experiences and get specific questions answered, the researcher conducted semi- structured, in-depth interviews with senior manager/decision maker in five young Hungarian brands based in Hungary who were selected according to a criterion based sampling method. During data analysis and interpretation further archival data, such as governmental reports and organisational records were used to enrich the study. The limitations of chosen methodologies have been taken into consideration and ethical issues related to the research have also been discussed. Full exposition of methodology will be presented in Chapter III.


Introduction Overview and Structure

III. Methodology The appropriateness of the chosen qualitative research methods will be justified by referring back to the initial research questions. The qualitative methods will be described in details, along with how research instruments were developed, pilots and the applied sampling techniques. In the next section it is explained how the data was analysed. Limitations stemming from the methodology and the issues of ethical research will be also discussed as a closing section.

I. Introduction and overview First, the context and rationale for the project will be presented in order to justify the gap in internationalisation literature and explain how researching this topic in the specific context of Hungarian fashion brands is important and could add to existing literature. It also outlines the key areas that the study covers. Aims and objectives will be clearly stated and a brief summary of the methodology to explain how they will be achieved. II. Literature review The first part of this section guides the reader through relevant background literature by provides critical synthesis of existing studies in SME internationlisation. The second part, aims to create a bridge to the practical, commercial environment of the Hungarian reality to provide context and more focus. Research questions are related to the topics that did not emerge from literature review and answering them will help to achieve this study’s aim and objectives. Moreover, the questions will provide a link to Methodology by suggesting the type of research that would be optimal to collect primary data.

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IV. Findings and Analysis The themes emerging from “Chapter 2: Literature review” will be discussed in the context of Hungarian fashion industry in tandem with appropriate reasoning and commentary by the author. Full transcription of interviews will be available in “Appendices”. V. Discussion In this chapter fashion SMEs’ key barriers identified during primary and secondary research will be presented in a structured way. Based on earlier analyses this section emphasizes the importance of synergy between country and company factors in order to achieve international success. VI. Conclusions: This section presents implications of findings and also revisits the initial research aim and objectives to evaluate how well did the research answer them. It evaluates whether the chosen qualitative methodology was the most effective way of researching this topic. Moreover, researcher will also reflect back on the literature to see how the results are contributing or differing from previous studies. Lastly, it notes the reader about the degree to which these results can be generalised and discusses future research directions. VII. References VIII. Appendices


2.2. Globalisation 2.2.1. Influence of globalisation on the fashion industry Over the past decades, the rapid spread of globalisation has been playing a major role in forming the business environment of the 21st century (Pinho and Martins, 2010). The integration of formerly isolated markets into one global economy was facilitated by free trade, capital mobility and also easy migration. Technological advancements have not only revolutionized the way consumers and companies communicate and share information, but also made producing, transportation significantly easier and the improvements in global infrastructure also contributed to more efficient trading processes (Quinn et al., 2012). The globalisation of world’s economies has raised the level of export and companies who operate in open markets (Anderson et al, 2004) have been facing an ever-increasing number of foreign competitors (Etemad, 2004). This led to exporting, as a means of survival and growth for lots of companies looking for a long-term solution (Ural, 2009).

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This dissertation’s aim was to identify the initial internationalisation barriers that small companies face in the context of young Hungarian womenswear brands. To build a solid academic base, relevant topics from the field of internationalisation have been discussed in Chapter II. Literature review. The identified gaps were addressed with research questions, which aimed to create a link between academic and practical areas. Therefore, the Hungarian fashion industry was introduced in order to understand how it influenced Hungarian designers strategic position and compare their internationalisation strategy against international practices. As it has been demonstrated in the previous chapter, Hungarian fashion brands do carry the born-global mind-set, however there are certain resource related issues that limit them in the degree to which they can become internationalised (Alnsour, 2012). In the context of Hungarian designers, the major issues that have been highlighted by most interview participants are the lack of: education focusing on fashion management; foreign market information; international network and experience, moreover the available financial and governmental support in the country.

Introduction

Research Design

After covering the relevant topics of internationalisation in the literature review, gaps have been identified that need to be answered in order to achieve this study’s aim and objectives. Designing the research question is essential because their nature would suggest the type of the research strategy that should be applied in order to gain valuable insights. Based on Yin’s (1984) classification, the fact that the specific research questions contain the “What?” and “How?” words, further justifies that this study is a blend of explanatory and exploratory research. Its explanatory nature comes from the initial question, precisely: why none of the fashion Hungarian brands managed to achieve a more significant success in the international arena so far? Furthermore, in order to identify the concrete factors the exploratory questions help to detect the critical barriers that influence a brand’s capability to engage in international activities. Discussion

Literature Overview

In this chapter the reader will be guided through the area and fields that will help in understanding the barriers of internationalisation. In order to provide focus it also creates a bridge to the practical and commercial context in which the study is set to further support the importance of the researched questions. The literature review aims to provide a critical synthesis of existing studies in a structured logical way, while addressing the questions emerging from the identified gaps. The explicit areas - to form the underlying framework for this research design - were on one hand, the influence of globalization and its pressure on companies to engage in international activities. On the other hand, the focus on the SME sector will be also explained, in consideration of their significant role in contributing to a nation’s prosperity on both economical and social level. Understanding the motivations and initial barriers that SMEs face when entering foreign markets can help management to design more efficient expansion strategies and governmental institutions to develop more suitable policies to increase the percentage of SMEs participating in internationalisation.

A carefully planned research design is an action plan containing logical steps, which makes sure that the collected data; the analysis and interpretation would address the original research questions (Hartley, 2004; Yin, 2003). Yin (2003) identified the following five components of the research design: study questions; proposition; units of analysis; logic linking the data to the proposition and the criteria for interpreting the findings.


Introduction Summary of findings

The 99% level of representation of small and medium companies in a country’s economical structure paired with their immense contribution to a nation’s prosperity, justifies why they have received particular interest from a governmental level. It is argued that the findings of current study have important implications for both companies and government support organization because perceived barriers have a significant influence on a firms’ future engagement in international operations. Increasing their low level of international engagement by understanding the barriers has been addressed by numerous studies in international retailing and SME internationalisation literature. However, extant research has focused on large companies with established internationalisation history, furthermore companies operating in developed Western countries have also received more attention. Therefore, the aim of this research was to investigate theunderdeveloped area of initial barriers to internationalisation perceived and experienced by Hungarian fashion SMEs. First, the Hungarian fashion industry and the situation of young fashion designers aspiring for an international career were introduced. Understanding the background and unique features was essential in order to identify the country’s specific challenges. Second, the author proposed a framework that incorporates both internal and external strategic barriers, SMEs face when looking for expansion strategies. The main barriers of niche Hungarian brands were found to relate to lack of: solid background industry in the domestic market that could provide a seamless supply chain; industry specific education that could provides necessary management skills; international experience to acquire market knowledge and network; investment/financial support; support from government that would facilitate the earlier points.

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6.2. Contribution The study contributes to international marketing literature by investigating country and company related factors that influence a SME fashion brand’s prospects in its expansion strategy from a Hungarian perspective. By discussing empirical findings and formulating conclusions it also establishes the foundation for future research directions to replicate the study in other national context or expand the scope of this particular study on Hungarian fashion brands. Hungarian brands that managed to establish a solid international presence to this date represent the first breed of Hungarian brands with reliable foreign market experience. In this specific context, the main problems sources and their influence on internationalisation prospects - to the author’s best knowledge - have not been detected in a systematical way before. Therefore, literature review supplemented with these SME companies practical knowledge, offers valuable insights because their experiences have been collected at the cost of constant experimentation and tests. The findings of this study with the careful consideration of its economical and cultural context could help aspiring young brands coming from similar countries to shorten their learning journey. Moreover, stemming from the high level of contribution of SMEs to a nation’s economical structure and benefits, the study could offer valuable insight for governmental parties designing export policies.


Introduction Due to fundamental features that could significantly influence their situation, such as country of origin, stage of internationalisation etc. they are unlikely to be entirely representative. Moreover, the number of participants used in this research further limits the generalisability. Since a rigorous approach was adopted during the literature review and applied methods, the author is positive that with careful consideration of economic and cultural differences this research can be repeated and applied to other geographical contexts. The author believes that, applying qualitative in-depth interview in order to match the exploratory nature of the research question was appropriate. The flexible structure of primary research sessions shed light on issues that would have not emerged from the literature review. However, leveraging the advantages of other research methods for further researches is welcomed.

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Recommendations

Limitations

The author would like the reader to note that limitations have to be taken into consideration when interpreting the findings and conclusions of this study. The scope of this study was limited to the range of young, Hungarian niche brands and while they are indicative of the industrial SMEs, results are expected to be more applicable to countries and industries in which similar conditions exist and suggest caution in generalizing the results outside this context. However, the findings can serve as valuable insights for companies in more developed industries as well, where these emerging brands are slowly appearing on the market.

Since this studyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in-depth case approach aimed to understand the barriers of internationalisation in particular to young Hungarian fashion brands, the themes emerging from qualitative findings are recommended to be further explored through quantitative surveys. A survey conducted with SME retailers in Hungary that measures how altering specific variables affect a firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s internationalisation performance, would underpin this research with objective implications and detect which barriers have the biggest effect. The same study conducted over a long period of time would be welcomed, to examine the effects of these barriers in a longitudinal examination. Since the first major financial investment into a Hungarian brand happened only a couple of years ago it is beneficial for future research to explore how the capital infusion influenced the export performance. Furthermore to provide higher generalisability, looking into the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fashion industries with similar resources and capabilities and study how their international presence have been evolving differently could shed light on the main factors that helped one nation to perform better than the other. This direction would be highly useful for governmental parties that aim to develop domestic fashion industry with their policies. In the Eastern-European region, due to the change in the political system the differences between perceived barriers of risk-averse, traditional internationalisers and born-globals might be even more drastic and a comparative study in their expansion approach could provide valuable insights for academic literature. After all, the author hopes that these findings provided a more in- depth picture about the relatively underresearched situation of Hungarian fashion brands in the international arena and was able to provide additional findings in this field of literature and will encourage future research.


Rosie Foster MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Connected Society

The democratisation of luxury fashion in the UK using consumer-based brand equity as a measure


This research is a cross-sectional explanatory study using a mixedmethods approach to assess the difference in Consumer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) between luxury and masstige brands from a UK consumer perspective. The literature surrounding masstige brands is relatively recent and is mostly conceptual, proving the need for an empirical study in the field. At present, the literature assumes and conceptualises that a ‘second luxury market exists’ (Walley et al., 2013, p285). This research aims to prove this in the context of the UK and through the use of CBBE as a measurement.

Abstract

Rosie Foster

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

A critical review of the literature around luxury, masstige and CBBE was undertaken in order to explain, analyse and evaluate the nature of the topics under discussion. The main contributions from the secondary research were the exploration of the luxury concept and the adoption of Aaker’s (2010) model of brand equity which underpins the research design. Two luxury and two masstige brands were selected through a robust brand selection process in order for comparisons and generalisations to be made between luxury and masstige groups. Quantitative research featured a two-part questionnaire which measured the same elements of CBBE for each group allowing simple comparison. Qualitative research featured semi-structured interviews with UK consumers also structured around Aaker’s (2010) model of brand equity. The interviews aided in the understanding of the reasons for differing levels of CBBE between the two brand types found in the quantitative research. The deductive nature of this research allowed the testing of hypotheses generated from the literature by statistical analysis of the quantitative data, which ultimately proved the difference in UK consumer perception between the two levels of brands. However, despite the consistency with the literature, some findings produced surprising results. Moreover, the interviews defied predictions in terms of both individual and grouped brand associations, generating new knowledge on the topic. Generalisations across brand groups highlighted many CBBE weaknesses for masstige brands such as juxtaposing brand associations among others. The managerial implications and the limitations of the research are also discussed.

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Many nuanced labels have been generated in attempt to categorise the brands that now occupy this middle market, these include: new luxury, accessible luxury, masstige and opuluxe (Rohde, 2012; Truong et al., 2009; Silverstein and Fiske, 2003) among others. For the purposes of this study, the most popular term in the literature, masstige will be used (Truong et al., 2009). It is argued that this new strain of luxury brand represents the prosperous middle market which Silverstein and Fiske (2003, p48) argue “occupies a sweet spot between mass and class” through taking advantage of current luxury trends. Through the capitalisation on existent brand equity, many brands have ‘traded down’ through the use of brand licences and extensive lower price point products through product development and diversification such as fragrance, small leather goods and even key chains in order to capitalise on this conspicuous trend (Aaker, 1991; Prokopec, 2015). The most discernible differentiating factor between masstige brands and luxury brands is the reduced price point. However, luxury brands are complex and have distinct constitutive characteristics which Heine (2012, p62) identifies as: price, quality, aesthetics, rarity, extraordinariness and symbolism. This study seeks to discover the UK consumer perception on the absence of some of these notable characteristics in masstige brands to achieve this lower level of luxury branding and price point. This will be measured through ConsumerBased Brand Equity (CBBE).

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Since its development in the 1980s CBBE has been discussed by many authors (Keller, 2008; Aaker, 1991; Kapferer, 2012; Farquhar, 1989). Wood (2000, p662) collates these definitions into:  he total value of a brand as a separable asset T when it is sold or included on a balance sheet  measure of the strength of consumers’ A attachment to a brand  description of the associations and beliefs A the consumer has about the brand. Moreover, Aaker’s (2010) model of brand equity divides the concept into four parts; brand associations, brand awareness, brand loyalty and perceived quality. Keller (2013) argues the consumer-based concept of brand equity is when the consumer is positioned at the heart of these ideals and ultimately determines the power of the brand. When a consumer interacts with a brand and has a positive experience, positive CBBE is accrued as that association with the brand is retained in the mind of the consumer (Keller, 2001). The differences in perception between brands will therefore be measured through CBBE to ultimately understand how masstige brands and luxury brands differ in the mind of UK consumers. Through the measurement of brand awareness, brand associations and perceived quality for both luxury brand types, generalisations are able to be made for each brand group. Moreover, a greater understanding of which elements of the luxury paradigm are of importance to UK consumers will also be achieved. CBBE has become increasingly popular among marketing academics as it is argued that achieving brand loyalty and resonance grants power to firms through more effective marketing campaigns and greater price premiums (Keller, 2001; Theng et al.,2013). Therefore, CBBE can be used to compare these two luxury brand types from a consumer point of view, and can provide great insight into the most and least valued characteristics of luxury branding from a consumer perspective and how masstige brands differ to true luxury brands. This identification will allow firms to better understand consumers’ thoughts on their brands, providing opportunities to capitalise on this to create greater brand loyalty and resonance (Keller, 2001). Through the comparison of masstige and luxury CBBE values, this study seeks to discover and understand any differences between the two.

Introduction

Background & rationale

Luxury brands are considered one of the most lucrative and fastest growing brand segments (Berthon et al, 2009). The last decade has seen the luxury goods market nearly triple from 73bn EUR (£62.5bn) in 1995 to 205bn EUR (£176bn) in 2015 (Bain and Company, 2015). Such vast growth can be attributed to an amalgamation of consumer trends (see section 2.4.1) for example an increase in disposable income, contributing to the increasing number of luxury consumers. The industry quickly recognised the considerable profit to be made from the middle market consumer willing to pay a premium for wellengineered and well-designed goods (Silverstein and Fiske, 2003; Priest, 2005). It seems catering for middle market needs has given rise to an era of the ‘democratisation of luxury’ (Dubois and Paternault, 1995; Tsai, 2005; Atwal and Williams, 2009). Kapferer and Bastien (2009, p314) define democratised luxury products as “ordinary items for extraordinary people, which are at the same time extraordinary items for ordinary people”.


Introduction Aims & objectives

This research sets out to explore a distinction between luxury and masstige brands through CBBE measurement to reflect this changing nature and democratisation of luxury from the consumer perspective. It seeks to find out if masstige brands are valued or considered somewhat inferior brands to UK consumers for reasons other than the comparatively lower price point. Therefore, the research aim and objectives are as follows: Aim: To discover and understand how CBBE differs between luxury and masstige brands from a UK consumer perspective.

Research methods

Structure

Research Philosophy

Pragmatism: a pragmatist approach has been adopted for this study for this study. The stance of a pragmatist is said to view reality from an external point of view It allows the researcher to adopt a position that best answers the research question and adopt both subjective and objective point of view (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2007).

Research approach

Abductive: An abductive approach has been employed in this study where known premises are used to generate testable conclusions. The data collected has been used to explore the selected phenomenon, identify themes and patterns and test it through primary research.

Strategy

Survey: The primary research has been conducted using survey methods utilizing in depth interviews and online administered questionnaires targeted to collect information from millennials living in New Delhi. Interviews with International luxury brand managers and marketers have also bee conducted for triangulation of data in order to find out how is COO attribute used and represented in a product by International luxury brands.

Choice

Mixed methods: A mixed methods approach will be used employing both qualitative and quantitative research.

Time Horizon

Cross Sectional : Due to constraint of time, this study was cross sectional in nature.

Objectives:  o understand the composition of luxury T brands in the literature and to understand how masstige brands deviate from this.  o understand the theories of CBBE and its T measurement.  o discover the difference in CBBE between T luxury and masstige brands.  o understand the reasons for differing levels T of CBBE between the two brand types.

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The main body will outline each of the constructs on which this project is founded and will critically analyse and evaluate the literature around luxury branding, the democratisation of luxury and CBBE and consequently where this project fits within these. The analysis of luxury branding and CBBE literature will be informative and will facilitate the achievement of objectives 1 and 2.

Methodology

The conclusion of this section will summarise the main contribution of the key studies identified and how these will inform the project going forward. The gap in the literature will be further highlighted here.

This research will adopt a pragmatist research philosophy allowing the adoption of subjective meanings and observable phenomena (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2012). As the study draws on existing theory of luxury branding and CBBE, it will be deductive in nature (Collis and Hussey, 2009). Through secondary research presented in the literature review, this study will examine the concepts of luxury brands and CBBE through a comparative and critical analysis of contemporary theories and accounts in order to gain deep understandings of the constructs and the achievement of objectives 1 and 2. In order to establish a deeper understanding of CBBE values, a mixed methods approach will be used in primary research through both quantitative by questionnaires and qualitative by semi-structured interviews. The questionnaire will allow the effective evaluation of CBBE towards a particular brand of that category. The same questions will be asked for each brand group ensuring easy comparison of values. Further to this, five non-standardised, semi-structured interviews will be carried out where the topic is clearly defined and the focal point enables the participant to express their feelings freely (Krueger and Casey, 2000). This will aid a thorough understanding of the topic and the reasons behind the potentially differing CBBE values. This broad insight into the topic will allow deeper analysis and therefore the satisfaction of objective 4.

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Methodology The methodology will follow the structure of the Research Onion developed by Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009). The design of the study will be discussed, including its philosophy, approach, strategy, choices and time horizon. The choice of questionnaire and semi- structured interviews will be justified and reasoned and these will be further detailed with the information on sampling and participant recruitment. The triangulation process of the data will also be explained and limitations will be highlighted. Ethical considerations and methodological considerations such as validity and reliability will also be discussed in this section. Data Presentation and Analysis Data findings will be presented in this chapter using appropriate tables and figures together with interpretive commentary and analysis. It will be assessed how the findings relate to previous key studies identified in the literature review and how these compare to expectations developed from the literature. Discussion and Conclusions This section will bring the project together and will summarise the key findings of the research in relation to the achievement of the aim and objectives. There will also be a discussion regarding the contribution the study has made to theory and practice. The section will conclude with limitations of the study and recommendations for future research.

Introduction

Overview & structure

Literature Review The introduction to this section will explain the nature of the topics for discussion and how they relate with one another in this study.


The democratisation of luxury has resulted in brands catering to the needs of the middle market rather than the elite, yet it is unclear how the middle market perceive luxury (Hauck and Stanforth, 2007; Truong et al., 2009). It is this gap in the research which this study aims to satisfy. Hauck and Stanforth (2007) argue there is little empirical evidence to suggest which categories of brands are perceived as luxury. This is supported by Truong et al. (2009) who posit that the lack of conceptual and empirical research in this field highlights the need for further study of the topic, identifying the need for this research. In order to satisfy the second objective of the project, models of CBBE will be reviewed, analysed and discussed. The main authors on the topic, Aaker (1996, 2010) and Keller (2013) will be the main focus of the review highlighting the advantages of understanding sources of brand equity and the power a firm generates from acquiring this knowledge. This section will also explore other studies that have attempted to measure or value luxury brands in order to widen the breadth of the study, consequently ensuring the development of the methodology has been subject to greater academic rigour and opinions.

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3.3.5. Choice of Methods As previously mentioned, a mixed method approach was adopted for this study featuring a quantitative questionnaire and qualitative semi-structured interviews with UK consumers. The quantitative survey method allowed the collection of a large amount of standardised data for simple analysis by SPSS software. However, the limited length of the questionnaire restricts the diversity of data collected (Bryman and Bell, 2007). This further emphasises the need for additional qualitative research and also ensures concurrency with the explanatory aim of the research, producing more in-depth thoughts and feelings of UK consumers along with greater diversity of views in the study (Hackley, 2003). Moreover, the mixed methods applied are expected to simplify the number of limitations of the study, strengthening its contribution to the practical and academic sides of the fashion industry. Figure 4 visually represents the methodological choices made.

Introduction

Research design

Literature overview

It is argued by Hennigs et al. (2015) that elements of the luxury brand paradigm have been excluded in the development of masstige brands. In order to perform a full assessment of this, one must first understand the concept and composition of luxury brands. There is a substantial body of literature on luxury and the attempt to define it (Bain & Company, 2015). The luxury industry is reliant on consumer trends which are constantly changing due to the influence of the unstable conditions of the wider environment. Luxury is constantly evolving meaning that a single definition of the luxury concept fails to suffice (Phau and Prendergast, 2000; Wiedmann et al., 2009; Christodoulides et al., 2009; Atwal and Williams, 2009). Further to this, the subjectivity of luxury may pose problems in its definition and measurement. The literature on this topic will therefore be reviewed in order to further understand the enigma of luxury and its objective measurement.

A critical review of the literature was undertaken and presented in Chapter two in order to explain, analyse and evaluate the nature of the topics under discussion. The review of the literature further highlighted the gap in the literature and justification for this study. Main contributions of secondary research as stated in section 2.7. is Aakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (2010) brand equity model which underpins this study. The research was deductive in its approach as it builds on existing theories in regards to CBBE (Aaker, 1991, 2010; Farquhar, 1989; Keller, 2001, 2013; Kapferer, 2012) and the democratisation of luxury (Silverstein and Fiske, 2003; Kapferer and Bastien, 2009; Truong et al., 2009; Brun and Castelli, 2013). The deductive approach allows the testing of hypotheses generated from the theory as identified in Chapter 2. Unlike an inductive approach, deduction allows the gathering of a large amount of quantitative data, enhancing the rigour of the research due to its ability to explain correlations between variables. Moreover, the generalisability of the deductive approach allows the achievement of objective 3 of the research project: To discover the difference in CBBE between luxury and masstige brands. While a mixed, abductive approach was considered due to the mixed method design of the study, it was quickly deemed inappropriate due to the disconnection with the research aim.


The subjectivity of luxury has been widely recognised in the field. Luxury is considered the adding of value yet value generation is dependent on individual perception of that product or brand (Brun and Castelli, 2013). It seems the subjective nature of luxury therefore is a limitation of this study as it may restrict the reliability. However, a validated measure of CBBE was used in order to add academic rigour to this research and minimise the risk of this limitation. Small Sample Size Although the size of the sample satisfied validity requirements (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009), it must be acknowledged in relation to the population size of the UK which is 64.6 million (ONS, 2016). Therefore, it may be inadequate to make generalisations across the entirety of UK consumers. Having said that, due to the time constraints of this research it would have been almost impossible to capture the views of a significant percentage of the population.

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The primary research highlighted significant differences in associations between the luxury and masstige brand types. Moreover, masstige brands in particular produced significantly conflicting BAs. Therefore, it is recommended that a study examining the BAs network mapping should be conducted in order to understand the composition of the network associations. Literature on this topic was discussed and dismissed as inappropriate for this study in section 2.6.2.1. due to the explanatory nature of this study. However, due to the findings of this research, understanding the nodes formed between the juxtaposing BAs, can offer further insight into the composition of associations and how they link to form the overall brand image. Additionally, this research proves the existence of a new category of luxury in the way of masstige brands and how they differ from the perception of luxury from a UK consumer perspective. Therefore, further research could be conducted into the effect of the presence of masstige brands on true luxury brands to empirically test whether the democratisation of luxury is a reality. It is argued theoretically that the profusion of masstige brands into the market have resulted in the devaluation of luxury (Fury, 2015) yet this should be empirically tested. Due to the subjective nature of the luxury paradigm the lines between luxury and masstige are blurred yet the establishment of robust criteria for brand selection will counteract these limitations. This research is the first of its kind in the field, filling a gaping research gap in the literature. It empirically proves that UK consumers perceive conspicuous differences between luxury and masstige brands demonstrated through the measurement of CBBE.

Introduction

Recommendations

Summary of findings Limitations

Through the exploration of the luxury literature in secondary research objective 1 was achieved. The substantial body of literature on the definition and composition of luxury brands was analysed and evaluated, considering a large number of differing views on the topic. However, main themes of the literature enabled the identification of the composition of luxury brands to feature: high price, high perceived quality, craftsmanship, exclusivity, heritage, originality and clear brand image. Previous research by Brun and Castelli (2013) argued price and exclusivity are the most conspicuous differences between the brand types and were therefore the two elements discussed in detail to generate further understanding on the topic. Moreover, the deductive nature of this research allowed existent literature to be drawn upon in order to formulate hypotheses. The knowledge gained from the achievement of this objective further fed into the development and design of this project, enabling the more thorough achievement of the subsequent research objectives.

This research significantly adds to the former discussion surrounding masstige brands and their existence. This study is the first of its kind to empirically prove the differences between luxury and masstige brands resulting in extensive possibilities for future research. Some imminent suggestions would be to further explore the juxtaposing brand associations of masstige brands and also the conduction of a comparative study using CBBE to measure perception of masstige brands across different age groups.


Tanyt El-Hage MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Evolving Innovation

Exploration of smart watches as an essential marketing tool


The purpose of this study was to determine whether brands should invest in as well as implement the use of smart watches in their companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marketing strategy. Primary research involving a survey and case studies gathered information on the capabilities of the technology in supporting marketing efforts as well as the willingness of consumers to receive marketing messages through wearable technology.

Abstract

Tanyt El-Hage

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

This in addition to a literature review, showed that while smart watches need to overcome certain challenges such as pricing and lack of customer understanding of its added value (utility) for them to be widely adopted by consumers at large, a distinct customer segment, the millennials, were shown to be quite open to the idea. Certain technological drawbacks such as small screen, connectivity, and battery life that need to be addressed through evolving innovation still exist, however as a marketing device or more so a marketing channel, the smart watch offers a lot given that it is in contact with the consumer on a continuous basis, thus providing brands, who chose to, the contextual setting of the consumer. The ability of smart watches to enrich the existing data set about customers through geo-tracking will facilitate personalization, and enable brands, particularly those with an omni-channel platform, the possibility to expand their marketing offering and interaction with their customers no matter the medium. Research has shown that customers may browse using one device, and buy using another. This varies throughout the day as they will use one device over another depending where they are, such as a smartphone on the way to work, a desktop during the day, and an iPad in the evening. In that context, smart watches, as an additional device always turned on, are ideal in ensuring that a customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shopping journey leads to a transaction, and does not suffer from abandonment in the shopping cart. Through the open-ended responses to the survey, consumers demonstrated a strong interest in receiving marketing communication via smart watches but on their terms and under their full control. They expect such communication to be quite personalized, and in this regard are willing to relax their privacy concerns on personal data exchange, as long as they benefit from that through monetary rewards or better offerings. Smart watches are here to stay, and brands must pay sufficient attention to their evolution to turn such an opportunity into rewards.

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A recent scan of various marketing trends indicated that there was consensus on the importance of mobiles and geo-tracking, and more recently wearable technologies (Everson, 2015 and Smith, 2014a). The significance of these channels is not only for communication and therefore marketing purposes but also for the amount of information they can gather about customers, their habits and ultimately motives (Smith, 2014a). This in turn would allow a high percent of personalized marketing, thus enabling companies to engage potential customers at the right time, the right place, with the right product or service, hence reaping the rewards first. A research on mobile versus online users of m-commerce in South Korea showed that their demographics were different from each other (Hwang, et al., 2015). As such, appealing to different technology users will require a better understanding of customers, as it is not sufficient to reformat the same application for different technologies, as such customization will be required to cater for the unique demographics of smart watch users. An analysis of sales forecast for wearable technologies indicated that shipments of such devices will dramatically increase from 19 million units in 2014 to 126 million units in 2019 with wrist wear representing over 80% of the total (Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2) (Statista, 2015 and Richter, 2015). Wearable technologies, in addition to being an important trend in digital marketing, can offer a high increase in opportunity within five years, are a natural evolution and innovation from mobiles, and can provide geo-tracking data (Econsultancy and Adobe, 2015). It will be the ultimate digital marketing frontier, regardless of its other useful functionalities (e.g.. accessory, well being, etc.) (Figure 1.3) (Econsultancy and Adobe, 2015).

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Some are calling these technologies the future of mobile and given their high growth rate, digital marketing will eventually tap into these resources (Hammis, 2014). While smartphones will enable marketers to follow and identify a consumer’s habits, wearable technologies will go further and provide the ability to understand their motives. According to Eric Hammis, marketers will not only know how best and when to market to individuals but also to do so in a manner that helps the consumers without swamping them with redundant advertising (2014). A Nielsen study says that 70% of consumers are aware of wearables but only 15% use them (2014). However, this low adoption rate is not expected to remain the same, but to grow and thus wearables are expected to offer opportunities for the future. At present, it would not be costly to experiment with location-based marketing for wearables, as this would give consumers added value by providing them with relevant information at the right place and time (Leung, 2014). Wearable technology is primarily about the collection of a great deal of pertinent data for use in marketing and behavioural analytics (Johansson, 2014). Geo-targeted advertising campaigns can then be based on this data by, for example, sending a coupon to a smartphone as the consumer is walking past the store, thus monetizing wearable devices. According to Lauren Sherman, the increase in popularity of the smart watch has already started taking market share away from traditional watches’ resulting in a 6% decrease just in the last year (2015). Soon after the first Apple Watch was launched other companies developed their own smart watches such as Samsung, Sony, to name a few (Apple, 2014). Even Tag Heuer has entered the smart watch market with Tag Heuer Connected, the first smart watch created by a luxury Swiss watchmaker. Samuel Gibbs called this ‘a sign that wearable technology is finally growing up’ (2015a). Even with the rise of purchases, there are very specific reasons people buy into this technology. A psychological study found that people would adopt/buy smart watches for two specific reasons: their perceived usefulness as well as the ease of use of this new technology (Kim and Shin, 2015).

Introduction

Background & rationale

According to Evans and Forth, the digital change taking place is not new and brings with it risks, but more importantly opportunities which can give a great advantage to those companies that identify and act on them early on (2015). They believe that, unlike many of his rivals, Bezos’ (Amazon) success is because he designed his business model based on the potential of new technology instead of using technology to meet his business requirements (Evans and Forth, 2015).


Introduction Objectives  o define wearable technology with a focus T on smart watches: what it is, how it can be incorporated in a companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s digital marketing strategy, etc.  o assess the potential use of smart watches T in marketing for fashion brands today and the extent to which it will continue to be critical in the future, regardless of the prevalent technologies and mediums.  o evaluate why this digital marketing strategy T has the potential to add brand value, promote brand image, be the next leading fashion marketing strategy and establish an important cornerstone of any digital strategy.  o determine the personalisation approach T needed to best utilise this strategy to maintain loyal customers and attract new consumers.  o evaluate how integrating mobile geoT targeting and personalisation can enhance a strategy using wearable technology. 1.3. Chapter Overview This study consists of a literature review which analyses the current and future status of wearables, consumer behaviour towards this technology as well as digital marketing strategies employed in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s markets. The methodological approach used is then presented followed by the presentation, analysis and discussion of the results.

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Methodology

Aims & objectives

An investigation into wearable technology, specifically smart watches and how this channel can be used in the digital marketing strategies of luxury fashion companies.

This chapter is a detailed accounting of the data collection process including every aspect and decision made over the course of gathering the primary research. They are as follows: research philosophy, research approach, methodological choice, research strategies, data collection, data analysis, limitations and ethical considerations. This chapter also discusses the reasons behind all the decisions made and why they were best suited to answer the research question, whether smart watches are the next key piece of technology that should be integrated into the marketing strategies of fashion brands.


Most marketers typically operate a multichannel set-up and lack a holistic Omni-channel view of their campaigns and customers despite significant efforts and investments (Forrester, 2016). Their organizations may be unable to provide the data access and integration necessary to deliver personalized customer experiences across touch points, and may not have yet developed a culture that places the customer at the centre of their corporate strategy. Big Data “The ability to collect and mine the right data is the biggest challenge now,” said Khalid Khan, head of analytics at global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney (Kidman, 2016). Social media interactions, email marketing, landing pages, surveys, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, are all customer touch points that can tell us about a consumer’s needs and interests (Ghosh, 2014). Customer analytics and marketing automation platforms help bring all of this information in one central place and by connecting data from various touch points, one can identify general patterns for how prospects interact with a brand (Hollison, 2015). This information can then be used to create personalized campaigns. Behavioural Analytics Linking a customer’s preference, interest and need leading to a result that is part of a continuous self-improving chain reaction should form the foundation of the re- structuring of a company’s marketing process (Perez, nd). Personalization at scale is feasible given the present level of marketing technology, automation and advanced analytics techniques and has proven to be a highly effective recipe for online retailers. Success involves the amalgamation of three things: data discovery (integration of traditional and automated behavioural analysis and decision making to gain consumer foresight), advanced analytics model (resulting in propensity scores

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Technology Challenges It is problematic in that most individualized resolutions are founded on dated information (Ariker, et al., 2015). Such rigid technology with high latency will not be able to respond to a digital consumer who is always on, with a short-attention span and working off of multiple devices simultaneously.

5.3. Research Approach The research took a mixed-method approach as collecting both quantitative and qualitative data was the best way to address the research question, with an emphasis on quantitative data. This allowed for a better overview as well as an in-depth understanding of the topic (Bryman and Bell, 2003). A deductive research method was used to test a fact or theory, but not to determine one (Bryman and Bell, 2003), by starting with ideas, concepts and theories and validating those that would apply using the collected data (Goddard and Melville, 2004). 5.4. Research Strategy The data was collected using surveys and case studies. Initially the survey was only going to collect quantitative data but as the secondary research for this study progressed, it was found to be more beneficial to include open-ended questions in the survey thereby collecting qualitative data as well. With the survey having a dual purpose for data collection, it was the researcher’s decision to extend the survey as much as possible across countries, and age groups, as it was becoming evident that trends were based on customer trends across countries that exhibited similar requirements within specific segments (e.g. millennials). While this approach works well for consumer profiles (e.g. age, income levels, yes/no responses) which can be graphed, reported and analysed, it is quite demanding when analysing the responses to open ended questions, that lend themselves to different opinions and views. However it is such opinions that can ultimately identify needs and hidden opportunities, and a better understanding of what consumers are looking for, specially that in some instances the answers are not a clear cut yes or no, but yes (eg I am prepared to give personal data) and if (eg if the app or brand will make my shopping experience better by providing me with what I want).

Introduction

Multi-channel versus Omni-channel For marketers to personalize their messages organizations need to create an “Omni- channel experience” through a holistic unified profile of a consumer so that each channel can better inform the other channel (Forrester, 2015a, and Smith, 2014b). “If marketers offer a better seamless experience, and help consumers find what they want, [customers] are more willing to provide information so that you can tailor the experience for them”, said Meyer Sheik (Smith, 2014b).

Research design

Literature overview

for potential consumers) and content distribution (an effective program that will use customer and prospect scores to prompt customized ads and landing pages and to make available individualized contents, specials across multiple channels) (Coherent Path, 2016). Recommendations are then made based on predictive marketing analysis to free high conversion rates.


Even having carried out a literature review using multiple sources, one key concept from the Evans and Forth’s article keeps coming to mind, outlined in the first paragraph of the introduction of this study (section 1.1.1) (2015). First, the digital change taking place brings with it certain risks, however and more importantly it brings with it opportunity which can give great advantages to those companies that identify them early and act on them. Second, Bezos’ (Amazon) success is because he designed his business model based on the potential of the new technology. As discussed below, using wearable devices, and more specifically smart watches as part of a company’s marketing communications strategy is definitely an opportunity worth pursuing and adopting, and in doing so, one should not be constrained by the current technology, as innovation is moving so fast in addressing issues faced and coming up with simplified solutions. 7.2. Smart watches, A Digital Marketing ‘Do’ Smart watches will definitely require specific enhancements and customization in order to become a convenient device for marketing and shopping, however the underlying infrastructure is common to any e-commerce and m-Commerce device. With geo- tracking capabilities, a company would be able to substantially complement and enrich its data and customer-specific knowledge, enabling personalization and contextualization of its offering across all devices. As such, any investment in wearables and smart watches as channels will reap benefits across all devices used by consumers along their shopping journey.

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Even with a relatively positive point of view regarding the use of smart watches as a marketing tool, participants offered suggestions as to what brands would have to do in order for them (consumers) to be open to the marketing communication messages: personalized experience and notifications, limited number of notifications as they do not want to be bombarded, and lastly consumers would like to have the choice of turning the marketing messages on and off allowing them more control over the communication. 7.3. Challenges for the wide adoption of smart watches As mentioned in section 4.1.4, mobile shopping through smartphones faces specific challenges that are even more acute when done through smart watches such as screen size, connectivity speed, safety and security, processes for inputting payment and shipping data, as well as battery life. These are all technical and processing issues that are being addressed one by one through innovation, substitution, and process simplification (eg one-click payment process). There are however two specific barriers to smart watch purchasing as discussed in section 3.3. Results obtained from a survey by PWC on wearable technology covering all demographics showed that cost was the biggest prohibitory reason to purchasing such a device (2015). As most consumers already own a multi-functional smart phone, the serviceableness of another gadget did not outweigh the constraint felt towards the price. While price is something that will eventually drop as a result of competition and economies of scale, consumer behaviour is not easy to change and will require more effort and convincing. Thus initial focus should be on the millennial segment as according to Ryan Hall (Agency Nice), “if you get it right for millennials, you will get it right for everyone else”.

Introduction

Discussion

In this chapter, the information gathered from the primary research has been correlated to the theories highlighted in the literature review (Chapters 2, 3 and 4) as well as answer the underlying question, the purpose of this study, which was to determine whether smart watches are the next essential marketing tool that should be present in future marketing strategies. The primary research conducted gave rise to consumer opinions through the survey and the capabilities of the smart watches through the case studies. Further analysis of the data provided key insights on the topic and also validated findings used in various surveys or articles.

While one third of the surveyed participants were against using smart watches as a means for brand communication, the remaining responses showed that people were open to the idea. When using a new technology or avenue for marketing communications, brands should first ensure that their consumers would be open to receiving marketing messages through it, as this creates trust between the brand and the consumer. According to PWC such user-centric interaction should cater to outcomes within 5 seconds, as users are unlikely to hold their wrist up and look at their watch for more than a few seconds (2016). This means the interaction must capture the attention, and be specific (personalized), actionable, and useful (eg rewards, benefits).


Introduction Summary of findings

It is clear that smart watches are the future or more accurately part of the future as it will potentially be integrated into everyday life and as such, brands should take advantage of this technology as it evolves. Smart watches may one day become the only device that is needed to shop, but until then it should be viewed as another channel worthy of attention to complement other e-commerce and m-commerce channels. Consumers are open to the use of smart watches as a means for brand engagement and marketing communications, but on their own terms. They simply want more relevant and beneficial information that is catered to their needs, and against that, they are willing to cede more control over data to brands. Technology is continuously evolving, from smart watches to contact lenses to hearables, the technological line between what is possible or impossible is becoming blurred with new technological advances being patented equally by major corporations such as Apple and Samsung, as well as by innovative start-up firms. Now it is left to the brands to decide where they will take their marketing strategies.

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Valerie Ox MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Connected Society

An exploratory study of psychological factors influencing consumers’ engagement in brand communities of the emerging niche market of ‘athleisure’ wear


MA Strategic Fashion Marketing

This dissertation thesis explores the dynamics between brand communities and consumer behaviour of female Generation Y consumers, as well as taking co-creation of value into consideration. In this constellation, it aims to provide an in-depth understanding of psychological factors influencing both digital and physical consumer engagement in brand communities of the athleisure market. Athleisure has been chosen from the category of activewear not only for its currently trending characteristics. A growing media-narrative around healthy lifestyles has contributed to the trend of fitness and wellbeing, as well as has influenced food consumption and dietary recommendations. Athleisure benefits from this narrative and consumers are increasingly seeking an alleged work-life-balance, where clothing plays an important role of being available and supporting in everyday life situations. This market accommodates the desire of wearing‚ fashionable activewear or‚ athletic leisurewear to work, to the gym and anywhere in between.

Abstract

Valerie Ox

But athleisure wear also employs community strategies, which cannot be found in any other market. Consumers of this market segment primarily consist of Generation Y who are prone to engaging with brands with similar values, as well as brands, which serve the purpose of selfidentification. Wellbeing and health as priorities accelerate as life maxims of this generation. Athleisure companies tap into this generation’s appetite for the self by adapting community strategies to target Generation Y. This dissertation used two case studies of competing brands Lululemon Athletica and Sweaty Betty as examples of their community strategies. These brands give a fruitful ground to investigate these particular marketing strategies with Generation Y consumers being used to research psychological motivators and effects of engagement in these brand communities. Findings from case studies, focus groups and one-on-one interviews provide a clear understanding of consumer behaviour in the particular context of athleisure. The research outcomes of this thesis contribute to existing academic framework about consumer behavior and present different psychological variables of Generation Y brand engagement motivation, as well as suggesting a new way of approaching co-creation of value. In conclusion of this dissertation, two new academic frameworks pf marketing are presented: a) an extension of the 7P analysis into the‚ 8P‘ model and b) a theory of‚ Return-Of-Value’ as a tool to measure psychological factors of post-engagement and post-co-creation of value transaction consumer behaviour.

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In a constantly evolving and increasingly digitalised marketplace, consumers are overwhelmed with a massive amount of information through media, advertising and social channels. They are now able to make well-informed decisions regarding products and services, but have also started to develop their own critical thinking in their physical and digital environments towards sources and materials (Lester et al., 2005; Furlow, 2011; Valentine and Powers, 2013). The availability of information is heavily influential and challenges the standards of mass-market business strategies, including a considerable emphasis on transparency and corporate social responsibilities with regards to sustainability. A study from 2012 by MIT Sloan Management Review has identified an increased sustainable commitment of companies from 113 different countries, showing that the volume of fixed sustainable agendas has almost tripled to reach 68% from 2009 to 2011. This has been well received by consumers, as another recent study by Cone Communications revealed that consumers want to invest in social and environmental issues themselves, but also trust companies more if they pursue similar values. This results in ‘conscious shopping’: seeking out products which were manufactured under these new corporate social responsibility standards (Cone, 2015), recently named as Consumer Responsibility for Sustainable Consumption (CRSC) (Luchs et al., 2015). One must consider that this demanding and mindful thinking is not only limited to external motives of product purchasing and consumption, it is also nurtured by consumers adapting to an overall holistic approach to healthy and mindful lifestyles. Social media, celebrities and fitness bloggers, as well as a growing emphasis on organic (super) food consumption, boosts a growing interest in healthy living (Euromonitor, 2015). This study on healthy lifestyles by Euromonitor also shows a shift in family planning pushed back towards mid-30s, highly connected to the fact that female consumers, and especially Generation Y, seek career goals first and hence increase physical activities to counter and compensate for their growing stress levels.

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Consumers seek out a new health-awareness that forces brands to readjust their offerings in products and services to match this newfound mind-set. This increased consumer activism is directly linked to the brands they choose to engage with, as they seek out companies with similar values to their own (Mintel, 2016). They expect their environment to critically review actions, products and information, but are also driven to continue this journey to improve not only the outer world, but also reach a quantified inner self in balance with its health and wellbeing. Wellbeing and mindfulness are now at the centre of commercial success and cannot be ignored. Consumer research agency Stylus has recently published their annual 2016 trend report; the ‘Wellbeing Warrior’ is increasingly influencing fashion, fitness, technologies and food. It is about creating a better self, one that is ‘tweaking environments, processes and functions’ to reach the goal of a quantified and healthy self. (Stylus, 2016). It is estimated that activewear will have a sales value of USD 83 billion by 2020 (Morgan Stanley, 2015) and it has thus become a profitable product category for brands. An emerging niche market in the activewear segment is the recently surfaced athleisure wear (i.e. ‘athletic leisure’), which is set around sportswear’s new comfort zone of wearing sports clothes outside a gym or leisure facility, besides the obvious physical exercise. Athleisure has the ability to tap into the commercial driver, profiting from a changing consumer mind-set, through product innovation and brand experiences, and evolving around their demands of fitness and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. The sportswear industry and especially the newly emerged niche market of ‚athleisure’ follow community building methods to link consumers to brands and form meaningful and lasting connections. This phenomenon can be observed in the sportswear industry, where purchase action and brand engagement is often linked to personal wellbeing and other health motivation reasons. Companies in this segment often utilise physical and virtual brand communities in their marketing strategies to resonate with consumers who want to co-create value and experiences with like-minded individuals. Consumers use brand communities to reinforce their own values, but also those they share with the brands they engage with (Gupta et al., 2010; Magids et al., 2015). Ultimately, this strengthens the connection between consumers and products for a positive brand experience. ‘Doing something different’ and experiencing a brand emotionally, rather than just purchasing goods, are important factors in consumer engagement, seeking out personalised touchpoints with brands (Euromonitor, 2015).

Introduction

Background & rationale

In the traditional sense, marketing means delivering products and satisfactory value to the customer in return for company profit (Kotler, 1973) or “starting a process of promoting, selling and distributing a product” (Merriam-Webster, 2015) to gain advantage over desirability, as well as to enhance product and business performance. However, nowadays, these strategies are continuously challenged, as they must also accommodate modern social and technological demands from consumers. Marketing managers are now modifying strategies to conform to the need for transparency, sustainability, and a general critical thinking towards a more conspicuous lifestyle.


Introduction The following objectives have been set:  o identify the dynamics behind consumer T engagement in online brand communities and co-creation platforms.  o investigate the behavioural and T psychological variables affecting the consumer-brand relationship within ‘athleisure’ brands.  o develop a conceptual understanding of the T co-creation principles and dynamics of ‘athleisure’ brands and their target audiences through multiple case studies.  o identify whether, and how, current T consumer behaviour trends resonate with aspects of brand communities.  o explore the effects of brand communities T on the co-creation of value.  o propose a contextual framework of the T co-creation process within the ‘athleisure’ market.

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Methodology

Aims & objectives

This thesis aims to provide an exploratory study on psychological factors influencing consumers’ engagement in communities of the emerging athleisure niche market, both in physical and digital environments.

This exploratory study will use an interpretivist approach to thoroughly understand the sociological phenomenon (Crotty, 1998; Saunders et al., 2012) of consumer psychology and behaviour in relation to co-creation and brand communities. A mono-method qualitative approach has been taken in order to gather in-depth primary data with the help of focus groups and one-to-one interviews with athleisure consumers and industry professionals, as well as a consumer psychologist. Using mono-method data gathering ensures a rich data volume and supports the complex nature of sociological data (Keegan, 2009). Research participants for the focus groups and consumer one-to-one interviews were chosen from a female consumer cohort, aged 20 to 35. They are also part of the Generation Y group and their behaviour will give insights into the specifics of this consumer type. An in-depth literature review and two case study analyses to explore the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions of social context problems (Yin, 1989; Daymon and Holloway (2002) will provide sufficient secondary data to justify this study. The case studies in this dissertation have been used to address the community marketing strategies of two companies with regards to community building and co-creation with consumers. An extended research methodology can be found in chapter three.


Physical engagement

FOCUS GROUP 1

INTERVIEW: Consumer Psychology

BRAND COMMUNITIES

Consumer Psychology

Product Innovation

CASE STUDY Lululemon

Digital engagement

Cognitive brand experience

Value Creation INTERVIEW: Consumer Lululemon

Community building

ATHLEISURE

CO-CREATION Service Innovation

GENERATION Y

Lifestyle reports

eWOM

WOM

Behaviour theory

CASE STUDY Sweaty Betty FIELD RESEARCH #SweatLifeFestival INTERVIEW: Consumer Sweaty Betty

The following graphic of the mind map explains the thought process of the research and thematic categories explored in the literature review, as well as how additional primary data has been sourced through focus groups and one-to-one interviews, as well as field observation.

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Consumer behaviour

Introduction

FOCUS GROUP 2


Overview & structure

In summary, the term ‘co-creation’ has become a representation of collaborative methods in contemporary marketing with positive value outcomes through unique experiences for customers and firms (Schau et al., 2009). In the following sub-chapters, this thesis will address co-creation from different theoretical perspectives.

Chapter two reveals an in-depth literature review, covering co-creation theory, community theory and consumer psychology, as well as a brief introduction into behavioural studies. This will set the literature gap which will be further explored in the following chapters. Chapter three contains the research philosophy, methods for data collection, ethical implications and explains how the primary and secondary data are analysed. The methodology tools are defended and explained.

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Introduction

The final chapter five of this thesis reflects on the aims and objectives, interprets the findings of chapter four in relation to literature and explains the limitations, as well as managerial implications. Chapter five also considers whether the research approach was suitable and what future researchers should take into consideration.

Chapter one contains an introduction to the background and context of the study topic. It outlines the rationale which underpins its relevance to the current market and existing literature, and highlights potential gaps. A summary of the methods used and an overview of the topic and research cluster can be found as well.

Literature overview

Chapter four presents all outcomes of the primary and secondary research and interprets the given data. Furthermore, as this dissertation follows an interpretivist research philosophy, one change of terminology will apply to chapter four; an active terminology for the data will be used. Instead of ‘findings’, which is primarily used in quantitative methodology and implies that results will appear passively from a big volume of research data, in chapter four the terms will be amended to ‘research outcomes’ to underpin the active inquiry for constructing interpreted outcomes (Keegan, 2009).

Over the last two decades, co-creation processes have been increasingly popular among marketers to accelerate a business’ competitive advantage and have found a secure spot in the emerging paradigm of experience marketing (Bharadwaj et al., 1993, Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2003; Gibbert et al., 2002). Co-creation is, according to various authors (Grönroos, 2012; Ballantyne et al., 2011; Lusch and Vargo, 2008, Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004), an interactive concept used in marketing which lets two parties jointly create innovative new products or services (see figure 2.1). Deriving from the theory of service-dominant logic (Grönroos, 1982; Vargo and Lusch, 2004; Day, 2009) and customer initiated value innovation (Kim and Mauborgne, 1999), this concept can be used in different fields of marketing, such as relationship marketing (Healy et al., 2011; Zoliewski, 2004; Foss and Stone, 2001), service marketing (Edvardsson et al., 2005; Grönroos, 2006; Maglio et al., 2008), or experience marketing (Bharadwaj et al., 1993, Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2003; Gibbert et al., 2002). Co-creation can also be regarded as a tool, which helps companies to distinguish themselves from competitors through unique bonds with stakeholders by co-creating experiences and value on a joint platform or occasion. This is often accompanied by mutually beneficial outcomes in B2C and B2B projects, including improved business performance and innovation enhancements in products, services and part of the supply chain (Gibbert et al., 2002; Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004). It can even go as far as directly affecting a specific part of a company’s value chain. Several authors (Baumann and Le Meunier-FitzHugh, 2014; Terho et al., 2012; Kowalski et al., 2012) see a significant connection between service and value co-creation. In this concrete understanding of a company’s core-activity of service, a sales person or representative becomes an active value cocreator or value facilitator throughout a customer’s service experience.


This dissertation used two case studies to explore similarities and differences between two companies, which are targeting the same consumer cohort. In the given context of this dissertation, the case studies used multiple sources as evidence of data outcomes, namely focus groups, semistructured one-to-one interviews to consumers and industry insights from professionals, as well as consumer observation (Yin, 2003). Although most authors categorise case studies within the qualitative methodology of research (Saunders et al., 2012), Daymon and Holloway (2011) argue that case studies are not just a tool of qualitative research, but see them as an independent investigation method with in-depth focus on a specific topic, often using multiple research sources, combining qualitative and quantitative methods. These authors also see case studies as highly relevant to non-academic professional practice of marketing and public relations. Marketing firms often use case studies as educational and promotional examples of their own work, show-casing their skill sets to potential new clients and competitors. The companies Lululemon Athletica and Sweaty Betty were chosen for their intrinsic value to the dissertation topic (Stake, 1995), as well as the firms’ market relevance and ability to underpin themes from the research aims and objectives. Convenience and information accessibility are only partially responsible for the chosen case studies. Lululemon Athletica is a public company and therefore offers a wider range of accessible data for secondary research; Sweaty Betty, as the second chosen company, however, is privately owned and does not offer the same amount of data. Both companies also target the same consumer group and are competitors on the activewear and, specifically, athleisure market.

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3.3 Research Choice Qualitative research is a discipline with a broad range of approaches and tools. It is often used within naturalistic or interpretivist philosophy, as it explores phenomena in their essence (Flick, 2009), taking viewpoints and values of research participants not only into consideration, but effectively as a centre piece for all findings. To understand the participants’ viewpoint on a certain phenomenon or how they create meaning in a social context, field notes, interviews, conversation and other qualitative tools can be used to explore their world (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011). Qualitative questions to ask about‚ ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ with the help of non-standardised in-depth interviews and focus group research to highlight different aspects of specific data from consumer behaviour, co-creation and brand community research. Furthermore, qualitative research also offers the advantage of adaptivity during the dialogue or discussion with participants (Daymon and Holloway, 2005), adjusting to their level of comfort, as well as having control over the setting of the interviews. Ritchie et al. (2014) summaries qualitative research findings as detailed, rich and complex, respecting the uniqueness and complexity of all participants. The overall research design is a qualitative single approach, or mono-method qualitative, see figure 3.X for an overview of top all tools and methodologies.

Introduction

Research design

Case studies are used to explore and understand the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of a specific problem or theme (Yin, 1994). They usually also give a sufficient support for any exploratory studies of complex social contexts, as they generate a heterogeneous data set.

3.2.2 Ethnography Ethnography uses direct participant and nonparticipant observation, analysing humans interacting with each other or behaving naturally in a given situation or environment. Most ethnographic observations happen from a distance, without interfering in the observed humans’ natural environment. This dissertation research used field observation to evaluate consumer behaviour of the fitness and healthysavvy Generation Y cohort in a public branded event by athleisure brand Lululemon Athletica, the #SweatLifeFestival, see appendix A.12. Notes on their general behaviour were taken throughout the event; no individual participant statistics were taken at that particular research stage to interpret the findings of this field observation as characteristics of a particular consumer cohort, so as to not interfere or disturb the event itself. Various authors suggest that the immediate write-up after the field observation is completed in the selected time and location to ensure all relevant data is recorded (O’Reilly, 2009; Lareau, 1996); these can be found in the appendix A.2.


The brand also endorses well-connected brand ambassadors from local fitness communities in exchange for free community classes in their retail spaces. Physical brand community activities, such as free classes and workshops, contribute to customer knowledge about a product and hence create co-create value with the brand (Campbell, 2003). Lululemon is a business which has also successfully tapped into physical spaces as their satellite sales points, see figure 4.4, by offering strategic sales partnerships to sponsor or sell to local gyms and studios with their products. This way the brand secures control over all sales operations and discretely enters local gyms and studios to be visible to their target audience, maximising brand exposure on a macro level.

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One major recommendation for future researchers is the further development and study on the ROV. This dissertation limits the market context to female Generation Y consumers of athleisure brands, therefore it is necessary to continuously explore whether ROV can be found in a) a broader consumer spectrum and b) beyond athleisure or sportswear brands, e.g. high street or luxury. By doing so, theories can be generalised and made more applicable. It also recommends studying consumer psychology in a deeper manner and conduct experiments over an extended period of time to fully understand which psychological factors influence the ROV over the long-term cocreation of value process, preferably with a bigger sample size. The second major recommendation is to investigate how the 8th P-model can be adapted to non-athleisure or non-activewear brands and examine this new model in the context of other business models, which do not necessarily centre their marketing strategies on communities. A deeper study on the 8Ps will contribute to a new understanding of business models and whether future business strategies should indeed consider this emphasis on populace in their marketing mix. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to varify the above theories with a bigger sample, as well as including quantitative testing. While qualitative methods are used to explore theory possibilities, quantitative methods offer scientific proof and a deeper evaluation of a new theory. It is also important for future researchers to establish guidelines on how to implement ROV by proposing guidelines for managerial implications. Lastly, it is recommended to research long-term effects of Lululemon and Sweaty Betty to follow how their community strategies and implementation of the 8Ps develop on the market over a longer period of time. As marketers, it is paramount to positively affect the consumer after they engage with a brand. Negative associations or disappointments, whether product-, service- or ROV-related, lead to customer loss and a scrutinised brand image. Athleisure and activewear brands purposely convey a message of self-gratification, self-improvement and an overall healthy lifestyle. Yet, body image perceptions and values towards the self can sometimes take a negative turn towards unhealthy behavioural habits. While a brand is not directly responsible for the customer’s interpretation or use of their products or services, it is ethically recommended to consider the aftereffects, the psychological ROVs, a customer encounters after engaging with a brand. Instead of seeing it as a liability, marketers can tap into generating positive and satisfying values on a long-term basis through different follow-up marketing actions. This way the customer can be induced to receive positive ROVs and ultimately improve brand loyalty and re-purchasing behaviour.

Introduction

The case studies show two examples of how brand communities can be targeted with two different methods. Lululemon has heavily focused on physical retail and brand experience, directly targeting and involving local communities in their branding and marketing strategies. The business model is based on ‘people’, ‘place’ and ‘promotion’, creating a unique hyper-local brand experience, not only by generating their own retail model of flagship stores and so-called showrooms - a store model, which operates with a reduced opening hours capacity to dedicate the remaining weekly working hours to community building measures - but also creating spaces in metropolises where consumers are directly involved in design and innovation processes in their ‘lab’ model, see figure 4.7, and engage with a direct and ‘real-life’ dialogue with the brand (Gibbert et al., 2002). By engaging brand communities in activities through physical or digital methods, brands can also support the co-creation of value with their customers. Consumers can directly and actively step into a dialogue and interact with the brand to shape their own brand experience (Rowley et al., 2007; Singh and Sonnenburg, 2012). Even the sales associates generate co-creation of value with the consumer by authentically offering a wellbeing experience in the retail stores and engaging the customers in in-store events. In this way, the sales representative becomes a co-creator of value or a facilitator of value for the customer (Baumann and Le Meunier-FitzHugh, 2014; Terho et al., 2012; Kowalski et al., 2012).

Recommendations

Discussion

The purpose of this dissertation was to explore how and which psychological factors influence consumers of the athleisure market when they engage with brands in physical or virtual spaces. The research has covered areas of co-creation of value, brand communities and consumer behaviour of Generation Y in terms of engagement motivation and how this consumer cohort seeks out brands. Interviews with consumers of activewear and athleisure brands and a consumer psychologist have been conducted for a thematic analysis of the primary data, as well as in-depth research into two exceptional examples of athleisure brand communities from both secondary and primary sources.


Amanda Ayoub MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion Connected Society

The effects of contouring on female faces


MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion

Abstract

Amanda Ayoub

Previous studies have extensively investigated the use of cosmetics on female facial perception, but have neglected a current trend that uses cosmetics to generate a facial illusion. This trend is called contouring, which is a cosmetic technique that uses makeup to shape, illuminate, and perfect the face. Since human facial perception is an innate process that happens when coming in contact with another individual and cosmetic contouring is a trend used by the majority of females, the purpose of this study was to examine if contoured makeup has any effect on the perception of female faces when four different characteristics were being evaluated. Ninety-two volunteers (36 males and 56 females) were asked to participate in a short online survey rating female faces on attraction, trustworthiness, dominance, and likeability. Every participant was asked to rate 20 female faces, of 4 ethnicities, on the 4 different characteristics listed above. Each female face was shown twice, once without makeup and once with contoured makeup. Ratings were measured using a Likert scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree). A 4x2x2 ANOVA and a simple effect analysis was used to examine the results. Results revealed that the use of contoured cosmetics have both a positive and negative effect on female facial perception with certain trait characteristics. Females who wore contoured cosmetics were perceived as more attractive and dominant, but less trustworthy and likeable. Differences of female facial perception were also seen between genders.

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Introduction Background & rationale

Makeup is an interesting topic that has been substantially investigated throughout the field of psychology. The use of cosmetics has been investigated in relation to a number of different areas in science and has been around since the time of the Ancient Egyptians (approximately 10,000 BCE). Not only has makeup been used for close to 12,000 years, but it was utilized in the same way as we use it today. The use of makeup was and is still used for the purposes of defining social class, religious rituals, beauty, health, and of course to enhance physical characteristics (i.e. attraction and intelligence). Today, cosmetics is a multibillion dollar industry. In the United States alone, the cosmetics industry sold $16 billion dollarsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worth of makeup within 2015. (NPD Group, 2016) Within the United Kingdom, the makeup industry had earned an estimated 8.38 billion pounds in 2013. (Kay, 2015) This infographic is seen in Appendix E. (see Figure 7) This giant industry had to start from somewhere and this starting point begins with the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians used products to rouge their cheeks and lips, applied henna as a type of nail polish, and items such as kohl, a crushed sulfuric lead, were used to help darken their eyes and eyebrows. This is where the almond look eyeliner originated. It was suggested that they did this for both practical and religious reasons. While the kohl might not be able to restore their eyesight or reduce any of their eye infections like they believed or prayed it would, it did indeed reduce the glare of the sun. (Chaudhri & Jain, 2009) China used similar products, along with gelatin, beeswax, and egg to stain their nails or place on their face. Each color was representative of social class. On the other hand, the ancient Greeks and Romans used chalk or face powder made out of lead to whiten their complexation. They would even fashion lipstick

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out of clay with red iron. Although this was mainly to enhance their physical features, it also provided an outside acknowledgement of their social class. (Chaudhri & Jain, 2009) This outward representation of social class, by whitening the skin, was carried throughout the centuries and is still used today. Japan used flower petals to paint both the eyebrows, eyes, and lips. While also using rice powder, and sometimes added in bird droppings, to make their complexation even whiter. This was again seen in the middle ages for higher class individuals from Europe. The more money you had, the more you stayed inside and avoided hard labor in the sun. These jobs usually were for the lower class who had agricultural jobs. This lightening of the face has continued and is still seen today for the use of cosmetically highlighting the face to accent higher points on the face such as the cheekbones, which from an evolutionary perspective is a signal for adulthood and ability to produce children. By highlighting these areas, individuals are subconsciously emphasizing some key mating signals. In whatever way these highlighting signals are used, it is now a part of an ideal standard of beauty. (Cavendish, 2010, p. 91) Scientists today try to narrow down the exact anthropological or psychological reasons for wearing makeup. Those areas of science that have been explored involve impression formation, biological motivations, consumer behavioral studies, and even computer engineered 3D mapping programs that generate the ideal style of makeup. Even though there have been many different areas of science that have concentrated on colored cosmetics as a valid part of their research, there is still a small gap in this research. Scientists have covered everything from no makeup, to levels of eye makeup, to just foundation, and finally to the full â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;going outâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; makeup. What they have failed to discuss is a technique in cosmetics that combines the use of shadows and highlighting with the benefits of foundation. This combination is now a huge social trend titled contouring.


Research design The survey included images of 20 female faces. Photos displaying two types of makeup were taken for each individual. These styles included the before photo of the individual without makeup (WM) and the after with the individual wearing full non-colored contoured makeup (CM). (Figure 1) This created a total of 40 female facial stimuli to present to participants. A Likert scale from one to five (1 - Strongly Disagree to 5 - Strongly Agree), was created in order to rate the CM and WM faces on four different characteristics. These four attributes were likability, trustworthiness, attractiveness, and dominance. The twenty women were made up of four different races, with five woman completing each race. The racial demographics used in this study were Caucasian, Asian, African, and Hispanic. These specific demographics were chosen due to the limitation of images found online displaying before and after images of women with no makeup on to full non-colored contouring. All photographic stimuli were taken from makeup artists who had similar styles in cosmetic application. These photographs were found on a public platform using image searches. (Samer Khouzami and Elsy Anthonijsz) This was done to reduce discrepancies against each individual’s style of makeup.

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Discussion

Methodology overview

Ninety-two (men and women, 18-65 age range, M= 31.18 mean, SD=11.07) English speaking individuals (as a first and second language) took part in this study. Subjects of certain races which included African, Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic were recruited to complete the survey. Although in the end, Caucasians made up 81.5% (75 of 92) of the participants. This was done in hopes of controlling for cultural and ethnical differences. Facial Stimuli.

The purpose of this study was to investigate how contoured cosmetics on female faces influenced people’s perception of female’s likability, trustworthiness, dominance, and attraction. The output for this particular study was generated using Qualtrics software. (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) Data analysis was conducted using the statistical platform SPSS. The analysis technique used to test the four research hypotheses and evaluate the perception of female faces when makeup is worn was a 4x2x2 mixed method analysis of variance (ANOVA) within SPSS for each characteristic. This analysis was used to test the within subject factors for two levels of makeup (CM and WM) and four levels of ethnicity (Caucasian, Hispanic, African, and Asian), between two levels of gender (Male and Female) which was the between subject factor. This analysis was conducted to obtain the main effects and interaction effects for all four characteristics (Likeability, Dominance, Trustworthiness, and Attraction). In total there were seven different effects analyzed for each characteristic.

When examining the results from the repeated measures ANOVA above, suggests that there was an effect of contoured cosmetics on the four different characteristics. These results supported all four assumptions. Images of female faces wearing contoured makeup were perceived to be more attractive and dominant than images of the same women without makeup. Those same women wearing contoured makeup were also perceived to be less likeable and trustworthy, than when they were again presented without any make up applied. This study is supported by previous studies investigating makeup and judgement of characteristics. The overall results of this study, as well as the previous studies, found that cosmetics enhance the overall perception of female facial attraction and dominance, (Etcoff et al., 2011; Mileva, 2016) but lowers trustworthiness and likeability. (Etcoff et al., 2011; Tagai, Ohtaka, & Nittono, 2016) It has been insinuated in the literature review above that contouring cosmetics could possibly create an illus ion that uses environmental lighting and shadows to enhance or perfect the perception of another’s facial symmetry. This in turn was used to formulate the four hypotheses that state; the style of makeup will influence the rating of each characteristic differently depending on the ethnicity of the face presented and gender of the participant. This predication was supported and style of makeup indeed influe nced each characteristic according to the ethnicities presented and the gender of the participant. Discussion of the results will be broken into each of the four ethnicities and a final section examining the overall study limitations. This allows for a more in depth discussion of the results, their implications, and any future considerations for this study.


Although these results are very interesting this research had some limitatio ns. Limitations of this study included a smal er sample size then originally intended. Out of that sample size, most of the participants were of Caucasian ethnicity. The goal, when setting out to complete this study, was to find participants of every ethnicity being used within the study. Even though there was at least one participant for each ethnicity, there was not enough to avoid ethnic bias. Other limitations to this study include using images of women that were obtained from the internet. Every female face used in this study was taken from images where the makeup artists posted step by step coverage on how to apply contoured makeup. Finally, if this study was to be replicated, recruitment of al ethnicities and a makeup artist would be used to apply contouring to al faces. This would control for make up technique, facial expressions, lighting, and distance from the faces, when images were taken.

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Recommendations

Conclusion Limitations

This survey investigated whether or not wearing contoured cosmetics would influence the way female faces of different ethnicities were perceived. The outcome suggests that contouring has both a positive and negative impact on the perception of women’s trustworthiness, attraction, likeability, and dominance. The results suggested that contoured female faces overall are more dominant and attractive, while also being less likeable and less trustworthy. Hopefully these results might influence the trend of contouring and guide women to wear make up in accordance to how they would like to be perceived. For instance, this type of makeup style can be used to help women gain higher level executive positions, which are jobs now primarily held by men. If a women wearing contoured makeup can be perceived as more dominant, than this might be a helpful technique for her in obtaining these higher paid positions. Overall this study emphasizes the importance of makeup and all of the implications it can carry. Whether or not these associations are made implicitly or subconsciously.

The ability to manipulate the shape of your face and thus the impression you make on others, using makeup, especial y contouring, could be used in a variety of applicatio ns. This is essentially the ability to manipulate the shape of your face and thus the impressio n you make on others. It would be intriguing for future research to dive deeper into the contouring trend to see which areas of the face contribute to this effect, similar to Mulhurn et al. (2003) For instance, if there were several conditions where only a certain area of the face was contoured (i.e. the nose or cheekbones) this would narrow down which area of the face had the most impact on different characteristics according to al four ethnicities that would be presented to the participant. This replicated study from Mulhurn et al. (2003) could be combined with or used as a prequel for another replicated study from Jones, Kramer, and Ward (2014). This future research would be investigating the perceptions of observers, as wel as a self-rating on what they considered attractive and what they thought others would find attractive. This would be interesting research, especial y since this technique within the world of cosmetics has more to do with enhancing facial structure or creating an il usion that tricks the eyes into seeing a face that is more sculpted, than it does with colored cosmetics. Another area that would be interesting to explore would be the use of makeup and contouring on men. Men’s makeup is something that has been on the rise. According to BLANK, the men’s grooming industry is estimated to earn over $21 bil ion dollars in 2016. Buzzfeed has even recruited a group of guys caled ‘The Test Friends’, to test out makeup for a week. (BuzzfeedVideo, 2016) This was a small social experiment that showed even men have a confidence boost when wearing makeup. They not only tried foundation, to even out their skin tone, but they also tried beard and eyebrow makeup to fill in missing spots within their facial hair. This study could combine the world of contouring with the men’s grooming industry to see the perceptions of males wearing makeup.


Connected Society

Luxury consumption Amani Ghareeb MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion


This study investigates the relationship between materialism, luxury consumption, and affective and cognitive wellbeing in the Gulf Arab State countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). This study also examines the extent to which Age and gender might impact the level of materialism and luxury consumption.

Abstract

Amani Ghareeb

MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion

In terms of luxury consumption, materialism, positive affect and subjective wellbeing variables are positively and significantly associated with the consumption of luxury and negative affect are negatively associated with luxury consumption. This outcome indicates that consuming luxury brands and products enhances the cognitive and affective wellbeing of consumers, while encouraging a materialistic lifestyle. This research indicates that materialism is positively related to positive affect and subjective wellbeing and negatively related to negative affect. Hence, the pursuit of a materialistic lifestyle does not impact individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wellbeing negatively. This study is one of only a few studies that conduct a research on luxury consumption, materialism and affective and cognitive subjective wellbeing in the Middle East region. This research examines the relationship between luxury consumption, materialism and affective and cognitive subjective wellbeing in the Gulf Arab State countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). This study provides a strong knowledge base for further understanding of the impacts and influence of luxury consumption and materialism on affective and cognitive wellbeing of consumers in the Gulf region. The results of the research hold significant implications for marketing theory and practice. For theory, the results demonstrate that understanding the affective and cognitive wellbeing of consumers are critical to comprehending the consumer motives for consuming luxury brands or pursuing materialistic lifestyle. Furthermore, the research indicates that luxury consumption might have the ability to enhance and improve the wellbeing of individuals. For marketing practice, the research helps brand owners and marketing teams to better understand consumer behavior and cognitive process of consumers in the Gulf region. The results may help to inform marketing strategies for luxury brands.

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For instance, people who have higher levels of materialism are more prone to experiencing negative emotions and dissatisfaction with their lives than those who have lower levels of materialism (Christopher et al., 2009; Kashdan & Breen, 2007). Nevertheless, the reason why people continue to chase goals that are materialistic in nature, regardless of the probability of enduring negative emotions and outcomes still remains unclear (Karabati & Cemalcilar, 2010). The pursuit of materialistic lifestyle may be beneficial for individuals in terms of making them feel more accomplished and pleased with their lives (Foxall & Yani-deSoriano, 2005). However, this probability may only strike for a short period of time, which accentuates that emotions and feelings linked to materialism will eventually vanish (Foxall & Yani-de- Soriano, 2005). This research will investigate whether materialism is associated with subjective wellbeing, whether materialism impacts the wellbeing, and whether positive and negative affect are positively or negatively associated with materialism. This research does not propose that materialism is valuable for wellbeing, but it proposes that some elements of luxury consumption may emphasize materialism. Researchers in the field of psychology identified a relation between materialistic values and compulsive buying, low levels of happiness and satisfaction with life (Millar & Thomas, 2009; Wright & Larsen, 1993; Frost et al., 2007). Studies discovered a connection between materialism and significant consumer constructs for example consumption motivations, status consumption, fashion involvement, self-concept, brand engagement and advertising attitudes (Goldsmith et al, 2012; Goldsmith et al, 2011). Although there are many researches on luxury consumption, materialism and well being, surprisingly, few of them seem to focus specially on countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

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During the 19th century, the prevailing notion about materialism was as a belief in “material, self- existent things” (Lange, 1873-75, p. 2015). Today, materialism is usually associated with perceiving materialistic possessions and psychical comfort as more significant than psychological, emotional and spiritual values (Oxford Dictionaries, 2012). Materialism is a multidimensional phenomenon, that is widely investigated by researchers from various disciplines; for example media, anthropology, marketing, economics, psychology, political science, social science and consumer behavior (Larsen et al., 1999; Mannion & Caolan, 1995). Therefore, materialism has been considered from both the perspectives of socioculture and the perspective of individuals (Hunt et al., 1996). Studies have viewed materialism from various connotations and angle for instance the positive (e.g. Scott, 2009), the neutral (e.g. Larsen et al., 1999) and the negative (e.g. Micken & Roberts, 1999). The term “materialism” is unreservedly and liberally used, hence the notion of materialism has been approached from diverse viewpoints (Richens & Dawson, 1992). Notwithstanding the existing literature’s contribution to our understanding of the phenomenon of materialism, luxury consumption and wellbeing, several information gaps that necessitate further investigation exist. For example, research is needed to examine under-studied region such as the Gulf region. Further research is also needed to further investigate the impact of luxury consumption on the desire to pursuit materialistic lifestyle and the impact of both luxury consumption and materialism on the individual’s emotion and subjective wellbeing. Moreover, whether luxury consumption affect the affective wellbeing positively or negatively is still uncertain. Hence, research is also needed to investigate the impact of luxury consumption on individual’s affective and cognitive wellbeing.

Introduction

Background & rationale

Lifestyle focused on materialism is characterized by the constant pursuit of material assets and wealth (James, 1890). The lives of many individuals predominantly rotate around the accumulation of wealth and possessions (Kasser, 2002). Previous studies debated that the pursuit of materialistic goals leads to suffering from lower levels of subjective wellbeing (Christopher et al., 2009; Kashdan & Breen, 2007).

Materialists wish to acquire material goods for the prestige and intrinsic satisfaction that comes with the ownership, boosting the admiration and envy of others (Goldsmith et al., 2013). Perceiving materialists as dominants and not as equal might be how materialists want to be perceived, which they believe they can conquer through displaying new fashions (Goldsmith et al. 2013). A scattering of empirical studies comes close to addressing luxury consumption and wellbeing in Middle East. Materialistic individuals use possessions such as automobiles and clothes to assess their own success and to validate their status (Richins & Rudmin, 1994 p. 227; Goldsmith et al, 2013). Therefore, clothing that is fashionable is indeed significant for its ability to demonstrate status and prestige (Solomon & Rabolt, 2004 p.239).


Methodology overview

Does luxury consumption reinforce and serve to reward a materialistic goal pursuit or does it enhance the wellbeing?

This research implemented a descriptive correlational, quantitative research approach. As Section 3.2 will discuss, this study aims to investigate and predict the nature of the relationships between variables through measurement and quantitative analysis (Doyle et al., 2009; Firestone, 1987; Hudson and Ozanne, 1988). After considering several questionnaire methods, an online questionnaire distributed online and in person using tablet devices was implemented. These techniques have several merits, for example fast implementation, low cost and high response rate (Aaker et al. 2007; Malhotra 2010; Sekaran and Bougie 2009). In addition, the chosen method suits the available time and resources. The questionnaire was designed by modifying established scales to the research context. This research was conducted in the Gulf region countries (Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia). The study recruited a convenience sample of 422 participants. Questionnaires were equally distributed to all genders and ages ranging from 18 and above. Furthermore, participants were recruited randomly at various locations (e.g. shopping malls, supermarkets, shopping streets, gyms, saloons, spas, banks, firms, universities) in all six countries. The participation was anonymous and voluntarily. The collected data were entered into SPSS version 23 in order to generate an electronic version of the data for further analysis (Section 3.3.3).

03

Structure & overview

Aims & objectives

The overview provided in Section 1.1 identifies aspects of materialism, luxury consumption, subjective wellbeing that require further investigation. In particular, a better understanding of the nature of the relationship between materialism, luxury consumption and affective and cognitive wellbeing in the Gulf region countries is still required. Furthermore, the impact of luxury brands and objects ownership on Gulf region consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; level of materialism, positive affect, negative affect and subjective wellbeing, are under-studied. Accordingly, this study poses the overall research problem of:

The structure of this thesis was built based on the recommendations of Perry (1994). It consists of five chapters, as summarized in figure 1.1. Chapter 1 introduces and justifies the research. Chapter 2 offers a review of existing literature on culture and consumption (Section 2.2), materialism (Section 2.3), fashion and materialism (Section 2.4), subjective wellbeing (Section 2.5), luxury consumption and subjective wellbeing (Section 2.6), subjective wellbeing and materialism (Section 2.7), materialism and affect (Section 2.8) and materialism and luxury consumption (Section 2.9). Chapter 2 subsequently addresses the hypothesis and information gaps to clarify the purpose of this research. Chapter 3 explains and clarifies the overall design of the research. Section 3.2 identifies that the online questionnaire is the appropriate approach through which to collect the required quantitative data. Section 3.3 describes the participants, measurement scales and the process. Section 3.4 presents the data analysis techniques. The last section, Section 3.5, describes the ethical consideration of the questionnaire and the process followed to protect participantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; interests. Chapter 4 presents the results of the data analysis. First, the results of the background analysis, including frequency analysis of luxury consumption and reliability analysis of the measurement scales, are provided (Section 4.2). Section 4.3, presents the results for each research hypothesis. Section 4.4 is the final section, which summarizes and concludes the results of the hypotheses. Chapter 5, which is the final chapter of this thesis, discusses the findings of this research. This involves the discussing the conclusions (Section 5.2), the implications of the findings for both theory and practice (Section 5.3). This chapter also addresses the limitations of the study ( Section 5.4) and the directions for future studies (Section 5.5).


Whereas from a practical perspective, consumers demands for luxury brands is increasing rapidly (The Economist, 2002). Subsequently, luxury industry is a booming sector where brand owners and marketing teams have to continually amend and improve their strategies. Conducting research that helps in developing a better and deeper understanding of the affective and cognitive wellbeing of consumers has the practical application of helping brand owners and marketing teams understand luxury consumption and the pursuit of materialistic lifestyle. Moreover, this study will also provide insights about whether or not consuming luxury products or material objects influence the emotions and wellbeing of the consumers.

04

Conclusion Limitations

Research design

This study is justifiable from perspective of both theory and practice. From the perspective of theory, this study clarifies under-studied aspect of luxury consumption, materialism and affective and cognitive wellbeing, and contributes to the development of a deeper understanding of the consumers in the Middle East, precisely consumers in the Gulf region. Previous studies mainly focuses on exploring luxury consumption, materialism and wellbeing in the context of Western countries and Far Eastern countries. However, there is only very little literature and research on the wellbeing of luxury consumers in the Middle East especially the Gulf region. This study extended the literature by examining and investigating the impact of luxury consumption and materialism on the affective and cognitive wellbeing of consumers in the Gulf region. Furthermore, this study represents a deeper examination of the impact of luxury consumption on materialism and the influence of both luxury consumption and materialism on the wellbeing of consumers in the Gulf region countries. Moreover, the question of whether luxury consumption and materialism have the same impact on the wellbeing of consumers in the Gulf region as they do on the wellbeing of consumers in Western or Far Eastern countries is not answered by any existing research. This study addresses the literature gap by examining the influence of luxury consumption on materialism and the impact of both luxury consumption and materialism on affective and cognitive wellbeing of citizens and residents of the Gulf Arab state countries. Thus, this research contributes to the understanding of the consumers in the Gulf region.

The current chapter established the foundation of this study. This chapter introduced the research problem and question (1.2) and justification of the research (1.3). The chapter also introduced the methodology (Section 1.4) before outlining the structure that will be followed throughout this study (Section 1.5) and the research limitations (Section 1.6). The next chapter (Chapter 2) will present a detailed review of the relevant literature.

The findings of this research should be considered relative to three delimitations that establish the boundaries of this study. First, the research was conducted in countries of the Gulf region, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. The selection of the Gulf region as the region under study was a practical decision: the researcher grew up in the Gulf region and was already familiar with the countries. Culture and nationality may impact consumer values and perceptions (Bian & Veloutsou, 2007; Wee et al., 1995). Hence, readers may need to consider the cultural differences when comparing countries in the Gulf region to other countries in the Middle East as countries in the Middle East may not necessarily share the same culture and traditions that influences the perception and values. Second, this research focused on genuine luxury brands rather than counterfeits of luxury brands. Therefore, the results of this study may not be able to be generalized to consumption of counterfeit of luxury brands. Consumers desire counterfeits of luxury brands the most among all the forms of counterfeits (Phau et al, 2009; Wilcox et al., 2009). Investigating counterfeit of luxury brands can offer valuable insights on understanding the phenomenon of counterfeit and the desire to own luxury brands even if they were not genuine.


Christopher Hazlehurst MSc International Fashion Management Transparent Environments

The occurrence of forecast accurac-reducing biases and behaviours in the fashion industry


MSc International Fashion Management

This paper provides evidence for the occurrence of forecast accuracy reducing biases and behaviours. Inaccurate sales forecasts are a risk for fashion businesses as several stakeholders of the firm depend on the information forecasts provide. The current literature on forecasting inaccuracy has mainly focused on analysts in the finance and capital markets. Several studies have identified multiple forecast accuracy-reducing and behaviour that are occurring among analysts. Therefore, the central purpose of this study is to test the occurrence, relevance and applicability of these identified biases and behaviours to the fashion industry.

Abstract

Christopher Hazlehurst

The present study uses a between-groups experimental design with one control and two test groups. The control group consists of students while the two test groups consist of students and industry professionals respectively. Participants were required to make 22 forecasts for different scenarios. To measure the accuracy, the Mean Average Profit error was used. In order to measure the influence of each bias and behaviour, five independent variables were computed for each sample group. A total of 99 respondents submitted the experiment. These were roughly spread evenly across the three groups. The initial MANOVA revealed that the experiment successfully detected the occurrence of the over-optimism, anchoring and adjustment, and framing biases as well as herding behaviour among both sample groups. The subsequent regression revealed that industry professionals are more biased than students as their overall forecast inaccuracy rises faster with an increase in magnitude of the biases. The findings of this study largely supplement the previous results of studies which have identified biases and behaviour in other industries. The results imply that there is a potential threat of inaccurate forecasts for the liquidity, strategic adaptability and ultimately the competitive advantage of a fashion business. The value of the present study derives from the fact that the study of forecast accuracy-detrimental factors has not been applied to the fashion industry before. The present study signifies the relevance and manifestation of biases and behaviour in the fashion industry.

01


Introduction Background and rationale

Theoretical economic and financial models concepts often lack an essential component that translates them from the text book into the real world: the human actor. Already in 1918, Clark noted that ‘it is a sheer impossibility (…) to ignore human nature’ as the study of economical and financial models is closely intertwined with human behaviour (p.4). Even then Clark remarked that the idea of a rationally acting human is inappropriate for the concepts and theories of financial decision making (1918). More recent financial models such as the Efficient Markets Hypothesis are still based on the idea of the homo oeconomicus, the economically rational thinking and acting human (Kingdon, 1997). Even contemporary strategic models such as Porter’s five forces can be criticised for taking this kind of thinking within businesses for granted (Porter, 2008; Kreps, 1990). Furthermore, it is argued that those members of an organisation that are concerned with making vital decisions will assign a high level of importance to the promotion and maintenance of a good reputation rather than acting commercially in the business’s interest (Kreps, 1990). This could be, for example, the failure to report negative news such as declining sales figures. Nevertheless, a company that has fixated itself on growth is more likely to reflect unrealistic growth in its managerial and financial decisions (ibid.) As any managerial decisions, including those of financial nature, reflect a company’s view of itself and its external environment, it may come to a position in which it loses sight of the wider context it operates in. It is crucial that a company maintains a balance of all its stakeholders’ expectations as its survival depends on it (Barnard, 1947). Therefore, it can be concluded that financial decisions are vital to the longevity of a businesses.

02

Despite the apparent argument that mathematical models can be faithfully followed and logical conclusions can be drawn on which a rational decision can be based, ‘[h]umans are not and cannot be logical machines’ (Olsen, 2010:120). Thus if human decisions are irrational and illogical, the uncertainty associated with this poses a risk to a business as it cannot be fully predicted (Hopkin, 2014; von Neumann and Morgenstern, 1980). In order to address the issues, questions and risks around human decision making in financial and monetary decisions, the field of Behavioural Finance emerged in the early 1980s. It derives from a group of academics originating from multiple disciplines and denotes (DeBondt et al., 2010) ‘the study of finance based on credible assumptions about how people behave’ (Forbes, 2009:1). Behavioural finance therefore investigates the concept of irrationality that stems from false assumptions to understand where these assumptions originate from (ibid.). This field was subsequently expanded and further research undertaken, but in principle it seeks to hypothesise factors that influence the formation of financial decisions (DeBondt et al., 2010). Generically, behavioural finance can be classified into two schools of thought: the demographic and the psychological school. The demographic school argues that demographic factors of an individual are determining factors that explain an individual’s financial choices. On the other hand, the psychological school argues that it is psychological antecedents that provide explanations for an individual’s financial behaviour (Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008). Despite a possible claim from demographical studies that their models can produce predictable outcomes, it should be noted that human behaviour is greatly based on psychology (Statman, 1999; Kahneman, 2003). Moreover, recent studies that tested, for example, the link between gender and risk aversion have failed to detect significant associations (Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008).


Therefore, in the light of the overall aim of this study it is focused on those biases that possess the potential to alter forecasting accuracy negatively and are, at the same time, relevant to the fashion industry. This combination of abductively approaching this topic will fill the gap that exists in the literature.

03

Study’s aims and objectives

Research aims and objectives

The overall aim of this study is to investigate fashion industry-specific factors that reduce the accuracy of its sales forecasts. As previously discussed, the main influence of behaviour and decision making stem from human psychology. While forecasts are mainly planning tools for decision making they, too, are produced through decisions on predicted values. Nevertheless, there are cognitive processes that influence these values’ accuracy significantly as forecasts contain an element of uncertainty (Jenkins, 1982; Baines, 1992). Behavioural finance as an academic field has contributed greatly to understanding these processes and has shown that in a monetary or financial situation, an individual’s own personal beliefs and attitudes influence the numerical output the individual produces and the decisions they make (De Bondt et al., 2010). One cognitive phenomenon that has been a key research object of behavioural finance is biases: ‘[c]ognitive biases are those affecting the mental processes of perception, reasoning, and judgment, while motivational biases arise from self-created incentives that interfere with an individual’s objective evaluation of an opportunity or risk.’ (McEwen and Welsh, 2001:8) In an extreme reading of this, biases are thus the heuristics through which fashion managers distort financial forecasts. However, being a subconscious process, this deformity of forecasts happens involuntarily and often unintentional (Einhorn and Hogarth, 1982). Different biases affect every mental or cognitive process as a bias is defined to be a ‘deviation from the norm’ and thus rationality (Raghubir and Das, 1999).

Humans are often characterised through their behaviour (Technical Analysis & Behavioural Finance, 2009). Through their behaviour humans are often seeking for social confirmation by orientating one’s behaviour to that of a social group or in the context of this study, a fashion business (ibid.) There is a frequent distinction between social and demographical related behaviour in the literature (Pons-Novell, 2003; Jia, van Lent and Zeng, 2014; Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008). In line with its research aim this paper focuses on those behaviours which reduce forecast accuracy as well as exhibit relevance to the fashion industry.

 o conduct an experimental study to investigate T the existence of forecast accuracy reducing biases and behaviours among fashion management students and fashion industry professionals.  o critically explore the literature and develop T a framework of forecasting biases and behaviours that are relevant to the fashion industry;  o identify biases and behaviours through a T quantitative experiment with fashion management students and industry professionals to measure the generalizability of these biases and behaviours;  o determine differences and connections T between the samples;  o assess the implications of the findings for T fashion businesses In order to obtain a comprehensive framework of the relevant biases and behaviours that reduce forecast accuracy in the fashion industry, the first objective for this research is concerned with previous studies that have been carried out, in different industries and markets. As well as aligning this study with previous research in the field it also aids to differentiate this research from it (Kahneman, 2003). With the second objective


This is based on the assumption that the occurrence of a psychological phenomenon can be quantitatively tested so that a high ecological validity of the results can be obtained (Miles and Shevlin, 2001). The third and fourth objective enrich the practical contributions of this study to industry convention as the results provides novel insights of forecasting accuracy reducing biases and behaviours in fashion businesses. Possible differences or similarities in forecast error magnitude between the two sample groups, as part of the third objective, promote a discussion of the evolvement or diminishment of accuracy deteriorating biases and behaviours of individuals as they progress through their professional life. The risks that stem from inaccurate forecasts illustrate the necessity of fashion businesses to address this topic in order to drive their profitability. Therefore, the fourth objective is dedicated to assess and outline implications of the findings for fashion businesses. This highlights not only the contribution this study makes to the academic field but also to managerial practice.

04

Overview and structure

this study makes a valuable contribution to the research in this field. This is by experimentally testing the validity and applicability of the identified biases and behaviours and to compare the results across two separate samples: fashion management students and industry professionals. For this purpose, the researcher takes on a positivist stance in order to quantitatively test the aim and objectives (Bryman and Bell, 2011). The use of students is not a novel approach and is common practice in forecasting research (see e.g. Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008; Leitner, 2008; Kaplan, Pourclau and Reckers, 1990; Libby and Rennekamp, 2012, Edmundson, Lawrence and Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor, 1988). The use of experiments in this field also finds frequent application (see e.g. Ledolter and Swersey, 2007; Schneider and Spieht, 2014; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016, Bolger and Harbey, 1993). The comparison of two groups with one consisting of students and one of professionals has found only limited application and through this, the study is making another enhancing contribution (Schneider and Spieht, 2014).

In order to sufficiently address the aim and objectives, the following chapters will be structured around the them. First, a critical literature review of existing studies and research will be carried out and findings of relevance to the fashion industry discussed. Chapter two will focus on biases that have a forecast-detrimental effect whereas chapter three explores accuracy-reducing behaviours. The study then moves on to its empirical research component with an outline of its research design, and detailed methodology and sampling strategy as well as its justification in chapter four. Chapter five presents the findings of the experiment through the use of descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis, and the tabulation of the model which seeks to explain the biases and behaviours that reduce forecast accuracy. Chapter six discusses these findings in the light of previous research and attempts to interpret the different results stemming from the two sample groups. Finally, conclusions are drawn and the limitations of this study and areas for further research are identified. After establishing the background of this study, outlining key principles of economic rationality, behavioural finance, the importance of forecasts and the nature of the fashion industry, following chapter will concentrate on one of the factors that was highlighted as reducing forecast accuracy: biases.


Conclusion

The aim of this study was to conduct an experimental study to investigate the existence of forecast accuracy-reducing biases and behaviours among fashion management students and fashion industry professionals. Those two sample groups were chosen as they give a good overview of people that work within the fashion industry for retailers and wholesalers as those companies depend on sales forecasts for their planning. To answer the research aim, the existing literature, guided by the first research objective, has been explored and relevant biases and behaviours that can reduce forecast accuracy have been identified and hypotheses formulated. The following graphic illustrates, which biases and behaviour were successfully detected among the sample populations and some of the factors that cause their occurrence As these occur among the sample population, it can be concluded that it is highly likely that those biases and behaviour lead to inaccurate forecasts within the fashion industry. The third objective was to explore the contrast between the sample groups. Even though the initial analysis indicated that it appears to be the ST group who are more biased, as their mean MAPET was higher, the analysis of the individual regression coefficients revealed that the investigated biases and behaviour are more strongly present among the IN group. There appears to be some developments taking place once students enter working life. Factors that might reinforce the stronger manifestation of biased forecasting could be the organisational culture, hierarchy, and pressure to conform to senior management’s expectations.

05

Certainly the constant pressure to forecast growth across the business may exacerbate the effects of the biases. Another factor could be that the IN group’s participants have become more specialised in their understanding of one company in one industry and disregard the influence of other factors. Tetlock and Gardner describe such forecasters as ‘hedgehogs’ who possess specialised expertise but in a limited field (2015). In contrast he describes ‘foxes’ as forecasters who are more open-minded and careful with their forecasts as well as adjusting them if conditions change (ibid.). Resultantly, it can be claimed that students are more aware of factors in the external environment and are less limited by their organisation’s outlook on conditions, which in turn reduces their bias and inaccuracy. With the fourth objective, the attention was drawn to the implication of this study. These are twofold: First the academic values of the findings. The results complement the existing forecast accuracy literature by illustrating that biases identified in financial markets are also occurring in the fashion industry. Second, practical value. From a managerial perspective, careful thought should be given to how the occurrence of the forecast accuracy-reducing biases and behaviour are managed. The case studies of companies highlighted that they pose a great strategic and financial risk. The first step to reduce this risk is to create awareness of the biases and behaviour. Many individuals that make forecasts are not even aware that their thinking in these moments may be distorted by biases and behaviours and ignore their past mistakes (Tetlock and Gardner, 2015). The second step would be to draft different measures for each specific bias. This is because the results of the experiment have shown that each bias is often specific to a certain situation in which it predominantly occurs. Thirdly, effective forecasting training needs to be rolled out within businesses as this can improve their accuracy (ibid.). Finally, continuously reviewing forecast performance helps to identify weaknesses in the process which can then be rectified (Baines, 1992).


Area for further research Limitations

Despite the fact that this research brought forward valid and generalisable results, there are a few limitations. First, the limited time frame of this study did not allow an extensive period of data collection. As a result, the sample size is relatively limited. Also, time constraints meant that the experiment was not conducted in legitimate experiment conditions such as a computer lab where the participants would have completed the experiment under the supervision of the researcher. Compared to similar experimental studies, this study lacks the technical skillset to design an appropriate experiment computer interface. This would have kept the sole focus of the participants on the forecast without being distracted by difficulties in entering their forecasts into the form (see for example Bolger and Harbey, 1993). Furthermore, it would have been beyond the scope of this study to investigate demographic related behavioural patterns.

06

Although the study added new understandings about the occurrence of biases and behaviours in a specific industry to the field, there are some factors that require further research in order to understand the specific nature of the forecast accuracy-reducing biases and behaviours better. One of these would be the aspects that cause the overoptimism bias to arise such as the perceived level of uncertainty relative to individual factors or over-optimism of senior management. It is also suggested to investigate the overconfidence bias in more depth by, for example, implementing an experiment solely testing the level of confidence of participants. Another area would be to investigate the detailed aspects of data presentation that would lead to the framing bias as well as determining the organisational-cultural factors that encourage herding. More general topics such as the difference of forecasting between merchandisers and buyers are also relevant to advance the understanding of these roles. Forecast inaccuracy is a risk for fashion businesses, especially with regard to the sales forecast on which further plans within the business depend. In an uncertain market such as fashion, mistakes can be costly and must therefore be kept to a minimum. This study appeals for an increased awareness of biases and behaviour that possess forecast accuracy-reducing components. They need to be classed as financial risks and appropriate measures need to be taken.


Christopher Hazlehurst MSc International Fashion Management Transparent Environments

The occurrence of forecast accurac-reducing biases and behaviours in the fashion industry


MSc International Fashion Management

This paper provides evidence for the occurrence of forecast accuracy reducing biases and behaviours. Inaccurate sales forecasts are a risk for fashion businesses as several stakeholders of the firm depend on the information forecasts provide. The current literature on forecasting inaccuracy has mainly focused on analysts in the finance and capital markets. Several studies have identified multiple forecast accuracy-reducing and behaviour that are occurring among analysts. Therefore, the central purpose of this study is to test the occurrence, relevance and applicability of these identified biases and behaviours to the fashion industry.

Abstract

Christopher Hazlehurst

The present study uses a between-groups experimental design with one control and two test groups. The control group consists of students while the two test groups consist of students and industry professionals respectively. Participants were required to make 22 forecasts for different scenarios. To measure the accuracy, the Mean Average Profit error was used. In order to measure the influence of each bias and behaviour, five independent variables were computed for each sample group. A total of 99 respondents submitted the experiment. These were roughly spread evenly across the three groups. The initial MANOVA revealed that the experiment successfully detected the occurrence of the over-optimism, anchoring and adjustment, and framing biases as well as herding behaviour among both sample groups. The subsequent regression revealed that industry professionals are more biased than students as their overall forecast inaccuracy rises faster with an increase in magnitude of the biases. The findings of this study largely supplement the previous results of studies which have identified biases and behaviour in other industries. The results imply that there is a potential threat of inaccurate forecasts for the liquidity, strategic adaptability and ultimately the competitive advantage of a fashion business. The value of the present study derives from the fact that the study of forecast accuracy-detrimental factors has not been applied to the fashion industry before. The present study signifies the relevance and manifestation of biases and behaviour in the fashion industry.

01


Introduction Background and rationale

Theoretical economic and financial models concepts often lack an essential component that translates them from the text book into the real world: the human actor. Already in 1918, Clark noted that ‘it is a sheer impossibility (…) to ignore human nature’ as the study of economical and financial models is closely intertwined with human behaviour (p.4). Even then Clark remarked that the idea of a rationally acting human is inappropriate for the concepts and theories of financial decision making (1918). More recent financial models such as the Efficient Markets Hypothesis are still based on the idea of the homo oeconomicus, the economically rational thinking and acting human (Kingdon, 1997). Even contemporary strategic models such as Porter’s five forces can be criticised for taking this kind of thinking within businesses for granted (Porter, 2008; Kreps, 1990). Furthermore, it is argued that those members of an organisation that are concerned with making vital decisions will assign a high level of importance to the promotion and maintenance of a good reputation rather than acting commercially in the business’s interest (Kreps, 1990). This could be, for example, the failure to report negative news such as declining sales figures. Nevertheless, a company that has fixated itself on growth is more likely to reflect unrealistic growth in its managerial and financial decisions (ibid.) As any managerial decisions, including those of financial nature, reflect a company’s view of itself and its external environment, it may come to a position in which it loses sight of the wider context it operates in. It is crucial that a company maintains a balance of all its stakeholders’ expectations as its survival depends on it (Barnard, 1947). Therefore, it can be concluded that financial decisions are vital to the longevity of a businesses.

02

Despite the apparent argument that mathematical models can be faithfully followed and logical conclusions can be drawn on which a rational decision can be based, ‘[h]umans are not and cannot be logical machines’ (Olsen, 2010:120). Thus if human decisions are irrational and illogical, the uncertainty associated with this poses a risk to a business as it cannot be fully predicted (Hopkin, 2014; von Neumann and Morgenstern, 1980). In order to address the issues, questions and risks around human decision making in financial and monetary decisions, the field of Behavioural Finance emerged in the early 1980s. It derives from a group of academics originating from multiple disciplines and denotes (DeBondt et al., 2010) ‘the study of finance based on credible assumptions about how people behave’ (Forbes, 2009:1). Behavioural finance therefore investigates the concept of irrationality that stems from false assumptions to understand where these assumptions originate from (ibid.). This field was subsequently expanded and further research undertaken, but in principle it seeks to hypothesise factors that influence the formation of financial decisions (DeBondt et al., 2010). Generically, behavioural finance can be classified into two schools of thought: the demographic and the psychological school. The demographic school argues that demographic factors of an individual are determining factors that explain an individual’s financial choices. On the other hand, the psychological school argues that it is psychological antecedents that provide explanations for an individual’s financial behaviour (Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008). Despite a possible claim from demographical studies that their models can produce predictable outcomes, it should be noted that human behaviour is greatly based on psychology (Statman, 1999; Kahneman, 2003). Moreover, recent studies that tested, for example, the link between gender and risk aversion have failed to detect significant associations (Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008).


Therefore, in the light of the overall aim of this study it is focused on those biases that possess the potential to alter forecasting accuracy negatively and are, at the same time, relevant to the fashion industry. This combination of abductively approaching this topic will fill the gap that exists in the literature.

03

Study’s aims and objectives

Research aims and objectives

The overall aim of this study is to investigate fashion industry-specific factors that reduce the accuracy of its sales forecasts. As previously discussed, the main influence of behaviour and decision making stem from human psychology. While forecasts are mainly planning tools for decision making they, too, are produced through decisions on predicted values. Nevertheless, there are cognitive processes that influence these values’ accuracy significantly as forecasts contain an element of uncertainty (Jenkins, 1982; Baines, 1992). Behavioural finance as an academic field has contributed greatly to understanding these processes and has shown that in a monetary or financial situation, an individual’s own personal beliefs and attitudes influence the numerical output the individual produces and the decisions they make (De Bondt et al., 2010). One cognitive phenomenon that has been a key research object of behavioural finance is biases: ‘[c]ognitive biases are those affecting the mental processes of perception, reasoning, and judgment, while motivational biases arise from self-created incentives that interfere with an individual’s objective evaluation of an opportunity or risk.’ (McEwen and Welsh, 2001:8) In an extreme reading of this, biases are thus the heuristics through which fashion managers distort financial forecasts. However, being a subconscious process, this deformity of forecasts happens involuntarily and often unintentional (Einhorn and Hogarth, 1982). Different biases affect every mental or cognitive process as a bias is defined to be a ‘deviation from the norm’ and thus rationality (Raghubir and Das, 1999).

Humans are often characterised through their behaviour (Technical Analysis & Behavioural Finance, 2009). Through their behaviour humans are often seeking for social confirmation by orientating one’s behaviour to that of a social group or in the context of this study, a fashion business (ibid.) There is a frequent distinction between social and demographical related behaviour in the literature (Pons-Novell, 2003; Jia, van Lent and Zeng, 2014; Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008). In line with its research aim this paper focuses on those behaviours which reduce forecast accuracy as well as exhibit relevance to the fashion industry.

 o conduct an experimental study to investigate T the existence of forecast accuracy reducing biases and behaviours among fashion management students and fashion industry professionals.  o critically explore the literature and develop T a framework of forecasting biases and behaviours that are relevant to the fashion industry;  o identify biases and behaviours through a T quantitative experiment with fashion management students and industry professionals to measure the generalizability of these biases and behaviours;  o determine differences and connections T between the samples;  o assess the implications of the findings for T fashion businesses In order to obtain a comprehensive framework of the relevant biases and behaviours that reduce forecast accuracy in the fashion industry, the first objective for this research is concerned with previous studies that have been carried out, in different industries and markets. As well as aligning this study with previous research in the field it also aids to differentiate this research from it (Kahneman, 2003). With the second objective


This is based on the assumption that the occurrence of a psychological phenomenon can be quantitatively tested so that a high ecological validity of the results can be obtained (Miles and Shevlin, 2001). The third and fourth objective enrich the practical contributions of this study to industry convention as the results provides novel insights of forecasting accuracy reducing biases and behaviours in fashion businesses. Possible differences or similarities in forecast error magnitude between the two sample groups, as part of the third objective, promote a discussion of the evolvement or diminishment of accuracy deteriorating biases and behaviours of individuals as they progress through their professional life. The risks that stem from inaccurate forecasts illustrate the necessity of fashion businesses to address this topic in order to drive their profitability. Therefore, the fourth objective is dedicated to assess and outline implications of the findings for fashion businesses. This highlights not only the contribution this study makes to the academic field but also to managerial practice.

04

Overview and structure

this study makes a valuable contribution to the research in this field. This is by experimentally testing the validity and applicability of the identified biases and behaviours and to compare the results across two separate samples: fashion management students and industry professionals. For this purpose, the researcher takes on a positivist stance in order to quantitatively test the aim and objectives (Bryman and Bell, 2011). The use of students is not a novel approach and is common practice in forecasting research (see e.g. Mayfield, Perdue and Wooten, 2008; Leitner, 2008; Kaplan, Pourclau and Reckers, 1990; Libby and Rennekamp, 2012, Edmundson, Lawrence and Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor, 1988). The use of experiments in this field also finds frequent application (see e.g. Ledolter and Swersey, 2007; Schneider and Spieht, 2014; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2016, Bolger and Harbey, 1993). The comparison of two groups with one consisting of students and one of professionals has found only limited application and through this, the study is making another enhancing contribution (Schneider and Spieht, 2014).

In order to sufficiently address the aim and objectives, the following chapters will be structured around the them. First, a critical literature review of existing studies and research will be carried out and findings of relevance to the fashion industry discussed. Chapter two will focus on biases that have a forecast-detrimental effect whereas chapter three explores accuracy-reducing behaviours. The study then moves on to its empirical research component with an outline of its research design, and detailed methodology and sampling strategy as well as its justification in chapter four. Chapter five presents the findings of the experiment through the use of descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis, and the tabulation of the model which seeks to explain the biases and behaviours that reduce forecast accuracy. Chapter six discusses these findings in the light of previous research and attempts to interpret the different results stemming from the two sample groups. Finally, conclusions are drawn and the limitations of this study and areas for further research are identified. After establishing the background of this study, outlining key principles of economic rationality, behavioural finance, the importance of forecasts and the nature of the fashion industry, following chapter will concentrate on one of the factors that was highlighted as reducing forecast accuracy: biases.


Conclusion

The aim of this study was to conduct an experimental study to investigate the existence of forecast accuracy-reducing biases and behaviours among fashion management students and fashion industry professionals. Those two sample groups were chosen as they give a good overview of people that work within the fashion industry for retailers and wholesalers as those companies depend on sales forecasts for their planning. To answer the research aim, the existing literature, guided by the first research objective, has been explored and relevant biases and behaviours that can reduce forecast accuracy have been identified and hypotheses formulated. The following graphic illustrates, which biases and behaviour were successfully detected among the sample populations and some of the factors that cause their occurrence As these occur among the sample population, it can be concluded that it is highly likely that those biases and behaviour lead to inaccurate forecasts within the fashion industry. The third objective was to explore the contrast between the sample groups. Even though the initial analysis indicated that it appears to be the ST group who are more biased, as their mean MAPET was higher, the analysis of the individual regression coefficients revealed that the investigated biases and behaviour are more strongly present among the IN group. There appears to be some developments taking place once students enter working life. Factors that might reinforce the stronger manifestation of biased forecasting could be the organisational culture, hierarchy, and pressure to conform to senior management’s expectations.

05

Certainly the constant pressure to forecast growth across the business may exacerbate the effects of the biases. Another factor could be that the IN group’s participants have become more specialised in their understanding of one company in one industry and disregard the influence of other factors. Tetlock and Gardner describe such forecasters as ‘hedgehogs’ who possess specialised expertise but in a limited field (2015). In contrast he describes ‘foxes’ as forecasters who are more open-minded and careful with their forecasts as well as adjusting them if conditions change (ibid.). Resultantly, it can be claimed that students are more aware of factors in the external environment and are less limited by their organisation’s outlook on conditions, which in turn reduces their bias and inaccuracy. With the fourth objective, the attention was drawn to the implication of this study. These are twofold: First the academic values of the findings. The results complement the existing forecast accuracy literature by illustrating that biases identified in financial markets are also occurring in the fashion industry. Second, practical value. From a managerial perspective, careful thought should be given to how the occurrence of the forecast accuracy-reducing biases and behaviour are managed. The case studies of companies highlighted that they pose a great strategic and financial risk. The first step to reduce this risk is to create awareness of the biases and behaviour. Many individuals that make forecasts are not even aware that their thinking in these moments may be distorted by biases and behaviours and ignore their past mistakes (Tetlock and Gardner, 2015). The second step would be to draft different measures for each specific bias. This is because the results of the experiment have shown that each bias is often specific to a certain situation in which it predominantly occurs. Thirdly, effective forecasting training needs to be rolled out within businesses as this can improve their accuracy (ibid.). Finally, continuously reviewing forecast performance helps to identify weaknesses in the process which can then be rectified (Baines, 1992).


Area for further research Limitations

Despite the fact that this research brought forward valid and generalisable results, there are a few limitations. First, the limited time frame of this study did not allow an extensive period of data collection. As a result, the sample size is relatively limited. Also, time constraints meant that the experiment was not conducted in legitimate experiment conditions such as a computer lab where the participants would have completed the experiment under the supervision of the researcher. Compared to similar experimental studies, this study lacks the technical skillset to design an appropriate experiment computer interface. This would have kept the sole focus of the participants on the forecast without being distracted by difficulties in entering their forecasts into the form (see for example Bolger and Harbey, 1993). Furthermore, it would have been beyond the scope of this study to investigate demographic related behavioural patterns.

06

Although the study added new understandings about the occurrence of biases and behaviours in a specific industry to the field, there are some factors that require further research in order to understand the specific nature of the forecast accuracy-reducing biases and behaviours better. One of these would be the aspects that cause the overoptimism bias to arise such as the perceived level of uncertainty relative to individual factors or over-optimism of senior management. It is also suggested to investigate the overconfidence bias in more depth by, for example, implementing an experiment solely testing the level of confidence of participants. Another area would be to investigate the detailed aspects of data presentation that would lead to the framing bias as well as determining the organisational-cultural factors that encourage herding. More general topics such as the difference of forecasting between merchandisers and buyers are also relevant to advance the understanding of these roles. Forecast inaccuracy is a risk for fashion businesses, especially with regard to the sales forecast on which further plans within the business depend. In an uncertain market such as fashion, mistakes can be costly and must therefore be kept to a minimum. This study appeals for an increased awareness of biases and behaviour that possess forecast accuracy-reducing components. They need to be classed as financial risks and appropriate measures need to be taken.


Kiera Marie Underwood MSc International Fashion Management Disruptive Enterprise

Has streetwear sold out? How to manage a brand when a subculture is co-opted into the mainstream


MSc International Fashion Management

Abstract

Kiera Marie Underwood

The purpose of this research is to provide insights, developments and findings through an in-depth theoretical and conceptual analysis of the socio-cultural processes and motivations that influence the streetwear consumers personal and subjective meanings attached to streetwear. Patterns that emerge in this process were used to deliver a market conceptualisation resulting in a suggestion towards the best method for achieving growth as a streetwear organisation. An underlying pragmatist philosophy was adopted leading to primary research being undertaken in the form of a mixed-method survey strategy in order to provide a richer response to the research question through the use of quantitative and qualitative results. Statistical analysis and further qualitative coding provided further insights into the motivations and behaviours of consumers in the streetwear market. Findings suggest that streetwear consumers are dominated by the younger section of generation Y and are influenced strongly by personal identity and personal sources. Streetwear consumers are attracted to exclusive brands that are authentic and represent the culture. In order to facilitate brand management and growth strategies, growth must appear sincere and communication between brand and consumer must reinforce their shared values. This research aims to supplement the existing academic literature, and expand and improve upon the trade and industry sources through analysing the relationship between fashion theory and practice in the streetwear industry, providing the potential for this research to be employed in various fields of academic disciplines and raising awareness on the complexity and relevance of streetwear in the fashion industry.

01


The phenomenon-come-industry of streetwear is a representation of its members through their distinctive style of clothing. Streetwear’s core is rooted within a subcultural movement, defined as “communities of people who share specific interests. Interests that, while bringing them together, set them apart from the mainstream culture” (Greenberg, 2007, p.1). Hebdidge (1979, p. 4) describes the word subculture as “loaded down with mystery. It suggests secrecy, masonic oaths, an Underworld”. However, this secrecy, and its recent evolution and increasing adoption in the fashion industry, means that streetwear has become difficult to define. Streetwear is now a catch-all definition that no longer captures the dynamism of what streetwear both has been and has become (Sims, 2010; Deleon, 2015). Vogel (2007, p. 7) describes streetwear as born in the early 1980’s in New York “due to the constant alienation and frustration felt mainly by inner city kids, not just in New York but worldwide, a community was formed that was influenced by skateboarding, punk, hardcore, reggae, hiphop, an emerging club culture, graffiti, travel and the art scene in downtown city centre areas”. These tensions were adopted by subcultural members, reflected “in the styles made up of mundane objects which have a double meaning” (Hebdidge, 1979, p. 2). Bobby ‘Hundreds’ Kim, owner of streetwear brand, The Hundreds, recalls ‘masonic oaths’ or ‘secret handshakes’ through the visual representation of subcultures, referring to the box logo associated with streetwear brand Supreme, and the ape face associated with Bape (Figures 1 & 2). The New York Times said of Supreme, “no offense, but if you don’t know about Supreme, maybe it’s because you’re not supposed to” (Doblin, 2015). Bobby Hundreds describes his own logo (Figure 3) as “representative of our brand, and how we’ve structured everything in a way where we truly never explode. We never blow out, go way mainstream, and just always keep right under the surface” (Banks, 2014). The dichotomy of streetwear clothing, and the subculture behind it, is that the clothes are not a fashion statement. However, wearing the clothes immediately identifies streetwear consumers as part of the subculture, communicating through their commodities to represent this tension between mass and subculture.

02

Luxury stores are investing in streetwear in 3 a new way due to this increasing attention and appeal towards streetwear brands. Harvey Nichols, an international luxury lifestyle store in London, now boasts that 63% of its contemporary menswear is streetwear (McGregor, 2014), while Dover Street Market have opened a new space dedicated to graphic t-shirts from skate brands (Sanchez, 2016). WWD recall “While in the Eighties and Nineties street-wear brands rushed to grow to megastatus by wholesaling…the market’s implosion in the Naughts taught the survivors a valuable lesson: Less is cooler” (Hughes, 2015). The popularity of streetwear appears to be increasing again; the industry was valued at “$75 billion in 2014 – half the size of the $150 billion market for sportswear apparel” (Deleon, 2015). The evolution of street wear is no impacting larger, established street wear brands; the paradoxical nature of growth for subcultures must be managed to avoid alienating its core customer, as it has in previous years. Bobby Hundreds claims that streetwear brands are down 30%+ year after year, with 2015 being “one of our worst years on record” (Hundreds, 2015). However, Stüssy “reluctantly” recorded their best year in 2014, making over $50 million revenue, which chief executive Sinatra describes as an “accident”, as the brand is trying to cut back and stay small (Deleon, 2015). It is clear that in the current environment some streetwear brands are struggling whilst others are thriving. Gordan (2016) poses that “…the average streetwear customer now demands something more conceptual, more challenging, than a simple logo-flip served up on a t-shirt”. Streetwear consumers’ changing needs could contribute towards the conflicting outcomes of streetwear companies. It is imperative for management to investigate this issue: the market is fragmenting and new customers are adopting streetwear due to the emergence of luxury hybrid brands. Streetwear management need to satisfy their customers by understanding their needs better and adapting management approaches in line with this (Hines & Bruce, 2001).

Introduction

Background & rationale

A box-logo or ape face used to act as a secret handshake amongst gatekeepers making moves behind the scenes. Today, it’s inescapable. Ubiquitous. (Hundreds, 2015)

In recent years the boundaries between streetwear and mass-market have blurred; streetwear-inflected designs have delved into high fashion territory through luxury hybrids such as Gosha Rubchinsky, Rick Owens and Off-White. But this appeal has also branched in the opposite direction. “The bipartisan appeal of brands such as Palace, Supreme and Thrasher, in addition to the fashion world’s own long-running fetishisation of the street, has blurred the divide that traditionally separated the runway from the sidewalk” (Eror, 2016). Through these blurred boundaries and the ascendance of streetwear into mass-market, the secrecy that streetwear earned as a subculture has arguably been lost. Ella Dror PR represent several luxury hybrid brands; they believe that “the influence can be felt across the industry as a whole. The seemingly unstoppable rise of brands… with associations to streetwear will undoubtedly bring a broader shift in dress across a whole demographic and generation” (Johnson, 2015).


 o investigate the recent growth and evolution T of the streetwear industry through identifying what factors are affecting the adoption of streetwear.  o understand the driving forces of consumer T attitudes and behaviour so as to establish a clear market contextualisation.  o explore opportunities for growth and T potential barriers and risks preventing further growth for the streetwear industry.

Methodology overview

 o show implications for management through T suggesting future brand management and growth strategies for the streetwear industry.

An underlying pragmatist philosophy was adopted during the process of this research in order to facilitate the complex nature of the aims and objectives; allowing for both a subjective and objective viewpoint to be used and a variety of philosophies adopted in order to best provide a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the streetwear community and its individual social actors. After a critical review of the literature a number of variables were discovered leading to primary research being undertaken in the form of a mixed method survey strategy. This method facilitated a richer response to the research questions as one method may lead to the discovery of new insights which inform the other method and the analysis, allowing meaning and findings to be elaborated (Saunders et al., 2012, p. 169). This consisted of online mediated questionnaires distributed through online streetwear communities in order to target the current youth generation associated with this market. This was then subject to a variety of analyses in the form of statistical testing of quantitative data, the coding of qualitative data to be statistically analysed and qualitative coding.

03

Overview & structure

Research aims & objectives

The aim is to seek to understand the subjective reality of streetwear consumers, so as to identify their motives, actions and intentions in a way that managers can use to implement brand management and sustainable growth strategies

Due to the paradoxical nature of growth in the streetwear industry and the hanging social landscape and fashion market in which it exists, it is now necessary to bring knowledge and new understanding of streetwear consumers so that it may be managed effectively and profitably. Streetwear brands derive from subcultures and are symbolic in nature, suggesting that the principles of brand management strategies are especially relevant in the streetwear industry if they are to achieve growth: it is vital for brands to know their consumers if they intend to grow. However, while trade and Industry (journalistic writing, websites, blogs) sources are overflowing with reference to the streetwear industry, published academia is mostly concentrated on the design element of the industry (Vogel, 2007; Sims, 2010) and seems to focus less on the phenomenon of streetwear, the management of the industry and the nature of its consumers. The purpose of this research is to provide insights, developments and findings through an in-depth theoretical and conceptual analysis of the socio-cultural processes and motivations that influence the individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s personal and subjective meanings attached to streetwear. Patterns that emerge in this process may be used to deliver a market conceptualisation and provide clarity to the paradoxical nature of growth within the streetwear industry, and suggest the best practice for achieving this growth through managerial implications found from this research. The development of this research will aim to supplement the existing academic literature, and expand and improve upon the trade and industry sources on fashion management through analysing the relationship between fashion theory and practice in the streetwear industry. Through aiming to raise awareness on the complexity and relevance of fashion management in the streetwear industry, this research hopes to facilitate further academic research on the phenomenon of streetwear and validate its importance in the fashion industry, providing the potential to be employed in various fields of academic disciplines such as strategic brand management, fashion marketing, cultural studies, subcultural studies, and youth studies.


Findings from the research suggest that streetwear consumers’ tastes appear to have matured from the rebellious subculture they once were, towards higher quality products and designs. Consumers appear to be choosing the brands they purchase based on the value and lifestyles that they represent, and are particularly attracted to the exclusive and limited nature of streetwear brands in order to facilitate their person goals. The introduction of new hybrid luxury streetwear brands shows the disruption within the fashion industry that is directly related to the needs and tastes of streetwear consumers. Through adopting luxury like strategies offering exclusive products to it’s core consumers, streetwear brands are able to meet these needs and align themselves with their consumers values. Research findings show that, if managed correctly, streetwear brands are able to achieve growth outside of their core consumer as long as brand management strategies are undertaken. In order to remain authentic to their core consumer, streetwear brands must situate their brand within street culture and their history and extensions must sit in line with their brand image so as to maintain authenticity.

04

Areas for further research

Conclusion Limitations

The composition of the streetwear community appears to have shifted from the underground subculture that it once was – from a symbol of secrecy – to a symbol of status. In a postmodern consumer culture, consumers want to give meaning to their consumption and appear to be drawn to streetwear brands as they provide unique messages and identity needs for their consumers. Key findings in the research have shown that personal status and personal identity are the most important aspects of streetwear adoption. However, the fragmentation of markets causes consumers to become situational and with an increase in adoption and attention towards streetwear from the mass market, the increasing adoption of streetwear in recent years hints to the view that streetwear is no longer a subcultural commodity and has transformed into the fashion systems and become a fashion trend. In order to survive in this market, brands need to provide value for their consumers in order to differentiate themselves from competitors (Porter, 1985).

Due to the ethical restrictions of the research regarding only adults over the age of 18 being allowed to participate, a subset of the online streetwear communities under the age of 18 were excluded from participating and thus the sample may not be true to the entire generation. Due to the fact that the research was conducted through online communities, it may also exclude a demographic within the streetwear market that do not use these communities, so the representation of results can only be applicable to streetwear consumers in Generation Y who participate in online streetwear communities.

As was shown through the analysis of the rate of adoption of streetwear within participants of the research, the rate of adoption is increasing causing hesitation about the values and changing nature of streetwear. Further research could facilitate the gap in this knowledge regarding at what point of adoption a subcultural brand becomes mainstream. Due to the evolving nature and adoption of streetwear in the luxury sector, an investigation of consumers within this market would pose an interesting opposition to this research, to test if the motivations for adoption are in line with that of streetwear consumers and to analyse how similar the industries are becoming. As the majority of participants in this research identified as purchasing streetwear brands for 2 years or under, a larger study focussing on consumers who have shopped streetwear for a longer period of time could provide insights into the consumer in greater detail. Whether or not streetwear has become a trend and will subsequently decline and become obsolete is yet to be seen as the ascendance of popularity in streetwear could represent a much broader shift in the culture as a whole. However, if streetwear has become a passing trend then longer adopters would be beneficial to target for further research. As a large percentage of this research was made up of Generation Y Youth consumers between the ages of 18-20, further investigation into the younger sector of this generation, or into the next generation of teenagers could facilitate interesting research as the adoption appears to be from a much younger demographic.


Rebecca Elizabeth Hogg MSc International Fashion Management Connected Society

An exploratory study of the motivational factors influencing the adaptation of wearables and the relationship to fashion innovativeness


MSc International Fashion Management

Abstract

Rebecca Elizabeth Hogg

The purpose of this study is to explore the main motivational factors driving the adoption of wearable technology and fashion technology. This study also seeks to explore the balance of design and technology elements within wearable products currently on the market. It looks to explore consumer awareness and adoption of wearable products and explore consumer attitudes towards the product selection of wrist worn smart devices is also explored. It finally identifies the role of a fashion innovator within the diffusion of wearables. Focus groups were carried out with a selection of consumers considered to be within two different adopter categories of the diffusion of innovation curve, domain specific to fashion innovativeness. Following the focus groups, a web based questionnaire was then completed by 165 respondents who were invited through social media channels and email to partake. The results showed that fitness trackers and smart watches were the most associated with products with the term â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;wearablesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Consumers highlighted the importance of a balance of technological and design innovation within wearable product offerings. It showed that the main purchase motivations for wearable technology were utilitarian factors; Function and practical purchase, improvement of daily life and overall fitness were identified as the main reasons consumers would be motivated to purchase wearables. These were followed by the hedonic factor of overall aesthetics. It was discovered that there was no relationship between the level of fashion innovativeness and motivation factors identified by the mainstream consumers. The study investigated wearable technology and a construct of consumer behaviour for the first time. The findings strengthen market research on wearable technology and fashion technology as motivation factors have been identified and so marketers can take these into considerations.

01


Introduction Background & rationale

The wearables market is becoming more and more influential, growing at a pace that is hard for consumers to keep up with. Wearable product offerings are extensive yet there is a lack of wide spread adoption (Gartner, 2014). Like any new market, the success for wearables and the extensive products on the market relies primarily on the acceptance of the consumers. (Polegato and Wall, 1980). Understanding new product adoption has become a keen interest for both researchers and managers due to the contribution of new product adoption in new product diffusions (Rogers, 1995; Saeed, Zammer, Awan and Ullah, 2014). The adoption of an innovation is due to a number of different motivation factors. Understanding and identifying the consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; purchase motivations behind the adoption of innovative products, such as wearables, is pertinent for businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to understand in order to achieve continuous growth and opportunity to offer new products (Grant, 2013; Saeed, Zameer, Awan and Ullah, 2014). This study proposes to explore the consumer motivation factors behind the adoption and potential purchase of wearable products. The shortage of consumer studies towards wearable adoption rate has signified this research gap could prove to be invaluable to marketers and wearable companies alike.

02

An extension derived from the wearables market is the fashion technology market. Fashion technology is in its infancy. It looks to provide a solution to the lack of aesthetic consideration the wearable market is accused of giving. Seymour (2008) highlights the importance of product design along with functionality. Understandably wearable technology is primarily driven by technological innovation however the consideration for additional design innovation is potentially fundamental for wearable success, especially within the fashion technology space. This study also looks to explore the diffusion of wearables among consumers considered to be fashion innovators. Motivational purchase factors are evaluated and identified throughout this study for the mainstream consumer. Identifying if a relationship exists between motivational factors and the fashion innovativeness key characteristics could provide helpful insight for the future of the fashion technology market. Apparel marketers may also benefit from this insight as wearable technology is expanding rapidly and the apparel industry is set to see an influx of smart clothing product offerings. Understanding their fashion consumers motivational purchase factors for wearable technology, in general, may prove beneficial to correctly targeting fashion innovators, leading to mainstream adoption (Tatzel, 1982; Zandl and Leonard, 1992).


 o explore the motivational factors behind the T adoption of wearable technology and explore the relationship to fashion innovativeness.  D  efine the wearable technology market and identify fashion’s influence and role within it. Fitness trackers and smart watches are the most associated with products of wearable technology.  T  o explore the balance of fashion and technology design elements in wearables products. Design Innovation is important to the consumer. A better balance of design and technology innovation in wearables is desired by consumers. Identify consumer’s main motivations to purchase wearables

03

Study’s aims & objectives

The main aim of this study is to explore the motivational factors influencing the adoption of wearable technology and to explore the relationship to fashion innovativeness characteristics. From these aims the following objectives were derived. Firstly, to define the wearable technology market and identify fashions influence and role within it. Secondly, to explore the balance of fashion and technology design elements in existing wearable products. Thirdly, to identify consumer’s main motivations to purchase wearables. Finally, to explore the level of consumer’s fashion innovativeness and if this affects the main purchase motivation factors identified in objective three.

Research findings summary

Research aims & objectives

Wearable technology remains greatly under researched. There is a wide spread of market reports providing consumer insight however these do not hold any validity and are purely for information purposes. No academic research has been published about the wearable technology market and in general there is restricted research to be found elsewhere. Most research exists in analyst reports such as ‘The Wearable Future: Consumer Intelligence Series’ published by PricewaterhouseCoopers (2015). However, these have been an overview of the market and overall consume demographic adoption. All current research covers a broad topic area which generalises the market. There is limited research into specific product categories and understanding consumer adoption of them. It proposes to provide an understanding of consumer behaviour behind the adoption of wearables by identifying the main purchase motivation factors, adding to existing research surrounding the diffusion of innovation and innovative adopter characteristics. Consumers are more likely to be primarily motivated by utilitarian factors followed by hedonic factors in the purchase of wearables. Does the level of fashion innovativeness affect the main purchase motivation factors identified in objective three? Fashion innovators are an important consideration for the fashion technology market to succeed Fashion innovators will have different purchase motivations from the mainstream adopters of wearable and fashion technology.

It was proven that fitness trackers and smart watches were the wearable products to be mostly associated with. The majority of respondents and the participants in the focus group all referred to this category when discussing wearables. Therefore research proposition one was confirmed. Research highlighted the importance of design innovation within the wearables market. A balance of design and technology was desired. Consumers argued the difficulty of having to sacrifice one element for the other. Consumers purchase decision of a wearable was primarily influenced by utilitarian factors and followed by hedonic factors. Fashion innovators followed the same motivation pattern and a relationship of differentiation between the two consumers was hard to identify.


Conclusion

The chapter aims to further discuss research findings and their significance. It highlights objectives and discusses how these have been met and what managerial implications these findings suggest. A model has been created taking into consideration specific motivation factors relating to the adoption of wearable technology and how to utilise these. Wearable technology has affiliations with a number of industries. Fitness and health sectors currently define the wearable technology market. This has been influenced by fitness trackers and smart watches being the most dominant players within the wearables space. Unsurprisingly primary research identified that these two devices were the most associated as wearable technology and they remained as a strong focus throughout this study. The combination of technology and fashion companies fusing together within the wearable market has led to the creation of the exciting new fashion technology market. This objective was largely met thorough secondary research using market and analyst reports making industry comparison which aided the creation of the wearable overview models.

04

Consumer Awareness It became apparent that the term wearable technology was misunderstood and often misinterpreted, this could predominantly be due to the varied definitions provided of wearable technology. There appears to be large product offering of devices under the umbrella of wearables that do not met the industry definition given by IHS Electronics and Media (2013). They provide the key characteristics in their definition: “worn on the body” and “wireless connectivity”. Market leaders, Apple and FitBit have secured a strong position in the market. There was high awareness and ownership of these big brand names and little mention of the vast selection of other brands available on the market. Consumer Adoption Qualcomm (2016) suggested that by 2020 everyone will own a wearable device. The industry is craving mainstream adoption. Innovation and technological advances move at a much greater speed than ever before that consumers are perhaps forgetting that products take time to get right. As with all innovations getting this balance and appealing to all consumers may take time. The evolution of the smartphone is good point of comparison for wearables as they are considered to be the biggest innovation since the smartphone (Sung, 2008). With all innovations there are sceptics who are not willing to try new products. The shortage of informed responses discovered in primary research suggested consumers need to further understand how wearables are going to benefit them and consumer marketing strategies need to be put in place to achieve this.


Bias is a limitation in every study. Firstly, due to the snowball sampling technique used for quantitative primary research. This led to a large female bias within the age group of 18-30 on the questionnaire. This permitted existing demographical differences to be thoroughly investigated. The sample used also showed a bias of mainstream innovativeness bias which limited the strength of the fashion innovativeness influence. Consumer opinion throughout this study was based on UK consumers, this implies that other countries and ethnicities may have different motivations and opinions within the subject area of wearable technology. The sample size used for the quantitative research was small and was not as credible as a larger sample would have provided. A larger sample would allow better representation of the population. Due to time and resource restraints achieving a larger sample size was not possible. The lack of academic literature and resources surrounding the topic of wearable technology, the study relied on wearable analyst and market reports which were not validated and just for information purposes.

05

Areas for further research

Limitations

Limitations to this study have been identified and should be considered when interpreting the results within.

Further qualitative research of a large sample size representative of the UK showing consumer attitudes and perceptions towards wearable technology and identifying generational differences that can be statistically validated would be insightful the market in order to correctly engage their specific consumer A study of individuals who do not own any wearable technology and are spread through the adopter categories would provide key insight into the motivations marketers should be looking to tap into. The wearable technology market has such a strong focus on fitness trackers and smart watches that studies investigating all avenues of wearable technology would be interesting. Particularly, a study primarily surrounding the topic of smart clothing and the prediction for the future innovation of this. An in-depth exploration into enterprise wearables and the motivational benefits they have within the workplace. An experimental research design where consumers are given wearables to use for a length of time would provide a deeper understanding of how consumer interact with wearables. An observatory study into consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; engagement with fitness trackers would allow the validation of the perceived health and fitness benefits of these devices.


Sarah Josephine Hepple MSc International Fashion Management Connected Society

The effects of national culture on social commerce and online fashion purchase intention: a cross-cultural study


Abstract

Sarah Josephine Hepple

MSc International Fashion Management

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of national culture on social commerce and in turn, online fashion purchase intention. This is a highly topical subject in the context of fashion management, as both e-commerce and internationalisation are growing areas of fashion retailing. A deductive approach was used to test a series of hypotheses, which were developed according to previous studies on social commerce and the role of national culture. All hypotheses sit within the context of shopping for fashion products online. A quantitative questionnaire was used to test for difference between Chinese and British online fashion consumers. Hypothesis testing was successful, with most being supported during inferential statistical analysis. The results showed that national culture has a significant influence on social commerce engagement, as likelihood to engage varied across cultures. Chinese participants were highly likely to engage with social commerce technology and were greatly influenced by their social group. The study also found that purchase intention is positively influenced by social commerce across both cultures. The findings in this research create a great starting point for further research into the effects of national culture on social commerce. A qualitative replication of the study could complement and further verify the research findings. The research instruments could also be replicated in other countries to compare a wider range of cultures. As this study argues that global fashion consumers are not homogenous in their shopping habits, fashion brands are advised to acknowledge cultural difference across markets to ensure an optimal shopping experience. Investment in website localisation using local expertise should increase purchase intention in overseas markets.

01


Online fashion retailers have started to recognise the importance of building a deeper emotional connection with the customer, and have found that social commerce is an important component in developing this strategy, as it can drive customers to engage with a retailer’s proposition beyond a simple transaction (Felsted, 2015). This development in social commerce has been spurred on by increased use of mobile devices during the buying process, which has led social apps such as Facebook and Pinterest to introduce ‘buy’ buttons on their platforms (Felsted & Kuchler, 2015). British pure-play online fashion retailer ASOS is also embracing the integration of social media with transactions, as it recently launched a reward scheme for customers who share an outfit post on Instagram featuring the ‘#asseenonme’ hash tag (Felsted & Kuchler, 2015). Although British retailers who sell goods online have started to recognise the importance of social shopping, the inherently international nature of e-commerce requires further insight into the cultural nuances and preferences of each market. In particular, British retailers can benefit from learning about the advancements in Chinese social commerce for two key reasons. The first is an increased demand for British brands within China (Geoghegan, 2015), which led to a rocketing in cross border e-commerce in 2015 (Euromonitor, 2016A). The second is the astounding developments that can be found within social shopping technology present in China, where consumers rapidly adopt new technology and are said to be ‘10 years ahead of the West when it comes to social commerce’ (Forbes, 2015).

02

Research Focus Although there is currently a growing body of research on the subject of social commerce, there is not enough exploration into what facilitates or hinders consumers’ use on social commerce websites (Huang & Benyoucef, 2015). Albeit some studies have separately considered the relationship between online purchase intention and fashion products (Kim & Kim, 2004), Chinese consumers (Gong, Stump & Maddox, 2013; Bai, Law & Wen, 2008) and cultural features of website localisation (Singh et al, 2006), there is opportunity to integrate these areas of research through a cross-cultural comparison, whilst focusing on the influence of social commerce on purchase intention. This has led to the development of this context specific study, which looks at the influence social commerce has on purchase intention for online fashion consumers. To complement previous research into national s-commerce trends, there is a space to explore the differences in its adoption and usage across two countries. This provides a research opportunity to explore how two traditionally different cultures; China and the UK adopt and interact with social media technology during the process of purchasing fashion products online. A key difference between the two nations is the highly collectivist culture of China, compared to the highly individualist culture found in the UK (Hofstede, 2015). This means that social ties should be stronger in China than the UK, where British consumers identify the worth of the individual before the group. To provide some background information on the e-commerce landscape in both countries, table 1.1 highlights some key structural and technological differences to provide context to this study. Aside from varying market size and national culture, the social media technology adopted in both countries varies. Lee & Phang (2015) identified two key differences visible in social media use in Asia when compared to the rest of the world. The first is popularity of native social media platforms, whilst the second is the mobile-first strategy of the service providers. Local providers are better equipped to support local language interactions, whilst the mobile-first approach mirrors the high penetration rate of 3G technologies and large proportion of customers who access the internet via mobile devices. Further to this, the structure of the internet varies across the UK and China. Censorship is widespread in China, where the government exerts a high level of control and filtering of online content (European Chamber, 2015). Although this does not directly affect fashion e-commerce, understanding variance in national internet networks can allow brands to overcome structural restraints that are unique to each country (Guercini & Runfola, 2015). This includes learning how to reach customers using local marketing tools such as social media platforms and search engines, which creates the need for ‘spatial differentiation’ (Guercini & Runfola, 2015).

Introduction

Background & rationale

In a general move towards user-generated content (UGC) on the web, social-commerce has emerged as an important driving force in online shopping (Hajli & Sims, 2015). This falls within Web 2.0, where ‘social media has become a powerful channel for initiating online purchases’ (Wang, Lau & Gong, 2016). It has become increasingly important for fashion retailers who trade online to improve their understanding of social commerce, as the satisfaction of shoppers’ social needs can lead to many benefits such as greater expenditure and longer time spent shopping (Kang & Park-Poaps, 2011). As customers now have multiple channels of retail to choose from, such as physical stores, online, mobile and social shopping, there is a growing body of research emerging around how these channels are adopted, used and which factors are affecting purchase decisions (McCormick et al, 2014). In this study, social commerce is defined as ‘the online buying and selling activities initiated via social media, which entails business transactions through either social networks or on e-commerce websites (Ng, 2013:609).


Research aims & objectives

Value of Research Social commerce for online fashion retailing is a sparsely researched area in the academic field. From a theoretical perspective, a large collection of sources will be explored in the literature review, encompassing the various factors that influence social commerce adoption and purchase intention. The use of an empirical survey aims to contribute original findings around the difference in consumer behaviour across the UK and China. As social commerce adoption can lead to greater consumer engagement and provide brands with an increased knowledge of their consumers, the findings in this study will be hugely useful to fashion retailers (Pookulangara & Koesler, 2011). This study aims to fill a gap in knowledge that will be relevant to British retailers and academics interested in the study of cultural and social influence on shopping for fashion products.

The aim of this study is to investigate how collectivist and individualist cultures engage with social commerce when shopping for fashion goods online. China and the UK will be used to illustrate this. The below objectives were developed in order to reach this aim:  o conduct a critical analysis of the role T of social commerce within online fashion retailing and to identify the potential effects of national culture.  o examine the effects of online fashion T involvement, opinion seeking, perceived trustworthiness, and social commerce engagement on purchase intention within a cross-cultural context.

From a managerial perspective, this subject is particularly relevant right now as a plethora of large international retailing firms are struggling to reach their full potential in China. After failing to gain traction, Britain’s largest online fashion retailer ASOS pulled out of China after only two years of local operations, whilst the CEO of luxury conglomerate Richemont made it clear that he does not feel prepared to compete in the Chinese e-commerce market (Butler, 2016; Pressler, 2015). Further to this, UK high street incumbent Marks & Spencer recently closed five stores in Shanghai due to disappointing sales performance, and has shifted its focus to online retailing in the country instead (Armstrong, 2015). This study will contribute valuable suggestions for British fashion retailers hoping to improve their social commerce presence both in the UK and China, providing deeper insight into consumer adoption of social shopping technology which may lead to greater company performance. In summary, this study will encompass noteworthy contributions for British online retailers hoping to better understand their consumers both at home, and in the Far East.

 roduce theoretical contributions that P incorporate the comparison of adoption and engagement with social commerce across the UK and China.

The key components of this report have been drawn from Liang & Turban’s (2012) proposed framework for research on social commerce, which can be found in greater detail in section 3.2.1. In this study, the key factors within the research paradigm are how social commerce (which has been suggested to rely heavily on national culture and social influence) can affect user behaviour in relation to purchase intention. As access to fashion brands online sales data was unavailable, purchase intention is a strong indicator of transactions that may take place, and is something that can be explored in an empirical survey. A positivist deductive approach will be used whilst undertaking the research in this study, which will result in the development of hypotheses that can be tested against data collected in a quantitative survey, developed in both English and Mandarin Chinese then distributed as an internet-based self-completion questionnaire. Inferential statistical tests will be conducted using IBM SPSS software, with particular focus on the Mann-Whitney U test for comparison of results across nationalities and Spearman’s rho to understand relationships between variables. The final results will be discussed in chapter 5, which will include managerial implications and suggestions for further research.

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Literature review

Study’s aims & objectives

 ormulate managerial implications that will F provide online fashion businesses with a better understanding of the effects of national culture on social commerce and online purchase intention.

This chapter provides an overview of the basic principles of social commerce, describing its emergence and usage, as well as an insight into both social influence on purchase decisions and cultural dimensions applied to China and the UK. Research surrounding online purchase intention is considered, leading to the development of this measure as a dependent variable in the primary research element of this study. Following this, the independent variables for the study have been identified, including online fashion involvement, opinion-seeking, perceived trustworthiness and social commerce engagement. These are supported by mediating variables such as gender, age and online shopping frequency; allowing for further explanation of the relationship between independent and dependent variables.


Sonika Phakey MSc International Fashion Management Evolving Innovation

The influencer effect: how do consumers evaluate the credibility of fashion brand user-generated content?


MSc International Fashion Management

This dissertation aims to explain how digital influencers persuade consumers to purchase fashion brands, looking specifically at the impact of fashion influencers on Instagram. Consumers are now in a constant state of shopping, which is largely facilitated by consumer to consumer communication through user-generated content on social media. As 83% of consumers trust consumer-communication over traditional advertising (Nielsen, 2015), marketers are shifting strategy to reach their target market through these individuals who exert influence over a niche and highly engaged following. This research aims to explain the factors which drive consumers to trust brand messages from influential individuals, therefore aiding the identification of influencer marketing best practice.

Abstract

Sonika Phakey

Taking a deductive approach for this explanatory study, research design is based on the need for quantitative evidence for this nascent area of academic research. Primary research consists of 150 responses from a sample of millennial fashion consumers. Data is collected through an online mediated survey which is compartmentalised into question groups designed to validate and quantify the concept of user-generated content credibility. Findings show that when consumers evaluate an Instagram influencer as credible, they are likely to purchase the endorsed fashion brand. Further to this specific antecedents of credibility are validated, the first factor being prestige revealing that the more followers an influencer has the more credible their brand recommendations are perceived to by consumer. The second antecedent is homophily, the perceived similarity between the consumer and influencer thus it can be deduced that the more the consumer identifies as similar to the influencer the more credible and therefore persuasive their branded content. The implications of this research are significant, fulfilling the need for progression of the academic research beyond generic studies of electronic word of mouth to a unique and prevalent type of user generated content. The contribution to academia is the development of traditional persuasion theory and understanding of trust and credibility constructs within the radicalised environment of digital communication. As 78% of fashion brands have or are planning to adopt an influencer marketing strategy within the next 12 months these findings provide key support for budget allocation to influencer marketing (Fashion and Beauty Monitor, 2016).

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Introduction Background and rationale

Social Media and Web 2.0 Traditional marketing communication has been disrupted by the arrival of Web 2.0, as in this second stage of the Internet development social media has transformed consumerbrand relationships (O’Reilly, 2005). The digital consumer is characterized by ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ (Markoff, 2006), which has led social media to become an integral channel of communication for brands. The traditional advertising funnel model of brands influencing consumers has been dramatically reversed (Court et al., 2009). With a direct line of communication and real-time view of the market at hand, marketers are playing catch up to the constantly changing demands and digital language of consumers (Edelman and Singer, 2015). Users take on different roles in social media; to influence, create and consume (Morisson, Cheong and McMillan, 2013). As fashion is an innately valuable vehicle of self-expression, fashion consumers have been early adopters of personal blogs, forums and social media to creatively express themselves. The creation of the online identity coupled with the rise in adoption of e-commerce has driven a unique change in shopping habits. Millennials are now always on constantly consuming brand messages on both a conscious and subconscious level, presenting myriad of new forms of communication (Barreto, 2014; Dahlstr.m and Edelman, 2016). The Instagram Generation The power of social media is undeniable with 74% of consumers relying on social media to inform purchasing decisions (ODM, 2016) with impact being both direct, at point of purchase and indirect at an earlier stage of decision process (Bughin, 2015).

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Further to this 80% of all content online is usergenerated with 83% of consumers trusting peer recommendations over those of brand advertising (Welton, 2013; Nielson, 2015). Instagram’s success in the social media landscape can be attributed to the limitations of features of the platform. Instagram is described as an ‘image machine’ (Carah and Saul, 2016), focusing on visual content that can be edited with in-app filters and shared through hashtags (for a full dissection of Instagram UGC see Appendix B). The emphasis on high quality visual content has resonated with those users interested in fashion, with UGC trends such as #OOTD (outfit of the day) acquiring over 85 million contributions. In addition, fashion brands have also capitalised on the platform, with eight out of the fifteen most followed brands on Instagram being fashion companies, the top two being Nike with 42.9 million followers and Victoria’s Secret with 36.8 million followers (Statista, 2016). Considering Instagram is under six years old, the platform has experienced phenomenal growth to reach 400 million active users (Table 1.1). In terms of both active users and advertising sales revenue the Facebook owned social media platform is larger than Twitter yet still significantly smaller than Facebook. What has distinguished Instagram is the engagement results, a study reveals an extremely high rate of engagement per follower of 4%, within this study Instagram delivered the brands examined ‘58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter’ (Elliot, 2014). This engagement opportunity is extremely attractive to both new and established brands. As opportunities for paid media are limited, in order to gain momentum brands are turning to earned media through engaging with influential users; highly active individuals with large and engaged digital followings which brands can capitalise on.


 ontextualise the process of the influencer C effect through a review of literature on the credibility of digital user generated content Identify and measure the strength of the antecedents of UGC credibility as a predecessor of purchase intention.  valuate how the assessment of UGC E credibility is moderated by the consumer level of fashion involvement.  valuate how the assessment of UGC E credibility is moderated by the disclosure of paid sponsorship.  ormulate managerial recommendations F for the practice of Influencer marketing for fashion brands.

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Methodology overview

Research aims and objectives

The aim is to validate the use of influencer marketing for fashion brands through the identification of the antecedents of credibility and therefore explain the persuasive effect of high profile Instagram users.

Research methods follow a deductive monomethod quantitative design which is suitable to validate the findings within existing research. An online mediated survey is used to collect 150 responses from a sample of fashion consumers who follow fashion influencers on Instagram. Research is cross sectional with the survey live for a two week period with a short time frame in between primary research and presentation of the final dissertation (see Gantt chart in Appendix C) this ensures findings reflect the current state of consumer attitudes and findings are immediately actionable from a managerial perspective. The dissertation will firstly explore existing literature in order to contextualise the influencer effect with a theoretical underpinning of user generated content and the construct of credibility, secondly the chosen methodology will be explained and justified, followed by three stages of statistical analysis. These findings will be discussion and concluded with a presentation of a model of the influencer effect.


Literature review

The emergence of social media marketing has created a new movement of academia which encompasses traditional marketing theory, consumer psychology practice and information systems research. This chapter will summarise, synthesise and critically analyse literature from these respective fields, focusing on research published in credible journals through the indication of quality (H-Index > 50). Academic research lags behind the rapid changes in consumer habits and so this research represents a step from the qualitative foundations, to maturing the research field with empirical evidence. By using evidence of antecedents of credibility from established theoretical literature, as well as evidence gathered in literature based on studies of comparative social media sites, the findings are a logical progression as well as divergent in the academic field.

This research has successfully applied traditional theory of source credibility and persuasion as well as modern theory of e-WOM and UGC, to the unexplored area of Instagram UGC credibility and as a result created new findings that are reflective of the changes in consumer communication through social media. On a theoretical level the findings evolve research on brand related UGC whilst combining the notion of online content producers now have the same power of influence as celebrities. Social media presents the attainability of the celebrity status and the reduced degree of separation between the consumer and celebrity, therefore the findings here represent consumer evaluation of credibility of content not just posted by influencers but also those that may be influential. Whether these individuals are celebrities or everyday consumers. The useful metaphor of Instagram as an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;image machineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; represents how users consume content from friends & family, celebrities, brands and influencers all at the same peripheral level; where no barriers of communication exist and all content is equal.

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The research has strong practical value as the findings present actionable factors in response to a managerial problem of influencer identification. On a fundamental level the study presents statistically robust consumer insights which can be applied to the population of fashion consumers who engage with influencers on Instagram as well having the potential for the application of findings for different communication channels where brands wish to engage consumers through influencers.

Limitations

Conclusion

Key publications include Computers in Human Behaviour (H-Index 82), Journal of Marketing Management US (H-Index 109), Journal of Interactive Marketing (H Index-58) and the Journal of Consumer Research US (H-Index 109).

Although the overall research model explained 24% of the variance in purchase intentions and 19% of the variance in UGC credibility, future research should nonetheless examine alternative antecedents and underlying mechanisms. Additionally, as digital communication is in a constant state of flux, there are countless opportunities of the development of the influencer marketing model within different contexts.


Jiabao Lu BA Fashion Buying and Merchandising Transparent Environments

An investigation: the consumer behaviour of Chinese millennial tourists and its impact on the UK luxury fashion retail market


BA Fashion Buying and Merchandising

Abstract

Jiabao Lu

This study focuses on the effect of Chinese consumers pursuing luxury goods while travelling to the UK, and how this phenomenon affects UK luxury fashion retailers. The study seeks to find out the needs and wants of young Chinese consumers with regard to luxury products, and how luxury retailers could respond to meet those demands. The Chinese domestic economic environment went through some ups and downs in 2014, and this influenced the performance of the luxury sector operating in China. However, it did not affect the affluent Chinese millennials who were traveling abroad. Mintel (2015) reported that the number of young Chinese consumers traveling abroad was set to rise. This research determines the consuming behaviour of Chinese millennials (Gu, 2013), by referring to previous and current literature on their attitudes towards luxury goods consumption. It shows their frequency of travelling outbound and the proportion of time they are willing to spend on shopping. It also shows how their shopping behaviour has changed, and what is their expectation of buying luxury products. From the secondary research, a case study of Mulberry is undertaken to analyse the possible reasons why a luxury fashion retailer is unappealing to Chinese young consumers and refers to the product assortment strategies for buying and merchandising. The case study also involves the findings of interviews with Mulberry sales assistants in a luxury department store in London, which indicates its existing product assortment strategy and current performing issues. The results show that the symbolic consumption behaviours still exist in Chinese society, but that young Chinese consumers expect to have more association with the brand image from purchasing their products. Fashion retailers should adjust their product strategies in order to meet consumer demands.

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Background and rationale Millennials are the generation born between the 1980s and 2000s. Unlike those in other countries, Chinese millennials have grown up in a hugely different economic world to their parents’ generation (Doland, 2015). After the revolution and Mao’s period, the rapid development of China’s economy has brought novel forms of communication and increased exposure to foreign cultures (O’Reilly, 2014). Market reports engaging Chinese millennials show that 73% of them are in full-time employment, which means that they will become core customers and the new buying force in the next few years (Chan, 2015), it also suggests that Chinese millennials have a significantly stronger interest in news and current affairs than millennials in the US or the UK (Chan, 2015); and they are willing to travel and pursue different lifestyles. As many scholars have found, people are willing to put shopping into tourism planning as a necessary component, which makes a lot of businesses, especially fashion companies, highly sensitive with these potential opportunities (Shankman, 2012). For example, referencing data from VAT reclaims, the average spending of Chinese consumers in Harrods is approximately £3,500 per visit, and some shoppers will visit more than once (Hardman, 2012), which undoubtedly makes Chinese tourists much valued customers. Harrods has hired Chinese speaking sale assistants in order to assist the large number of Chinese tourists who do not speak English. Verdict also reported that department stores are usually travellers’ preference shopping destinations because of time constraints, and people are able to shop for themselves as well as for friends and family (Ormrod, 2013). Travelling back with a gift for friends or family is a Chinese cultural tradition, and this gift buying habit has led to Chinese consumers certainly putting shopping into their travel plans, which might be one of the reasons why Chinese consumers largely pursuing luxury products. In contrast to the previous generation, the Chinese millennial generation has driven a travel boom. In 2014, a record 109 million Chinese travelled overseas and spent $164 billion, making them the world’s largest and most profitable group of travellers (Cohen, 2015). China is now the third-largest outbound tourism group in the world, and it is likely to reach first place over the next seven years (Key, 2012).

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However, traveling abroad and seeking luxury goods and services was not the only explanation of their consumer behaviour; possessing these products shows their social status, which is very important in Chinese culture (Olivier, 2015). According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the motivational model described by Nina Rakowski (2008), Chinese culture cannot be defined by the original model. The main issue about its applicability to Chinese culture is from the aspects of selfactualisation and the need for social belonging (Rakowski, 2008). Thus, an understanding of Chinese millennials’ consumption motivation has to be built on the understanding of cultural uniqueness and mobility; a crosscultural study regards to Hofstede’s dimensions theory will be involved to understand Chinese consumers’ motivations. The maturity of the fashion industry in Western countries, especially the US and European countries, makes them the first choice for this group to explore and visit. A report published by Chinese marketing organisation predicted that by 2020, Chinese tourists spending in the UK might approach £1 billion (Booker, 2015). According to past financial reports, the UK has the potential to become the leading luxury shopping destination in Europe by 2018 (McCarthy, 2015). Retail research and consultancy firm Conlumino suggests that the trend will rise steadily because of the growing tourism industry in the UK and its position as a financial centre (McCarthy, 2015). This study will explore how symbolic consumption is a Chinese culturally based motivation. Thus, understanding the effects of symbols can provide important insights into consumer behaviour, and brands have to consider their buying and merchandising strategies to meet the customer group’s needs (Jackson and Shaw, 2001). Cultural differences may provide certain opportunities, or may not. It is important to have the right strategy, otherwise it may lead to the opposite result. To explore the impact of this consumer behaviour phenomenon on the UK luxury fashion retail market, a case study of British luxury brand Mulberry, which now targets millennial customers, will be examined and combined with primary research to analyse the business strategy from the buying and merchandising perspective. In the final chapter, recommendations will be made for case studies of brands to demonstrate, in particular, product assortment strategies. The dissertation will also indicate the limitations of the study and provide expandable research directions for further studies.

Introduction

According to Chinese marketing reports, members of the increasing wealthy middle class are demanding exclusive high-quality products from Western brands, most of which are wellknown luxury brands such as Dior, Gucci, and Mont Blanc (Olivier, 2015).


Introduction Overview and structure Chapter one: introduction This chapter will begin with rationale that introduces the purpose of study, and shows the theoretical issues, identifying the aim and objectives of this dissertation. Chapter two: literature review The literature reviews will define ‘luxury’ and ‘consuming’ culture, and introduce the key texts and online reports. The cultural difference between China and the UK will be discussed in order to understand what causes Chinese consuming behaviour, and its effect on UK fashion retailers. Aims and objectives The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the consumer behaviour of Chinese millennials purchasing luxury goods whilst traveling abroad, and its impact on the UK fashion retail market.  o explore the needs and wants of Chinese T millennials regarding luxury fashion product and their shopping behaviour while traveling to the UK.  o analyse the difference between Chinese T and UK culture in related to symbolic consumption, and what are the effects on fashion retailers.  o explore and evaluate Mulberry products T in the UK market and their appeal to Chinese millennial tourists.  o make recommendations for a new product T assortment for Mulberry to show how the product type and category may be applicable to the market and meet the demand of Chinese millennial consumers.

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Chapter three: methodolody This chapter will outline the methodology philosophy to show the exploration approach directions of each stage, and present possible limitations during research. Chapter four: research findings This chapter focuses on the case study of Mulberry, combining interview and survey findings to analyse the company situation in relation to the UK fashion market and Chinese millennial consumer behaviour. It also makes comparison between Mulberry and its competitor Burberry, to determine the brand weakness and essential development opportunities. Chapter five: discussion and recommendations Summarising all the research results and providing recommendations from the aspect of buying and merchandising, this chapter will also use a business model to prove the recommendations are applicable to the market, together with supportive reports. It will also indicate study limitations and possible investigation directions for further studies.


Consuming luxury Asia, especially China, has become the world’s major market for luxury goods (Atsmon, Dixit and Wu, 2011), but because of cultural influences, the consuming behaviour of Eastern and Western luxury consumers is different (Mooij, 2011). This dissertation reviews the research and the cultural background that causes differences in consumer behaviour between Eastern and Western luxury consumers, in particular looking at Chinese Millennial travellers’ shopping motivation and the status of the UK luxury market today, in order to gain insight into the expectation of the Chinese luxury travellers. What is luxury? The word ‘luxury’ usually refers to products or services that can bring pleasure and happiness, but it is not essential. Sombart (1967) said that luxury is any expense beyond necessary spending and Calefato (2014) in her book Luxury: Fashion, Lifestyle and Excess, suggests that luxury items should contain features of uniqueness, rarity, and wastefulness, which are also known as nonnecessities (Calefato, 2014). Without doubt, along with the changes of social context, luxury has been re-defined by the ‘new luxury’ – a social and symbolic phenomenon that involves capitalist production (Calefato, 2014). However, from a horizontal comparison between western and eastern cultures, Chinese sociologists have given different meanings to ‘luxury’; spending a large amount of money or time pursuing excessive enjoyment (Liu, 2009). This reveals a more intuitive concept of the way Chinese people look at luxury; which contains two opposing and united ideas of wealth and consumption, and material and spiritual (Liu, 2009). From the perspective of a luxury brand retailer, it is important to understand the target customers’ needs and expectations with regards to their definition of ‘luxury goods’. Cultural differences between UK and Chinese consumers Hofstede’s Five Cultural Dimensional Model has been used much for cross-cultural consumer behaviour studies as the and the outcomes of this analytical model can indicate the differences between two cultures (Mooij, 2011). The five dimensional model contains power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, long-term orientation, and uncertainty avoidance. Fig. 1 illustrates the factors in proportion between the two countries.

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Research Methodology This research aimed to find out the needs and wants of Chinese millennials with regards to luxury fashion product and their shopping behaviour while visiting the UK. The research was on a sample population of Chinese tourists aged between 18 and 30, with questionnaires and in-depth interviews of 2 sales assistant who work in Harvey Nickels and Selfridges, and 2 Chinese millennial travellers. The ‘research onion’ model (Fig. 3) was used to laying out each stage of the research, and help decide which kind of research method would be suitable (Saunders, et al. 2012). From the first layer, to narrow the research in a social context, an interpretivism paradigm was used because this dissertation used theories to help find out the cause and to understand current issues under examination (Myers, 2009). The next stage was to use an inductive approach, which is an approach that allows research to develop freely by knowing and observing, and to reach conclusions based on primary observation experience and the premises of esemblances (Goddard & Melville, 2004). A case study was used in the next stage to understand the complex social phenomena and to review the problem from a holistic perspective (Yin, 2014), such as what is the main reason that a fashion retailer failed to attract Chinese tourist consumers. Along with the research direction, a mixed |methods strategy was used for profound inquiry by combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. The use of both methods led to a comprehensive analysis of the research problem using both open and closed questions (Creswell, 2009). For example, the quantitative method will provide general statistical data of what Chinese millennial look for when traveling to the UK, while the quantitative approach is able to explore and understand the consumers (Creswell, 2009). The investigation was conducted with a crosssectional study design to allow the research to compare different variables at the same time; for instance to look at age, income, and demand in related to the motivation and behaviour of shopping for luxury goods.

Introduction

Literature Overview


Introduction

Discussion This chapter concludes the investigation after the primary and secondary research of Chinese millennial tourists. It also makes recommendations for further developing the case study brand. Diversity needs from Chinese consumers In a highly symbolic society like China, consumers are more willing to know about the story behind the luxury brands in order to position themselves as belonging to social groups accurately. As proven by the investigation, Chinese millennials have unique consuming habits, and pursuing luxury goods has pronounced meanings to them more than to other international consumers (Appendix D). More importantly, as mentioned in Chapter 4, for the ‘low loyalty’ young Chinese consumers, it is necessary for fashion retailers to develop product lines even assisted with collection stories to bring a sense of the brand to millennial consumers. The continued growth of Chinese millennials’ travel abroad Following the introduction of the affluent Chinese millennials’ attitude of traveling abroad few years ago (see Chapter 2), the rapid change in the economic environment since 2008 does not seem to hurt the demand of Chinese consumers for travel abroad. Nowadays, the power of Chinese consumers spending has confirmed that they are still enthusiastic about shopping while traveling abroad (Verdict, 2014, Appendix A & B). According to Mintel (2014) forecasting the growth of Chinese tourists visiting the UK is still positive in the next 5 years, especially in the department store sector which will remain the preference shopping destination for tourists. Potential product opportunities for the UK luxury fashion retailers Through analysing the scenario of how Mulberry (see Chapter 4) failed to target international shoppers with special colour edition products, it can be concluded that Mulberry may have deviations in formulating price strategy for special edition products. Therefore, as a representative brand of developing luxury retailers, Mulberry has much room for the further development of product prices, colours, and styles by evaluating competitive strategies with brand competitors.

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Limitations There are several limitations in this investigation study. Comparing cultural differences by using Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Model may have certain limitations in terms of the rapid changes in Chinese cultural and economic conditions. The model may has only suggested an overall conceptual analysis based on a large data, however the ability of Hofstede’s data accuracy to keep track of each country may need to be questioned. It is important because it built an overall structure of the background research. Another limitation is that in extracting data from quantitative research, there is a possibility of arbitrary responses. This can be avoided by giving out surveys in person, and adjusting the questions with narrow and clear directions. Also, the researcher did not speak to Mulberry sales assistants in other luxury department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges, which would have resulted in more reliable and solid data to analyse through comparing several more discussions. Recommendations Future studies should investigate possible efficiency changes of supply chain strategies. For luxury brands like Mulberry and Burberry which are characterised by British heritage handcrafts, it is important to keep developing their supply chains in order to compete with other luxury brands that are hiring foreign factories to reduce product costs. A future study should expand the current theories about consumer behaviour of Chinese millennials. For example it should develop accurate data about Chinese millennial tourists’ consuming habits, particularly their sensitivity to product price, and explore whether the modification of a luxury retailer’s supply chain strategy influences young Chinese consumers’ consuming behaviours.


Jawara Alleyne BA Fashion Design and Marketing Connected Society

Hacking the codes of fashion: can todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social codes inform design?


BA Fashion Design and Marketing

Abstract

Jawara Alleyne

Li Edelkoort, a Dutch trend forecaster whose work in societal movements and trends has influenced fashion for over 40 years, has published a manifesto called Anti_Fashion (2015) which highlights a number of important issues within the culture of fashion which she believes needs to be addressed. Issues which have aided in the lack of progression of the fashion industry as they show a clear disconnection between the fashion system and the society in which it’s operating. “The accumulation of these ten points argue that the industry has reached the vanishing point of fashion. This means that the economy of clothes will take over from the turnover of fashion. Therefore the designing of garments will have to change and become more involved, more knowledgeable and more inspired.” Edelkoort (2015) She also highlights the need to look at fashion from a social perspective and mentions that we should be analyzing clothes from an anthropological perspective. The manifesto references a number of factors which have changed within today’s culture, one of which is the new consumer. This new consumer sees the idea and experience of clothing (the culture of clothing) differently to the culture of clothing and fashion two decades ago.

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Background and rationale The fashion system The first step to hacking is to understand the system. Smith and Topham highlighted that, fashion has changed from a time when fashion started on the catwalk and trickled down to the high street. Smith and Topham (2005, p.7) They acknowledged that fashion is being dictated more and more by the people who actually wear it. Below is a diagram which illustrates the theory of fashion direction. From time to time this diagram has been modified in order to reflect the direction of fashion. Moving from strictly a trickle down method to one where bubble up grew to become just as important to trickle down Polhemus alludes to the fact that this hierarchy, (the triangle of fashion) was never a rigid one to begin with. He mentions Flugel in his book ‘Fashion vs Anti Fashion’ who discussed that there’s a fluidity within the social structure of the community. He says that there needs to be differences in social position however it most seem possible to bridge these differences. Though widely accepted, this theory today is however outdated. Loschek mentions that fashion is no longer “heirarchically or segmentally differentiated, but functionally, poly-contexturally and heterarchically.” Loschek (2009, p.150-151) No longer is fashion dictated by the upper echelons of society, but instead it now has a more casual agreement, where there are no rules. Where fashion can come from anywhere and anyone can wear anything. Where A priori and A posteriori fashion is mixed to inspire each other.

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Loschek comments that “As opposed to all other systems, in fashion it is possible – despite all distinctions- to negate social barriers or at least to abolish them as far as external appearances is concerned. Social crossing is not restricted to one social direction.” Loschek (2009, p. 122) Polhemus identified that a change was taking place. Explaining that movements in the 60’s made it clear that “Stylistic divisions were indicative of a much deeper fragmentation of our society, culture and way of life. From this moment on it was clear that lifestyle choices rather than the circumstances of one’s birth- your class, religion, nationality, race, ethnicity- would be the critical factors in delineating, defining and creating ‘our kind of people’.” Polhemus (2011, p. 64) Fashion vs society Li Edelkoort’s manifesto has led to the belief that since the structure of society has changed, fashion and it’s meaning must change as well. Polhemus identifies the relationship between fashion and society saying that, “Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx shared the belief that what happens on the socioeconomic level influences and generates culture (e.g. language, the arts, style/fashion). According to this view, society is like a group of people holding balloons on strings, the balloons representing culture. The movement of the crowd of people determines the movement of the balloons; the balloons do not move the people.” Polhemus (2011, p.40) They make it clear in pointing out that society moves fashion, and not the other way round. Knowing this we can proceed to breaking down the system of design as it relates to society.

Introduction

With fashion innovation coming from all aspects of society, it’s become clear that the social codes which once existed which led to the structural divide in fashion no longer exist in today’s Society. Today people possess the ability to move up and down the social ladder or at least to look as if they have. No longer is the idea of fashion reserved to the upper echelons of society.


Introduction

Aims and objectives This research will be looking into the idea of hacking fashion. Describing the idea of hacking and using this as a framework for deciding how today’s social codes can be used to inform design. The aim is to explore the idea of hacking fashion to decide whether today’s social codes can be used to inform design.  o describe the meaning of the term hack and T to use this concept to decide whether today’s social codes can inform design.  o investigate today’s fashion and social T system in order to understand it’s current state and gain more insight into the new consumer and the culture of clothes.  o identify ways in which a fashion system can T be developed.  o use this new information to decide whether T it’s possible for today’s social codes to inform design and if so identify how this can be done. Methodology overview This project will contain a number of different research methodologies and models taking a mixed method approach in order to fully explore the project in depth. The method of research used for primary research is interpretivism. A deductive approach to the study will be taken with the testing of a hypothesis developed through ideas of the changing consumer and the culture of clothes. My sampling will be non-probability because of the limitations of time and lack of resources. However, the nature of this project, probability sampling was not that important. The sample for the experiment will be acquired by both snowballing and strategic selection. The researcher will identify individuals who have an interesting and different sense of style who might give interesting responses to the challenge. There will be a range of different types of people selected however all individuals will be millennials. The questionnaire sample will be obtained by convenience sampling because of ease of availability and the aforementioned limitations of time. The sampling will be cross-sectional.

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Primary research An ethnographic strategy will be in place for this research. Qualitative methods will be used to gather information in three different ways.  n online questionnaire will be sent out to find A out the build-up of an average UK wardrobe.  hort in-person interviews will be carried out S on the streets with people roughly between the ages of 18-60 to find out the general perceptions of particular garments.  n experiment will be undertaken with a sample A of millennials to gather information about codes within clothing and about the new consumer described by Edelkoort. Secondary research Magazines, websites, academic texts, journals, market intelligence reports and secondary research gathered from interviews found on websites and in documentaries. Archival research will be used to investigate utility and function. The secondary research will be taken with the aim of identifying the main theories and models within and around this subject area. Creative exploration and realisation Taking the findings from the experiment, the researcher will create 3 main materials to represent the findings.  book will be created breaking down the A garments and the individuals in the study. The book will give an overall detail of the entire experiment.  7 posters will be created to show how 1 the participants styled each garment.  ideos will be recorded with the interviews V of the participants done after the experiment is carried out.


Introduction

The aim of the materials is to create a small exhibition to show the findings of the experiment. Limitations As this project is only a dissertation, there are a number of limitations which affect the process of this project. The main issue is that of time but there are other limitations such as limited funds and resources to carry out this project. Getting interviewees and scheduling will also be a limitation linked to the short time involved. Also organising myself around the subjects busy schedule will be a factor, as well as booking a studio space for all days of shooting. Ethical Considerations Before conducting any primary research the researcher will explain the full purpose of the research and where applicable, a full confidentiality agreement will be signed where applicable. The participants will be informed of what the purpose of the exhibition is and what will happen to the images taken. Interview with industry professionals will have a written consent and interviewee will be notified of the purpose of the interview and be offered a full disclosure should they wish to not be named or further contacted. Structure Chapter 1 : Introduction Rationale Aims and Objectives Methodology Chapter 2 Hacking What is Hacking? Deconstruction What is fashion? Why hack fashion? Chapter 3 : Understanding the System The Fashion System Fashion Vs. Society Chapter 4 : Millennials Chapter 5 Findings

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Research design This project will contain a number of different research methodologies and models taking a mixed method approach in order to fully explore the project in depth. The method of research used for primary research is interpretivism. A deductive approach to the study will be taken with the testing of a hypothesis developed through ideas of the changing consumer and the culture of clothes. Sampling will be non-probability because of the limitations of time and lack of resources. However, the nature of this project, probability sampling was not that important. The sample for the experiment will be acquired by both snowballing and strategic selection. The researcher will identify individuals who have an interesting and different sense of style who might give interesting responses to the challenge. There will be a range of different types of people selected however all individuals will be millennials. The questionnaire sample will be obtained by convenience sampling because of ease of availability and the aforementioned limitations of time. The sampling will be cross-sectional.


Introduction Discussion What is hacking? Otto Von Busch, Swedish fashion designer, artist and theorist, have described hacking in fashion as a do-it-yourself (DIY) practice of direct intervention. He identifies that hacking manifests three main characteristics, two of which are most relevant within the context of fashion design. He states that hacking is firstly about the skill of opening a system and learning to master it’s circuitry and structure. Von Busch (2009) This implies that one must first go into the system to understand how it’s currently operating, what affects it and what holds it together. He further states that “Secondly, hacking is a specific tactic of reclaiming and changing a system by plugging into it and redirecting its flows into a more desirable goal.” Von Busch (2009). The characteristics of hacking are closely linked to the idea of deconstruction in fashion which is the idea of breaking down the structure of something in order to create something new. Derrida, one of the key theorists who have developed the theory of deconstruction sheds light on the meaning of deconstruction in the book Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. He first identifies the structure which exists which would require deconstruction explaining that within the world we don’t have a peaceful existence, but instead a violent hierarchy of terms where one dominates the other. Secondly, he states, “To deconstruct is to reverse the hierarchy” ( Positions, pp. 56-57/41) Derrida in Cullen (1987, p. 85-86). He also explains that deconstruction must put into practice a reversal of both the classical opposition and a general displacement of the system.

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Conclusion Edelkoorts claim that the meaning and culture of fashion has changed from a culture of A priori fashion to a culture of A posteriori fashion (culture of clothes) as well as Ted Polhemus’s question that, “(surely we now have ‘style designers’ and a ‘style industry’- and, powering this transformation, consumers more interested in consistent, meaningful style than here-today-gonetomorrow fashion?).” Polhemus (2011, p.76) Have led to the belief that today’s consumers have the ability to use not only regular garments but also garments with strong codes to create their personal identity and style. That today, because of the millennial ability to play with codes and because of their way of using codes to construct their identity, a singular millennial can use almost any garment to construct their sense of identities. It all depends on the way they put garments together An experiment was carried out to test this hypothesis.

Recommendations How to develop this work further:  y testing the process of design. The idea of B combining garments with different sets of codes and testing to see how people react to them.  tart developing a design process which looks S first on social movements, culture and society before looking at design details.  xhibition to encourage people to think more E about the possibilities within clothing.  o the experiment again but bigger, with more D people and not just a selected few. And more garments to test their possibilities.


Sabeen Farooq BA Fashion Design and Marketing Connected Society

How can we look at ways of making sustainable clothing fashionable and more desirable for the new millennials?


BA Fashion Design and Marketing

Abstract

Sabeen Farooq

This research project looks at ways of making sustainable clothing more desirable and fashionable for the new millennials. It looks at three methods of doing this. The millennials are the consumers of tomorrow therefore they must be informed of the impacts of fast fashion on the environment as well as the communities involved, so that they can make more responsible shopping and consumption decisions now and in the future. The key issues this work focuses on are the barriers that millennials have to face in order to be sustainable in their clothing purchase and consumption. The main barriers found in this study were the premium pricing of sustainable clothing and the lack of fashion forward designs and styles available. As millennials are very trend focused, how a garment looks is very important to them. An inductive approach was taken for the research of this study. Both secondary and primary research was conducted as part of this study. The primary research was conducted with millennials and industry professionals from sustainable fashion brands. A series of surveys, questionnaires and interviews were conducted to collect qualitative and quantitative data. A small amount of visual photography was also done as part of the primary research. The findings of this study show that millennials are interested in sustainable options but the barriers restrict them from purchasing it. However, if more fashionable sustainable garments were available, they would not mind paying the extra price. Overall, out of the three methods explored in this study, the Cocreation method was selected by most consumers as well as industry professionals as it creates a personal experience for the customer. This method would be best used through social media, as mentioned by many respondents, as social media is a big part of the younger consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; lives.

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Introduction

Background This dissertation has been based on the sustainable fashion industry, looking at ways in which sustainable clothing can be made fashionable and more desirable in order to encourage more shoppers to purchase it. It is focused on the new Millennials for the purpose of this study. Sustainability has been an issue within the fashion industry for decades. After the oil industry, “fashion and textiles is the most polluting industry in the world. Every stage in a garment’s life threatens our planet and its resources” (Fashion, 2015). Some of the main issues are water wastage, hazardous chemicals usage, causing pollution, and non-renewable fibers. Companies are now realising that something must be done about this issue in order to protect the environment for future generations. Currently, there are many brands that focus on sustainability. Below are a few examples of sustainable brands and what they do. The emerging concept of ‘fast fashion’ has created difficulties for ethical brands and consumers within the industry. It has created a culture of ‘throw away’ fashion whereby clothing is sold at cheap prices and ends up in landfills just as quickly as it is bought. “An estimated £100 million worth (based on 2015 prices) or around 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year” (WRAP, 2012). In order to encourage a slower pace, consumers need to value their garments and extend their use for as long as possible. In order for that to happen, the product needs to be desirable. Customers are also beginning to realise the enormous environmental impact the fashion industry has on the environment and local communities. As a result, some mainstream fashion brands have made small commitments to charitable organisations or started using packaging made from recycled materials, in order to show a green initiative to their customers.

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Problem There are several limitations of sustainable fashion. This study looks at two of them, high prices and low availability of fashionable options (Bonini and Oppenheim, 2008). Although shoppers are becoming increasingly aware of the global impacts and may also be willing to purchase sustainable clothing, they do not want to compromise on price and style (Joy et al., 2012). Most sustainable clothing brands offer very simple, minimalistic designs with a limited colour palette. As a result of this, “sustainable fashion has been associated with dull colours and simplicity and lack of styling”. (Delong, M & Martinson, B. 2012) Aims and objectives The aim of this study is to explore ways of making sustainable clothing fashionable and desirable in order to make is appealing to the millennials, and therefore convince them to purchase it. To help achieve the aim of the study, certain objectives were set. Those are listed below:  nalyse the current sustainable fashion market A using secondary research.  nalyse consumer views & decisions A using primary and secondary data. Consumer perceptions on sustainable fashion as well as the reasoning behind purchase decisions.  valuate what is currently being done to promote E or encourage sustainable fashion.  ully explore the three strategies of adding value F with examples.  et feedback on the new strategies from G consumers as well as industry professionals.


Methodology overview In order to achieve the Aims and objectives set for this study, both primary and secondary research had to be conducted. This research takes an inductive approach and both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection have been used. The secondary data was collected from online journals, articles and key texts from established authors on this subject. The literature review highlighted key themes within the field, which were then further researched using primary data collection methods. The primary research has been conducted with millennials as well as industry professionals. An online semi-structured questionnaire was conducted with millennials as well as some slightly older participants to get their views and opinions of the fashion industry and sustainability. This questionnaire also asked the participants about their views on the three methods proposed in this study. Although at first the participants had to really be pushed to answer the questionnaire, by the end the questionnaire had gained a good amount of responses resulting in high levels of useful information. Secondly a visual poll was conducted, also with millennials, to look at what they associate with sustainable clothing as well as their purchase decisions. Industry professionals were contacted to ask for their views and perspectives of the sustainable fashion industry and ways in which they think it could improve. The professionals that agreed to take part were asked to take part in interviews. This was not possible for all the participants due to certain limitations. A telephone interview was conducted with one of the participants and questions were emailed to the other two participants. However, the participants were really helpful and provided detailed answers. Lastly, two of the professionals agreed to give feedback on the three methods proposed in this study, which was really helpful.

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What is Sustainability? Firstly, key texts from authors like Hethorn; Gordon & Fletcher assist in providing an overview of the past, present and future of sustainable fashion. Previous sustainability models as well as the current trend of ‘disposable fashion’ are discussed in this chapter. Reports from The Waste and Resource Action Plan (WRAP) and Mintel give an insight as to how much waste the fashion industry produces as well as its environmental impacts. They also highlight retailers’ negligence of such issues. As opposed to that, Sandy Black’s ‘The Fashion Paradox’ talks about brands starting to move towards more sustainable practices. This chapter also looks at green washing in comparison to Hopkins’ claim about brands afraid of publicising their green initiatives. Consumer views and perceptions In the next section, millennials’ views, perceptions and purchase decisions are discussed. Mintel reports on the shopping behaviours of the millennial as well as ethical consumers provide the study with market knowledge. This chapter looks at the different perspectives of Niinimaki and Chan & Wong on the factors that influence purchase and consumption decisions. It also explores ethical consumer’s avoidance of brands and ends with a comparison of consumption decisions of fast vs. slow fashion consumers. Promoting sustainability The next section looks at current brands providing sustainable fashion as well as what industry professionals are suggesting for fashion brands. It also highlights the need for sustainable fashion brands to focus on the millennials and, Hethorn & Ulasewicz and Marcum’s suggested ways of doing so. It also looks at the customer support a company gains by taking green initiatives. New strategies Following, the new ideas are introduced, after a thorough explanation of innovation and value creation. Then a detailed explanation of the three approaches is given along with examples. Methodology The following chapter discusses the methods used to conduct this study, the sampling and data collection techniques, limitations, the reasons behind using those techniques as well as the type of data collected and how it has been analysed. Presentation of results The section following that presents and describes the findings from the research and highlights any correlations or connections between the results found. Discussions and conclusion Finally, in chapter 4 a conclusion is drawn after in depth analysis and considerations of the primary and secondary research. The main research question is answered.

Introduction

Structure


What is sustainability? Sustainability has become a word that is heard almost everyday. There are several discussions about the meaning of this word and it may vary according to the context it is put into. The most popular definition, “meeting a current generation’s needs without compromising those of future generations” was published in a report of The World Commission on Environment and Development (World Commission on Environment and Development, 2009). Past Sustainability has been a part of fashion for decades (Welters, 2008) but only recently has there been a sudden rise in concern (Moisander and Personen, 2002). “Prior to the industrialisation of textile production in the nineteenth century, fabrics and clothing were costly, cherished commodities that were quite literally used to shreds” (Gordon and Hill, 2014, 1). Clothing was valued because it was expensive to make and as technology was not that advanced, things had to be made by hand. People could not afford to throw away old clothes and purchase new ones as they do now. The concept of ready to wear also did not exist at the time (Chevalier and Mazzalovo, 2012) therefore people used to either make their own clothes or get them made, which was expensive. “Well into the nineteenth century, used garments made up a substantial portion of nearly every person’s wardrobe in Europe and North Americawith only the exception of the very wealthy” (Gordon and Hill, 2014, 2). Clothes would be passed on to siblings or other family members and altered to fit their new owners or, in some cases, completely reconstructed to create something new. Some were even sold to second-hand shops or markets (Hethorn and Ulasewicz, 2015). These reusing and recycling of garments and fabrics have been described as early acts of sustainability (Fletcher: 2007, and Gordon and Hill: 2014). After World War II, there was a time of increased consumerism (Tiemstra, 1992). By the mid-1960s, a trend of ‘vintage’ clothing had developed amongst the younger generation. Up cycled second hand clothing started to appear in high-end department stores, which, according to Gordon and Hill, changed the image of second hand. It had become a “stylish fashion statement” (2014). Overall, in the past, sustainability was a normal way of life. The next section looks at the current state of the fashion industry.

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Present In the last two decades fashion has become much faster, cheaper and readily available as a result of globalisation and technological developments (Hawley). This has encouraged higher expectations and demand within consumers, which has resulted in even faster fashion cycles, creating a vicious circle (Black, 2008). The high speed of fashion creates a sense of urgency, which encourages frequent and impulsive purchases. (Gordon and Hill: 2014, Hawley and Joy et al: 2012). Cline adds that the quality of garments is also less of a concern as they are only intended to be worn a few times before being disposed of (2012). In order to keep up with the constant demand of new styles and trends, fast fashion retailers bring out new collections one after another by making minor changes to previous styles (Tokatli and Kizilgun, 2009). High street retailer Zara is one of the fastest in producing new collections. They promise to have something new in store every time you visit. According to Suzy Hansen of the New York Times, “All those thousands of Inditex stores receive deliveries of new clothes twice a week” (2012). This encourages impulse buying decisions as people think it won’t be there the next time they come in (Cline: 2012 and Taylor: 2014). It is almost a ‘now or never’ situation for the customer and since prices are so cheap, most of the time customers make a purchase even when they do not need to. As the fast fashion industry grows, manufacturers compete to provide the cheapest clothing resulting in environmental damage as well as unfair wages, poor working conditions and child labour (Anguelov: 2015, Minney et al: 2011, Siegle: 2011 and Torres and Gardetti: 2013). According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), an environmental campaign organisation, “The annual footprint of a household’s new and existing clothing are equivalent to the weight of over 100 pairs of jeans, the water needed to fill 1000 bath tubs, and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6000 miles” (2012). Shaw and Jackson state that the majority of consumers are fast fashion followers (2008). However, others say that there is a growing consumer interest in sustainable clothing (Fletcher and Sharma et al, 2015). There are many brands that are trying to address that and have sustainability in their core values. People Tree is one of the leaders of the sustainable fashion industry in the UK, but like many others, it is aimed at an older consumer.

Introduction

Literature overview


The words sustainable and ethical have long been associated with plain and basic garments with neutral colours and very minimal representation of current trends (Martinson and DeLong, 2012). Results from part of the primary research conducted as part of this study also support this (Appendix G). Consumers who are willing to buy sustainable clothing and are aware of the impacts of fast fashion are often put off because of the lack of style and trend-led designs (Muthu, 2014). Future The younger generation is the trend leading generation and should be focused on (Gill, 2013). They are not afraid of trying new things and want to stand out from the crowd. “The time is right for the fashion industry and consumers to embrace sustainability” (Hethorn and Ulasewicz, 2015). The Director of Operations at Raven and Lily, a sustainable clothing brand, also supports this by mentioning that the younger consumers want to buy sustainable clothing but are limited due to availability of choices (Appendix E). Fast fashion retailers outsource production in order to keep costs low but do not seem to be concerned about how that affects the local communities of the people that work for them. “Over 90% of the water footprint of UK clothing is overseas, often in countries which have water stress or scarcity” (WRAP, 2012). Even after being aware of the impacts, companies like Primark do not refrain from such practices. They continue to produce cheap disposable clothing. “Primark has been the subject of ethical concerns since its breakthrough into the public consciousness, including the latest controversy of the collapsed factory having a Primark supplier in Bangladesh” (Mintel, 2013). The Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013 was one of the biggest garment industry accidents ever. Over 1100 people were killed and many more injured. Some people may say that after the occurrence of such incidences as well as other negative impacts of the fashion industry, companies are starting to take a more ethically responsible approach (Testa and Rinaldi: 2014, Black: 2008).

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 rimark have joined the P Ethical Trading Initiative  &M have launched their H ‘Conscious Collection’  opshop have embedded Corporate Social T Responsibility in their mission statement The brands mentioned above all have stated their actions of becoming more responsible but do they actually do what they say they will? Discussion The millennials are interested in brands’ ethical initiatives and have also become ‘responsible’ in their purchase and consumption decisions, as discussed in chapter two. The results from the consumer questionnaire also support this as the majority of millennials said wearing sustainable clothing was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to them. The majority of them also said they would be willing to pay more for it (Appendix C). Industry professionals also agreed with this and suggested that sustainable fashion brands target them (Appendix E and F). However, results of the visual poll show that participants would prefer to purchase the supposedly ‘non- sustainable’, more fashionable garment. This is also supported by the second participant’s comments in the industry professionals’ questionnaire. (Appendix E). This supports Joy et al’s claim that purchase decisions do not represent the consumer’s views about ethics (2012). Consumers purchase fast fashion because they enjoy finding trend led clothing at low prices (Watson and Yan 2013). However, the majority of industry professionals that took part in this study said that consumers would not mind paying higher prices if sustainable clothing was fashion forward (Appendix E and F). Results from the consumer questionnaire also show that some millennials feel that wearing sustainable clothing means they have to compromise on style and fashion (Appendix C). Apart from that, the visual poll also highlighted a correlation and showed that the simple garments were assumed to be sustainable and the fashion forward garments were assumed un-sustainable (Appendix G).

Introduction

Black states, “Companies that were previously seen as a major part of the environmental problem are now becoming part of the solution” (2008). She argues that UK high street fashion retailers are starting to move towards becoming greener in their production. Below are some examples:


According to Ramaswamy (2008), involving the customers in the design and development process of a product can make it a value-added product. Two of the approaches discussed in this study, Personalisation and Co-creation, involve this type of communication with the customers via social media. Out of all three approaches, both of the industry professionals mentioned using Co-creation alongside one other method (Appendix I). They also mentioned the use of social media and how it can be really useful in targeting younger consumers (Appendix I). Apart from the low availability of fashion-led sustainable garments, premium prices are also a barrier for customers (Strandvik, Rindell and Wilen: 2013 and Chan and Wong: 2012). The majority of participants of the consumer questionnaire agreed that sustainable clothing is expensive. The industry professionals also mentioned this in the interview and questionnaire. Conclusion After conducting extensive research on the millennials and ways of encouraging them to purchase sustainable clothing, it can be concluded that they are interested in sustainable fashion but there are some constraints that stop them from purchasing sustainable. The two main constraints are lack of fashion forward options and premium prices (Bonini and Oppenheim, 2008). However, as discussed previously, research shows that millennials would be willing to spend more on sustainable clothing if there were fashionable choices available for them. The pace of fast fashion is one of the biggest concerns for the industry. In order to encourage slow fashion, products must be made valuable and desirable for the customers. Innovative ideas and techniques can help create value added products as well as competitive advantage for brands (Farinha, Ferreira and Smith: 2015, Kumar: 2015, Huggins and Izushi: 2012 and Denton: 1999).

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The third approach involves the use of innovative materials that are not very common. This approach would add a sense of exclusivity to the garments, which may also increase its desirability for the consumer, and therefore increase the chances of it being bought as well as extend the garment’s useful life. Individuals have their own style and preferences when it comes to clothing. What one person may find fashionable, another person may not. Feedback from consumers as well as industry professionals suggested that the use of the cocreation method through social media would be the best approach out of the three. Overall, If fashion brands were to adopt any of the methods proposed in this study, it would require a complete shift in the business model (Appendix I). The aim of this study was “To explore ways of making sustainable clothing fashionable in order to make it appealing for the millennials and convince them to purchase it”. The objectives set in order to achieve the aim were kept in mind throughout the research process. This study has provided some clarity to consumption decisions of millennials as well as ways of encouraging them to purchase sustainable clothing. Recommendations During the course of this research the author came across many potential subjects for future research. Below is a brief outline of some areas of potential research. The methods proposed in this study would have to be implemented as business models. However, possible design strategies could be investigated for existing brands to adopt without having to completely shift their business models. A particular opportunity that stood out was the idea of mainstream fashion brands to collaborate with professionals from the sustainable fashion industry and the benefits of that to both the companies involved, as well as the consumers. As this study was more focused on the purchase and consumption stages of a garments lifecycle, another research opportunity would be to look at the supply and production stage as the majority of wastage occurs during that stage (WRAP, 2012). It would be interesting to look at innovative ways to manage the supply chains and production processes of garments in order to lower impacts on the environment as well as the communities.

Introduction

In the past, people used to keep and re-use clothing for generations after generations because it was valued. Today, the fast fashion culture has created a habit of impulse buying and quick disposal of garments for consumers. (Gordon and Hill, 2014). Participant 3 of the industry professionals’ questionnaire also agrees with this (Appendix E). In order to make sure that garments are used for as long as possible and not disposed off after being worn only a few times, they need to be made desirable and of value to the consumer (Marcum, 2009). The visual poll conducted shows that the millennials find trendy; fashion forward garments desirable more than simple and plain ones (Appendix G). Most of the industry professionals also agree with this (Appendix E and F).

Two of the approaches discussed in this study involve interaction with consumers during the design and development process of the products. These methods can help build a personal connection with the consumers. If a garment is personal or unique to the wearer, not only would it persuade the customer to make a purchase but also it may encourage them to keep it for a longer period of time compared to a massproduced fast fashion garment as mentioned by participant 1 (Appendix F).


Stella Bergadano BA Fashion Design and Marketing Disruptive Enterprise

Exploring product-based applications of value co-creation: how premium fashion brands targeting Generation X women can develop engaging design solutions


Abstract

Stella Bergadano

The following study explores the target market of Generation X women and reviews the theories of value co-creation at a product level. Since the majority of the previous studies on the subject area provide theoretical investigations without offering practical examples of value co-creation (Verleye, 2015), this exploratory study aims to investigate and suggest a practical strategy to enable the co-creation of value with consumers through compelling and interactive design solutions for premium fashion brands targeting Generation X women.

BA Fashion Design and Marketing

To quote Mintzberg et al. (2008:186): “This is a simple enough idea. Putting it into practice is another matter.” Both primary and secondary research was conducted with the aim of producing a comprehensive study. Secondary research, through a variety of written and visual sources, provided a framework upon which it was possible to develop the subsequent primary research. This latter was carried out through semi-structured questionnaires distributed to women belonging to several industries in the UK and gathering visual sources from direct observation and experimentation. The findings from the data analysis showed that Generation X women are a highly heterogeneous segment, which is therefore difficult to generalise. However, they share a common profile of socially active individuals and all embody different identities according to the social setting. They demonstrated particular interest in the opportunity to create different outfit solutions with the same garment, although they showed a lower degree of interested in engaging in garment construction, which means that the options offered to them should be restricted to minor changes. To conclude, the study presents an exploration of the complementary design development, addressing key issues raised during both the primary and the secondary research such as versatility and “the assembling of the flexible lifestyle” (Mathur, 2013: 25). The ultimate outcome is a set of design solutions enabling garments to evolve with the wearer throughout the day and with the seasons (Chapman, 2015).

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The traditional conception of product development regards this activity as strictly firm-centered, but this vision has been challenged by the emergence of increasingly empowered consumers wanting greater participation in value co-creation processes (Roberts et al., 2014). Consumers are increasingly looking for rich experiences over products (Gilmore and Pine, 2007), and Tan and Shaw (2015) observe that this trend now applies to a more mature audience than the young consumers among whom it first emerged. Context and rationale WGSN identifies consumers becoming cocreators among the upcoming trends for A/W 2017/18 (Bell, 2015). This trend calls to mind Bianchi’s (1998) theory that consumers are active makers of their own identities. Although a plethora of studies have been conducted on emerging opportunities for brands to engage with young Millennials, little research has focused on older cohorts such as Generation X female consumers, referring to those born between 1961 and 1981 (Gurău, 2012), and the consequent opportunities to establish engagement with them. This has led to an information gap on what happens to women and their relationship with clothes when they grow older (Holmlund et al., 2009; Myers and Lumbers, 2008; O’Connor in Küchler, 2005) While young women remain the most active consumers, an ageing female population who are increasingly buying more clothes online will mean that older women will exert more influence on the market in the coming years. (Sender, 2015).

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Generation X women represent the ideal target market to encourage heterogeneous co-creation experiences through product engagement, as they are characterised by being more individualistic in their purchasing habits (Piamphongsant and Mandhachitara, 2011). As Beasley (2016) observes: “this is a missed opportunity, because as well as their economic power, older consumers are likely to be well-disposed towards new products and brand-switching.” The present study aims to tackle this lack of research, considering that the majority of the female population is represented by women in the age bracket between 45 and 54 Lifestyles and main variables characterising clothing purchase behaviours among Generation X professional women are therefore investigated in order to address the challenge faced by brands to incorporate consumers’ needs and desires, so as to reduce the risk of undesirable products (Ziv, 2013). Premium brands are of particular relevance with regard to adult women, given their greater establishment in the workplace and their consequently more significant disposable incomes, which make them a particularly lucrative target market for the fashion industry (Banks, 2014; Massenet in Kansara, 2010; Piamphongsant and Mandhachitara, 2011; Strizhakova and Tsarenko, 2015). Reinforcing this, a Kantar Worldpanel report in Rees and Strimpel (2014) demonstrated that mid-life women account for 41% of the total UK spending on clothing, making them the highest spenders in this area. This has also been evidenced by Verdict (2015). The existing academic research into value cocreation and Generation X women is used to inform the complementary design development. Drawing on Ruppert-Stroescu and Hawley (2014), who distinguish Leadership Creativity and Adaptive Creativity in a commercially driven fashion industry, the proposed design development combines characteristics of the two typologies. As a result, it embraces an Adaptive Creativity whose purpose is to integrate existing trends and products, focusing more on the process than the product itself, as well as an experimental and insight-based thinking process typical of Leadership Creativity with the goal of pushing the industry in an innovative direction (see Fig. 1.3.).

Introduction

Background In recent years, the whole economic system has undergone a shift from a traditional firm-focused perspective to a consumer-centric vision (Tynan et al., 2010). With consumers moving outside the traditional marketing funnel, using new methods to research and purchase products (Court et al., 2009), companies in the fashion industry can no longer blindly dictate their ideologies to consumers, they are required to better understand their needs in order to adjust their approach accordingly (Massenet in Kansara, 2010; Roberts et al. 2014; Verleye, 2015). This relates to the way brands communicate, but also implies new approaches to product design (Tan and Shaw, 2015).


As Guy et al. (2001) observe, fixed and static garments do not reflect the evolving nature of women’s image and identity: “consumer aspirations continually evolve, whereas products are hopelessly frozen in time” (Chapman, 2015: 52). The challenge of the proposed design investigation is therefore to enable the literal construction of multiple appearances by applying a mechanical process to the garments, thus introducing product innovation while helping women create their “chosen self-image” (Guy et al. 2001: 91). In light of this, the design project applies a modular design approach to the garments’ architectural structure relying on external attachments and reversible properties as possible opportunities to incorporate a high level of dynamism and versatility. Stemming from the idea that consumers are to be identified as active makers, able to transform physical resources for their benefit (Bianchi, 1998), the concept of value co-creation is therefore implemented through the provision of multiple options for interchangeable components to modify shape and colour combinations of a garment according to women’s everchanging desires. Specifically, the design development takes initial inspiration from the brand Max Mara, given its relevance to the investigated target market and its iconic reversible coats. Silhouettes and technical details are then inspired mainly by technical clothing and uniforms. The work of Massimo Osti as a pioneering designer in multifunctional garments (Facchinato and Osti, 2012) is investigated and adapted to cater for a more conservative and elegant market segment.

03

Aims and objectives The aim is to identify practical opportunities to turn the concept of value co-creation into design strategies for premium brands targeting Generation X women.  o investigate the concept of value co-creation T on a product level  o explore lifestyles and attitudes towards T clothing shopping of Generation X women  o investigate the interest of Generation X T women in being engaged in garment construction  o develop a design concept reflecting key T aspects raised during the study. Methodology overview Given the complexity and heterogeneity of adult women, the research followed an interpretative philosophy (Saunders et al., 2012: 163) intended to explore a “socially constructed reality of the people studied” (Myers, 2013: 40). The investigation into Generation X women relied upon the concept of lifestyle introduced by Earl’s (1986) consumer theory. Lifestyle is thus conceived as a set of motivations representing both the consequence and the cause of women’s consumption patterns (Bianchi, 1998). The lack of a univocal definition of the subject matter explains the exploratory nature of the research, whose intent was to provide new insights and evaluate value co-creation strategies among the investigated target market (Saunders et al., 2009). Primary research followed a mixed method based on semi-structured questionnaires and direct observation. The choice to use questionnaires was taken to avoid due to avoid “socially desirable responses” that participants might give in face-toface interviews (Bryman and Bell, 2011: 271) as well as to allow respondents adequate time to ponder each question (Brace, 2004). The orientation of the research was of a qualitative nature, with the intent to understand women’s purchase-behavioural patterns and attitude towards opportunities of interaction with garments (Saunders et al., 2009). In order to explore women’s lifestyle and ways of dressing, photographs of women’s outfits were also taken in public spaces around Central London.

Introduction

The design project takes the form of 2D design experimentations, 3D samples and final key garments. These latter comprise an outfit made of a skirt and a jacket, accompanied by interchangeable parts in order to create multiple outfit solutions. Ruppert-Stroescu and Hawley (2014) state the importance of creating product characteristics to enable consumers to connect the product to their needs. The design process therefore attempts to investigate and implement attributes of adaptability, comfort and playfulness among women’s main requirements, based on initial secondary research (Cartwright, 2014; Bank, 2014; Hammond, 2015; McFarland, 2015; Mower, 2015; Sender, 2015).


Introduction Discussion In light of the present findings, Generation X women can be considered active participants in social life. To be specific, the majority of respondents strongly agreed that they adopt a multitude of identities according to different social settings, suggesting a potential need for versatile outfits when, for instance, moving from working environments to different social settings. Overall, the responses confirmed that modern expectations regarding clothing focus on functionality. This corroborates Tan and Shawâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (2015) claim that clothing needs to fit in with a multitasking lifestyle and, at the same time, satisfy functional and aesthetic needs. Following the data analysis, a profile of the market segment is outlined using a psychographic segmentation

Conclusion As value co-creation strategies imply a higher level of connection between the product development process and target consumers, this study contributes to the understanding of how women construct identities through their everyday practices, constantly deconstructing and reconstructing their image (Bianchi, 1998). This phenomenon is key for both marketers and designers to understand patterns of buying behaviour and subsequently implement relevant strategies to target this consumer segment. The study has revealed that brands can gain a strategic advantage by offering productbased value co-creation strategies to Generation X women.

Recommendations Future research should investigate the level to which Generation X women engage with online strategies, to assess whether an online or offline approach is more appropriate to target this consumer segment.

In the specific, the potential of garments that are simply reversible and offer minor opportunities for changes was identified as prominent. In light of this, women, through their interaction with such garments, become a unique source of competitive advantage for brands. (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004).

Another avenue of future research should focus on themes related to sustainability and the speed of fashion. This is because the process of adding layers and creating newness through different combinations within the same garment might encourage a slower and â&#x20AC;&#x153;seasonlessâ&#x20AC;? approach to fashion, resulting in a more ethical approach to consumption.

Premium brands should be particularly focused on this consumer segment, as Generation X women place greater importance on quality and timeless clothing than then price and popularity. In addition to this, a multi-channel approach seems to be the ideal way to target these consumers, as they buy in-store on a regular basis but also shop online occasionally.

04


Vanessa So Wing Ni BA Fashion Design and Marketing Transparent Environments

The future development of authentic Chinese oriental design


BA Fashion Design and Marketing

Abstract

Vanessa So Wing Ni

In this fast changing world, one of the fast growing economies and unpredictable development countries of BRICS is China. Opening it’s market to the globe, adopting different cultures through globalization, it’s clothing system has changed a lot during recent years. With the impact of the Western fashion industry, this emerging country’s new generation have their own say to the designs and ideas of what they wear. This research is going to study a specific group of consumers who are the future leaders and innovators of China with their learning and own interpretation of design after studying in a Western country. Recently, there have been many oriental inspired fashion items shown in the West, on runways, at ceremonies and by retailers; does the Chinese new generation admire these creations? On another hand, in the emerging Chinese fashion industry there is the Shang Hai fashion show and many new potential Chinese designers launching collections in International Fashion weeks. This research will focus on the view of the Chinese new generation who are studying abroad on an authentic oriental design and thereby analyze their identity and factors affecting such views.

01


Background In this fast changing world, one of the fast growing economies and unpredictable development countries of BRICS is China. Opening its market to the globe, adopting different cultures through globalization, its clothing system has changed a lot during recent years. With the impact of the Western fashion industry, this emerging country’s new generation have their own say to the designs and ideas of what they wear. This research is going to study a specific group of consumers who are the future leaders and innovators of China with their learning and own interpretation of design after studying in a Western country. Recently, there have been many oriental inspired fashion items shown in the West, on runways, at ceremonies and by retailers; does the Chinese new generation admire these creations? On another hand, in the emerging Chinese fashion industry there is the Shang Hai fashion show and many new potential Chinese designers launching collections in International Fashion weeks. This research will focus on the view of the Chinese new generation who are studying abroad on an authentic oriental design and thereby analyze their identity and factors affecting such views. ‘Chinese people clearly felt the cultural shock as China first exposed itself to Western influence after several decades of self-imposed isolation’ (Wu, 2009) Chinese new generation born in this fast changing society after the controversy and unease period of the China’s Great Proletarian Cultural revolution (1966-1976). (Wu,2009) compare to the development of the hard power of China like politics, economy and the army, the soft power development like tradition values and culture is being left over. The culture had been vacuumed for around 20 years and for the recent years, China starts rearranging her original culture.

02

Context & rationale Authenticity and authentic Chinese oriental design Use of authenticity is very wide, in terms of the center value of an identity, relationships with others, branding with consumer sensibilities, Gilmore and Pine(2007) define it as ‘yet underlying any difference of opinion about what constitutes authenticity is a shared belief that whatever is real is valued’ ‘In industry after industry, consumer after consumer, authenticity has overtaken quality as the prevailing purchasing criterion’ (Gilmore an Pine, 2007) While authenticity successively dominate consumer sensibility in shopping behavior, what is authenticity in the consumer eye? Chinese overseas students represent best on changing in identity under globalization of China, argues of “Chinese consumers employ western brands to assert competing version of Chinese national identity”(Dong and Tian, 2015) is being authentic in China nowadays? Is this an assumption of Chinese new generation understanding of being an individual and authentic? Fashion is being use to show identity and the consumption towards a design can explain their aspirations, personal and social values. Authentic Chinese oriental design and their interpretation to be authentic in the modern world.

Introduction

Under globalization, China broaden its market and border, people can travel around the world easily. Globalization with science and technology allows people to access information in the globe and know what is happening around the world. The economic growth emerge luxury shoppers and the significant influence to the globe can see from high end to high street retailers by their marketing and designs. Thus, many western brand enters the Chinese market. An upper class family able to afford their child to study abroad. Westernization enter China and running with nationalization. While how localization and cross- culture interactive can be happened in China, research around design and development in Chinese fashion industry will be studied on the topic of authentic oriental Chinese design in order to show how will Chinese find identity in this.


Introduction

1.1.3 The Chinese overseas students According to the White Book of China’s Study Abroad 2013, the number of Chinese students studying abroad increase by 21.8%every year. (Ngieng,2013) The research focused on this group of specific consumer, the fashion and design innovators of the future China. Aged 18 to 26 (born between 1990 and 1998), born in mainland China, experience with the rapid growth in its economy and status in the international platform. Explained by Barley (2014), researched on Chinese luxury market, this ‘Sugar generation’, with good education and high incomes (partly a product of China’s one- child policy), they differentiate themselves by moving their shopping behavior to quality, personalization and tailor made products but not big brands which their parents’ generation would buy. They are currently studying in London design colleges and most of them bring the creativity that have learnt from Western cities back to China and develop on own career in the Design and Fashion industry which is the emerging industry of China in the recent years, moving direction from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Design in China’. They are allows to access more social medias, news and information outside China and would interview with them and study on their perception in authentic oriental Chinese design, thus, can understand how they differentiate themselves of being the westernized Chinese nation. 1.1.4 Consumer identity and consumptions “As Chinese consumers become more sophisticated, they use fashion to differentiate themselves” said Euromonitor’s head of global luxury goods, Fflur Roberts (Kwok,2011) Authentic Chinese oriental design is the best ruler for measuring consumer consumption to the subject and what is their motivation towards the subject. In depth and wide researches on consumer identity, shopping behavior and consumption based on conforming to self-image as well as the relationship with national image of authentic China and how it presents to the world will be done. Marc Bain (2015) mentioned that ‘“Made in China” really does not mean what it used to’. Reinvestigate on the consumer consumption of imitating the consumption practices of Westerners and using Western brand to assert their social status in the globe (Dong and Tian, 2015) in order to clarify the consumer identity and show if the statement of ‘Fashion madein-China is fine for everyone but the Chinese’ (MacKinnon, 2014) is still applicable to the Chinese new generation and leaders of future.

03

Aims and objectives Aims of this research is to discuss on the future development of the Chinese fashion system and design direction by studying the Chinese overseas students; and consumer consumption related to authenticity and national image under globalization. Objectives included:  tudy on theories of authenticity and apply it into S the national image of China and oriental Chinese design use in the global fashion industry to find the center value of Chinese overseas students; In national image perspective, how China change throughout these years and apply of the theory into current China;  iscover the relationship between globalization D and its affect to a national image, how the country image effect theory applies to consumer motivation and consumption. Thereby, having discussion on the future picture of these consumer and Chinese fashion system development;  nderstand the identity of consumers in terms U of representation, image, attitudes and behavior under westernization and nationalization, thus, find out specific value system and patterns of consumption which is representable in the coming years;  ow the future designers reoriented Chinese H fashion industry with localization and crossculture method and will be interpret in the change of authentic oriental Chinese design of their understanding.


Literature overview Wide use of the term ‘authenticity’ has been using in fashion industry form design, branding, to consumer consumptions. Methodology overview A narrow scope of research to find in depth solution of the questions, rather than using a broad scope which applicable for overall industry use, a narrow scope allows in depth studies in consumer. Primary research of survey by questionnaire and interview allows using model of Interpretivism and pragmatism will be use in looking at the reality. This approach is use to study people change attitude and buying behavior towards the brand and its marketing. Questionnaire to specific sample as a quantitative approach suitable for this research as the fame of sample is grouped into small area and easily research through distributing questionnaire in researchers university, University of the arts London, and also contact based of Chinese overseas students society groups in WeChat. Interviews in a qualitative research to use ‘open-ended’ questions to small samples in order to find out indicators and in depth interpretation from the quantitative research. Data will be analysed and give suggestions in using ‘authentic Chinese oriental design’ in the world by customers in applying the findings and show the possibility. Structure After Chapter one in introducing topic and background information on topic, Chapter two with clearly clarify literature review on authenticity concept, national image perspective, China’s clothing system and globalization; and consumer consumption. Each section introduce specific theories and fact happening in study area such as China scheme in developing nation. Each small heading of literature review extend heading in selected area to study as well as related to each big headings and the combined usage of them. Limitation written by each area of studying subject explain a further study on subject can be constructed in the future Findings from questionnaire and interview will be analyzed and summed up for discussion used in Chapter six. Discussion section in Chapter five will be answering statements of hypotheses by using the result find in data, comparing it with the literature review as well as finding factors that related to the topic on hypotheses.

04

In the use of branding and marketing to a product, ‘In industry after industry, consumer after consumer, authenticity has overtaken quality as the prevailing purchasing criterion’ (Gilmore an Pine, 2007) It is suggested the importance of authenticity. Historicity, factualness and realness are always the suggestion of the term authenticity Sbarbaro, Bergh, and Ruyck (2016) wrote” Real emotions support brand realness.” Is suggest of authenticity towards an individual. “Another aspect of realness is being democratic and open, available for everybody, not for elites.” In the use of authenticity, an individual is being affect by every issues from politic to society in a country to products and design of a brand. Finding the spirit and authenticity of all directions are important in the dissertation. Globalization effect the national image authenticity Impressive growth rates in the coastal areas have convinced many western companies to enter the Chinese market, often with identical products to those offered in the west, and a complete misunderstanding of Chinese attitudes.” (Parisot, Panis- Lelong, and Jourdain, 1997). The coastal area of China civilized much faster than the inner part of china and globalization is only applicable to part of China while some local area or ethnic groups’ villages are still maintain localize. “Country image effect was considered as either a halo effect or summary effect” (Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 2007) which consumer stereotyped the country image or average image on a products by the country image. Based in different stakeholder, the point of view are different and how the image of China will be used as an image in the design and what kind of image is representable for a design using authentic oriental design should be used? In our global qualitative exploration of the authenticity concept, both history and heritage of brands were only seen as “real” when the projected brand culture fit with the DNA of the brand. “ Stating that ‘fashion functioning of the enormously systematic discipline by which European culture was able to manage… By contrast, other societies outside the West were static… The clothing of such societies was contrast, stable, and unchanging’

Introduction

Conclusion and further studies will summing up the full dissertation and idea constructed by the dissertation, then it suggests readers and researchers to work on further studies on discussed subjects of the dissertation.


Brands that valuing authentic Chinese with traditional developed dressing going global such as Shang Hai Tang and Vivienne Tam. On another hand, Chinese inspired fashion pieces currently emerge in international cat walk shows. Will this potential design idea and inspiration will be use in western fashion industry more frequently? “New products which enable outward display of ‘western-style’ success, has fostered the illusion that all products, whatever their concept and packaging, will appeal to Chinese consumers” (Parisot, Panis-Lelong, and Jourdain, 1997), Chinese oriental designs interpret origin, history and heritage or the current situation in value meaning while western re-oriented oriental design interpret the idea of creativity, and innovations from the past. By defining right consumption of consumer, the designs using authentic Chinese oriental design can be solved. Hypothesis on authenticity idea in consumer ‘Image is a set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a person holds regarding an object’ (Kotler,1997) “A product image is the particular picture that consumers acquire of an actual or potential product”(Kotler, 1997) “potential” in this definition leaves some room for the imagination. Authentic oriental design is a subject that building cultural self-esteem towards consumer. As fashion system is a product by westernization. Under globalization, is fashion system in consumer eye if it is used in other country rather that it original country?

05

Factors that generalized national image to one country are including soft and hard power of the country and their mixture of smart power. Politics, economics, society, culture and environment are used to clarify the power of country and its image. ‘The individual is constantly bombarded by numerous signals from the environment’ (Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 2007) explained that abstraction and generalization happens to consumer in selecting attention to only small fraction of information received and be relented. Research design Mix method research will be used to study different aspects of phenomenon measure in the literature review. In a mix of quantitative to a qualitative methods to collect data, elaborating consumer behaviors towards authentic Chinese oriental design and meaning behind. Theory of authenticity, national image and consumer consumption will be tested during the research. Theoretical sampling and statistical sampling are used in the survey by doing the questionnaire and interviewing representative sample. The quantitative research used in the survey via questionnaires in samples is used to understand general climate of consumer value and view on subject. Followed by interview which is a qualitative research present in ontological authenticity, would help to elaborate better social milieu from the questionnaire. Maintaining educative authenticity, they express better perspective of Chinese overseas student’s social setting. Coding will then be used to solve the subject. Open coding by breaking down questionnaire findings and comparing with interview information will show conceptualization and categorization of the data with the theory of authenticity, national image, globalization and consumer consumption. Interview data will be analyzed by axial coding and understanding the course of data by connecting to theories. Selective coding will be used and then combined all the survey methods including interview and questionnaire for further refinement and development.

Introduction

Authentic Chinese oriental design and re-oriented design “To the new consumers of Generation Y, the classic interpretation of authenticity: origin, history and heritage”, as explained by Gilmore and Pine in the book “Authenticity. What Consumers Really Want”, is less appealing and less relevant to them. In most cases young people are not even aware of these types of brand personality claims. To them, the modern interpretation of authenticity: being honest to yourself (the brand’s DNA), to youth (transparency) and to society (CSR) is more in line with their expectations fed by their education (Van den Bergh, De Ruyck, Van Kemseke, 2009). and interest in Chinese consumers and their attitudes toward consumption.’

National Image perspective ‘By the holistic processing theory, overall country image affects the image of a country as a producer of a particular product class’ (Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 2007) ‘Some nations are viewed as benevolent and progressive, others as contemptible and repressive’ (Jeff and Nebenzahl, 2007) The outgrowth of on nation’s economic, political, education system and culture formed it image. (Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 2007) It gives business institutes a comparative advantage in world market which have to be use carefully to maintain ones authenticity while producing different class of product.


Introduction Conclusion It is concluded that national image related strongly with consumer consumption and China’s growing positive image have a positive effect on consumer desire on its authentic Chinese oriental design. ‘Design- in’ is still more important than ‘made-in’, however it is not really applicable the authentic Chinese oriental design as suggest of authenticity contain the core value of high craftsmanship, hardworking, and perseverance which explain in leverage model, that brand should be consider rather than the country of origin. Third, Chinese overseas students, concern as the new leaders and generation to Chinese society, they are highly motivated by Chinese authentic oriental design and their admiration and sense of belonging to the tradition, authentic, and culture of China. Under globalization, authentic Chinese oriental design can be used for anyone while westernization and civilization is deeply input to Chinese big cities. In a future perspective of the development of authentic Chinese oriental design, it is highly confirmed that with stronger in national image, consumer desire and trends in global market, will have a further create in both China and western country using different value input in design.

06

Recommendations An extend in research on consumer view and consumption to authentic Chinese oriental design can be done in different Western countries and compare the consumer perspective in order to show a better knowledge in the relationship between national image under globalization and the consumption on a national or oriental design. Moreover, researchers target to research on consumption of this specific Chinese overseas students group can be extend in the field of subjects in different fashion area from high end level; designer level to high street level; in different design or marketing approach that would coherently shift with their identities. Comparing Chinese local students and Chinese overseas students can illustrate a more significant difference on identity influenced by exploring another culture, political, environment and society. While sense of belonging related to national image with the studies on myths that local Chinese thought a Western country is and the authentic Western country they see, it then can evaluate globalization and westernization impact to the consumer identity and their consumptions.


Connected Society

Believe Clair Napierski BA Fashion Design and Realisation


BA Fashion Design and Realisation

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Believeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; questions authenticity, beliefs (such as superstition and magic, rituals, symbolism and religion etc) and questions the workings of the human mind, looking at the parallels between the stigmas of sustainability and the stigmas surrounding mental health.

Abstract

Clair Napierski

Inspired by a research trip through Europe exploring beautiful and inspiring places such as folk villages and traditional castles in Transylvania, and Bone Chapels in Czech Republic along with a concentration camp and numerous exhibitions and places of interest throughout Germany and Belgium. A combination of these visual research elements illustrates the traditionalism and opulence of these slices of history combined with the dark, gothic and superstitious tones of the subjects. It also explores the more surreal and conceptual tension between what we see, what we THINK we see and what we actually know that came through onto my prints and throughout the rest of my collection. 01


Introduction Methodology ‘Reasoning works by combining information from past experience and encounters and feeding that into decision-making related to the current situation.

Craft: fabric, craft & embelishment Oppulent metalics, rich warm velvets and grandeur upholstery trimmings mimic the traditional luxury settings of historical castles and romance of superstitious surroundings.

Past learning is stored as a response deep in the emotional centres of the brain known as the limbic system. Sometimes referred to as the “reptilian” part of brain because of our shared eveolutionary history with reptiles, these centers relay signals into the frontal lobe areas that are concerned with decision-making.’ (Hood, 2009, 00.26)

The considered use of reclaimed leathers, laser cut and combined with machine embroidery, hand embroidery and beading with donated beads and damaged jewellery, and intricate embelishments combined with carefully crafted mussel shells. Incorporating carefully executed waste reducing digital print and the reuse where possible of scrap materials in line with the brands luxury aesthetic.

Silhouettes, shapes, colour and embellishment Magnificent castles and traditional Romanian architectural structures, mysterious woodcarvings, ornate chandeliers and furnishings, inkblots, collage and ritualistic scarification provide forms and configurations for this body of work.

Developement Branston and Stafford (1999.pp .137) portray stereotyping as ‘a process of categorisation necessary to make sense of the world and the flood of information and impressions we receive minute by minute.

Bold combinations of rich mahoganies and wooden shades, luxurious metals and traditional blue hues of Romanian backdrops make up the palette for this collection.

02

We all have to be ‘prejudiced’, in its root sense of ‘pre-judging’ in order to carve our way through any situation. We make mental maps of our worlds to navigate our way through them, and maps represent only parts of the real world, and in particular ways.’


Disruptive Enterprise

Flesh that moves Francesca Carriero BA Fashion Design and Realisation


Abstract

Francesca Carriero

The title come from a phrase written by the art historian and performance artist Joanna Frueh which in 1991 published an essay on the fear of flesh that moves (Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012).

BA Fashion Design and Realisation

With this phrase she refers to “the relation between ageing anxiety and bodily decay”(Swinnen in Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012:177) juxtaposed to the beauty-cult of youth of today’s western society.“Fashion and age sit uncomfortably together” (Twigg, 2013:1). As stated by Twigg (2013) fashion is glamorous and youthful while age is recognised as the antithesis of the discourse of beauty and seductiveness “marked by retirement from display or engagement with the erotic and style conscious”(Twigg, 2013: 1). Modern society is often really critical towards women appearance, especially during the stage of ageing. Their clothing choices can be condemned as shabby or inappropriate and their looks require constant work for it to be accepted by other people (Twigg, 2013). With a lot of regret I can honestly say that I have always been scared of age and ageing until I started working on this project, when I finally realised that the process of becoming older is as exciting as being young. I had the honour and pleasure to interview amazing women that taught me how ageing can be a fulfilling experience in our lives and that there is not anything people need to worry about. The inspirations I am using to develop my concept arise from the anxieties and fears that come with ageing. Through a thoughtful process I want to show how the negativity that derives from such topic can be transformed into something beautiful. Also I would like to prove that there is no little truth in statements about the opposition between fashion and age.

01


As Chambers notes (in Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012) whenever we talk about women, there is a lot of criticism and prejudice in relation to the ageing body. Especially in the popular media there is a tremendous pressure towards the appearance of older women, which is enhanced by the mainstream commercial commodities. According to Chambers, media spectacularise the appearance of middle age women as “monstrous through close-up shots of their wrinkles, sagging jaw-line, grey hair and bad teeth.” (in Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012: 163). This grotesque vision of older women is what I find most inspiring. Through my research I discovered many works done by different artists, social and artistic movements, which display their engagement with ageing and portray this stage of life as something beautiful and exciting. Consequently I decided that I also would like to make a statement about age by creating a collection for women aged 55 and above, something which is completely inspired by them, by their skin, body shape and movements. Through interviews to women belonging to this age group I found out that it is not completely true that the fashion industry has nothing to offer to them. In fact the main issue is the way in which fashion is presented to people of the third age that is disconcerting, with its constant, almost pathological, display of an unreachable ideal of beauty and youth. However the typical garments “designed for the mainstream older market do reveal themselves through their cut and fit”(Twigg, 2013: 12). For example it tends to avoid the exposure of flesh, using predominantly dull an dark tones of colours and lose shapes.

02

In this regard I am willing to create garments that are not aiming to make older women to look younger and more fashionable; instead I would like to make them feel more confident with themselves and respected by the younger age group. Age and the grotesque “A frequent strategy used in magazines, newspapers and online entertainment websites is to vilify the ageing film or pop star by juxtaposing images of the ‘youthful’ and ‘ageing’ version of the celebrity. Readers are invited to judge the contrast, and to interpret the recent image of the ‘ageing star’ as grotesque” (Chambers in Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012: 164). Referring to Chambers (in Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012), wrinkled skin and a decaying body is immediately associated with the opposite of classical beauty; it becomes grotesque and described as excessive, monstrous and deformed. According to this last statement I would like to share something personal which encouraged me to enter this journey. Whenever I was finding myself into ‘gathering’ of old people, which could be popular celebrations, or the bars in the square by the old town (where I come from in Italy these are the common meeting points), I often started to feel uncomfortable and anxious. I was looking around me, and everything I could think of where wrinkly skins, teeth damaged by time, mangy tufts of hair covered with hairspray, crimplene patterned dresses so passé that it seemed to have traveled back of half of a century. When I told my mother about this anxiety she kindly explained to me that at some point in my life I will become one of these women and I will have to accept and embrace the changes that will come to my physical appearance. I told her I would rather die young so that I could never see my body transform in such way.

Introduction

Background The 20th century presents an outstanding change of demographics and the older population is increasing more and more every year. However although life expectancy is increasing the fashion industry did not change much in relation to this shift until very recent times.

Margaret Manning founder of the website Sixtyandme.com highlight how the media created the myth that women should try to look younger “as if being ‘older’ is somehow antithetical to being ‘fashionable’.”(huff/post 50, 2014). She points out that women need to deal with their ageing bodies by finding a style of clothing which reflects their personality and not the image of young models.


Expressionism (distortion, decay, anxiety) “In an era where the body has become a major cultural currency, and the failure to tend it a moral transgression, the rich, multi-faceted experience of ageing has been pathologies and reduced to shame about looking old”(Karpf, 2014). The journalist Anne Karpf (2014), explains that women start to worry about the signs of ageing in their 20s. She suggests that gerontophobia, the fear of becoming old and repulsion towards elderly, is becoming a representation of ageing. The latter is commonly seen as a process of decline, a threat and a cause of anxiety. The first thing that came to my mind when I think about anxiety and decay are the pieces of arts produced by the artists of the Expressionist movement, originated in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Expressionist artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Eduard Munch, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele sought to express their emotional experience, mostly anxiety, through a distorted and primitive aesthetic. The use of medieval graphic techniques such as woodcuts helped to create crude, rough shapes (The art story, 2015). The decadence of the modern era was often represented through the representations of decaying bodies. Egon Schiele is one of my favourite artists. His drawings present a variety of media among which watercolours, guache, pencil, chalk, charcoal and crayon. The exaggerated and dramatic poses represented by distorted lines have the power transform ugliness into beauty. To depict the ageing bodies which I would like to use for my prints, I decided to use a similar graphic style. Also taking the inspiration from the other expressionist artists I would like to use screen printing to achieve the effects of woodcuts. Butoh (embracing ageing) Until this chapter my journey through the process of ageing had seemed rather negative and fearful. However a contrasting opinion is willing to prove that becoming old is something beautiful that every person should embrace at some point in their lives. Occasionally the older body becomes much more interesting and of central attention then the young body.

03

What I find particularly interesting about Butoh is that does not require a perfectly fit and young body as other dance forms, in fact “every body is a perfect body…the mature body brings as much or more to the performance as does the youthful body”(McLeod, 2002). As a matter of fact one of is founder, Kazuo Ohno did his last ever performance on its 100 birthday celebration. Butoh has its origin in Japan after the second world war. In a time of social change Butoh emerged as a rebellious and exiting art form. Contrary to western dance which aims to elevate the body and soul towards the sky, Butoh with its grotesque, twisted, dark and distorted movements is moving towards the earth (Zen Butoh, 2002) Butoh and German Expessionism have a lot in common, from the expression of dark emotions to the unspoken purpose of purification, they are both therapeutic without being referred as such (Fraleigh, 1999) Like Zen, Butoh interlace body and mind. “It plays between emptiness and form, light and dark, beauty and ugliness in its cathartic transformation of the body, tendering the Eastern metaphysical origins of Zen. The Buddhist and Taoist concept of the Way represents such reversible flows: the intermingling of light and dark, of ugliness and beauty” (Fraleigh, 1999: 25). The features converging from Butoh which I would like to use into my designs include the roughness of the white paint the performer usually put on their skin, and the earthy details used in their costumes. It is interesting to see how the garments used in the performances are often characterised by raw textiles with ripped and grimy textures. Zen and minimalism Another aspect which makes ageing an enjoyable experience is the way some people finally get the opportunity to connect more deeply with their being, which is the secret for a long lasting happiness and peace of mind. In the previous chapter I described how Butoh and Zen are intrinsically linked together as they both tend to create a therapeutic balance within the human being and the environment that surround us. In this regard I thought it was appropriate to apply some of the principles used in Zen style interior design, to create garments that can be healing at the same time. Two main features of Zen style are simplicity and serenity which are achieved by creating balance, harmony, touch and texture ( Lee, 1999).

Introduction

Research and analysis

Three years ago a friend of mine introduced me to Butoh. I never heard this word before and like me, not many people are aware of the existence of this avant grade performance art.


Natural fibres are also essential. Thanks to their multiple properties they can be use with many purpose. For example, when in contact with the skin, textiles such as silk or cotton can be considered as both warm and cool, absorbing humidity in hot environments, and maintaining natural warmth in the cold. Linen can be smooth and fine, or think and rustic. Rough textures should be offset by smooth ones, and heavy wight fabrics by light weight. “Zen thinking follows the idea that man can become weighted down and burdened with possessions and that to gain freedom of spirit possessions should be rationalised and limited”(Lee, 1999: 8). Zen is about less is more, and is important to have only a few pieces which are well chosen; functional shapes, purity of form and the use of minimalism are central characteristics. In relation to this I took inspiration from the shapes and colour from minimal artists such as Frank Stella, Robert Ryman and….. The plain colour choice used by these artists instil a sense of calmness and tranquility which juxtaposed to images representing a sense of fear and anxiety will create the right balance on the outfits I will be designing. Arte Povera Following the Zen principle ‘less is more’ I would like to now introduce the concept of Arte Povera. Arte Povera its an art movement arisen in Italy during the 1960’s. After the boom of post-war industrial reconstruction, the country began to restore assimilating the American model. Is against this modernisation of the nation that Arte Povera, contrarily to Pop Art which instead was embracing the consumerist and technological expansion, felt the need of reestablishing traditional values (Lista, 2006). “Arising in the difficult political context of italy in the 1960’s, Arte Povera rejected consumer society aspiring to profit, reflecting the mood of dissent of the time”(Lista, 2006: 8).

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The word ‘poverty’ is quite straight forward and is referred to the use of primary materials avoiding anything too sophisticated. The use of such impoverished elements were opposed to the contemporary technological refinement of contemporary civilisation (Lista, 2006). “They recover the form and the force of craftsmanship and revive simple gestures in order to express a process of energy, materialise and intuition, wholly embody a vision of mind and spirit”(Lista, 2006: 28). The act of resistance towards new technologies implemented by artists from this movement and their relation with craftsmanship, have a strong connection with my vision of sustainable fashion. In fact I wish to realise pieces which are unique and handcrafted and that will create emotional attachments with its owner. Like in Butoh’s performance costumes, what got my attention is the particular is use of raw materials and the way the texture of the artworks look worn and distressed. Consumer To create a more detailed consumer profile I conducted an independent questionnaire to five women which comes from different backgrounds and part of the world. The interview aimed to find out which are their approach and preferences in fashion, their relationship with ageing and something more specific about their lifestyles. The consumer profile written below is based on the analysis of the answers I was given from these 5 women. The ideal consumer the collection aims at is a woman aged 55 and older; however due to its contemporary and original approach the collection is suitable to any age group. She is likely to be living in a city or countryside, might still working or retired, she conducts a very active lifestyle. Always performing interesting and exciting activities to fill her days like going to galleries and museums, theatre, travelling or take classes to learn new skills. Spend time with her family and friends is really important; in these occasions she likes to wear clothes that make her feel confident and respectable. During these kinds of social events she likes to present herself with contemporary and neat looks. She is computer literate and likes to be updated regarding technology to keep in contact with her children and other family members or friends, as they might be living in other parts of the world.

Introduction

Balance among colours is important and harmony within the choice of colour is obtained using tones of the same family. For example colours that works well together are those that are made by blending primary colours together, as for example blue, red and purple, or yellow red and orange. A too sharp contrast can create discord. However it is fine to play with light and dark tones as represented by the yin and yang symbol, always making sure that they are balanced together (Lee, 1999).


She is not a fashion victim, however she consider fashion as an important aspect in her life as her clothes are a reflection of her individuality and taste for art and beautiful things. She owns a well cared wardrobe which could be interpreted as collection of garments meticulously selected over the years. This collection includes a combination of designer pieces and vintage treasures which can easily be matched together. Is essential that the clothes present a good fit to give her confidence and also the choice of textile play an important part in allowing comfort during the daily activities. Shopping is an enjoyable hobby, at times treated as a proper social event. However her attitude towards consumerism is more likely to follow the concept of ‘less is more’. She doesn’t shop too often just for the sake of it, in fact she usually buy pieces of clothing that need to be replaced, or at the beginning of the season to refresh her wardrobe with some contemporary garment. She is into sustainable fashion and likes to purchase young designers clothes which are aware of sustainability but also produce unique pieces. Mainstream fashion is not among her buying choices, and is preferable to spend on products which can be trusted and that deliver consistent quality. To keep her style original she does not follow trends, in fact she let her clothing to define her personality. Its very important to conduct a healthy lifestyle where good food and physical activities are crucial to maintain body and mind at a good state. She is a very optimistic strong woman, opinionated and confident. Her positive relationship with ageing allow her to not feel marginalised by society and her dressing choices are willing to resist to what Twigg describes as “self-effacing, don’t-look-at-me clothes that reflect the imposed cultural invisibility of older people” (Twigg, 2013: 138).

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According to the findings from the consumer interview, it is clear that women aged 55 and over prefer to shop in more ‘relaxed’ environments, that offer a more personal customer service which can give guidance and support to the client. According to Twigg (2013) older women often lose their confidence in their dress and shopping is no longer an encouraging and exiting experience. I established the competitor by looking into designers that work with a similar aesthetic and principle such as Alessandra Marchi, Lost and Found, Marques Almeida, Ivan Grundahl, Milo’. All the brands listed here present particular textiles and cut allowing each design to be original; however they are able to offer an affordable price range which is what I am aiming for since i would like the collection to be accessible to everyone, in exclusion of those pieces that present intricate embroidery and hard manual work which might be more expensive. Some of the features that are common among these brands is the Japanese inspiration used for the shapes which are wide and spacious to allow comfort; also they often use raw finishes on the outside of the garment while the linings are made of high quality finishes to make sure the garment will not fall apart. As I mentioned in previous chapters I would like the garments and the textiles to be produced by companies that help refugees, immigrants and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The intention is that these companies train the worker force in the manual skills necessary to produce the garments in order to teach them a skill that could potentially bring them into employment, improve their livelihoods and future in this country.

Introduction

Market positioning The most likely selling point for the collection are store and independent shops with an avant-garde approach to fashion. Department store such as Dover Street Market and Liberty or independent shops as LNCC in London or PN/P and Guya in Florence, known for their forward thinking and availability of emerging designers, would be the perfect environments to stock the collection.


Introduction Conclusion “We have reached a critical cultural movement when ‘natural ageing’ may have the potential to be transgressive, to challenge conventional meanings of ageing in consumerist popular culture” (Chambers in Swinnen and Stotesbury, 2012: 168). The beauty-cult of youth produced by mainstream society is inversely becoming rejected by the baby-boomers generation. As a matter of fact in the past couple of years the birth of the online blog Advanced Style (created by Ari Seth Cohen) and the modelling agency Grey Model (launched by Rebecca Valentine) is a good example of the shift happening among fashion and ageing. According to Valentine(2015), the founder of Grey model agency, a company specialised in 35 plus models, there is a higher demand of mature models from the fashion industry and marketing departments. As I mentioned in previous chapters, women born during the post-war era represent an increasing demographic which is economically powerful in western civilisation. From the analysis of my interview and by talking to women belonging to this age group I discovered that these women do not feel represented enough by the media, which usually portrays them as sedentary and as a burden to society. On the contrary these women are full of love for live, looking for things to be discovered and learned, full of passion and motivation. I hope that through this journey into fashion and ageing I was able to prove that these women are not only ‘flash that moves’ but much more than that. Their flash is the inspiration for this collection which is created to give them more confidence but also to acknowledge younger generations that making clothes for older people is as exciting as designing for young bodies.

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The design process will investigate the concept of ageing with its anxieties and fears, but also the positive effects related to it, to create everlasting unique pieces focused on quality and comfort. The collection will be characterised by large prints made by a mixture of printing techniques and embroidery inspired by closeup of different parts of the body depicted in a grotesque manner. The concept of Butoh and Arte Povera will be explored through distressed knitwear, rough textiles and raw finishes. Below you can see a list of thoughts for my design journey:  utumn-winter womenswear collection A addressed to women aged 55 and older but wearable by any age group.  he collection will be sold by independent T shops and store such as Dover Street Market, LNCC, PN/P. However the price will be reasonable and conform to the cost of manufacture.  he collection will be handcrafted to give T uniqueness to each piece. It will be produced by cooperatives that help improving the livelihood of people coming from poorer countries.  o follow the concept of ‘less is more’ the T collection will be relatively small, made of indispensable pieces. This allow the consumer to not have to shop often. Almost all the material used will be natural.  he garments will be comfortable using lot T of volume and without showing too much of the flesh. Draping juxtaposed to minimal shapes will remind Japanese silhouettes.  he garments must suit a relatively active T lifestyle, and can be worn in any situation.


Kinetic Culture

Imperfection Katy Gladman BA Fashion Design and Realisation


Abstract

Katy Gladman

BA Fashion Design and Realisation

The collection is called (Im)Perfection. The research process has been fuelled by morbid curiosity, from Cabinets of Curiosities, Medical specimens, decay and imperfections of the human body such as deformity, disfigurement and other abnormalities. Artists such as Jenny Saville, Joel Peter Witkin and Per Johansen have all provided valuable inspiration and focus. By investigating structure and form through experimentation; it has added greater insight and direction to the design development. The overall concept is underpinned by body image. Reflecting the pressures felt by women to uphold an unrealistic beauty standard. With the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery, women are taking increasingly drastic action to maintain and manipulate their bodies, in order to sustain these socially constructed ideals. “From Botox and lipo to tummy tucks and mini-facelifts, the number of cosmetic surgery operations undertaken around the globe has soared recently, as consumers spend more and more on themselves in the search for sex appeal and artificial beauty. In a society in which celebrity is divine, information technology rules, new ways of working predominate and people increasingly judge each other on first impressions, cosmetic enhancements of the body have become all the rage” (Elliot: 2008: 7). To turn something perceived as ‘ugly’ or unexpected into something ‘beautiful’ and the idea of preserving ones appearance have all contributed to this process.

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Introduction Research and analysis Exploring curiosities Weird and wonderful things people collect ‘I need beauty and the uncanny, the funny and the silly, the odd an the rare. Rare and beautiful things are the barrier between me and the bottomless pit of misery and despair, my only defense against the world outside’ (Wynd: 2014: 9). With the popularity of cosmetic surgery, women are taking further drastic action to preserve their appearance and defy aging at all cost. ‘Because of the close relationship for women between appearance and identity, the signs of ageing trigger worries about loss of social value and esteem’ (MacDonald: 1995: 194). Colour and embellishment After creating many experiments by mixing liquid media together and photographing the process – beautiful things began to emerge. Exceptional patterns began to form, resembling mould or abnormalities of the body, I began to develop my print, which is one of the key aspects to the (Im)Perfection. Inspiration from David Hockney’s photograph collages. Capturing time in one image by collating a series of photographs. David Hockney says ‘I think that the ordinary photography has made the world dull. There’s always something everywhere, and it’s always interesting. You make it interesting, even if it’s not interesting in itself. Green is the most pro-dominant colour combined with various ‘textured hues of black and grey. An accent of deep pink runs through the design to give an understated vibrancy to the overall print.

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Design The collection displays oversized silhouettes, asymmetry and pleats. Elements of the fabric are displaced by cuts and slashes thus giving an imperfect appearance and invoking a reinterpretation of ‘beauty’. The bold print creates a strong statement and adds beautiful colour to the collection. All garments are finished to a high standard, using bias binding, french seams and pin hems. Consumer The age of the target consumer is 20+ employed in the creative industry full time or in a freelance position allows time to be spent on various projects. Salary is an average of £21.000-£45.000+. The consumer lives with a partner or in shared accommodation where living costs are shared, this allows a proportionate amount of disposable income per month. Style is Independent, Comfortable, eclectic and miss-matched. Her favourite items of clothing are easy to wear and versatile which displays a timeless design. Depending on the occasion, the consumer also likes clothing to be more fitted over areas she feels are flattering i.e. waist and bust area.


Introduction Displaying a less is more attitude, the consumer chooses to spend a little more on an item that has better quality and design, rather than purchasing lots of ‘throwaway fashion’. Following trends are not important, as she prefers to look like an individual. Clothing is purchased within Topshop boutiques, vintage and second hand stores and independent boutiques. The primary focus when purchasing is unique style (100%) and quality that will last (63%). Sustainability of the garment is also a considering factor (38%). (See Appendix) Interests in the spare time consists of: Traveling, reading, spending time with friends, cycling, and watching films, attending music events or relaxing at home. The consumer reads Vogue, LOVE and i.D on occasion, but tends to keep up-to-date on events by monitoring social media i.e. Instagram, blogs etc.

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Market positioning Taking influence from designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, both often-using oversized structures and interesting pattern cuttiing techniques; this is an occurring theme in my own design work and in ‘(Im) Perfection’. I share similarities to Yamamoto and Kawakubo do, in that they like ‘challenging artistic conventions, including the notion of perfection or the ideal’ (English: 2011:84). It is always important to me, to make my collections somewhat personal, rather than following trends and the ideals of what fashion should be, I feel this adds uniqueness to my designs. The collection is high end ready to wear and is intended to sell in an independent boutique, which supports new British designers. Creating small production lines will increase uniqueness of the garments, offering further Individuality and in turn slow down fashion by encouraging the consumer to choose design, quality, and longevity over cheap fast fashion.


04 Gallery


Pallavi Nishad Moghe BA Fashion Management Kinetic Culture

Snap, post & upload: the new recipe for building brand loyalty in the UAE


Social media marketing has gained momentum in the recent years with a lot of consumers seeking information about the brand on social media and many fashion brands using these platforms to unlock the potential of customers for its business. While the use and importance of social media marketing within a business today has been well documented there is little evidence on whether this medium can be used to enhance brand loyalty especially amongst the young tech savvy female consumers towards luxury fashion brands, which influenced this research.

Abstract

Pallavi Nishad Moghe

BA Fashion Management

Globally, luxury fashion brands such as Prada, Burberry and Chanel reported poor performance in some markets as a result of economic slump. This dissertation will therefore analyze whether social media as used by such global luxury fashion brands can build consumer brand loyalty and avert poor performance in a market such as the UAE, experiencing similar economic turmoil with a fall in energy prices. Previous research involving social media has analysed engagement and interactions with brands with a focus on women, so this study aims to further examine if any behavior helps in development of brand loyalty amongst females in the UAE market, which has recorded a high social media usage globally. It also explores the type of content and platforms that are successful in engaging these females, which is an aspect that has been overlooked in the literature analysed. It investigates whether content on global luxury fashion brandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; social media could determine any patterns of loyalty, attitudinal or behavioural, amongst female consumers in the UAE. Primary and secondary research have been undertaken to support this investigation with a heavy dependence on primary sources to generate current data due to lack of investigation and less current accessible secondary data on the UAE market. This study relied on a mixed method approach as the topic is relatively exploratory in nature. Primary research included an online survey followed by a qualitative analysis of a focus group and interviews. The data collected showed a strong relationship between social media and consumer brand loyalty. Statistical analysis of primary data confirmed this relationship indicating that consumers are positively affected after engaging with a luxury fashion brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social media.

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Background and rationale Loyalty and retaining customers is a big issue for many fashion businesses, especially luxury, competing in today’s digital age. Loyalty has always been a core facet and is a key element of brand equity (Aaker, 1996: 105) that can act as a major deciding factor, in terms of profitability for luxury brands in the climate of changing consumption patterns. Loyalty provides businesses with ‘a powerful financial advantage and is key to profitable growth’ (Reichheld & Markey, 2011 :36). “The cost of recruiting a new customer is five times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer” – Mittal & Lassar, 1998 The concept of brand loyalty has often been questioned in times of digital marketing and many scholars have pointed out the implications of being unable to retain customers in the ‘interactive social media’ (Hope, 2016) world. Of late, economic slump and increasing competitiveness have put many luxury fashion brands under pressure in terms of consumer and brand loyalty. The exponential growth of social media has affected shopping patterns of affluent customers challenging luxury fashion brands to retaining their customer base (Ozeum & Bowen, 2016: 237). Business models have incorporated social media into integral marketing communications as customer engagement is proven to be more optimized and attractive. Mintel (2015) reported a significant portion of luxury brands engaging with social media globally to enhance the consumer experience. “The greater number of touchpoints before purchase increases the odds a consumer will encounter a deal breaker along the digital highway.” (Bughin, 2015)

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“Traditionally, luxury brands built relationships with customers through flagship stores, traditional public relations and advertising, but now they’re building relationships through Facebook, user reviews and consummating the transaction.” – Scott Galloway, 2015 Maguire (2015) has argued how businesses nowadays have the opportunity to engage with their customers as a result of the exponential rise of mobile and social technologies by maintaining consistent and personalized communication within social media. Proliferation of social media and augmented usage of networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and new mediums such as Snapchat is encouraging many fashion brands to stay more relevant in this digital world and many luxury brands to reassess how these tools can ensure more engagement (Scott, 2015). Content on social media is a determining factor to engaging audiences and can spark conversations that create crucial benefits for the organization. Content that is relevant to consumers on social media ‘is fresh territory to mine to maximise customer engagement, boost loyalty and increase transaction conversion’ (Macy & Thompson, 2011: 30). Rationale The Arab world has witnessed a prolific rise in the use of social media technologies with approximately ‘41% internet penetration and above 110% mobile penetration in the region’ (Arab Social Media Report, 2014) with UAE being ranked as the highest globally in terms of stratospheric penetration of social media usage (Appendix B). Digital natives on different social media platforms show a higher engagement from females in comparison with males in the context of luxury fashion brand conversations within social media spaces globally as shown in Fig.1.1 (Edwards, 2015) making this segment attractive for this investigation.

Introduction

Integration of social media into marketing strategy is no longer an option for luxury fashion businesses; it is imperative for success and an opportunity that could leverage a brand in today’s competitive environment if customers are well retained through this channel of communication. Social media channels have enabled closer communication and a two-way conversation with the audience allowing for a firm customer relationship development.


Introduction

Aims and objectives The aim is to explore the relationship between social media as used by global luxury fashion brands and consumers’ brand loyalty in the UAE.  o determine levels of engagement in females T aged 18-25 with respect to content on social media platforms posted by global luxury fashion brands.  o investigate whether global luxury fashion T brands’ use of social media has any influence on consumers’ brand loyalty.  o examine whether the use of social media T from the perspective of a global luxury fashion brand can be leveraged to increase consumers’ attitudinal loyalty for the brand.

Methodology overview Burberry has championed success on social media with their fascinating digital content (Kansara, 2016) and has a very strong social media appeal in the UAE (Jones, 2012). It was thought ideal to analyze the relationship putting Burberry into perspective to deduce findings on this relationship. A mixed methods approach was adopted combining use of qualitative and quantitative research that provides an increased ‘understanding of research problems’ (Creswell, 2014: 204). This dissertation incorporates a ‘sequential explanatory research design’ (Saunders et al., 2012: 168) making use of qualitative research to advance findings from a quantitative research. Secondary sources such as scholarly databases, commercial trade literature, market research reports and academic journals were used to construct the literature review. Following this primary research began in the form of an online survey to gain an insight into female attitudes towards luxury fashion brands’ social media underpinning Burberry. Further research was carried out in the form of a focus group with 8 female participants and two semi structured interviews with industry professionals to identify popular social media platforms and content that was most engaging amongst this segment in the UAE. To ensure validity the focus group and interviews were transcribed immediately.

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Overview and structure Chapter 1: introduction This chapter identifies the need to investigate the chosen area. It introduces the topic of brand loyalty, increasing importance of social media in the luxury fashion industry and an overview of the chosen market for investigation. The research aim and objectives have been outlined along with the methodology providing a summary of the research design. Chapter 2: literature review This chapter mainly reviews scholarly existing research on concepts of consumer brand loyalty and social media combined with relevant secondary data on UAE. From this critical review, research questions are proposed to guide further research. Chapter 3: methodology This chapter provides justification, explanation and an evaluation of the chosen primary research methods used in this investigation. A critical discussion of considerations, limitations and research ethics is included. Chapter 4: results and analysis This chapter analyses the data collated from primary research in relation to the overall aim and research question. Key findings from the primary research are highlighted and analysed. Chapter 5: discussion and conclusions This final chapter concludes the study bringing together all discussions to present a suitable conclusion for the research study. It includes a brief discussion of limitations along with recommendations for further research.


Understanding brand loyalty Cunningham (1956) has asserted brand loyalty to be an extremely substantial asset for a business. Brand loyalty has been a popular topic of investigation within several industries in the luxury segment such as automobiles and beauty. Previous studies have generated a plethora of definitions of brand loyalty relevant within luxury. Olivier (1997) has defined loyalty as a profound relationship between the consumer and a product or service that motivates a consistent pattern of buying. A primitive concept suggested by Day (1969) defines brand loyalty as the association of a consumer with a specific brand based on repeat purchases prompted by situational demands. It is difficult to extract the appropriate definition of brand loyalty that would be of relevance to describe today’s luxury consumer as previous research has heavily focused on attributes of customer behaviour and attitudes in relation to a retail store environment (Carpenter & Fairhurst, 2005). Although, the concept of brand loyalty discussed is consistent with contexts other than that of a store environment, it has evolved over time. More recent literature has identified brand loyalty as ‘the degree of attachment a customer has for a brand ‘(Liu et al., 2011: 924). Dimensions of brand loyalty Debate exists regarding the appropriate measurement or definition of brand loyalty. Abundance of marketing literature comprehends brand loyalty as an aspect, almost always, measured in terms of purchase behaviour. Although this aspect is an important measure for indication of loyalty, this alone cannot determine the reasons for loyalty a consumer exhibits.

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Repeat purchases can be a consequence of convenience (Rowley, 2005) or preference towards a product, brand or a service (Bowen and Shoemaker, 1998). Brand loyalty often measured by amount and frequency of purchases, from a behavioural perspective, is said to contribute to additional revenue and a superior market share (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001: 81). However others argue that behaviour is often influenced by a certain attitude and cannot neglect this factor in truly understanding loyalty. Some studies have emphasized on the importance of attitudinal loyalty in making a significant contribution to a business by means of representing a long-term consumer commitment that increases opportunity for information sharing through word of mouth (Anime, 1998; Anisimova, 2007). Dick and Basu (1994) have acknowledged relative attitude as an important component in understanding and measuring loyalty, as behaviour definitions are insufficient and very uni-dimensional in justifying this phenomena. Attitudinal loyalty can be described as ‘strong cognitive elements influencing affective [factors]’ (Esmaeilpour, 2015: 469) that leads to development of certain attitudes. Attitude becomes the foundation for a set of opinions towards a product, brand or service that could culminate in behavioural loyalty by means of prompting repeat purchases (Bandyopadhyay & Martell, 2007). Ahluwalia et al. (1999) have suggested that generating a positive orientation in consumer attitudes towards the brand is crucial in decreasing vulnerability to negative information for true brand loyalty to develop. Many researchers have argued brand loyalty to be an outcome of two pivotal variables that is the behavioural aspect and attitudinal orientation of consumers towards a particular brand or service (Jacoby, 1971; Carpenter & Fairhurst, 2005; Neal & Strauss, 2008). The results from Veloutsou’s (2015) most recent study of brand loyalty proposes a multidimensional concept that goes beyond repurchase repetition and has placed equal emphasis on both attitudinal and behavioural components. These two constructs of loyalty are fundamental and should be the focus of many luxury brands in order to be able to retain customers in today’s competitive and technologically advanced world that offers customers with a broad variety of products and services to switch between. Therefore, this dissertation will focus on incorporating both these aspects into this investigation on brand loyalty.

Introduction

Literature overview The literature review has been divided into three main parts, as illustrated in Figure 2.1, of analyzing literature on brand loyalty, social media and its synthesis. The first part reviews definitions on brand loyalty as discussed by various authors previously. This is followed by a discussion on the dimensions of brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and affective commitment. The second part explores the importance of building relationships and various implications of social media marketing. Finally the last part combines research from the first two parts to create a synthesis between luxury fashion brands’ use of social media in the UAE.


3.3.1 Inductive approach The literature review indicated no solid theory emerging between the concepts of brand loyalty and social media marketing. The approach was hence decided upon to be inductive as there was no direct theory that could be tested, as would be the case in a deductive approach (Bryman & Bell, 2011). 3.3.2 Multi method strategy Multi-method strategy was used as two qualitative research methods were combined, where consumer and industry perspectives were sought. Additionally, a mixed method approach was also adopted as research used ‘quantitative research and qualitative research equally or unequally’ (Creswell, 2014) drawing parallels to answer research questions. The study being exploratory in nature began by a preliminary investigation in the form of a survey. This was followed by a focus group that would result in qualitative findings. Furthermore faceto-face semi-structured interviews with industry experts triangulated the data. ‘Combining methods or drawing on different data sources in this manner enhances validity by means of triangulation’ (Brannen et al., 2008 :556). The research involved the use of qualitative stream of research to provide contextual information that would supplement findings from a quantitative study (Bryman & Bell, 2011: 636) and buttress outcomes of this research. This nature of investigation was thought appropriate as investigating this relationship in this manner would also help overcome the practical constraint of timing of the entire research project while generating holistic results to support academic inferences (Bryman & Bell, 2011: 631). The chosen research design enabled the aim and objectives stated in 1.4 to be fulfilled. 3.4 Secondary research A literature review, Chapter 2, was completed using various academic journals, trade articles, commercial publications, scholarly databases and relevant secondary sources to ensure validity. Secondary research was collated using as many accessible up-to-date sources as possible due to the topic’s rapidly evolving nature within the fashion industry. The research questions that emerged from this synthesis of literature were tested using the primary research methods discussed.

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3.5 Primary research Secondary research emphasized on dominance of females globally who were involved with luxury fashion brands’ social media conversations and hence established this particular gender focus within the investigation. Further research also indicated the age group of 18 to 24 to be actively engaged on social media within Middle East (Go-Gulf, 2013). Discussion The findings collated from the primary research have led to conclusions that can be drawn to meet the overall research aim and objectives set in this research investigation. The aim was to determine whether social media as used by global luxury fashion brands could have implications that suggest consumer brand loyalty amongst females aged 18-25 in the UAE. Underpinning relevant findings using Burberry as a global luxury fashion brand has satisfied the research objectives. This chapter will summarise the findings, consider the limitations and contribution of this research as well as make recommendations for further studies. Through primary research it was established that Instagram was highly popular amongst females aged 18-25 in the UAE as a general favourite as well as to engage with global luxury fashion brands on. A majority of 38% survey responses preferred to follow luxury fashion brands on Instagram in comparison with only 23% responses favouring Facebook with a low of 6% on Twitter similar to ideas drawn from participants of the focus group. Instagram has shown to generate ’15 times the level of luxury brand engagement as Facebook in the middle East region’ (Havas Media Middle East, 2015) indicating its increasing importance amongst this segment in the region. Instagram being a highly visual dominated platform allows for ’videos’, ‘behind the scenes’ and posts with ‘celebrities or bloggers featured in or with the product’ to be enjoyed thoroughly creating excitement that generates the highest rate of response in terms of liking amongst this consumer segment in the UAE. Posts targeting to generate a higher share engagement from the main segment of luxury fashion consumers in this region should provide intriguing messages in the form of short video clips and more behind the scenes posts which was corroborated by responses from the focus group participants as well insights provided by industry experts claiming for these posts to be gaining a lot of immediate attention for global luxury fashion brands.

Introduction

Research design


Global luxury fashion brands should maximise such content as this would increase engagement and ‘delight customers by creating an emotional bond that could be of value’ (Bowen & Ozeum, 2015: 240) in prolonging engagement and increasing affective commitment as discussed in the literature review which could lead to premature formation of brand loyalty as well. Global luxury fashion brands’ posts featuring celebrities or fashion bloggers also seem to have caught interest and responses have indicated higher probability of engagement instead of general posts such as lifestyle or mere product shots. ‘Higher level of engagement [on a brand’s social media] at the individual level could develop or attest to personal loyalty’ (Evans, 2012). Although Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are key platforms for fashion brands, Burberry’s success with behind the scene pictures and videos on its Instagram and Snapchat was translated into 15 million impressions globally in a time frame of 8 hours of the Brooklyn shoot (Hope, 2016) indicating a shift in content and platforms for luxury fashion brands. A key highlight as indicated by Interviewee A was the localisation of content within these posts that would favour more engagement with the possibility of developing strong affinity towards the brand by means of content on social media. Burberry with the initiative of Art of the Trench campaign in the Middle East is making the content contextually relevant on its social media (Havas Media Middle East, 2015) by integration of local personalities and bloggers in their social media campaign (Phillips, 2015) explaining the increased appeal amongst the female segment in the UAE.

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Engagement with specific content on these platforms amongst females in the UAE could transform into brand loyalty highlighting long-term profitability for international luxury fashion brands in this market. Content categories identified could help global luxury fashion brands implement an engagement strategy for the select group of females, who are also the largest segment of luxury consumers in the UAE (Appendix B), ‘to mobilise fans as brand advocates without squandering potential customer relationships’ (Macy & Thompson, 2011: 81). Global luxury fashion brands could increase market share as a result of their social media strategies catering to specific platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook by amplifying content such as videos, behind the scenes and images with celebrities or fashion bloggers perhaps in a localised manner. Post PEST analysis (Appendix B), favourable opportunities for growth were identified to international luxury fashion brands in terms of UAE as a market overall that support the possibility of building loyalty amongst the identified group of females in this market.

Introduction

Conclusion From a theoretical perspective, the findings indicate evidence of the relationship between the way luxury fashion brands use social media and co