BLURRED LINES: How Do Changing Views of Gender Impact the Fashion Industryâ€™s Ability To Segment Demographically?
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Isobel Plummer N0701811 Word Count: 7982
CONtents CONTENTS INTRODUCTION
1.1 Intoduction ............................................................................................ 01 1.2 Rationale .............................................................................................. 01 1.3 Aims and Objectives ............................................................................. 04
LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Introduction .......................................................................................... 06 2.2 Beyond Binary In Context..................................................................... 06 2.2.1 Consumer Vulnerabilities......................................................... 06 2.2.2 The Market System ................................................................. 07 2.2.3 Generational Changes ............................................................ 07 2.3 Are We Sure It’s a Good Thing? ........................................................... 09 2.3.1 Integrated Stystems ................................................................ 09 2.3.2 Perpetuating Confusion .......................................................... 09 2.4 It’s Nothing New .................................................................................. 10 2.4.1 Other Cultures ........................................................................ 10 2.4.2 The Makeup Industry .............................................................. 11 2.5 Conflict and Strain ................................................................................ 11 2.5.1 Stereotypes ............................................................................ 11 2.5.2 The Fear of the Feminine ......................................................... 13 2.6 Nature Vs. Nurture .............................................................................. 14 2.7 Individualistic Values ............................................................................ 14 2.8 Research Gaps ..................................................................................... 15
METHODOLOGY 3.1 Overview ............................................................................................. 18 3.2 Sample Group ...................................................................................... 18 3.3 Secondary Research ............................................................................. 19 3.4 Primary Research ................................................................................. 20
3.4.1 Online Questionnaire ............................................................ 20 3.4.2 Focus Groups ........................................................................ 20 3.4.3 Assisted Shopping Trips ........................................................ 21 3.4.4 In-Depth Interviews .............................................................. 22 3.4.5 Inustry Interviews ................................................................ 23 3.5 Limitations ........................................................................................... 24
DISCUSSION 4.1 Chapter 1: Attitudes and Beliefs .......................................................... 26 4.1.1 The Pivotal Mind-set .............................................................. 26 4.1.2 Subconscious Thinking & Behaviour In Action ....................... 29 4.1.3 Case Study: ‘Agender’, Selfridges ........................................ 32 4.2 Chapter 2: Consumer Spending & Identity ............................................ 36 4.2.1 Fashion as a Tool to Express ................................................. 36 4.2.2 The Empowered Consumer ................................................... 39 4.2.3 Case Study: The Phluid Project ............................................. 44
CONCLUSIONS 5.1 Critical Reflections ............................................................................... 47 5.2 Recommendations ............................................................................... 47 5.2.1 Gender Unguided ................................................................. 47 5.2.2 Expressive Unisex ................................................................ 47 5.2.3 Indentity Driven Marketing .................................................. 48 5.2.4 Personal Organisation .......................................................... 49
REFERENCES 6.1 References .......................................................................................... 51 6.2 Bibliography........................................................................................ 53 6.3 Image References................................................................................ 57 6.4 Fig References ..................................................................................... 60 6.5 Appendix ............................................................................................ 62 6.5.1 Blank Survey......................................................................... 62 6.5.2 Survey Results ...................................................................... 64 6.5.3 Focus Groups ........................................................................ 74 6.5.4 Assisted Shopping Trips & In-depth Interviews ..................... 81 6.5.5 Industry Interviews .............................................................. 88 6.5.6 Consent Forms ...................................................................... 89 6.5.7 Gantt Chart .......................................................................... 92 6.5.8 Customer Segmentation Model ............................................ 93 6.5.9 PESTLE .................................................................................. 94
Intro INTRO -Duction 2.1 Introduction The following report revolves around the research question â€œHow Do
Changing Views of Gender Impact the Fashion Industryâ€™s Ability To Segment Demographically?â€? wherein it will first identify themes within the topic and examine existing research. Primary research will then assist in the bridging of gaps that emerged when reviewing literature, the results of which will be critically reflected upon and utilized to formulate insights which can be used by marketers within the future of the fashion industry. Ultimately, the report will advise with springboard opportunities. need to be considered and investigated for 1.2 future strategies on how best to approach Rationale the topic. The gender binary and whether it is a sufficient system in the modern world has been a hot topic in recent years, as dialogues open about what gender even means with terms such as transgender and non-binary coming into the limelight and questioning cultural norms and expectations. Debates exist within everything from gender neutral toilets to the importance of full representation, with key controversies existing in how the world separates and categorises humans and whether this can continue to be based upon a binary method. This reinvention of what we know about gender has therefore spurred the investigation of this topic as it is clear further research is required to delve deep into what this means for the fashion industry and where it can go next, as conflicting opinions are very prominent and so
1.3 Aims and Objectives The aim of this research is to determine how fashion can approach the subject of gender in the future, with investigations focusing on the industryâ€™s ability to segment with binary methods. To identify perceptions of gender and how they inform individual ideas of identity and expression. To investigate how these perceptions of gender effect desires and purchasing behaviours To make considerations toward other
factors influencing consumer views and needs surrounding gender expression; such as generational mind-sets and levels of importance placed on individuality. To assess how the fashion environment is currently satisfying consumer desires and how ideas have evolved To consider the opposing perceptions and possible limitations of reaching a gender-less society To revise current methods of segmentation and categorisation within the fashion landscape, and evaluate how perceptions of gender might influence the future of demographics in marketing
LIT - review 2.1 Introduction To support the current research exploration,
evaluation of existing literature is imperative to produce a thorough and relevant study as “the production of new knowledge is fundamentally dependent on past knowledge [...] it generates ideas, helps form significant questions, and [is] instrumental in the process of research design” (O’leary, 2010, pp.71-72). Therefore, the literature review serves to assess key concepts as well as investigate the scientific research, psychology and statistics which reflect consumer mind-sets and human nature; both evolving and fundamentally ingrained. Throughout this, the many theories will be sorted into reoccurring themes and the findings will be discussed to assess the impact this will impose on the fashion industry, whilst additionally highlighting the limitations, challenges and opposing views. Together, these methods of discussion will assist in the discovery of research gaps and opportunities.
2.2 Beyond Binary In Context 2.2.1 Consumer Vulnerabilities The gender binary is “the view that humans comprise of only two types of beings, men and women” (Hyde et al., 2018, p.1) and is a social custom that impacts the market system. For example, product design, retail space, and even entire stores can be gendered (McKeage, Crosby, and Rittenburg, 2017). According to
Barker, Gentry and Rittenburg’s theory (see Mckeage, Crosby and Rittenburg, 2017, p.74), this binary method creates vulnerability as advantages are given for some consumers and disadvantages for others. These vulnerabilities are preserved as the idea that men and women are fundamentally different is instilled; “for genderqueer consumers this can invalidate their identity as they do not identify with either. Transgender consumers also struggle,
as they might not fit society’s expectations of what a man or woman “should” be or look like. The lack of acknowledgement that there are multiple ways to be male or female makes transgender individuals feel unwelcome and uncomfortable in gendered retail spaces.” (McKeage, Crosby and Rittenburg, 2017, Pp.80-81).
Therefore, control is taken away from the consumer, with groups being limited or excluded, and this is something that holds potential to be resolved within the market system. NPD (see WGSN, 2015) has stated that retailers “could benefit from moving past the old-fashioned store layouts once designed to comply with increasingly outdated notions of gender” however, they fail to provide quantitative proof that shoppers would purchase more, and so there are clear research gaps in this instance that the current research should aim to bridge.
2.2.2 The Market System The binary system, however, is heavily relied upon within marketing, as dividing consumers demographically allows for specific targeting of those who share similar needs and characteristics (Posner, 2015), and since gender is traditionally one of the most recognisable markers of identity, this is often used to split groups and understand consumers. This allows for many efficiencies for marketers, as there is recognition that the sexes are shaped differently (Rumsey, 2015), and so division assists in the economy of scale, as catering to a niche market can be expensive (McKeage, Crosby, and Rittenburg, 2017). Additionally, traditional consumers need to know where they are in a space “they need to know that the product on offer is ‘for them’ and they can browse with confidence” (Rumsey, 2015) and this is something that is permitted by the binary system and some would argue it works effectively for most consumers and marketers alike; both in terms of cost and time benefits. Opposing this, however, is the theory that retail needs to constantly evolve in an increasingly fickle fashion environment and minimal effort is required for most retailers to incorporate unisex offerings, especially if they already cater to men and women (Bosanac, 2016; The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Co., 2018).
2.2.3 Generational Changes According to GLAAD (2017), recent years have been marked by “a remarkable new era of understanding and acceptance among young people who increasingly reject traditional labels”. This is a sentiment that is recurring, Future Laboratory (2016, p.23) for example details that Gen Z is prominent and will “conduct a global bonfire of traditional consumer certainties. Long accepted understandings about identity, gender and status will be ripped apart by these constantly connected, visually precocious teens to be re-assembled in intriguing and inspiring new patterns of purchase and engagement.” Quantifiable evidence is seen, as JWT Intelligence (Laughlin, 2016) found that Gen Z strongly agree
that gender does not define a person as much as it used to, whilst GLAAD’s (2017) survey shows the relevance of Millennials over older generations “12% of Millennials identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, meaning that they do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth or their gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity – doubling the number of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported by Gen X.” These factors combined demonstrate increasing fluidity and calls into question gender’s suitability as a segmentation device. The ‘Activist Culture’ trend, detailed in the Future Thinking report, further showed increasing need for brands to align with consumer values, with this, overhauling elements of the marketing system will inevitably “put strain on resources and budgets” (Adams, 2017), however, evidence also shows that it is necessary for targeting these generations who “control $44 billion in direct purchasing power […] [and will] go away if you’re not aligned with them from a values perspective” (Adams, 2017), this is proven by how non-gender-specific brands are reporting double-digit growth in a challenging market (Future Laboratory, 2016, p.22) whilst gendered products face growing backlash (Jones, 2015). Although traditional consumers may contest changes, one theory presents this as natural and not to be limiting “fashion and censorship have always been in conflict; the volatile, experimental nature of fashion often triggers off a hostile reaction from moralists against a new length, a new look, a new style, etc. Yet in the end the perverse mechanism of how fashions spread actually produces the opposite effect: a condemnation, not of the new, but of the old, whereby what is out of fashion becomes the butt of social censure” (Calefato, 2004, P.20). The results displayed, however, do have a lack of qualitative insights which would help to establish specific approaches that would be well-received by these generations. There is also a lack of direct relevance to the fashion industry, as the results are broad and only show mind-sets overall.
2.3 Are We Sure It’s a Good Thing? 2.3.1 Integrated Stystems Individualism is interpreted by Beck (see Genov, 2015) as “liberating but simultaneously risk ridden, due to the rise of social complexity and responsibilities requiring reflexivity and sophisticated practical responses.” This relates to the increasing complexities moving beyond a binary system will create for industries and factors that would need to be considered. Additionally, Genov (2015) makes the point that “if individual efforts do not bring about the desired outcomes, then feelings of disorientation and helplessness tend to provoke reactions, such as meaningless vandalism. If the feeling of disorientation and helplessness is widespread, then social mechanisms of crowd building tend to multiply the destructive energy.” Thus, potential for social pathologies exist if individual’s expectations are not practical, as there is “a difficult relationship between individualisation and the observation of moral and legal norms of community life” (Genov, 2015), thus, developments of integrated systems must occur to accommodate individualism. Moreover, with greater freedom of choice comes a conflict of personal autonomy and communal life, as pursuing individual achievement can create competition as well as bear cost to interpersonal relationships (Ogihara and Uchidia, 2014). This further demonstrates the need for developed systems and core values, as the study by Ogihara and Uchidia (2014) demonstrated how individualistic values did not alter the social relationships of those in Westernised countries, whereas within traditionally collectivist societies, like Japan, negative effects occurred. Reasoning for this includes values and behavioural strategies not being fostered over periods of history. This study exhibits how there may be potential drawbacks of individualistic ideas, and considerations need to be made toward societal type when deciding geography.
2.3.2 Perpetuating Confusion A study by Littman (2018) revealed that more young people are experiencing symptoms of gender dysphoria because of peer influence and being exposed to beliefs online. It is possible to denote from this that increased media exposure causes confusion amongst those who would have otherwise been happy in their birth-assigned gender. However, numerous flaws exist in the validity of this study as it was based on parents rather than the gender-dysphoric themselves, as well as being biased toward groups, and therefore cannot be said to be representative of the general population (The Conversation, 2018). Littman’s study is also reminiscent of views once taken about homosexuality in that it is contagious; an idea which “pushes the rhetoric of fear, anger and disgust” (Russo, 2006). However, this view is still taken by many and so should not be ignored, as some have rational reasons for not wanting young people to question their gender, as 45% of young transgender people have attempted suicide (Fisher, 2018), making it understandable that parents do not want their children to follow suit. Alternatively, it can also be argued that these statistics show the importance of young people to feeling acceptance within society, and that decreased stereotypes and stigma allows individuals to understand inner turmoil at a younger age, which reduces confusion rather than perpetuates it (The Conversation, 2018).
2.4 It’s Nothing New 2.4.1 Other Cultures Other cultures evidence gender neutrality as not a contemporary phenomenon, for instance, the Hijra is “an institutionalised third gender role in India, [and] is ‘neither male or female’” (Nanda, 1986, p. 35), whilst Polynesia is tolerant toward effeminate males where the Fa’fafine are a third recognised identity (Vasey and Bartlett, 2007, p.484). A study conducted by Vasey and Bartlett (2007, p.488) determines through analysis of Fa’fafine, in their accepting environment, that “distress is not caused by cross-gender behaviour and identity, but rather
exists as a secondary product of social condemnation” which argues that gender variant individuals can exist without distress if their environment is accepting. Sweden is also notable, with their gender-neutral pronoun ‘hen’ and their “1998 ban on teachers from talking about gender stereotypes” (Abraham, 2017) which allows children to grow up less reliant on rigid gender socialisation. Studies have additionally found that this structure is working; Shutts (et al.,2017) determined that “children at the gender-neutral school scored lower on a gender stereotyping measure [and] more willing to play with unfamiliar other-gender children” showing early socialisation can impact acceptance and gender roles. Ultimately, by looking to these other cultures it allows for visualisation of the effects of gender-neutral ideology before implementation and proves the concept is not a western fad, but something the UK is catching up to.
2.4.2 The Makeup Industry Regarding being up to date with gender movements, fashion is a trailblazer in comparison to beauty. Makeup brands have had a revitalisation in their advertising as many adjusted their message to include men; making stereotypically feminine products, genderless. This feat shows reducing gender segments is something that can effectively be implemented, a fact proven by big brands struggling to achieve 5% growth, whilst challengers grow collectively at 16% (The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Co., 2018, P.75), as moving away from traditional models entices consumers. Therefore, this has potential to be translated to the fashion industry with similar effect, especially considering fashion and beauty together placed top of a list of industries for which incorporating gender issues was appropriate (JWT Intelligence, 2016), validating fashion’s relevance in the category.
2.5 Conflict and Strain 2.5.1 Stereotypes Stereotypes are an established concept that induce expectations within gender categories, a theory by Rudman and Glick (2008, p.132-133) suggests that these are cyclically reinforced as “men and women behave in ways that validate the perceived legitimacy of gender prescriptions as rules for behaviour.” Therefore, although many consider gendered behaviour fundamentally ingrained, psychological theory places stereotypes as socially produced, this raises the discussion of gender role conflict and strain (GRCS), which exists in the way that individuals may desire stereotype deviation but are constrained and face struggle (O’Neil, 1981, p.204). This struggle manifests in the form of backlash and plays a strong role in the stereotype reinforcement, as fear of backlash develops and stereotypes become self-fulfilling (Rudman and Glick, 2008, p.145). Figs 1 and 2 visually demonstrate these processes. These factors consequently serve to hold back individuals from rejecting stereotypes or else induce negative effects for those who do. Nevertheless, increasing awareness of GRCS stimulates gender role revaluation and the learning that stereotypes emanate from early socialisation induces a desire to break away from expectations, however, this can still be hard to integrate for individuals who have never had to challenge their behaviour. It can be denoted, therefore, that early socialisation is significant for individuals to be able to rid themselves of gender stereotypes, this is supported by the findings within the Swedish school study (Shutts, et al, 2017).
Fear of the Feminine
Much of stereotypical male bahviour may be aggressive, but their clothing is defensive
(Paoletti, 2015, p.164)
Barriers to overcoming stereotypes are additionally different between men and women, as men particularly struggle to integrate revaluation because of extra layers of potential backlash. Included is the stigma of being mislabelled as homosexual (Rudman and Glick, 2008, p.175), something more easily threatened to men than women, who ‘cross dress’ in pants and suits easily. Rudman and Glick’s (2008, p.175) theory for this is that it is because women as a class have lower prestige and so men displaying feminine characteristics drop status,
whereas women may feel proud of masculinity because it uplifts status. Added to this is ‘masculine mystique’ theory (O’Neil, 1981, p.205) which is a set of values and beliefs that define optimal masculinity (fig3) which men have been socialised to hold themselves up to. Therefore, a fear of the feminine develops, showing reason as to why men are additionally restricted, and to why masculinity, and not femininity, is presented as default in clothing. Overall, these factors present obstacles in eradicating gender categories, however the PESTLE shows recent movements which have potential to reduce these factors, such as an increasing critique of ‘toxic masculinity’, which begins to break down restrictions for men and shows demand for brands to help detoxify masculinity, and diversify the narrative around what it means to be a man in 2018 and beyond (The Future Laboratory, 2018) Therefore, gaps exist for updated analysis of men in the context of gendered clothing.
2.6 Nature Vs. Nurture Although nature vs. nurture is a commonly contested debate, social psychologists state this is a false dichotomy (Goldhill, 2018) with research confirming it is a mixture. This is an important factor to note as it goes against leftist narratives that paint gender as an entirely malleable construct. However, gender having basis in biology does not imply a strict gender binary, in fact it allows the gender binary to be discounted as scientists have found huge variation in gender differences (Goldhill, 2018). Confirmation comes from biologists, as new scientific information refutes assumptions that men and women are intrinsically different, as “distributions for men and women on different brain features are overlapping, and internal consistency across features within individuals is rare. Thus, human brains are not internally
consistent male-typical and female-typical features. Instead, most human brains are a mosaic of these features” (Hyde, et al., 2018). It is conceivable to therefore denote that biological differences (nature) can determine gender identity, but culture and stereotypes (nurture) influence the way this is expressed and gendered associations. Fig 4 further visualises this concept of sex, gender, and gender expression being separate forces that don’t inherently have to align and demonstrates how the division of humans into binary gender categories does not make sense in all domains.
2.7 Individualistic Values One of the key aspects of individualism is greater freedom of choice, where individuals prioritise their own goals and have the option to make decisions based on values and emotion rather than
pure functionality (Goodwin, Ackerman and Kiron, 2013). This growing ability to choose means individual autonomy, without the constraints of traditional norms, and a culture that encourages self-actualisation. A main way this has manifested is how “66% of millennials and teens ages 13-
33 think being the same as everyone is boring” boringÓ(YPulse, (YPulse, 2018) 2016) which shows a clear individualistic valvaluptake in individualistic ues with a break away from conformity. This is particularly Òfashion provides relevant as “fashion one of the most ready means through which individuals can visual statestatemake expressive visual about their their identities” identitiesÓ ments about (Bennett, 2015, p.95) and so this mindmindindividuals employ this clothing choices. choices. set through clothing This trend toward toward self-expresself-expression and uniqueness being an aim pushes the hypothesis that more inthe world world isisbecoming becoming more dividualistic, however this also individualistic, however this indicates that a culture that also indicates that a culture recognises human that recognises humandiversity, diversioffers options ty, offers optionsand and respects choices is needed to follow (Paoletti, 2015, p.170). This is something that the gender binary currently restricts as all open to to everyeveryoptions are not open one; Jo Paoletti (2015, p.166) presents this as an ideal possibilÒConsider “Consider the the possibilities if our wardrobes reflected the full range of choices available to each each of us. Imagine that we we dressed to express our inner selves and our our locations not as fixed but flexible. Imagine a consumer culture so so reresponsive that no one felt excluded or shamed.Ó shamed.”
traditional consumpconsumpof options, options, howhow- ing from traditional This widening of ever, can can also also result result in in neganega- tion patterns because of this ever, tives as as consumers become influx of choice coupled with tives more materialistic, as goals internet savvy behaviours behaviours (Or(Ormore of expression expression become tied to dun, 2015) making them more of possessions. There There is a strong picky about aboutwho who give possessions. theythey give their correlation to these ideals retheir money to (Siewart, 2017). correlation to these ideals re- money to (Siewart, 2017). As sulting ininlowered lowered well-being, a result, sulting well-being, a As a result, theythey areare alsoalso lessless ina study Kasser(et (et al, al, 2014) fluenced by ‘push’ advertisingstudy bybyKasser for example example discovered that but tisinginstead but instead are responfor are responsive to as individuals placed higher sive to peer-to-peer marketing as peer-to-peer marketing “tovalue on materialism, their Ò todayÕconsumers sconsumers won’t wonÕt be value day’s well-being, self-esteem self-esteem and and rere- ÒsoldÓ; be seen, seen, well-being, “sold”; they they want to be lationships suffered. suffered. CombatCombat- known, and respected Ð lationships – and ting this this however are articles only those marketers and and rereting suggesting that that millennial millennial concon- tailers that invest invest in in relationrelationsuggesting sumers are actually spending ships through empathy, deep sumers less within this individualistic understanding and insight will less and insight society, and and instead instead are are divertdivert- will prevailÓ (Ordun, 2015).2015). society, prevail” (Ordun,
2.8 Research Gaps Throughout the literature review, sever-
al research gaps and opportunities for further exploration have been identified where appropriate, however, overall it is clear that the research is lacking in data created with both gender and the fashion industry in mind, therefore further research will be able to bring these elements together within the methods and questions selected for more specifically relevant data. Fur-thermore, it is evident that the research has been overly reliant on quantitative data and so to strengthen understanding and bridge knowledge gaps the research will benefit from more indepth qualitative insights. This is specifically apparent in relation to individual’s specific experiences in relation to the fashion envi-ronment and how gender categorisation impacts this, in addition to establishing precise desires with consideration to intersecting factors of individualistic values impacting the future of unisex fashion. Finally, the literature has been particularly strong in identifying potential obstacles of genderless fashion and so it will also be of high importance to expand upon the theories preÔfear of the feminine’, feminineÕ, and investigate how sented, such as the ‘fear they apply in current cultural climates, as well as to understand how these elements may be approached for optimal results.
METHOD - OLOGY
research methods methods were were carried carried out out throughthrough3.1 Overview Both primary and secondary research
out the duration of this project, ensuring wide scope and a well-rounded study which assists and validates insights gained. Throughout this a mixed-method triangulation (fig5) approach was utilised wherein quantitative, qualitative, and a literature review were used to certify a deep understanding of the subject matter as well well as as to to “allow Òallow the the limitations limitations from from each each methmethod to be transcended by comparing findings from different perspectives” (Graham, 2005). corresponds with closely the objectives previously laid Additionally, each research method corresponds an with objective which allowed the study out, which focused, allowed this the study to remain focused. to remain is indicated by colour code below the discussion of each method.
3.2 Sample Group The secondary research findings suggested that Gen Z and Millennials were that were the the most most influential generations within the category with much dispute between findings over who has the most impact, therefore the primary research will cross both mary both generations generations with focus upon what is being deemed being deemed the the Ôpi votalÕ generation; ‘pivotal’ generation; aa combination combination of of the the two young generations which share two share more more in in common than those older or younger correspondingly, this will include ages ranging bespondingly, tween 18-28 with cut-off points tween points being being chosen chosen in accordance with the secondary research in secondary research findings. This age selection will ensure the results are more pertinent to results to the the research research topic as older groups are not as topic as relevant relevant to to movements surrounding gender and It will movements It will
also allow scope scope for for consideration consideration toward toward those just coming of age age and and beginning beginning to to hold higher spending power within the fashion environment, with below below 18 18 participants participants discounted due to the confines of cost, time and resources. Furthermore, men and women women will will both both be be analysed, with a focus on how the participants personally identify, as well as Non-binary people for aa broad broad and and encompassing encompassing study, this will be be particularly particularly pertinent pertinent to to evaluate the experiences of of those those who who do do not subscribe to the gender binary. The rabebe kept in tio of of non-binary non-binaryparticipants participantswill will kept accordance withwith thatthat of their male andand fein accordance of their male male counterparts as as although this this doesdoes not female counterparts although not reflect population norms, it is deemed appropriate for this as criteria for most appropriate for study, this study, as criteria participants included them for participants included themfalling fallinginto into the the
innovator and early adopter categories for forward-thinking insight (fig_ displays the consumer segmentation model). Participants were additionally selected through multiple multiple methods, methods, including including online forums, emailing, social media media and and print print advertisements, to comply with strength strength of of weak weak ties theory (Granovetter, 1973) by by going going beyond beyond individuals personally known for aa reduction reduction in in bias. *Where in-person contact was made with participants they *Where in-person contact was made with participants they were asked to give a 4 digit unique identifier, for which they will be referred to for the duration of the study, to preserve will be referred to for the duration of the study, to preserve their anonymity. anonymity. their
3.3 Secondary Research Multitudes of secondary sources were analysed to conduct a thorough literature review which allowed for information already available on the subject to be understood and highlight key themes for further research. These sources included peer-reviewed journals, books, trend reports and articles which allowed for a comprehensive look into a range of statistics, studies, experiences, and debates surrounding the subject matter which additionally reduced bias by including considerations toward the negative effects in addition to the positive. Reviewing secondary sources such as these permitted access to large-scale investiprevented within the primary research. A draw back, however, is not being able to guarantee the conditions in which the data was collated, and so unsuitable sources were aimed to be discounted by assessing validity of the year published, location, credibility of the publisher and reason it was published (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, p.276). Additional secondary sources included art exhibitions, podcasts, documentaries, brand websites, social media and blogs for a macro-view of the topic, and although a limitation is that they often include high levels of bias and lack of supporting data they also allow for more culturally relevant considerations and understanding of new mindsets, and thus are still important for gaining insight if combined and backed up with other types of data (Kiecolt, 1986).
3.4 Primary Research 3.4.1 Online Questionnaire The first primary research method chosen is the online bridge online questionnaire, this method aimed to bridge some some gaps gaps the the secondary secondary research research highlighted, highlighted, with is up to date and relevant with qualitative qualitativedata datathat that is up to date and relto bothtofashion and gender. This method was seevant both fashion and gender. This method lected becausebecause online questionnaires provide one was selected online questionnaires proof the most efficient ways of collecting responses from a large sample group (Saunders, Lewis and responses from a large sample group (Saunders, Thornhill, p.361) and so was used to gain Lewis and2009, Thornhill, 2009, p.361) and so was aused broad collation of viewpoints specifically to gain a broad collation of and viewpoints and uncover attitudes. By using this method it also al-lows for quantifiable data which can be used to examine relationships between variables, be used to examine relationships between such varias age such or gender for thorough analysis ables, as ageidentity, or gender identity, for thorof phenomena (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, ough analysis of phenomena (Saunders, Lewis 2009, p.362). 2009, p.362). and Thornhill, This method, however, is imperfect in that it does does not not allow allow for for much much further further explanation explanation or reasoning not soning behind answers therefore insights are not easily easily gained gained by by using using this this method alone, therefore linked to qualitative apfore this thismethod methodhas hasbeen been linked to qualitative proaches to understand attitudes rather thanthan just approaches to understand attitudes rather relying on statistics alone. just relying on statistics alone. The questionnaire ultimately gained 275 responses; 110 females andand 55 es; comprising comprisingofof110 110males, males, 110 females non-binary or ‘other’, across the 18-28 range. 55 non-binary or ÔotherÕ , across the age 18-28 age This high response rate increases confidence in thedata and will allow understanding dencecollected, in the data collected, andforwill allow for unabout attitudes and behaviours. One limitation, derstanding about attitudes and behaviours. O ne however, gaining thegaining same level of responses limitation,was however, was the same level of from non-binary as their maleas and feresponses from respondents non-binary respondents their male because of thebecause confinesof of the the male counterparts, and female counterparts, online survey programme used in setting a quota, as well a asquota, restrictions of cost and time in setting as well as restrictions ofaccessing cost and certain Thecertain numbers achieved time in groups. accessing groups. The however, numbers will be suitable in will understanding theunderstandbeliefs of achieved however, be suitable in each group and further methods ensure methods equality ing the beliefs of each group and further amongst genderamongst identities.gender identities. ensure equality
3.4.2 Focus Groups Focus groups allowed expansion on topics
touched upon in the questionnaire, questionnaire, with with disdiscussion involving the the presence presence of of multiple multiple participants enabling aa breadth breadth of of points pointsofof view to emerge; “adynamic dynamic group group can reÒa can generate generateoror spond totoa number of ideas and and evalrespond a number of ideas uate them, thus helping you toyou explain evaluate them, thus helping to or explore concepts. You are You alsoare likeexplain or explore concepts. ly to benefit from the opportunity to that this method providesprovides in termsinof tunity to that this method allowing your participants to consider terms of allowing your participants to points raised otherby group consider pointsbyraised othermembers group and to challenge another’s views” members and to one challenge one an(Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, otherÕ s viewsÓ (Saunders, Lewis 2009, and p.346). 2009, p.3 46). Thornhill,
unworn outfits to which participants were asked to describe who who the the person person might mightbe be who would would wear wearit,it,this this was written down was written down inindividually for uninfluenced thoughts, anddiscussion was subsequentlyinvited, invited,ininwhich which cussion was subsequently participants were encouraged encouraged to to bounce bounce off one another and challenge challenge initial initial biasbiases. Secondly, participants were were shown shown camcampaign images and and videos videos and anddialog dialogensued ensued to understand specific likes and dislikes per what brands have have already already done done regarding regarding gender and of these taskstasks were andfashion. fashion.Each Each of these deemed effective due todue their visual were deemed effective to use theirofuse of material and prompts which allows spontanevisual material and prompts which allows ity in reactions for accurate results. results. spontaneity in reactions for accurate
are also also limited, limited, however, however, inin Focus groups are that there is is the the possibility possibility of of participants participants dominating conversation and and inhibiting inhibiting othothers, this may may negatively negatively affect affect results, results, as as ideas may publically, butbut primay be beagreed agreedwith with publically, vately disagreed with, therefore giving inacprivately disagreed with, therefore giving curate datadata (Stokes andand Bergin, 2006). To inaccurate (Stokes Bergin, 2006). avoid this this situation, care care was taken in groupTo avoid situation, was taken in ing individuals as wellasaswell in controlling group grouping individuals as in controlling discussion for equal group discussion for input. equal input.
3.4.3 Assisted Shopping Trips
within the The focus focus groups groupswere wereundertaken undertaken within 18-28 sample and and comprised of 1 of male, 1 fethe 18-28 sample comprised 1 male, andand 2 non-binary or other participants 1male female 2 non-binary or other particieach achieve a balanced discussion involvpantsto each to achieve a balanced discussion ing multiple viewpoints without without any one any geninvolving multiple viewpoints der another another so intimidaone group genderoutnumbering group outnumbering so tion would not ensue. intimidation would not ensue. The first focus group involved semi-structured discussion, with key themes themes decided decided beforebeforehand to guide guide the the conversation conversation and and gain gain usable insights. The The themes themes were were decided decided based both upon the secondary findings as the questionnaire, questionnaire, with with the the central central well as the aim being to to explore explore the the reasoning reasoning behind behind behaviour. This process process relied relied upon upongaining gaining conscious perceptions of of gender gender and and the the fashion environment as as well well as as individuals individuals experiences and ideas, ideas, where where participants participants could easily react react to to one one another another and andwere were encouraged to justify justify their their opinions opinions and and challenge others’. othersÕ . second focus focus group group was was activity activity based based The second and designed to to uncover uncover both bothconscious consciousand and unconscious attitudes within the the participants. participants. The first activity involved visual prompts of
Assisted shopping shopping trips tripsmeant meantthat that unanan underderstanding of individualÕs behaviour could standing of individual’s behaviour could occur, and gain a first-hand look at how gen-der divisions impact this this to to learn learn things things the the participants themselves may be unaware unaware of. of. The shopping trip involved involved uninterrupted uninterrupted obobservation as aa participant participant shopped shoppedfollowed followed by a challenged activity, activity, as as after after the the initial initial observation the participant participant was was instructed instructed to shop in a way way that that would would take take them them out out of their normal habits. habits. With With this, this, reactions reactions to the task were noted and put put gender gender exexin practice and and not just pectations to to the thetest test in practice not theory. just theory. This method is advantageous advantageous as as itit perpermits the study to go beyond beyond what what parparticipants say they do do and and looks looks at at what what
they actually inactually do, do,which whichhelps helps crease validity. One threat to this, increase validity. O ne threat to however, is the is‘observer effect’ this, however, the Ôobse r ver (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, effectÕ (Saunders, Lewis and 2009, p.309), the presThornhill, 2009,meaning p.309), meaning ence of the observer may induce the presence of the observer may behaviour changes in thein parinduce behaviour changes the ticipant. ThisThiswas be participant. wasaimed aimed to be by employing employing minimal minimal overcome by interaction during the first task, interhowever in the second task internecessary which which may may action was necessary limit results, however however rapport rapport with participants participants was was established established obbefore the task to normalise obpresence, which which RobsonÕs Robson’s server presence, strategy of of habituation habituation (2005) strategy apprehensuggests to wear off apprehension. completed individindividThe trip was completed 2 women, women, 22 men men and and ually by 2 non-binary participants. participants. This This 2 non-binary selection is desirable desirable as as each each
gender category is equally studied and and can can be or similarities similarities be analysed for differences or against information collected in the the online online questionnaire and focus group methods.
3.4.4 In-Depth Interviews In-depth interviews followed followed the the assisted assisted shopping trip to gain insight into into why why parparticipants way they they did did and and ticipants behaved the way understand their thoughts thoughts post-task. post-task. This This method was engaged due due to to its its ability ability toto use probing questions which which leads leads to tomore more revealing information (Saunders, (Saunders, Lewis Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, 2009, p.196). p.196). The Thequestions questions were unstructured as as the the assisted assistedshopping shopping trip stimuli, and and so sointerviews interviews trip provided the stimuli, were flexible to each participant, which is essential for open conversation and and insight. insight. Simultaneously, this this also also limits limitsthe theability ability generaliseabout aboutthe thepopulation populationand and to to generalise leads to concerns about reliability reliability (Saun(Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, 2009, p.327), p.327),
however, as a multi-method research approach has been used the information is still valid and can assist in the explanation of other results produced.
3.4.5 Industry Interviews outout to gain ex2 industry industry interviews interviewswere werecarried carried to gain pert insight; the first was with Trishna Daswaney, founder of â€˜Kohl Kreativesâ€™,, where understanding Kohl Kreatives was gathered about factors of gender and and self-exself-expression impacting industries, as well as allowing
for opportunity to look beyond the fashion industry industryforfor comparative comparative results resultstotobeauty beautyindustry industry initiatives. initiatives. The second interview involved a spokesperson from gender-neutral brand ‘One DNA’, DNA , which gave the opportunity to comprehend the realities of a store which takes on gender issues whilst gathering gathering relrelevant first-hand knowledge of con-sumers in this realm.
difficult to obtain, and so the posthe possibility exists that profound sibility exists that profound exploexploration is restricted in area, this area, ration is restricted in this as as additional interviewswould would have additional interviews given deeper understanding. This has been attempted to be made up for, however, within the case study study research which investigates brand examples using reliable secondary secondary sources to develop comprehension in this way.
Both interviews were conducted via email, which can be argued to be limiting as questions were open to interpretation and did not allow for further probing based on answers given. However, this method was also recognised as the most efficientcient to way of interviewing way interview industry industry profesprofessionals timecost andobstacost sionals due todue timetoand obstacles onsides, both whilst sides, still whilst still cles on both having having the toability to be advantathe ability be advantageous in geous in prkey ovidperspectives. ing key perspectives. providing
It is additionally important to note r isis being ‘non-binary’ being used as an umbrella term that covers identities that fall falloutside outsideof of ‘male’ or for ‘female’ which inadvertently has powhich inadvertently has potential tential to overlook individual differto overlook individual differences ences within the identities thiscovers, term within the identities this term covers, and so generalising is a and so generalising is a potential potential negative negative outcome. outcome. However,Howthis ever, thishas method been chosen method been has chosen due to its due to its efficiencies in providing sight into non-binary identities withthe most insight into non-binary out over-complicating results and identities without over-complicating hindering results andanalysis. hindering analysis.
3.4.6 Limitations Although the specific limitations have been discussed under under the the justijustification of each method, limitations still exist in not being being able able to to guarguarantee honesty or the way in which participants complete complete the the research, research, particularly in the case case of of the the ononline questionnaire a moderaquestionnairewhere where a modtor cannot be present. Despite this, erator cannot be present. Despite the approach ensures this,triangulation the triangulation approach higher of reliability validiensureslevels higher levels of and reliability ty and so results relywill on one and validity andwill so not results not data collection alone. Furrely on one datamethod collection method thermore, another limitation exists alone. Furthermore, another limitain theexists number of number industry of interviews tion in the industry conducted, as responses proved interviews conducted, as responses
DIS -CUSSION CUssion 4.1 Chapter 1: Attitudes and Beliefs 4.1.1 The Pivotal Mind-set
specifically how they viewed the effect of gender markers, most rrespondents opinions. espondents had ‘strong’ r oorr ‘very very strong’ str These results make it clear that individuals are not satisfied categorisation, as as is is quantitatively quantitatively with the effects of gender categorisation, confirmed by 27.1% of respondents expressing that they are more likely to purchase from a store which is inclusive of gender identities beyond their own.
Fig_: Questionnaire Graph
The literature review revealed an abunabundance o off data which suggested suggested millenmillen- Strongly Agree nial and gen ZZ mmind-sets ind-sets wwere ere more Agree open in terms of gender than older age Neither Agree Nor Disagree groups, this openness is consistent in the Disagree results ffound ound iin n the primary research Strongly Disagree survey wwith ith 59.3% holding t the he vview iew that gender gender relates to to internal internal self-idenself-identity, tity, and understanding of gender-based terms terms was was above above 80% 80% across across the the board, board, demonstrating high awareness l levels evels amongst the sample. This knowledge in in the group with the sample g roup coupled w ith beliefs that demonstrate fluidity indicate that values and mind-set are strongly strongly embedembedded, with with the theliterature literaturereview review providproviding ing proof of significance of this finding as it indicates action may required it i ndicates action may be be r equired to to keep consumers board values keep consumers on on board as as values inincreasingly decideppurchase creasingly decide urchase decisions. decisions. Is Not Limits Reinforces Furthermore, when rrelating elating these these bbeeInclusive Expression Stereotypes liefs tto o the fashion environment environment this t his hyhyGender Catergorisation... pothesis cements itself, aass when aasked sked
This is also something that repeatedly within the the peatedly came up within focus discussions; ÒI “I focus group 1 discussions; think [the fashion industry] think industry] need of need to tobecome becomemore moreaware aware gender identities thatthat aren’t justt of gender identities arenÕ male or female because […] just male or female because it’s that that it fosters an an en[É] clear itÕ sclear it fosters vironment that isn’t welcoming environment that isnÕ t welcomand stereoing also and just alsoreinforces just reinforces types in a way” 2018). stereotypes in a(1234, wayÓ (1234, Within this, there 2018). Within this, was therestrong was acknowledgement that non-bistrong acknowledgement that nary and transgender individnon-binary and transgender uals faced additional barriers, individuals faced additional barriers; “it can can be be quite quite intimidatintimidatÒit ing at at times, times,especially especiallyif Iifdon’t know the the shop too I donÕt know shop well because I never know too well because I never ifknow shop ifassistants are gonshop assistants na anything or if I’m aresay gonna say anything gonna be able to use the or if IÕmgonna be able to changing rooms without use the changing rooms people weird being about without being people it, so mostly online weird about Iit,shop so mostly or if I doonline shop instore I shop or if II just do buy and if Iit just doesn’t shopitinstore buy fit it then I return it” (5858, 2018). return itÓ (5858, 201 8). Whilst those identifying within had privilege privilege in the binary had in not consider consider in that they did not these whilst shopping shopping these factors whilst “it’s pretty automatic automatic to to be be Òi tÕ s pretty honest don’tt question question itit honest like I donÕ or or even even think about it” itÓ (0986, 2018), confirming evidence of consumer vulnerabilities. consumer vulnerabilities.
Despite holding holding certain certain priviprivleges, particiileges,male maleand andfemale female parpants were not not completely free ticipants were completely of categorisation based restricfree of categorisation based tions; when breaking it down to restrictions; when breaking it binary only, 56.8% down togroupings binary groupings only, of men of and women felt gender 56.8% men and women felt expectations limit thelimit clothes gender expectations the they look atlook or buy some clothes they at oron buy on level, showing that that many felt some level, showing many boxed in by defelt boxed in categories by categories spite having caters despite havingone one that that caters specifically ‘for them’. This is consistent with what was was found found within focus group 1 because,
as previously stated, these these inindividuals recognised they had decisions made for them and deviation would never be a consideration because of of this. this. Therefore, this makes itit apapparent that categorisation in the fashion industry industry limits limits conconsumers in how how they they purchase, purchase, something which has potential to impede the monetary gain of retailers as they are only selling items to one consumer group.
56.8% of men and women felt gender expectations limit the clothes they look at or buy on some level.
4.1.2 Subconscious Thinking & Behaviour in Action Despite the survey revealing feelings feelings of of rerestriction, there is no denying the resistance in acting on this for male respondents, as 65.4% of women reported reported shopping shopping outoutside of their their section section ‘sometimes’, Ôsom etimesÕ , ‘usually’ Ôusual lyÕ or ‘always’ Ôal waysÕwhereas this this number number falls falls drasdrastically to only 11.8% of of men. men. This This was was nonotably evident when uncovering behaviours within the assisted shopping trips trips and and inindepth interviews that that followed. followed. During During this, this, all male and female participants shopped within their gendered section only during the observation stage, however, when challenged to explore alternative sections the female female participants participants embraced embracedit itunaunbashed whilst abashed whilstthe the male male participants participants were troubled by stepping outside comfort zones and required encouragement; “as Ò assoon as it was me having to shop in that section I ‘this isn’tt rightÕ right’,, which I suppose was like Ô this isnÕ is a bit hypocritical hypocritical of of me” meÓ (9999, (9999, 2018). 2018).
Quotes such as this give insight insight into into how how despite individuals having strong strong beliefs beliefs surrounding gender, when put into into practice practice there isis an values and inaninternal internalstruggle struggleofof values and ternalised expectations that that clashclash and cause internalised expectations and behaviours to not reflect mind-set. reasoning for The literature literaturereview reviewprovides provides reasoning this in the of ‘the fear of theoffeminine’ for this in form the form of Ô the fear the femtheories, which which presents pointspoints as toaswhy inineÕtheories, presents to uptake is slower for men Howwhy uptake is slower for than men women. than women. ever, previous results indicate a desire to be However, previous results indicate a desire free on some level as well that to befrom freethis from this on some levelasasinwell respondents almost unanimously agreed, as in that respondents almost unanimously at 93.1%, people able be to agreed, at that 93.1%, that should people be should wear what they want even if iteven goesif beyond able to wear what they want it goes their gender signifying signifying peer-level beyond theircategory, gender category, threat of backlash low. Nevertheless, this peer-level threat ofis backlash is low. Nevdoes not mean ‘fearnot of the feminine’ not ertheless, this does mean Ô fear ofis the applicable, it does indicate alfeminineÕis instead not applicable, instead itthat does though is beingchange incited isbybeing way inof indicatechange that although mind-set in how masculinity andmasculinity femininity cited by way of mind-set in how are early remains diffiandviewed, femininity aresocialisation viewed, early socialisacult to overcome for men in the sample. This reasoning individuals in the sample.was Thisreiterated reasoningbywas reiterated focus group 1;in focus group 1; by individuals “[it] probably probably would would be a while Ò[it] while bebefore it was normalised, like itit might fore might be the case of mainly effecting be effecting kids kids growing up up now nowrather ratherthan thanpeople peogrowing ple already in ways, their ways, like it already set inset their like it would would justwith helpkids with developing kids developing just help their their sense of iswhat is for men and sense of what for men and what is what is for women” for womenÓ 1 ( 2 3 4, 2 (1234, 018) 2018) therefore, although men currently currently remain remain restricted, change is coming as new generations grow up in a less traditional traditional society society that breaks down stereotypes and and outdated outdated structures, as demonstrated by the PESTLE, and backed up by findings in the Swedish school study (Shutts, et al, al, 2017). 2017). Overall Overall however, these findings suggest the catego-risation of of clothing byby gender is is implicit in gorisation clothing gender implicit the internal struggle participants faced as in the internal struggle participants faced they serve to reinforce subconscious beliefs as they serve to reinforce subconscious beabout gender. liefs about gender.
This follows on to discoveries within focus group 2; activity 1 asked participants to describe the wearer of several outfits wherein, automatically, indiindividuals unanimously went with genders the clothes clothes would would tratraditionally be be associated associated with, with, despite having no indication of who the clothes belonged belonged to to exexcept their own perceptions. This occurred until one participant broke away from the traditional by suggesting a feminine outfit belonged to a man, something which challenged fellow fellow parparticipants ticipants to think about further possibilities. One participant commented commented; “it’s expected that that itÕll it’ll Òi tÕ s expected be be aa girl girl wearing wearing aa skirt, skirt, like like we we all know that we should should be be able able to to wear whatever we want and it isn’t isnÕtas unusual for guys to to be experimenting experimenting a lot more more […] [É] these days but I think that association is still still there” thereÓ(8888, (8888,2019) 2019), making it clear clear that that automatautomatic responses and instinct are strong in participantÕs participant’s initial
items gender gender reactions to an items change once once prescriptions but change challenged to think deeply. Thus, insight is gained in underThus, individuals could could standing that individuals helpbutbut subconsciously not help subconsciously apapply stereotypes, which reply stereotypes, which reveals vealsthey that are theyunaware are unaware of that of their their own implicit roleinin limiting limiting own implicit role them, one one the choices open to them, far to to participant even went as far say they felt “quite Òquite let let down” downÓ themselves for for (4534, 2019) at themselves their initial responses.
4.1.2 Case Study: ‘Agender’, Selfridges SelfridgesÕ ‘Agender’ ÔAgenderÕ is a genSelfridges’ der-neutral retail space completely free of gender direcove tors, with the goal to to Òm “move fashion forward and to reflect the realities of the way way we we live live now” this isis nowÓ (Selfridges, n.d.) this done by the store by going “beyond Òb eyond the concepts of of androgyny androgyny and and unisex unisex to to question question the the innate innate assumptions assumptions that that still still ununderpin derpin gendered gendered clothclothing ing in in the the 21st 21 st century. century. The stripped of The space spaceis is stripped all of merof the all trappings the trappings of chandising; the garments merchandising; the gar[…] are [É] sold are in unbrandments sold in ed bags andbags archive boxunbranded and ares. This uniform chive boxes. Thispackaguniform ing breaks down packaging breaksretail’s down artificial divisions, and thereby democratises it” and thereby democratis(Toogood, n.d.) n.d.) es itÓ T( oogood,
it is able to to keep keep pace pace in in this this way with thatthat no lonwitha asociety society no ger views gender as a binary. longer views gender as a binaImportant to tonote ry. Important note however however is the way the design design of of the the store is monochrome monochrome and and all all clothing is masculine masculine in in shape shape and style, with with designer designer Faye Faye Toogood Toogood commenting commenting ÒI “I donÕ don’tt want a man to be be put put off off from from entering the the space space by by aa pink pink jacketÓ (WGSN, jacket” (WGSN, 2015), 2015), which which suggests that despite despite efforts efforts to remove gender as a factor, gender norms norms are are being being reinforced by by complying complying with with stereotypes that prevent feminine shapes and and colours colours being being worn by men.
It’s an attitude of a generation that is coming through. The boundaries in society are changing.
- (Rumsey, 2015)
demonstrates the the This example demonstrates power the industry has has to to both both build stereotypes stereotypes and and break break them down as the the collection collection serves to make people people think think and question expectations expectations and and perceptions whilst giving giving them them the option to free free themselves themselves from these. With fashion, fashion, as as an industry that prides prides itself itself on being ahead of the curve,
4.1.3 Key Takeaway Insights • There aare beliefs and and v values re strong beliefs alues in rrelation and sstereotypes which elation to gender and tereotypes which groups believe to be restrictive restrictive in in making making them them choose one section or another and having decisions made for them. • Non-binary individuals faced extra layers of difficulty, as changing rooms and fear of judgement from staff and other other customers customers was was a cause inin them altering cause for forconcern concernand andresults results them altertheir behaviour to avoid some some shopping expeing their behaviour t o avoid shopping riences. experiences. • Action in accordance wwith beliefs isis ith beliefs
difficult to integrate, especially for male con-learned sumers, due to subconscious attitudes learned through eearly arly socialisation which serve to rreeare reinforced reinforced strict consumer behaviour and are through systems in the retail environment. • noted as changing changing Cultural events are noted the way gender is viewed gradually as youngyounger iindividuals are able to grow up with less ndividuals g row w ith less rigid gender bounds. • Individuals have aa conscious desire dissociate themselves from from stereotypes but to dissociate can’tt help subconsciously applying ideas ooff canÕ femininity and masculinity according to gengender, thus there is an internal battle for consumconsumers which challenges shopping choices.
4.2 Chapter 2: Consumer Spending & Identity 4.2.1 Fashion as a Tool to Express Within tthe he pprimary rimary rresearch, esearch, i individualistic ndividualistic outlooks were strongly present, as 54.2% 54.2% of of respondents stated tthat most i important hat tthe he most mportant factor when deciding cclothing choice wwas lothing choice as self-expression, this finding is consistent with the hypothesis that iindividuals ndividuals are increasingly craving self-actualisation. This was explored ffurther urther tthroughout hroughout tthe he f focus ocus ggroup roup discussions tto this as as an an o delve deeper iinto nto this influence on purchasing decisions. In focus
group 2 activity 1, for example, example, there there was was aa strong perception that arose wherein an individual’s clothing choice reflected their per-sonality in some way, way, as as themes themes reoccurred reoccurred participantÕsperceptions according within participant’s according to to outfit. Demonstrating this is the consistencies participantÕsdescriptions of the in participant’s the wearer wearer of of outfit 1, which included them being a young man who enjoys clubbing wwith ith sports sports or or gym tendencies. This This phenomenon phenomenon occurred occurred he activity despite articipants throughout tthe despite pparticipants writing down thoughts separately, separately, with with each each participant being able to come up up with with fully fully formed personalities and lifestyles lifestyles based based on on an outfit alone which makes clear the way in which individuals apply stereotypes stereotypes but but also also how clothing is used to to gage gage who who aa person person might be and group group by by personality personality and and not not just gender.
What you wear can communicate to other people who you are in a sense
Focus group 1 provided explanato how individuals individuals apply apply tion as to this to their own purchasing decidescribed sions; one pparticipant articipant described the way they ppurchase urchase aass wanting to “reflect a personal sense of style that shows of s tyle t hat s howswho whoyou are,are, like like I’m IÕm quite laidlaid back you quite and and so Is oprefer justjust chill back I prefer clothing andand rarely chill clothing rarelygo go all outout withwtons of make-up and all ith tons o f makeaccessories every e day up and accessories verybecause that’s thatÕ just snot day because just who not I am. IIam. think whatwhat youyou wear who I think can communicate to other wear can communicate to people who who you you areare in a other people sense” (1234, 2018) in a senseÓ 1 ( 234, 2018) added whilst another added; “someone who who likes likespunk punk Òsomeone
music probably probably dresses music d resses punk,aa skateboarder probpunk, s kateboarder ably wears vans…you probably wears vansÉ youpick clothes based onon what pick clothes based whatyou like,like, andand what youyou likelike is ofyou what dictated by your isten o ften d ictated by ypersonour ality outside of justo fclothes” personality outside just (5858, 2018). clothesÓ (5858, 2018). Thesedescriptions descriptions how These o f of how indi-individualsview view thelink linkbetween between viduals t he personality and and c lothing clothingchoice choice makes itit apparent apparentt hat that self-exself-expression is aa key key factor factorininthe thededecision-making process. process. When Whendisdiscussing tthe factorofofuniqueness uniqueness he f actor participants further further a agreed that greed t hat this was was something something they they considconsidered “there’s definitely a sense that being being different differentisisgood, good,like like no-one wants wants to to be be just justaacloneÓ clone” some (1234, 2 2018). 018). H However, owever, some comments during during i ndividual individuali n-interviews suggested suggested uniqueness uniqueness is is pressure, with words suchasas a a pressure, with w ords s uch ‘boring’ being linked linkedtotos ticking sticking Ôbo ringÕbeing traditionallyw orn worn with c clothes lothes t raditionally by their gender; think styleis isjust just ÒI“I t hink m ymystyle more masculine masculine and and soso more themenÕ men’s sectionprovides provides the s section thatf or form me andI d I onÕt don’t that e and haveaadesire desirefor foranything anything have else,aass boring may else, boringasa that s that be” beÓ (9999, 2018). may (9999, 2018). addresses aaconcern concernwhich which This addresses has tthe toddevelop furhe ppotential otential to evelop f urther aass traditional traditional nnorms reorms aare re r ejected, as consumers may find it increasingly difficult to stand out as wwider becomea vailavailider ooptions ptions become able.
When applying this to participant’s participantÕ s unisex clothing clothing currently, currently, withwiththoughts on unisex in focus group 2, there was an interesting discovery in that users viewed the items as essentials and basics but not something that would be expressive; Òju st because “just becauseIÕm I’mnon-binary non-binary doesnÕt doesn’t mean IÕm I’m completely completely bland, bland, I still still like to dress up or dress down like cis men and women, like androgandrogynous is a cool style and interestinteresting but that isnÕt isn’t the only style that should be available” availableÓ(4534, (4534, 2019). 2019). The insight generated from this is that fashion brands are currently not offering clothing that both provides for multiple genders and is seen to be expressive of styles beyond androgyny, which serves to continually restrict individuals in how they goals. Even Even withwithachieve individualistic goals. ASOSÕ collection, which participants in ASOS’ deemed to be an improvement on what they had previously seen, there was issues highlighted in that styles continued to be masculine only, which incited a continued ÒASOS collection feeling of restriction “ASOS is great in my opinion in that it is unisex clothing that gives us more options than just the basics but I think it is still not quite there in terms of breaking the feminine barrierÓ (4534, 2019). Therefore, widenwidenbarrier” 2019) Therefore, ing options to keep up with individualistic ideals is shown to be key.
Non-binary doesn’t mean I’m completley bland. - (4535, 2019)
The Empowered Consumer
It is important to understand how this self-expressive outlook of the pivotal consumer impacts methods of reaching them; this was was touched upon in the literature review where where online savvy behaviours were highlighted to be a key factor (Ordun, 2015), and so this this acted as a starting point for a deeper understanding of the sample. When probed within focus group 2 about responses toward toward a celebrity image portraying cross-gender dressing, participants wholly agreed that that Ògreat for makthe image was effective and “great ing it more normalisedÓ normalised” (4534, 2019) which suggests celebrity influence is a tool which can further push certain behaviours into into the the spotlight and increase its acceptability. However, when questioned further participants participants didnÕt feel they were personrevealed they didn’t ally impacted by celebrity influence Òwhen own style styleI Igenergen“whenititcomes comes to to my own erally donÕt really look celebrities ally don’t really look to to celebrities It’s ItÕ s normally a combination of Iwho I normally a combination of who follow follow that me make metowant to online online that make want explore explore newasstyles well as from coming new styles well as coming my from own style that I already haveÓ own my style that I already have” (7001, (7001, 2019), 2019) this was a sentiment that was agreed with with unanimously amongst the group and demonstrates a higher inclination toward digital digital platforms impacting purchasing behaviour
and style choices. In addition to this, the finding reflects how these young consumers are less in-fluenced by traditional marketing, but instead are looking looking to to their their peers peers for for inspiration inspiration and and guidance. Through this this way way consumers consumers in in the the group group gain gain Through that old old methods methods are are not not effective effective and and power in that they can personally personally tailor tailor who who they they follow follow and and who influences them with a click of a button followpeople peoplewith withsimilar similarinterests interests and ÒI“I follow and styles as me and sometimes I’ll see styles as me and sometimes IÕll see somesome-
thing tried that IÕll likelike andand try thingnew newbeing being tried that I’ll myselfÓ (70 01, 2019). try myself” (7001, 2019). Despite Despite social social media media additionally additionally being being highhighlighted to be limiting, ÒI follow pretty similar “I follow pretty similar people to myself and itÕ it’s shard hard to to break break away away bubble to to explore explore new new things things from my own little bubble sometimes” (1224, 2019), 2019), platforms platforms were were sometimesÓ mainly indicated indicated to to be be Ò “the main source source of of ininmainly the main spiration” (1224, 2019) for pivotal consumers, spirationÓ (1224, 2019) for pivotal consumers, which demonstrates demonstrates the the way way peers peers market market to to which each other other rather rather than than being being affected affected by by big big each brands. This pushes the importance for brands brands. This pushes the importance for brands
to know their audience in order to connect to know their audience in order to connect effectively for a collaboration in creating effectively for a collaboration in creating prodproduct value. uct value.
Discussions with the founder of Kohl Krea-
Discussions w ith the founder o f consumers Kohl K reatives tives further implied the way are further i mplied the way consumers are no l onno longer satisfied with obvious marketing
that doesn’t relate to them, especially when
relate to them, especially it comes to mesit comes to messages ofwhen inclusivity; sages of inclusivity; “inclusivity is not temporary, it’s not Òinclusivity i s nottactic, temporary, i tÕ s not a marketing it’s every day,a there aretactic, real itÕ people affects marketing s everyand day,itthere are them not just special real people andduring i t affects them nevents ot j ust like s[…] ‘transgender during pecial e vents like [ É]awareness Ôransgent week’” (Daswaney, der awareness weekÕ 2018). Daswaney, 2018). Therefore, it is clear needt to connect Therefore, it is clear bbrands rands need o connect with consumers consumersbeyond beyond traditional methods, with traditional methods, as as doing something just to be politically cordoing s omething j ust to b e politically c orrect rect was frowned upon by participants was frowned upon by participants “if a brand actually cares about an Òifa b rand actually c ares about a n issue issue or its consumers then I feel they or i ts consumers then I f eel t hey should should actually have some kind of actually have some kind of personal personal relationship with them relaand tionship with rather them and connection connection than it being rather just a than i t being j ust a complete d isconnectcomplete disconnected money making ed m oney mgetting aking mnormal achine, gpeople etting normachine, inmal people involved in the making of the volved in the making of the clothes or
marketing and such definitely shows
that tothat met and makes it moreit accesshows o meit and i t makes m ore sible…like show me m proper inclusivity, accessibleÉlik e show e proper i nclusivshow meme the ity, s how t hebrand b randgetting g etting involved i nvolved withevents, events,show show people with meme thethe realreal people the the brand is (8888, for” (8888, brand is forÓ 2019). 2019). This quotedemonstrates demonstrates empowered This quote howhow empowered conconsumers don’t feel a connection with sumers donÕ t feel a connection with brands that brands that have impersonal marketing, and have impersonal marketing, and involvement of involvement of the consumer is key to develthe consumer is key to developing relationships oping relationships that foster authenticity that foster authenticity and loyalty, whilst getting and loyalty, whilst getting on board with the on board w ith the values t hatThis m atter to t hem. values that matter to them. is reflective
of findings within the secondary research,
research, as continually sources continually found theofrole as sources found the role the of the consumer to be changing as they no lonconsumer to be changing as they no longer ger accept t raditional t argetingand and mass-marm ass-maraccept traditional targeting ket and Veloutsou, 2016). ket products products(Black (Black and Veloutsou, 2016).
4.2.3 Case Study: The Phluid Project The Phluid Project is a New York based retail store which claims to be “the world’s first gender-free store” (Demopoulos, 2018) with owner Rob Smith preferring the term ‘gender-free’ to ‘gender-neutral’ as the store moves away from traditional unisex lines’ shapeless and monochrome aesthetic and instead removes the concept of gender altogether to embrace the fitted waist, colour and femininity in addition to masculinity with options open The Phluid Project i s a New York to everyone regardless of gender based r etail store which claims t o (Demopoulos, 2018). storeÓ (Demopoulos, 018) w ith The space has strong 2impact within owner R ob Smithnon-binary p referring the the transgender, and term Ôgende r-freeÕt o Ôgende r-neugender non-conforming communitralÕ ties as the store moves away from traditional unisex was linesÕ “The premise andshapeless still is andabout monochrome and creating aaesthetic safe space instead r emoves t he concept where you can unapologeti-of gender ltogether embrace t he callyabe yourself.toWe’ve found that people come because in addition to masculinity w ith options open t o aeveryone they feel sense ofr egardless commuof gender (Demopoulos, 2018). nity, and I don’t think many retailers honestly understand The community” space has strong impact (Baron, 2018)within the transgender, non-binary and In this way the store builds authengender communiticity andnon-conforming a relationship with its custies tomer base with a co-creation about ÒThe p remise w as and s till is what the space means, with customreating space ersabout often cusing it asaa safe meet-up place where y ou can unapologeti“It’s visibly embraced everycally both be yourself. found one young WeÕ andveold by that people because creating a fun come and interesting
space where everyone is welcome. It’s essentially a social club” (Baron, 2018 One DNA is one of the brands carried by The Phluid Project, when interviewed within the primary research they commented “when you label clothing women’s or men’s your automatically creating an artificial boundary that divides people. A person might want to dress more feminine or they f eel a(allsense o f time commumasculine of the or nity, and I d onÕ t think many some of the time) so removretailers honestly ing the label allowsunderstand them the communityÓ (Ba ron, freedom to choose 2018) without In question. this way the builds authenThisstore is true for peoticity and a r elationship with ple from all walks of life and its customer w ithnon-conforma co-creation includesbase gender about t he space with ing what people, trans means, people” customers often using i t as a meet(OneDNA, 2019) up Thisplace demonstrated how brands who ÒItÕs v isibly gender embraced e veryhave adopted neutral apone b oth young and o b ycaproaches are not only ableld to a fun and ter creating to communities of interesting transgender, space where everyone welnon-binary and gender is non-concome. ItÕs essentially a social forming individuals, but it is also clubÓ (Baron, on 2018). widely impactful all people.
A safe space where you can unapologetically be yourself.
- (Baron, 2018)
4.1.3 Key Takeaway Insights • strongly related cerThe ssample amplegroup group strongly r elated tain styles withwith personality types and and usedused their certain styles personality types individuality and identity in making decisions their individuality and identity in making deciabout the clothes they purchased. sions about the clothes they purchased. The ffocus ocus upon uponself-expression self-expressionmakes m akesit clear unisex designs that rely upon a shapeless it clear unisex designs that rely upon a shapeand plainplain aesthetic, including those such as less and aesthetic, including t hose such Selfridges ‘Agender’ collection which actively as Selfridges ÔAgenderÕ collection which avoided andfeminine H&M’s unisex actively anything avoided feminine a nything and basics are not enough H&MÕsrange, unisex basics range, are to notsatisfy, enoughbut to instead consumers are looking a broader satisfy, but instead consumers arefor looking for a range ofr ange options fully be able be to able express broader o f to options t o fully to
identity and individuality. express identity and individuality. The PPivotals ivotals are online ssavvy avvy iindividundividunot heavily heavily impacted impacted by by traditional traditional als that are not instead look look to to their their marketing techniques, but instead peers and social media to influence their style and purchasing decisions. Involvement in nvolvement ooff the thePivotal Pivotalconsumer consumer thet he creation of brand value is integral in ensurin c reation of b rand v alue i s integral in ing they tare as disconnected marensuring heyon areboard, on board, as disconnected keting won’t engage them marketing wonÕ t engage themeffectively effectivelyas as they they not deem itit authentic authentic or or personal personal to to their their will not opportunity ffor lives, iinstead nstead tthere here iis s opportunity or bbrands rands peer-to-peer mmarketing within to embrace peer-to-peer arketing within strategies.
CONC ConC- Lusions LUSIONS 5.1 Critical Reflections In conclusion, after extensive primary and secondary research aiding investi-
gation, the report has provided a thorough insight into shifting consumer mind-sets with regards to gender in the fashion industry and the role categorisation plays within this. Throughout there has been research conducted into how this affects purchasing behaviours as well as desires going forward, whilst taking into account overarching factors which are presenting new ways of thinking. Overall, O verall, the fashion industry displays strong potential for the future of genderless marketing as consumers increasingly reject stereotypes and expectations in favour of a more expressive way of dress and lifestyle. Within stage bebe required intointo the the logistics of following the stage 2, 2, however, however,further furtherinvestigation investigationis isnoted notedto to required logistics of following proposed recommendations, as exact execution of ideas will need to betoexplored by additional prithe proposed recommendations, as exact execution of ideas will need be explored by additionmary research methods throughout concept development, whilstwhilst secondary research will need to proal primary research methods throughout concept development, secondary research will need to vide insight into financial restrictions and how to overcome them going forward. Ultimately, the report has provided key insights which are usable by the fashion industry to cater to an increasingly valuable young market, as it has provided a breadth of opportunities and a springboard within the sector for experimentation going forward.
5.2 Recommendations 5.2.1 Gender Unguided Insights from chapter 1 revealed a wide spread desire amongst the sample group to break away from traditional and stereotyped behaviour regarding gender and fashion, however it also exposed difficulty for consumer groups in Therefore, aa rere achieving this. Therefore,
vitalisation in the retail format is proposed as brands should look to assist the consumer in deconstructing the expected, with a less gender guided approach that aims to engage their conscious beliefs without triggering sub-conscious interference. Following this recommendation brands will be able to engage with the millennial and gen Z mind-set and align with key values that are integral to getting them onside, whilst additionally providing a space in
which those who fall outside of the gender binary can feel welcome, which presented itself as a key gap in the market when discussing barriers faced by non-binary consumers.
5.2.2 Expressive Unisex Chapter 2 demonstrated key inthis mainly focused around the idea of self-expression being key
to decision making. Therefore, there is a strong opportunity for brands attempting to adopt free form spaces to do this in a way which merely places importance upon clothing being clothing rather than just emto decision making. Therefore, there is a one type of individual. further serves strong opportunity for This brands attempting to open options and break down barriers to adopt free form spaces to do this in a for without any upon one way consumers which merely placesforcing importance style, masculine or feminine, on individuclothing being clothing rather than just emals, which also helps to approach thereflect fear ploying simplified styles which only of the feminine issue amongst males in the one type of individual. This further serves sample will to open group. optionsThis and recommendation break down barriers additionally allow retailers to engage with for consumers without forcing any one consumer values or without having expenstyle, masculine feminine, ontoindividusively introduce new lines, however,the a new als, which also helps to approach fear sizing method will need to be introduced of the feminine issue amongst males in the for consumer accessibility. sample group. This recommendation will additionally allow retailers to engage with 5.2.2 having to expenconsumer values without sively introduce new lines, however, a new Expressive Unisex sizing method will need to be introduced for consumer accessibility.
how consumers shop, this mainly focused around the idea 5.2.3 of self-expression being key to decision Indentity making. Therefore, there is a strong opportunity for brands attempting Driven Marketing to adopt free form spaces to do this in a way which merely places importance upon Individuals within the sample group have clothing being clothing rather than just embeen shown to be more and more resistant to traditional marketing efforts and instead one type of individual. This further serves are receptive to peer-to-peer marketing as to open options and break down barriers well as not trusting impersonal brands, this for consumers without forcing any one holds opportunities for brands to engage style, masculine or feminine, on individuconsumers within brand and product develals, which also helps to approach the fear opment for a co-creation approach which of the feminine issue amongst males in the will instil authenticity. Here, a recommendasample group. This recommendation will tion is to follow an identity and story drivadditionally allow retailers to engage with en marketing tactic where consumers can consumer values without having to expenidentify with the people they see in the marsively introduce new lines, however, a new keting material to ensure brands are seen sizing method will need to be introduced more on a peer level with the consumer and for consumer accessibility. a community can be fostered, this also allows for representation and inclusivity that goes beyond political correctness.
are looking to their Organisation peers for inspiration and Personal guidance. Throughout the research, participants were shown highly associate personality Throughtothis way consumers in the grouptypes gain with clothing with expression of interests power in thatstyles, old methods are not effective and closely linked to style choice. Within this, opthey can personally tailor who they follow and portunities exist for marketers to adopt methods of ÒI organisation within storesand which follow people withgender-free similar interests engage the individualistic consumer with more styles as me and sometimes IÕllsee some-
thing new being tried that IÕlllike and try myselfÓ (7001, 2019). personalised organiDespite social recommendations media additionallyand being highsational filters based on individual style preflighted to be limiting, ÒI follow pretty similar erences. With clothing organised by style or people to myself and itÕ shard to break away personality groupings, rather than just gender, from my own little bubble to explore new things brands will be able to ensure consumers are sometimesÓ (1224, 2019), platforms were not overwhelmed by lack of categories whilst mainly indicated to be Òthe mainout source inalso allowing individuals to filter stylesofthey spirationÓ (1224, 2019) forin,pivotal consumers, would never be interested something which which demonstrates the way peers market to assists in approaching factors such as the fear each rather than being affected by big of theother feminine. brands. This pushes the importance for brands
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Paechter, C. (2015). Being boys, being girls. Johanneshov: MTM. Paoletti, J. (2015). Sex and unisex. Indiana University Press. Pooler, J. (2002) Demographic Targeting: The Essential Role of Population Groups in Retail Marketing. Routledge Posner, H. and Williams, S. (2015). Marketing Fashion. 2nd ed. London: Laurence King Publishing. Ridgeway, C. (2011) Framed by Gender: How Inequality Persists in the Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press Robson, C. (2005). Real world research. Oxford: Blackwell. Rudman, L. and Glick, P. (2015). The social psychology of gender. New York: The Guilford Press. Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2009). Research methods for business students. 5th ed. Harlow (Essex): Pearson, pp.272-276. Svendson, L. (2006) Fashion: A Philosophy. Reaktion Books
Documentaries Transgender Rights (2018). Generation Activism, Episode 4. [TV] BBC Three, 25 October 2018. Victoria Derbyshire (2018). Should Trans Women Be Allowed to Use Women-Only Services? [TV] BBC Two, 5 March 2018
Essays Gardiner, F (2013). The Social Self and Gender Identity: Mead, Butler and Transgender Identity Formation. [online] Available at: https://www.academia.edu/35163752/The_Social_Self_and_Gender_Identity_Mead_Butler_and_Transgender_Identity_Formation [Accessed: 16 January 2019]
Exhibitions Aristizábal, I., Cooper, R., Fauq, C. (2018) Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance [Act 1]. Exhibition held at Nottingham Contemporary, 27 October 2018 – 27 January 2019.
Journals Black, I. and Veloutsou, C. (2016). Working consumers: Co-creation of brand identity, consumer identity and brand community identity. Journal of Business Research, 70, pp.416-429. Blazina, C. (1997). The Fear of the Feminine in the Western Psyche and the Masculine Task of Disidentification: Their Effect on the Development of Masculine Gender Role Conflict. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 6(1), pp.55-68. Bosanac, A. (2016). THE NEW ANDROGYNY. Canadian Business, 89(7), pp. 8-9. Broussard, K., Warner, R. and Pope, A. (2017). Too Many Boxes, or Not Enough? Preferences for How We Ask About Gender in Cisgender, LGB, and Gender-Diverse Samples. Sex Roles, 78(9-10), pp.606-624. Glick, P., Wilkerson, M. and Cuffe, M. (2015). Masculine Identity, Ambivalent Sexism, and Attitudes Toward Gender Subtypes. Social Psychology, 46(4), pp.210-217. Graham, R. (2005). Illustrating triangulation in mixed-methods research. Nurse Researcher, 12(4), pp.7-18. Granovetter, M. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), pp.1360-1380. Harbaugh, E. and Lindsey, E. (2015). Attitudes Toward Homosexuality Among Young Adults: Connections to Gender Role Identity, Gender-Typed Activities, and Religiosity. Journal of Homosexuality, 62(8), pp.1098-1125. Huebner, D. (2012). The Construction of Mind, Self, and Society: The Social Process Behind G. H. Mead’S Social Psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 48(2), pp.134-153. Hyde, J., Bigler, R., Joel, D., Tate, C. and van Anders, S. (2018). The future of sex and gender in psychology: Five challenges to the gender binary. American Psychologist. Kasser, T., Rosenblum, K., Sameroff, A., Deci, E., Niemiec, C., Ryan, R., Árnadóttir, O., Bond, R., Dittmar, H., Dungan, N. and Hawks, S. (2014). Changes in materialism, changes in psychological well-being: Evidence from three longitudinal studies and an intervention experiment. Motivation and Emotion, 38(1), pp.1-22.
Keener, E. (2015). The Complexity of Gender: It Is All That and More….In sum, It Is Complicated. Sex Roles, 73(11-12), pp.481489. Littman, L. (2018). Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports. PLOS ONE, 13(8), p.e0202330. McKeage, K., Crosby, E. and Rittenburg, T. (2017). Living in a Gender-Binary World. Journal of Macromarketing, 38(1), pp.7390. Mead, G. (1978). The Social Self. Psychiatry, 41(2), pp.178-182. Nancy, R. (2017). Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution Jo B.Paoletti. Indiana University Press, 2015. The Journal of American Culture, 40(1), pp.104-105. Nanda, S. (1986). The Hijras of India:. Journal of Homosexuality, 11(3-4), pp.35-54. Ogihara, Y. and Uchida, Y. (2014). Does individualism bring happiness? Negative effects of individualism on interpersonal relationships and happiness. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. O’Neil, J. (1981). Patterns of Gender Role Conflict and Strain: Sexism and Fear of Femininity in Men’s Lives. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 60(4), pp.203-210. O’Neil, J., Helms, B., Gable, R., David, L. and Wrightsman, L. (1986). Gender-role conflict scale: College men’s fear of femininity. Sex Roles, 14(5-6). Ordun, G. (2015). Millennial (Gen Y) Consumer Behavior, Their Shopping Preferences and Perceptual Maps Associated With Brand Loyalty. Canadian Social Science, 11(4), pp.40-55. Russo, R. (2006). The Extent of Public Education Non-discrimination Policy Protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students. Urban Education, 41(2), pp.115-150. Sergent-Shadbolt, J. (2015). Germaine Greer’s Dirty Feminism: Necessary Evils and the Advancement of a Social Epistemology. New Zealand Sociology, 30(1), pp.140-155 Shutts, K., Kenward, B., Falk, H., Ivegran, A. and Fawcett, C. (2017). Early preschool environments and gender: Effects of gender pedagogy in Sweden. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 162, pp.1-17. Sloan, C.A., Berke, D.S and Zeichner, A. (2015). Bias-motivated Aggression against Men: Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation as Risk Factors for Victimization. Sex Roles, 72(3-4), pp. 140-149. Stokes, D. and Bergin, R. (2006). Methodology or “methodolatry”? An evaluation of focus groups and depth interviews. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 9(1), pp.26-37. Van Deven, M. (2011). Bending Gender, Breaking Boundaries. Herizons, 24(3), pp. 17-19,3. Vasey, P. and Bartlett, N. (2007). What Can the Samoan “Fa’afafine” Teach Us about the Western Concept of Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood?. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 50(4), pp.481-490.
Podcasts JWT Intelligence (2018). Generation Z. The Next X [Podcast], 19 November 2018 Siewart, J. (2015). My Generation: What Your Birth Year Says About How You Spend. Exchange at Goldman Sachs [Podcast], 1 October 2017 The Gender Knot (2017). Does Clothing Shape Gender Identity? [Podcast], 11 September 2017
Reports Duckett, J. (2017). ASA to introduce tough new rules on gender stereotypes. Mintel. GLAAD (2017). Accelerating Acceptance Report. [online] Available at: http://www.glaad.org/files/aa/2017_GLAAD_Accelerating_Acceptance.pdf [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. JWT Intelligence (2018). The Future 100. Killerman, S. (2015). The Genderbread Person. [online] It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. Available at: https://www.genderbread. org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Breaking-through-the-Binary-by-Sam-Killermann.pdf [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. Rumsey, A. (2015). Gender Neutral Retail - Does it Have a Future?. [online] WGSN. Available at: https://www-wgsn-com.ntu.
idm.oclc.org/content/board_viewer/#/56938/page/1 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. Sender, T. (2017). Clothing Retailing. Mintel. The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Co. (2018) The State of Fashion 2019. [online] Available at: https://www.mckinsey. com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/retail/our%20insights/the%20state%20of%20fashion%202019%20a%20year%20of%20 awakening/the-state-of-fashion-2019-vf.ashx [Accessed: 29 November 2018] The Future Laboratory (2016). New Consumer Summit Report. [online] Available at: https://www.thefuturelaboratory.com/reports/new-consumer-summit-report-2016 [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019]. The Future Laboratory. (2018). New Masculinity : Report. [online] Available at: https://www.thefuturelaboratory.com/new-masculinity-2018 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. Todd, B., Fischer, R., Di Costa, S., Roestorf, A., Harbour, K., Hardiman, P. and Barry, J. (2017). Sex differences in childrenâ€™s toy preferences: A systematic review, meta-regression, and meta-analysis. Infant and Child Development, 27(2), p.e2064. Walpita, S. (2015). Zero Gender. [online] WGSN. Available at: https://www-wgsn-com.ntu.idm.oclc.org/content/board_viewer/#/63446/page/2 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. WGSN (2015). Genderful. [online] Available at: https://www-wgsn-com.ntu.idm.oclc.org/content/board_viewer/#/63276/ page/2 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. YPulse (2018). YPulse Quaterly Report Trends. [online] YPulse. Available at: https://www.ypulse.com/uploads/documents/Quarterly_Report_Trend_List.pdf [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019].
Videos Bouvrie, A. (2015). A Chance to Dress: The Complexities of Gender Expression [Video]. New Day Films. Retrieved November 24, 2018, from Kanopy. This Morning (2017). Phillip to Break Up Intense Gender Neutral School Uniform Debate. [Video] Available at: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=kKKrZIsPHa4 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. WikStrĂśm, F. (2015). Teaching For the Whole Life Spectra. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJH0_ P42C5c [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019].
Websites ASOS. (2018). INTRODUCING COLLUSION, EXCLUSIVE TO ASOS. [online] Available at: https://www.asos.com/women/fashion-feed/2018_10_17-wed/collusion-is-here/ [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. Kohl Kreatives. (2019) Home. [online] Available at: https://www.kohlkreatives.com/ [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019] One DNA. (2019). About. [online] Available at: https://onedna.earth/about/ [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019] Selfridges. (n.d.). Agender: The Concept Space. [online] Available at: http://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/features/articles/content/agender-the-conceptspace [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019]. The Phluid Project. (2019). About. [online] Available at: https://www.thephluidproject.com/about/ [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019] Toogood, F. (n.d.). Agender. [online] Available at: http://fayetoogood.com/space/agender [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019].
6.3 Image References
Philomene, L. (2016) William. [online] Available at: https://www.refinery29. com/en-us/non-binary-photo-series (Accessed: 18 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Rufina. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene. com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Twins in Berlin. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Rufina Hands. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) VSCO. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) VSCO. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2015) Bubble. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/17 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Billy Starfield. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/11 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Fluide Beauty. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/3 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Billy Starfield. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/11 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Fluide Beauty. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/3 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Lookbook. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/12 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Fluide Beauty. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/3 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Hobbes Ginsberg. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/11 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Rochelle. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/10 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Playing With Colour. [online] Available at: https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/14 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Chroma Magazine. [online] Available at: https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/10 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Missed Connection. [online] Available at :https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/2(Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Wolfie As Me. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/16 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Playing With Colour. [online] Available at: https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/14 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Somewhere X Nowhere. [online] Available at :https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/2(Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Lookbook. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/12 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) VSCO. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Talibah. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/10 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Rachel. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/11 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Diary 5. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Inu Inu. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/18 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Winter Blues. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/13 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2015) Andrew. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/16 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2015) Andrew. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/16 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) LA Diary. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/13 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019) Philomene, L. (2016) LA Diary. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/13 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Chloe. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/2 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Chloe 2. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/2 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Lyndsey. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/12 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2015) Andrew. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/16 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Beck. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/6 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2015) Chloe and Hobbes. [online] Available at: https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/16 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Beck 2. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/6 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2015) Chloe. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/16 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Candice. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/6 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Selfridges. (2015) Agender. [online] Available at: http://www.selfridges. com/GB/en/features/articles/content/ agender-the-conceptspace (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) William. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
meappropriatestyle.com. (2015) Agender. [online] Available at: https:// meappropriatestyle.com/2015/04/04/ agender-introducing-a-gender-neutral-shopping-experience-2/ (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Lucky A Star Is Born. [online] Available at: https:// www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/ page/3 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Anon. (2015) Agender. [online] Available at: https://www.racked. com/2015/3/17/8218321/gender-neutral-clothes-unisex (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
The Phluid Project. (2018) Something New. [online] Available at: https://www. thephluidproject.com/something-new/ (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Steph. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/8 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Anon. (2018) The Phluid Project. [online] Available at: http://filmi-onlain.info/jpgppng-phluid-project.shtml (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Cousins, M. (2016) Portrait. [online] Available at: http://www.dazeddigital. com/projects/article/29257/1/maisie-cousins (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Anon. (2018) The Phluid Project. [online] Available at: http://resizeme.club/ picresize-22_2.html (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Hobbes Ginsberg. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/11 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2018) Smoke Break. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/3 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2016) Winter Blues. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/13 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Twins in Berlin. [online] Available at: https://www. laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
Artillo, E. (2017) The Lamb. [online] Available at: http://www.nowally.com/ palomo-spain-for-the-lamb/ (Accessed: 18 Jan 2019) Felig, A. (1940) Blowing Bubbles. [online] Available at: https://www.gettyimages.fr/ detail/photo-dâ€™actualit%C3%A9/premium-ratesapply-circa-1940-a-woman-in-a-photo-dactualit%C3%A9/3436988 (Accessed: 18 Jan 2019)
Philomene, L. (2017) Rufina. [online] Available at: https://www.laurencephilomene.com/blog/page/5 (Accessed: 19 Jan 2019)
6.4 Fig References Fig 1: Percievers and Actors Rudman, L. and Glick, P. (2015). The social psychology of gender. New York: The Guilford Press.
Fig 2: Processes That Perpetuate Gender Stereotypes Rudman, L. and Glick, P. (2015). The social psychology of gender. New York: The Guilford Press.
Fig 3: Masculine Mystique Standards O’Neil, J. (1981). Patterns of Gender Role Conflict and Strain: Sexism and Fear of Femininity in Men’s Lives. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 60(4), pp.205
Fig 4: The Genderbread Person Killerman, S. (2015). The Genderbread Person. [online] It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. Available at: https://www.genderbread.org/wp-content/ uploads/2017/02/Breaking-through-the-Binary-bySam-Killermann.pdf [Accessed 18 Jan. 2019].
Fig 5: Triangulation Visocky O’Grady, J. and O’Grady, K. (2009). A Designer’s Research Manual. Minneapolis: Quayside.
6.5 Appendix 6.5.1 Blank Survey 1. What is your age? -
18-20 21-23 24-26 27-28
2. What is your gender identity? -
Male Female Non-Binary Other
3. What is your sexual orientation? -
Heterosexual Gay Lesbian Bisexual Pansexual Asexual Prefer Not To Say
4. Out of the below options, which social aspect is MOST important to you when purchasing clothing? -
Expressing who you are Pushing boundaries and expectations Fitting in and being accepted Looking good to those around you
5. Which of the following terms do you know the meaning of? (before today) -
Transgender Non-Binary Gender Fluid Gender Identity Gender Expression Androgyny Biological Sex
- Cisgender - Gender Non-Conforming
6. Which statement most accurately reflects your beliefs about gender? - Gender is biologically assigned at birth and cannot change - Gender is about personal identification and sensing who you are internally - Gender is a social construct and does not exist - None of the Above
7. Which statement most accurately reflects your beliefs about gender roles and stereotypes within society?
- Gender roles and stereotypes restrict individuals and should not exist at all - Gender roles and stereotypes play an important role in society and are always necessary - Gender roles and stereotypes can be restrictive but are sometimes necessary - None of the Above
8. To what extent would you say your gender identity impacts your purchasing decisions (Fashion)? -
Extremely Very Moderately Slightly Not at all
9. Do you believe gender expectations and stereotypes limit/have limited you in the choice of clothing you look at or buy? -
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
10. Do you ever shop outside of your gender category? -
Always Usually Sometimes Rarely Never
11. What do you believe is acceptable for a woman to wear? -
Suits Ties Baggy Clothing Sportswear All of the Above None of the Above
12. What do you believe is acceptable for a man to wear? -
Skirts Dresses Heels Crop Tops All of the Above None of the Above
12. What do you believe is acceptable for a woman to wear? -
Skirts Dresses Heels Crop Tops All of the Above None of the Above
13. Would you be less inclined to purchase an item of clothing if it were perceived to go beyond what is considered acceptable for your gender category? -
Yes No Maybe Unsure
14. Do you believe people should be able to wear what they want even if it goes beyond what is considered acceptable for their gender category? -
Yes No Maybe Unsure
15. If Yes, Why?
- (Space to write answer)
16. If No, Why?
- (Space to write answer)
16. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements: - “categorising clothing by gender is not inclusive of those who identify outside of the gender binary” -“gendered fashion marketing and categorising clothing by gender puts limitations on self-expression” -“gendered fashion marketing and categorising clothing by gender enforces gender stereotypes within society” -
Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree
17. Which of the following statements best describe you?
- I’m more likely to buy clothing if it is advertised as inclusive of more gender identities than just my own -A clothing brands advertisement showing different gender identities has no impact on my decision to purchase or not -I am less likely to buy clothing if it is advertised as inclusive of more gender identities than just my own
18. What factors might encourage or discourage (specify) you from purchasing
clothing that doesnâ€™t categorise based on gender? - (Space to write answer)
6.5.2 Survey Results
Why not? Everyone should have the freedom to choose their clothes. Comfort above all! Fuck gender norms - let people wear whatever. Ideally anyone should be able to wear anything they like and still be “accepted”. wear what makes you feel good It’s clothing. Ultimately, the only opinion that matters about the clothes you wear is yours. It doesn’t harm anyone else People should be able to wear what they feel is comfortable and looks good on them. It should be irrelevant what gender is supposed to wear that type of clothing. Anyone should be able to wear the clothing they feel comfortable in, even if it isn’t gender-conforming Because it is a freedom that doesn’t harm anybody!! The only person who should care is the person wearing the clothes Personal liberty because people should wear what they want to wear Because gender has nothing to do with a person’s sense of style There is no rational reason why those restrictions should exist in the first place. It has zero impact on my own life what other people dress like. It’s nobody’s business what someone is wearing. The way a person expresses themselves through clothing is a personal choice, and I think it’s unfair to limit a person to what is considered “normal”. People should be allowed to wear whatever they want. However, fashion is speech. Society may not approve of someone’s mode of dress, but they should still be allowed to wear it. Cause I’m not a fucking mennonite There is no logical reason to restrict clothing choices based on sex or gender. While people *should* be able to wear what they please, many don’t because they have been socialised to avoid “opposite” gender clothing and subsequently fear judgement. It is their right to wear what they want We shouldn’t have to look for people’s approval for something as banal as clothes It’s just clothes--it’s not like it’s hurting anyone. It’s perfectly acceptable for someone to wear what they want and how they want. There are some restrictions at jobs/school for safety and/or professionalism, but overall we need to expand our ideas of who can wear what only based on gender. For example, people can be dressed equally “professional” but if it doesn’t match society’s expectations of what they “should” wear based on their gender, it’s suddenly unacceptable. And that’s just silly! Because we live in a free society and what someone wears is no business of mine. Wear whatever makes you happy. Your gender doesn’t matter, you can be a feminine man or a masculine women. Do whatever you want. Bc individuals in society should have the freedom to do as they please, regardless of their sex/gender
Although standards (gender roles and stereotypes) can be useful, it is extremely important that individuals have some ability to break traditions or else they can never change. Everyone should be allowed to express themselves and wear what they feel comfortable in It is ultimately their decision to wear whatever they would like, and it is an expression of themselves. People are capable of making their own decisions and that doesn’t affect me even if I disagree. Whilst I may not want to particularly wear “very masculine” clothes, that shouldn’t restrict other people from wearing clothes they feel most comfortable in. There is no justification for restricting what people can wear for reasons of “gender appropriateness”. Clothing is very stereotyped in our society and you should be able to wear what you want although due to societal beliefs I do find it odd or offputting when I see a guy in women’s clothing. I believe societal standards should be destroyed. None of my business what other people wear. personal freedom means not letting outside forces control your decisions That’s their business. it doesn’t hurt anyone People are free to wear whatever they want. Controlling what people wear is unjust. assigning gender to clothes is stupid and people should wear what they want without judgement or being seen negatively or seen as trying to be something that are not You do you There is no harm to anyone else when you wear clothing of any sort. Wearing clothes is simply covering ourselves in what we have to and/or what we find most suitable. People should be able to express themselves, and look good doing it. I think forcing people should be forced into conformity and should be accepted regardless. It’s all a social construct, and therefore you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Everybody should be free to express themselves, I think senseless conformity and traditions are outdated If they enjoy it and they wear it in a nice way I don’t really mind Depends on the item worn and who the person is Because “what it considered acceptable” is bullshit and no one should have to feel like they need to conform when they don’t truly want to it’s their body and their choice. it’s not important to me what other people wear as long as it isn’t like blatantly offensive (i.e. a shirt with racial slurs on it or something). People should be able to express themselves how they wish (as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else). Also a lot of gender stereotypes are built about misogyny. Women faught hard for equal right, and that’s why it’s now ok for them to wear less reateictive or objectifying clothing. However a man can’t wear feminine clothing because it’s wrong to “appear girly”. This is a direct hangover from the idea that women are somehow less than men. That it’s seen as shameful for a man to dress like a women. Because why not? Clothes are clothes. Everyone should wear what they like. Clothing should be individual. I may want to dress according to my gender identity but everyone should have the choice to or not to. I don’t think we have any right to regulate other people’s fashion choices, beyond some level of ban on public nudity. And I don’t see any reason to care if other people want to dress strangely. Clothes don’t have a gender. Everyone should just wear what they want. Who cares what other people think? Honestly, if a man wearing a dress or a woman wearing a suit is your biggest problem, you have no idea what problems are. Because those gender categories shouldn’t exist; one’s biological sex shouldn’t mean anything regarding aesthetic choices. Because people should be able to do what they want withing reason, and local laws (sometimes). It’s always just seemed a bit weird to me that people have these self imposed restrictions on stuff like clothing because people should be happy Because who cares what other people wear I believe people have the right to express themselves in whatever way doesn’t actively harm others. So anyone should be allowed to where whatever they want because it is a personal choice that doesn’t hurt others. Because it seems stupid to restrict what someone wants to wear just because of their gender just let people wear whatever makes them happy Freedom of expression - no separation What people wear doesn’t matter to me at all Yes because it’s their own life and they aren’t hurting anyone. The weird exception is the workplace, in which you aren’t really operating under your own rules, youre operating under corporate’s rules. That’s what makes them happy As long as their fashion choices don’t affect me (ie wearing spikes that will hurt other people or something crazy), I don’t believe I have a say in their choices. Wear whatever you want, I don’t care. Yes, because clothing as a form of self-expression can be incredibly important to an individual. Sometimes political, sometimes a fashion preference, comfort, or influenced by music and other cultural interests. What’s considered gendered clothing is at it’s core just clothing- clothing that probably appeals to people of varying sexes or genders. If it’s not harming anyone- there’s no reason to prohibit wearing it Be who you want to be in whatever wonderful way that is. Clothing should have no gender assigned, it’s just an inanimate object. People should wear what makes them comfortable It should be completely upto them and their choices Do what you want if you’re not hurting anyone, there’s no place for the law in fashion Because people should be able to wear whatever the hell they want. Because clothing is a way to express the person you are, clothing isn’t something that has to be for one gender or another, it’s for everyone. You are who you are, and that’s okay. As long as it isn’t hurting anyone else, people should be able to do whatever they want.
Everyone should wear what they feel comfortable in Gender should not be restrictive towards what a person chooses to wear. There’s no reason to restrict people to specific kinds of clothing. The only restrictions should be those we impose to ourselves. Because it doesn’t mean anything beyond cultural. Wear what you want Fashion can be a very important aspect of self expression and is sometimes one of the only things an individual has control of in their life. Everyone should have the freedom to wear what they want. The limits on what is acceptable attire for different genders, age groups and even orientations are completely arbitrary and are products of past societal “norms”. These same societal “norms” were and in some instances still are responsible for not allowing different races to intermingle or same sex couples to marry or women to hold office. People are people and, whatever categories they are lumped into, should be free to pursue whatever career or relationships or hobbies that would be allowed of any other person, let alone what clothes they choose to wear. As long as no harm is being caused to others and actual, reasonable laws are being broken, no one should have any right to encroach on the expression of any other individual especially over something as trivial in the grand scheme of things as their choice of clothes. I think people should be able to wear what they want, with the exception of extremely revealing clothing out in public, regardless of their biological sex. Because I see no reason for restricting this based on gender/sex As long as the outfit isn’t inappropriate for the situation (such as having swears or sexual content, or wearing a sundress to a black tie event) people should be able to wear what they want. Because that’s their right It’s none of my business what other people wear, even if it’s weird or uncomfortable to me It doesn’t affect anyone else - people can do what they want. Not harming anyone to reduce the stigma! wear what you want Because people should be able to express themselves freely Because it’s none of our business what someone wears relative to their gender identity People should be able to freely express themselves, and labeling certain clothing as too “masculine” or “feminine” for someone takes that away Anyone can do what they want if it’s not hurting anyone The opinions of others, about your decision to do anything with your own body, do not matter. Because it is just clothes. It is fabric you put on your body. Wear whatever you want. Because it hardly matters. I believe individual freedoms are more important than public approval when it comes to trivial things like appearance Why the hell not?
N/A Even though people should be (legally) able to do such things, there should be a social stigma against “crossdressing” for men. This question is worded strangely I think I am mis-reading the question a little bit, but I could care less if a man or women wore a dress as long as it covers them up I dont want to be seeing anybodys legs or chest man or women. we have clothes for a reason and thats to cover up. So as long as they are covered up I could care less what the fabric of it is called
Price I’m a woman who dislikes skirts and dreases and the trend on tiny pockets. But marketting “gender-neutral” cloting as just men’s clothes on women means IT WON’T FIT MY FEMALE HIPS OR BOOBS. Give me androgenous clothin that comes in “people with boobs and hips” sizes. Money Style, size Fit and comfort i just buy clothes i like, it has no affect on me whether or not the brand is inclusive or not. I don’t want people “calling me” out if I’m wearing a “men’s hoodie”, it feels humiliating and dehumanizing in a way. Encourage: high quality products, fits a variety of body types (e.g. muscular women are not catered for very well in the existing gendered fashion categories) Discourage: overpriced niche products (e.g. TomboyX) I’d be afraid that people would laugh at me, if I bought clothes that aren’t strictly for males. I realize it sounds dumb, but I’m very sensitive to what I wear and who would be wearing something similar. As a straight man, most of the clothing deemed acceptable for me to wear is also acceptable for anyone else to wear. Men’s clothing is sort of the default, wheras women’s clothing is the aberration. It would be hard for me to even tell gender-agnostic clothing from regular mens clothing. I’d be down to buy clothes that specifically aren’t gendered, because unisex clothing is fire as fuck. If rather than a negation of gendering there is a broadening of gendering into some monstrous amalgam of personality traits that has no basis in reality I don’t fuck with it. Fear of social judgement and current social norms. While I’m not opposed to the concept of wearing clothes aimed at women, it firstly doesn’t appeal to me too strongly, and more importantly I wouldn’t want to face the social ramifications of wearing it. I just choose clothes based on comfort Opposite-gender clothing doesn’t always fit my body correctly. “Men’s” pants, for example, aren’t made to fit around my lady-hips! Therefore I tend to stick with women’s pants. But I will buy men’s tshirts, which can fit fine. My spouse, a man, like how women’s shirt have more variation in color, cut, and design than many men’s shirts. But they don’t fit his shoulders and body, so he doesn’t buy them. Like, I *get* that we have different bodies biologically, but that’s not about gender! Clothes are already made to fit different bodies: different sizes, different pant-lengths, etc. Maybe clothes also need to be classified on how they fit like, around the hips and chest and shoulders, too. (Sometimes there is! But not often enough.) Even people who are cisgender and wear only their gender’s clothing can have plenty of trouble with the fit of clothing, because we all just have different bodies. But, it’s like clothing companies don’t acknowledge that enough and make a certain style for “man” bodies and a certain style for “woman” bodies.
And even then for plus-sizes, they just scale things up, resulting in yes, wider pants and shirts, but then they also have too-long of legs and shoulders! It’s like clothing companies don’t actually know what bodies look like and only know what “clothing” looks like, and think humans will change themselves to fit clothing. That’s silly! Clothing is literally able to be changed to fit people! Both their bodies, and their personal expression. How the clothing looks. If it is not traditionally male in appearance or is not displayed in a men’s section then I will never purchase it. Encourage - if it’s my style and suits me Even if the marketing does not target a specific gender, my culture and my peers could still perceive the clothing to be more feminine, which could result in being laughed at or otherwise receiving unwanted attention. If I like the item of clothing, if it’s on trend etc I identify as female and just prefer feminine clothing in general, if I am not able to tell whether or not it is for males or females I would be discouraged from buying it as I don’t want to express myself in a more masculine way. I prefer clothes that enhance my feminine beauty either way (things that compliment my waistline for example) and would probably go for clothing that would suit my body. In all clothes would just have to look good on my body but typically clothes that are more feminine are the ones that flatter my body. If it looks good I literally only purchase clothing meant to be “fashionable” if I think it will make me more attractive to the largest possible number of potential mates. Clothes purchased for utlility, such as hiking boots, or workout equipment is only based on comfort and how useful it is. Otherwise, I could not care less what I’m wearing as long as people want to see me take it off later. It doesn’t matter what gender the clothing is labelled for, if it accentuates my body, and projects the message that I want to the people I meet. I don’t care if it’s a demi-agender rainbow of identities on the label. If sundresses come into fashion next year and I can reliably attract potential mates with it, I’ll be sporting the most fetching sundress you have ever seen. Comfort, toughness (materially), look Discourage - high cost, unethical manufacturing practices Encourage - visible gender/racial/ability/sexuality/body shape diversity, good selection of clothing, mix of ‘plain’ and ‘adventurous’ clothing options, good clothing quality Sizing would be a huge issue, small for men is different than small for women My goal in buying clothing is to never have to think about if things match or go together. Gender isn’t so much of a factor for me personally. Does it look good, professional, convenient, and comfortable? How it fits me. If I was worried about being judged by others. I’m less likely to be persuaded by inclusivity, but am entirely dissuaded by exclusivity. I don’t believe being inclusive is special or notable - it’s what you should be doing. Hiring a unique range of models and/or displaying your clothing in an inclusive way is not hard. I treat these stores/brands at a neutral level like I would stores that don’t have an Express opinion on the matter. However, those stores/brands that draw a hard line on “we would never let that person into X dressing room” or “it doesn’t matter to be inclusive” are an immediate no for me. The only other factor is cost; if something is inclusive yet not affordable, I am discouraged from purchasing it. What would encourage me would be clothing of similar styles being worn by people of multiple gender identities. What would discourage me would be if it was only marketed with gendered clothes sizes rather than Small to Extra Large etc. Encourage: inclusive image, but also fit and look of clothes What gender the models who are advertising that clothing appear to have. If it shows a woman wearing the clothing item, I’m less inclined to buy it (e.g. For accessories) or I don’t buy it at all (most actual clothing) If I believe it will look good on my body type I am more inclined to purchase. If I think it would not look flattering on me I am less inclined to purchase. N/A I like to wear clothes that are traditionally advertised to men (like suits) bc it matches my gender expression, but what would stop me from buying clothes that didn’t categorize based on gender is if they didn’t have measurements. like I know I can’t buy men’s pants, they just won’t fit my hips. so I have to find women’s clothing that would fit my hips but looks masculine. if something was advertised as non-gendered, I’d like to know that it will fit my body before purchasing it. generally though, I’d like a company that doesn’t advertise their clothing as just for 1 gender. because I normally don’t wear clothing “for” my gender, id think a company like that would suit my needs. Whether I actually like the clothes. I buy men’s and women’s clothes because I like them. Nothing about gender puts me off. I buy whatever clothes I like, so I don’t think it would impact my decision. I prefer typical men’s clothes. So while I understand why it’s problematic to call them that, I still want to be able to find (for example) looser fitting pants and straight shirts easily. Pants should be fairly easy since pretty much every store already has a range of fits for men and women, but it might be harder to with shirts since women’s shirts are generally cut for people with breasts. I would favor clothes that use men’s sizing, rather than the clusterpunch that is women’s clothing sizes. If it’s comfortable and practical I’d do it because I think categorising clothes based on gender identity is ridiculous. Sure, most men don’t want to wear dresses and most women want to wear ‘girly’ clothes but why not just categorise based on types of clothing? It doesn’t have to do anything with gender identity, in my opinion. I would not buy something that is uncomfortable or I would not wear on a semi-regular basis Price, comfort, style I would be impressed and proud of them as a company, but I buy clothing based on price. If it was cheap and looked good on me I would buy from them, otherwise I would not. It’s a cause I would want to support with my patronage. It would make me feel more accepted and included. And it’s a positive step for gender in Western society. Overly-political slogans and/or themes would discourage me. Keep it simple and open - so specifics and unobtrusive.
I really don’t mind if women (or nonbinary folk) are present in ads for the male clothing department. This might be because the female clothing department has already taken all the ideas from the male clothing department and uses them actively. There’s nothing left to share. As long as the shape of the clothing looks like it would fit me (female shape) then I would buy it if it looks good. How well the clothing fits is a big factor of whether I’d buy or not Fit/suit of the garment. The biggest thing for me is does it look good and do I feel good in it. Both encourage and discourage. If I like an item of clothing I buy it. I will shop women’s clothing if I’m looking for something ‘feminine’ or fitted. As someone that identifies as female, I always lean towards more feminine clothing. There aren’t any factors that would discourage me to not purchase something I want on the sole basis of it not being categorised in my gender field. If I like it, then I’ll buy it. I prefer tops that are designed for breasts. Discourage, if the clothes are ill fitting, since male and female shapes exist. For example shirts for men are usually too short for me, since they don’t count in breast If the clothes are comfortable and at least presentable, I’m more inclined to buy them. Practicality also plays a role. For example, the presence of functional pockets on a pair of jeans is definitely a plus. I’m really minimalist so if it calls a lot of attention I won’t buy it When it’s expensive or doesn’t fit If the clothing line has masculine, feminine, and androgynous clothing that is fit for all bodies, I am more likely to buy it. For example, a shirt with buttons on the right that is available in a size that fits a short person with a large chest, or a dress that is available in a size that fits a 6’2” person with broad shoulders. I would be encouraged by the visibility in media - whether TV and film or advertising - of those clothes as normal and acceptable for everyone to wear, regardless of gender identity. I might be encouraged by dress codes being made unisex as a national rule (except where required for physical safety and even then it should be based on physical characteristics not percieved or portrayed gender identity). I would be discouraged by a fear of harassment or abuse by people that refuse to accept anyone “other”. I would be discouraged by the clothing only being designed/available for specific body types/sizes, whether small or large I might be discouraged by advertising that makes it seem like a bigger deal than it should be, like such clothing is for those that want to rebel against societies norms and everyone who wears it is making a brave statement when in my opinion it should be more on the level of choosing hot chocolate over coffee or a five bean chili over cheese and beans on your jacket spud, something a little different but hardly a big deal. I don’t like to stand out, I usually buy plain clothes that look quality. If it’s an article of clothing that stands out, either due to form factor or some divisive text on the front, I won’t wear it. If it’s got a neutral form factor worn regardless of gender, e.g. sweatshirts and sweatpants, I’ll wear it. Discourage: if it doesn’t offer clothing that fits body shapes other than “straight” - all genderless fashion I’ve come across really just caters to male body shapes while selling it as unisex. I want everyone to wear what they want without restrictions based on gender/sex, but I also want to wear clothing that fits my body shape and find it discouraging when gender-category-free always seems to just result in excluding typical female body shapes. I might be more likely to buy it since I’m a woman who wears more masculine clothing (so, by society, more gender neutral clothing). If a man can be deemed socially acceptable in it, I’d wear it. Price I’ll buy clothes that fit my style and price range no matter what, doesn’t matter whether they come from a non-gendered collection ASOS currently has unisex clothing with male and female models which I think looks cool. Am aware some of my answers in this have been contradictory which has made me check myself! I really only buy clothes based on whether I like how they look and think they’d look good on me, not based on how they’re marketed or categorized The only thing that factors into whether or not I buy clothes is price, comfort, and whether or not I like the style Honestly, as long as the clothes either look good on me, are comfortable to wear, or helps me express who I am, I don’t care if it’s supposed to be for a guy or a girl to wear, I’ll still wear it. If I like the clothes or it makes a statement I want to represent If clothing is comfortable and has a fit a like, I purchase it. I do this with both currently gendered clothing and clothing marketed as “unisex”. Currently, I like a more fitted style, so I have been shopping in, mostly, the “female” section. 5 years ago, I liked a looser fit so was shopping in the “male” section. If a company was selling clothing and didn’t categorise based on gender, it would be helpful if the fit of pieces was clearly marked, and dimensions. The usual sizing guides (S, M, L, etc.) would not work because you cannot infer the fit based on the gender it is marketed towards (meaning a traditional woman’s small t-shirt and a traditional men’s small t shirt would not fit the same, they should be categorized as “fitted small” and “unfitted small” or similar) Sustainable clothing and the slow fashion movement is far more important to me than any other aspect of fashion. I care about that and if I like the item. That’s all. If it’s trying to hard to send that message. I’m more likely to buy plain and nondescript clothing The only aspect of fashion and clothing I care about is if the clothing is comfortable to wear and it looks good on me. I don’t think there’s anything that can encourage me, if I don’t look good I’m not wearing it I would worry that the clothes would be less likely to fit my body type if they were designed for people of all genders As I don’t really identify with a gender, I don’t really pay attention to the categories of clothing. If I like it then I just like it whether it is more feminine or masculine. I like all sorts of fashion, dont care about gender. Im very tall, so I often buy tshirts/hoodies/sweaters/etc in the mens section, because its cheaper, bigger sizes, fits better, and better quality. I also buy a lot of womens clothes, but its a lot harder finding something that fits (Im 180cm). I often am too tall/big, even tho I should easily fit into the sizes. In mens clothes I easily fit M/L. I just want more unisex clothes, but ofc form fotting clothes are difficult, because people have different shapes. encourage - practicality I am not very fashion forward, so expense and comfort are most important to me. I am encouraged to buy gender non specific clothing when it’s all kind of jumbled up like in a thrift store. What would be cool if instead of women’s and men’s sizes they just had like human sizes small medium large and different clothing styles and cuts in every size.
style, comfort, price Right wing symbols, less ooptions to choose from If I enjoy the aesthetic or feel like it does or doesn’t fit me. The moral standpoints of the brand Most of the time, “androgynous” fashion is really just men’s fashion put in the women’s section or vice versa, but truly androgynous fashion is pretty boring since, to be truly neutral, it has to be stripped of any defining features. Hips and shoulder width are a real thing, so it won’t fit correctly if it’s not categorised I’ve worn an Oxford shirt, graphic tee, sweatpants, and slacks for the past 4.5 years, I don’t know fam. The only thing that would be discouraging to me from purchasing is that I’m not familiar with sizing for unisex clothes. if the clothing would be more comfortable than my usual gender specific clothes environmental impact, quality, price, brand reputation Political Pricepoint I might be discouraged if it’s something that is meant to have a certain fit, such as a suit (that didn’t stop me from buying my suit in the boys section, but it does for me weird). For things like jeans I prefer some of the women’s cuts. For shirts I literally do not care what section they are in I would not be sure whether the clothes fit me I buy what I think looks good, only thing that matters is if it fits or not which is usually a problem when buying unisex clothing. I’m trans but pre-everything so right now I would say that a lot of it is dependant on whether or not I can pass abs a guy while wearing the clothing I’m buying If I feel like I would be judged/harassed for wearing it, I would be discouraged. Price Literally nothing. I only care about whether I like the item, whether it fits me, and whether it is well-made. The same factors as with all clothing: price, quality and whether I like it or not
6.5.3 Focus Groups Focus Group 1: Participant 0986 – Age 25, male, masculine gender expression Participant 1234 – Age 19, female, feminine gender expression Participant 5858 – Age 18, non-binary, gender non-conforming Participant 1996 – Age 22, non-binary, feminine gender expression Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) IP: Okay so hi everyone, my name is Izzy and before we start I’ll just take you through what the purpose of this is, so as part of my programme of study I am undertaking research into gender categorisation in the fashion industry – so, looking into areas of both gender and what that means in today’s world and how people like yourselves shop, basically. So, to complete this dissertation and find the answers I need I’ll be asking you about your shopping habits as well as current perceptions and attitudes surrounding the two topics. It’ll last around 30 or 40 minutes with the discussion focused on themes of shopping behaviour, your experiences with in-store and online retail environments, your perceptions of gender as well as how you express yourself. Is that clear at all? All – (Sounds of agreement) IP – Okay good, I’ll be taping everything and transcribing it later, and of course if any of you would like a copy of the transcript then ask me after and I will arrange for one to be sent to you. I’ll be using the information you give to support my work and it will be written up in my dissertation. Um, also you can know that everything you say will be treated with confidence and your identities will not be disclosed as I will refer to you by your unique identifier that I asked you to write down as you came in, so don’t worry about anything you say being attributed to you as an individual so just be honest in your answers. Okay? All – (Sounds of agreement) IP – Okay, so I think that’s all for introductions, erm so I’ll start by asking you what your own perceptions of your gender expression are and maybe like where you think this has come from? 0986 – Shall I start? IP – Yeah sure 0986 – So basically the way I dress and where this has come from? IP – In relation to how you dress according to gender, yes 0986 – Ah, okay, so um as you can probably see, I dress masculine…I guess you could say? (laughs) um, yeah I shop in the men’s section, pretty exclusively I would say, and that’s probably just come from being brought up being told I was male and knowing inside I’m a guy and y’know just following that and I’m male so automatically I go to the men’s section. I think that’s the right answer, but also inside it’s like I would say that I pick up men’s clothes simply because I like them, I don’t like women’s clothes for myself, it’s just who I am IP – So you say it’s exclusively men’s, is that consistent both online and offline? 0986 – Yeah, it’s pretty automatic to be honest like I don’t question it or even think about it and like on sites like ASOS it automatically takes me to the men’s section as the first page, I guess because it’s remembered somehow from how I shop, so it’s already there I don’t even need to click or make a decision IP – So the decisions always made for you? 0986 – Uh, yeah you could say that, but it’s the decision I would make regardless
IP – Okay,  how would you say your experience compares? 5858 – Pretty different I suppose, (laughs) so I identify as a non-binary identity so basically I don’t feel fully feel I fit into either male or female, sometimes I feel more male sometimes I feel more female and so you could say that’s somewhat altered how I shop because obviously clothes are a big part of expressing yourself and it makes me feel more comfortable if what I’m wearing matches the way I’m feeling – so yeah, that’s a bit of background about me I guess (laughs) IP – So what’s it like shopping in store as someone who doesn’t exactly fit into either predetermined category? 5858 – It can get pretty annoying I guess, but more than that it can be quite intimidating at times, especially if I don’t know the shop too well because I never know if shop assistants are gonna say anything or if I’m gonna be able to use the changing rooms without people being weird about it, so mostly I shop online or if I do shop instore I just buy it and if it doesn’t fit then I return it 1996 – See with me, I think that that’s something I don’t really experience as much as non-binary person as I’m feminine presenting and people often just read me as a cis woman 5858 – Oh yeah, it definitely varies because there’s so many different ways to be non-binary and just like  was saying, he wears things based on what he likes and that’s the same for non-binary people too, your experience is obviously different to mine in that you like feminine clothes whereas a mixture of male and female suits me more and I dress depending on what I’m feeling on that day, which I’m sure is pretty similar to how cis people pick what they are gonna wear in the morning IP – That’s interesting,  would you agree with that? 1234 – In a sense I guess so, because when I get dressed in the morning gender isn’t really something I think about, but I do dress according to how I’m feeling so some days I might want to be super covered up and I guess fairly masculine but other days I’ll dress up a bit more 5858 – Yeah, so that’s similar to how it is for me except there’s just the added consideration of how I want to express my gender that day. Like people think cis people don’t have the same kind of feelings as us but they do, it’s just they happen to fit into what they were told growing up and the categories of dress we see in stores match up with how they want to dress, so it’s just they are catered for and fit what society expects therefore they don’t think have about it, whereas somebody like me does IP – Would you say you’ve face more obstacles to shopping for the clothes you want than other people then? 5858 – Yeah definitely, it’s just not easy because there’s always the threat of not knowing how someone will treat you when you’re looking in a section that they think don’t think you belong in 1996 – I do think it is getting better though, people are becoming more aware I think, but stores definitely need to step up and not make it such an intimidating environment for people like  IP –  What do you think, after hearing about those experiences? 0986 – Yeah, it’s pretty bad when you think about it, because like  said people like me who fit into societies expectations just simply don’t have to think about it IP – An you ? 1234 – Yeah it’s true, we don’t have to think about it but I think that is definitely changing like  pointed out, there’s so many more campaigns and support and stuff for transgender and non-binary people in the media right now and you see celebs like Ezra Miller, Miley Cyrus coming out as non-binary and pushing clothing boundaries as well as like Ru Paul’s Drag Race becoming popular which is normalising like men wearing make-up and stuff, all of which I think will gradually make things change IP – What do you think should change about the fashion industry? 1234 – Um, I think they need to become more aware of gender identities that aren’t just male or female because like listening to those experiences it’s clear that it fosters an environment that isn’t welcoming and also just reinforces stereotypes in a way IP – Do you ever shop outside of the women’s category? 1234 – Yeah sometimes, I like to get t shirts and jumpers and things from the men’s, because they are comfy and nice and oversized, I wear them to bed and to laze about the house mostly though so it probably doesn’t really count IP – What are your thoughts ? 1996 – That’s interesting to me because like it makes you think how stereotypes definitely do impact how you dress 5858 – Yeah I agree, for me I think I’m affected in the way that I’ll wear men’s and women’s clothes depending on whether I feel more male or female, so right there I’m applying what society tells me men and women should dress like…messed up really 1996 – Yeah yeah, everything’s sorted into categories for us so we don’t have to even think about exploring other styles 0986 – I think that’s true of most people, because we don’t realise we are influenced by it IP – Do you think these categories in clothing stores limit self-expression? 1996 – 100% for me 0986 – See, I was gonna say I’m not sure IP – Go on 0986 – Well, I just don’t even want to wear women’s clothes, I’m perfectly happy wearing men’s and I express myself perfectly fine with that 5858 – and that’s fine, but I don’t think you can really say it doesn’t limit self-expression just because you don’t think it limits yours 1996 – Yeah, that was my line of thinking, also I would add that you are perfectly happy wearing men’s clothes and that’s obviously fine but you’ve never been given another option and you’ve never been told there’s no problem if you did like something from the women’s IP –  how would you respond to that? 0986 – well, they’ve got valid points don’t they (laughs), I guess if from birth I’d never been told one thing was meant for girls another for boys and I still dressed how I did, I think then I’d be able to say I’ve never been limited even though I dress exclusively masculine 1996 – Pretty much, but that just isn’t the case for any of us is it IP – Do you think that if gender categories were removed it would be a good thing? How? 5858 – I think it would reduce stereotypes definitely, there wouldn’t be as much pressure to conform to the binary 1996 – yeah it would deffo make life a lot simpler for a lot of people I know who, like , struggle with shopping in store because of how other people gender them 1234 – I agree in terms of making things more inclusive for non-binary and transgender people and it would begin the process of deconstructing stereotypes, but also I feel it would be resisted by a lot of people and probably would be a while before it was normalised, like it might be the case of mainly effecting kids growing up now rather than people already set in their ways, like it would just help with kids developing their sense of what is for men and what is for women, I don’t know where I’m going with that
5858 – No, I agree I think it would be slow to take hold which is annoying and sad but also just a fact of life 0986 – Yeah, I think hype masculine guys especially might resist (laughs) 1996 – But also the world is changing in like breaking down toxic masculinity and that so I think it would be something more accepted by younger more open minded people 0986 – Yeah, I just think it would need to be made clear to guys that they don’t have to wear female clothes, they can still shop for men’s stuff if that’s what they are into, it’s stupid but I think a lot of guys might need that reassurance IP – How do you approach buying clothes, does your personality impact this? 0986 – I guess it does, yes, because I’m not going to wear something with something that just isn’t me on it 1234 – Yeah I get what you mean, I think personality is a factor, like you want to reflect a personal sense of style that shows who you are, like I’m quite laid back and so I prefer just chill clothing and rarely go all out with tons of make-up and accessories every day because that’s just not who I am. I think what you wear can communicate to other people who you are in a sense. 0986 – Yeah that’s what I meant (laughs) 5858 – I get that, it’s like someone who likes punk music probably dresses punk, a skateboarder probably wears vans…you pick clothes based on what you like and what you like is often dictated by your personality outside of just clothes 1996 – Yeah that makes sense, I would agree too, otherwise we would all just be wearing plain stuff or all just be dressed the same if our individual personality differences didn’t impact how we buy clothes IP – Would you all say being considered unique or different is a factor in deciding what you buy? 1234 – I think there’s definitely a sense that being different is good, like no-one wants to be just a clone 0986 – Yeah I think that’s true, everyone likes to consider themselves stylish even if other people don’t and I think part of that is being different, although I think a lot of the time people end up wearing the same things 1234 – Yeah, I think it’s something most people consider 5858 – True 1996 – Yeah, it is something I think about but my main focus is just whether I like the item, and if that makes me unique then so be it, like I enjoy not being held back about wearing something a bit “out there” because I’m worried about what other people think because most of the time I get compliments and people wish they had the guts to wear the same 5858 – That’s true a lot of the time, but sometimes I do dress just plain even though it’s not my style just because I can’t be arsed with attention it bring me, and sometimes I just want to blend in – but mostly yeah I dress to express myself and my own personal style 1234 – Ooh one thing I just thought of is like y’know when girls ask on Instagram like “oh where’s your top from” and the one who posted it just doesn’t say… 1996 – Oh my god that’s the worst, like who do you think you are 5858 – Honestly! 1234 – Yeah like that relates ‘cause I think a lot of the time they don’t want people to steal their style because they want to be the only one that has it and be looking unique, but it’s like get over yourself IP: What do you think ? 0986 – Um, yeah I think looking unique is a priority for a lot of people, but style and just expressing yourself is probably more important. I think people are probably in today’s world just more able to express themselves maybe, like with social media and shows like that drag queen one and stuff, and that’s why people feel more comfortable wearing stuff that might’ve got them beaten up in the past (laughs) 1234 – Yeah, I don’t really bat an eyelid when I see a guy in make-up on Instagram anymore, it’s great IP – What about a guy in feminine clothing? 1234 – Um, see that less often but it’s not totally unusual like I can personally name two guys I know who like feminine styles and dressing up 5858 – Yeah I think we are only going to see that more and more, and I for one think it’s such a great thing because like when you think about it women have been wearing “men’s” clothing for, what, 40 years? And the same is just now happening for men 1996 – Hmm, that’s true, it’s all about just having all the options open to us so we can choose based on how we want to express ourselves without having to hide because of social stigma 0986 – I still think you’d get a lot of people who would judge if a guy came in to a bar or whatever in a dress heels and make up, not saying it’s right, but it would definitely happen 5858 – You’re not wrong 0986 – See, like I think this generation is more just like, yeah whatever do what you want but there’s still that stigma, like it’s better than it used to be but it still wouldn’t be easy to break boundaries 1234 – Totally IP – Going back to what you said , so would you say women have an easier time of crossing gender lines? 5858 – Completely! Guys clothes are just unisex at this point, and that’s the way women’s clothing should be in my eyes…like why can’t a dress be considered unisex…people should be able to wear what they want! IP – Definitely. Also, a minute ago  you talked about it being still hard for guys, would you say that stigma is a factor that holds guys back? 0986 – Oh yeah, like insecure guys don’t wanna be called gay 5858 – So dumb 0986 – No denying that, but it’s true init… IP – Okay, so we’ve spoken a lot about instore experiences but I also wanted to discuss the online space and how that could be approached, any thoughts? 1996 – I think it would be difficult, especially considering sites like ASOS, there’s already so much to scroll through and it takes so long, I’m not sure if people would want a load of clothes they just aren’t interested in to get through as well 0986 – Yeah like I’m sorry but I’m just not interested in skirts and stuff so I think the current system works because It’s so much quicker than mixing them would be 1234 – I don’t know y’know…I think it would be possible, like I think everything should be unisex and not instantly labelled male and female but you could maybe have like in the filters bit a masculine and feminine option you could tick IP – Interesting concept, what do the rest of you think of that? 5858 – I like that, but it could also be construed as just enforcing the genders in another way, even if it is less obvious…I do like it
though, I think you would have to have the items displayed on both men and women and have some representation of non-binary and transgender identities too though, that would make it better 1234 – Ooh, like ASOS have done on some of their clothes recently 5858 – Yeah, except not on just masc clothing like they have in their unisex line, it should be on every piece IP – Do you think that kind of representation makes a big difference? 5858 – 100%, like it would be amazing growing up to see people like me on clothes websites and see myself represented and know I’m not weird for wanting to wear certain items of clothing…it would have made me more comfortable in my skin and my journey much easier because I wouldn’t be so repressed or have so much self-hate because I didn’t fit what society told me I was meant to be 1996 – Yeah I think that would be amazing for a clothing brand to do IP – As people who are cisgender  and , would this put you off buying for any reason 1234 – Not at all 0986 – No I don’t think I’d care, I think it would be great for people to feel more comfortable and stigma to be lessened in fashion, the only thing I’d be concerned about would be being able to find my usual stuff just as easily 1234 – I think the only thing is I don’t know if something like that would just be for like non-binary or those who cross-dress or like the LGBT community… I think it would be difficult to target it for everyone, but then again people in our generation are just supportive in general of LGBT rights and gender issues so I think a lot of the more forward thinking people would be on board, I guess, I don’t know 5858 – Yeah forward thinking people, people stuck in 1950 would be put off for sure (laughs)
Focus Group 2: Participant 7001 – Age 21, male, gender non-conforming Participant 1224 – Age 26, female, feminine gender expression Participant 8888 – Age 18, non-binary, androgynous Participant 4534 – Age 23, non-binary, gender non-conforming Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP)
IP: Hello everyone, as you know my name is Izzy and before we start I’ll just take you through why we are doing this, um, basically as part of my programme of study I am undertaking research into gender categorisation in the fashion industry – so I’m looking into gender and what that means in today’s world as well as how people like yourselves shop, basically. So, this focus group will be based around visual stimuli, I’ll be showing you a few images and videos and asking your initial thoughts and opinions and then inviting discussion about them afterward. It’ll last around 30 or 40 minutes with discussion mainly revolving around gender in the context of fashion. Is that clear to you all? 8888– Yeah, sounds good 4534 – Yep IP – Okay good, just to let you know I’ll also be taping everything and transcribing it later, and, um, if any of you would like a copy of the transcript then just ask me after and I will arrange for one to be sent to you. It’ll all be used just to support my work in my dissertation so everything you say will be in confidence and your identities will not be revealed because you’ll always just be referred to by the unique identifier you wrote down. Everyone okay with that? All – (Sounds of agreement) IP – Okay, great! So, to start with I’m going to show you pictures of outfits and ask you to tell me who the person might be who is wearing it, describe them, what do they do, what are they like…When you first see the picture can you write this down quickly on the paper in front of you as I’d like to get just your individual first impression and we’ll go round and read them all out once you’ve done that. 1224 – Okay IP – We’ll start with this one here, I think
4534 – So just bullet point it? Like who I think they would be? IP – Yep, if that’s okay IP – Okay…All done? 8888 – Yesss 7001 – Uh-huh 1224 – Uhh…yeepp…done now IP – Okay so,  what was your impression of who this might be? 7001 – Okay so I said this was a guy in his late teens early 20s, maybe at university because I don’t know I get the impression he’s smart because of the glasses (laughs) 7001 – Yeah, um he studies business y’know he’s quite a basic straight dude, likes going out, probably relies too much on his mum IP – Okay, great, um what did you get from it ? 1224 – Pretty similar if I’m honest, um, except I said he was sporty and probably has money IP – Why do you say he has money? 1224 – To be honest I’m not sure, like maybe because I expect rich people to wear branded stuff all the time, I literally don’t know (laughs)
IP – That’s alright, um,  what about you? 4534 – I got he’s 22, straight, goes out like 4 times a week, not my kind of guy, probably goes to the gym a lot and plays girls on tinder (laughs), uhh yeah pretty standard 8888 – Yeah I think we all got similar vibes, he’s an ocean boy for sure, don’t really have anything different to add IP – Okay, next one
7001 – Ooh! IP – Same again, just write what you think IP – Right,  we’ll start with you this time 8888 – She’s definitely like an insta queen, has like 25000 followers and they all jealous of her style, um yeah she’s into fashion and full time just takes photos of her outfits for the gram, I would probably follow her 4534 – Yeah I agree, um I said she is 21, studies fashion, goes to fashion week and is big on Instagram, probably goes out a lot IP –  What about you? 1224 – Yeah I put similar, but like I put her down as like one of those fake goth girls (laughs) like you know the bitchy girls from school who would make fun of goth and emo kids but now thinks it’s cool to call herself that because she wears black vinyl and fishnets IP – And, finally  what did you get? 7001 – Well now I feel dumb, because I put it was a guy, I thought I’d go a bit out there on this one, say the unexpected (laughs) IP – That’s alright! Just go with whatever you can picture 7001 – Okay, I think it’s a skinny gay guy, like I’m picturing Raja or Valentina from Drag Race, I think it’s the beret that made me think that, but yeah they like to cross-dress and aren’t very masc, umm, probably would wear this to an event, not every day, fairly young too like 20 IP – What do the rest of you think, since we got some different answers this time round? 1224 – That’s an interesting take, I wouldn’t have thought of it 4534 – Yeah, I guess I never even considered it could be a guy because I saw a skirt and I just I don’t know assumed…quite let down at myself considering the way I dress (laughs) 8888 – I think it’s just we all said she’s a girl because it’s expected that it’ll be a girl wearing a skirt, like we all know that we should be able to wear whatever we want and it isn’t as unusual for guys to be experimenting a lot more, especially gay guys, these days but I think that association is still there 1224 – Yeah exactly IP – Okay now the same again for this one
IP – Right we’ll start with you  1224 – I said they were an international student, probably has a job set up for after she finishes working in some fancy company, probably a friendly girl IP – ? 8888 – I put that they are gender fluid actually, I don’t know like this outfits quite a mix of masc and femme styles so that’s what gave me that impression. I think they are maybe 26-ish just because I feel this outfit is more mature and established than the others. Um, they like books and would rather go to a bar than a club, um, probably works in an office or something, I’m not sure. IP – Okay,  how do you see them? 7001 – Yeah I said it’s a gay guy again, predictable I know but I think he’s this fashion guy, quite sophisticated but doesn’t mind playing around with feminine styles in a simple and played down way, like not completely out there, he maybe writes for a magazine, and yeah I agree in that he’s probably older like 25 or 26. IP – ? 4535 – I said it was a girl like 24 and that she’s a blogger and travels to places like Thailand and blogs about it and is trying to build a following but yeah I guess I put they are a writer too, um, she’s quite plain in the way she dresses but it’s still fashion focused in her own way. Yeah I think she’s quite mature and likes to do nice things rather than spend her nights in clubs or whatever (laughs) 8888 – It’s funny that we all get similar vibes from the outfits, like in one sense or another, like we all said different things but they all had the same kind of personality 1224 – I think you can tell a lot about someone by the way they dress
8888 – Mm, yep, like people in similar friendship groups often have similar tastes because they are the same type of people, like goths hang out with goths don’t they IP – Right, that’s all for the outfits, I’m now going to show you a clip from a campaign by Prada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYRyIGRrIeE (All watch video) 7001 – Oh my god I loved that, obsessed with Violet Chachki being in it 4534 – And Sarah Paulson! IP – What does it make you feel? 7001 – Great! Like I loved the aesthetic of it all, those neon lights and then the fact that they used a drag queen was great, like because Prada is such a big brand I think it’s awesome for them to do something like that 1224 – Agreed, a big brand like Prada advertising women’s fashion using a drag queen as one of the main stars I think is quite influential IP – How so? 1224 – Well, young people can see themselves represented in fashion more, and guys who want to wear women’s clothes won’t be as ashamed if more brands do stuff like this 8888 – I think because Violet is so glamorous she works well for the part and it’s good that the simple fact that she’s a man doesn’t stop her from being cast these days 7001 – Inclusivity is always great IP – Now take a look at this image
4534 – That’s Ezra Miller isn’t it? I love them 7001 – I think he looks great! Like he’s really pulling off these outfits, it’s something guys would stay away from and be scared of but this image honestly makes me want to buy everything he’s wearing 1224 – True like if I saw a guy wearing this on street I would think he was cool as hell, who cares if a top or dress like that is traditionally feminine 4534 – Mm yeah, a lot of what they wear though you could only get away with as a celebrity, like did you see the fantastic beasts red carpet outfit? 7001 – Oh my god that was this guy? Wasn’t he dressed as like Hedwig? 4534 – Yeah, they dress very out there but I think it’s so creative and great to see like more interesting looks, even if I wouldn’t wear them myself, and celebs like this pushing gender boundaries is great for making it more normalised 8888 – That’s the thing isn’t it, when celebs do it more and more it becomes more acceptable, I think celebs doing it sets the standard and ordinary people follow once they aren’t scared to be the first ones 7001 – Yeah celebrities obviously have power when it comes to fashion and making things acceptable IP – Would you say celebrities are influence a lot of what you buy? 7001 – I would say no, I think celebrities obviously can normalise things and push things into the limelight but when it comes to my own style I generally don’t really look to celebrities It’s normally a combination of who I follow online that make me want to explore new styles as well as coming from my own style that I already have, so I follow people with similar interests and styles as me and sometimes I’ll see something new being tried that I’ll like and try myself 1224 – That’s the same with me, social media is the main source of inspiration for me if I’m feeling in a style rut, but sometimes that doesn’t work as I follow pretty similar people to myself and it’s hard to break away from my own little bubble to explore new things sometimes 4535 – Also I think celebrities are the same with like… these days’ style and trends mostly from what I’ve seen come first online and celebrities often pick some of that up and it becomes more stylish IP – These are the next set of images
4534 – This is ASOS isn’t it, their Collusion line, I love it so much like it’s so refreshing to see clothes just being clothes are not being for one gender or another and also them using people of different identities in their adverts, like I love it 8888 – Yeah I think it’s good they are beginning to do stuff like this on an affordable level, it’s a lot more approachable and doesn’t make it as exclusive as the one like Prada, as nice as that was it probably wouldn’t reach your average shopper 7001 – That’s so true, stuff like this would make a difference if it was done on a big scale, like clothing doesn’t have to just be
for one gender or the other 4534 – This is definitely more approachable than the Prada one, as nice as that was IP – What do you think ? 1224 – Um, yeah I agree basically, it’s nice to see, the clothes weren’t really my style but I like the thought behind it IP – This collection, if you didn’t know, was also designed and collaborated on by influencers and young people who would wear the clothes, what do you think of that? 7001 – Oh, that’s cool 4534 – I think that’s good because it meant that styles that young people want to wear were actually made and sold and it isn’t out of touch or anything, and it makes it seem more authentic to me somehow, like they haven’t just done it to be politically correct they’ve actually asked young people what they want 8888 – I agree, like, if a brand actually cares about an issue or its consumers then I feel they should actually have some kind of personal relationship with them and connection rather than it being just a complete disconnected money making machine, getting normal people involved in the making of the clothes or marketing and such definitely shows that to me and it makes it more accessible…like show me proper inclusivity, show me the brand getting involved with events, show me the real people the brand is for IP – What do you think of the style of the clothing? 8888 – It’s nice and basic but young and modern at the same time with the patterns, it’s cool, not my style but I like the ethos 4534 – Yeah, I just realised it’s not feminine at all though is it, I think what would really be pushing boundaries is if feminine styles were de-feminized? I don’t know, is that a word? (laughs) Um, yeah but like skirts and stuff made to be for anyone just like a guy’s t-shirt is. 7001 – That’s a point 1224 – Yeah, guys clothes are just for women as well anyway, like you always hear of girls stealing their boyfriends clothes but never the other way around All – (laughing) IP – And, finally these images from H&M
7001 – Even more here, it’s masculine based isn’t it 1224 – Yeah 8888 – I like this a lot though, again very approachable because it’s H&M, this is more my style, I like the basics but that’s just me personally, I completely understand how this isn’t very out there or expressive 4534 – Yeah it’s good that mainstream brands are bringing out unisex collections, it’s a step toward all clothes just being clothes, but you can tell that there’s still a way to go 7001 – I think guys in general just have a tougher time of being able to cross-dress, no-one would laugh at a girl for wearing a men’s hoodie and jeans 1224 – I would agree with that IP – Would anyone disagree? 4534 – No I think that’s pretty accurate 8888 – Yeah it’s clearly true, guys are more scared and I think that’s why unisex collections tend to be just men’s clothes worn by women too but not the other way around 7001 – Unisex collections should just be the entire collection; clothes aren’t inherently gendered it’s us that puts the gender on them 1224 – Woah, smart (laughs) 4534 – All in all I think most unisex collections are fairly boring and just make the assumption that non-binary people are all androgynous, which obviously just isn’t true 8888 – Yeah, like I prefer androgynous style but that isn’t reflective at all of the entire community 4534 – Exactly! I love clothes and I love expressing myself through my clothes right…but unisex clothes just assume because I’m non-binary that I’m androgynous too 7001 – Yeah that’s dumb, and obviously I’m not non-binary but as someone who doesn’t dress masculine it’s like I HAVE to shop in the women’s section because there are no unisex clothes that are my style 4534 - Honestly! It’s like I said earlier, just because I’m non-binary doesn’t mean I’m completely bland, I still like to dress up or dress down like cis men and women, like androgynous is a cool style and interesting but that isn’t the only style that should be available IP – You seem quite passionate about that 4534 – Yeah, sorry (laughs) it’s just I know this is a step in the right direction but it’s still limiting, they are only giving us the basics. Like the ASOS collection is great in my opinion in that it is unisex clothing that gives us more options than just the basics but I think it is still not quite there in terms of breaking the feminine barrier IP – (laughs) Yeah completely understandable. Okay thank you all so much, that’s all the questions and prompts I have for you, again if you have any questions just email me
6.5.4 Assisted Shopping Trips & In-depth Interviews Assisted Shopping Trip 1: Participant 3453 – Non-binary, non-conforming gender expression, 26 years’ old Location – Topshop in Nottingham Victoria Centre Date – December 16th, 12:30pm Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) Activity 1: Observation 3453 heads straight to the men’s section which is downstairs and further away in this store, as they are walking they glance at some pieces in the women’s section feeling certain items of clothing as they go. Once downstairs 3453 starts casually browsing each of the racks. 3453 seems comfortable with this action and is used to shopping in the men’s section. 3453 spends most of their time browsing the shirts and jumpers in the men’s section, in the end selecting one of each item. 3453 comments on how they hope they have a size small in the shirt they like. 3453 then walks upstairs back to the women’s section 3453 slowly walks around the women’s section and glances at the items for sale but doesn’t stop to browse like they did in the men’s section of the store. When we get back to the front of the store 3453 says they are done and that when they would normally leave the store or buy items.
Activity 2: Challenge Me: Okay I’m now going to challenge you to find something in the women’s section that you like and explore areas of the store you don’t in your normal routine. We go to the first rack and participant 1 starts to browse They did not seem uncomfortable with the task given and began confidently flipped through the rack Participant 3453 picks several items up and looks them over seemingly contemplating choosing them before putting them back and continuing on They continue to wonder round the store for several minutes, most of the clothes they look at are colourful but not overly feminine Participant 3453 eventually picks up a pink blazer and trouser co-ord which they put in front of themselves in the mirror to assess how it would look on 3453: I think I’m going to go with this as what I would pick
In-Depth Interview IP: So, I noticed how when we first went into the store you mainly gravitated toward men’s section, is this usual for you? 3453: Yeah that’s normally where I find most of the clothes I end up buying so I guess I generally look around the men’s section the most, although I’m not against wearing clothing from the women’s section as I would describe myself as not conforming to either gender in how I dress. IP: What is it about the men’s section that draw you in? 3453: Um, I guess I like the shapes more, I prefer men’s t shirts to women’s t shirts just because I don’t like the feminine shape you get sometimes with women’s, I also just think I probably lean more toward masculine but I still like quite fashionable clothing that’s like…trend driven, I guess? So that’s why I do still go to the women’s section because I feel women’s just has a lot more to offer in terms of that IP: Talk me through the women’s pieces you picked out, what made you choose them? 3453: So, I chose the pink suit, I’ve seen quite a few people wearing it on social media like the bloggers I follow and stuff and I just really like it, I like how it’s a traditionally masculine thing and a smart thing, a suit, but it’s been made fashionable and could be worn relaxed or on a night out or to work…I’m also a big fan of colour so that played into it IP: Are bloggers and social media big influences for you? 3453: Yeah I’d say it gives me a lot of inspiration, maybe before I wouldn’t have picked something like that because I would associate it with being boring or smart but after seeing how other people have styled it I was inspired to try that as a new style IP: Is combining masculine and feminine styles something you do regularly? 3453: Yeah I guess so, I just pick what I like really and that normally comes out a mix of things but like I said I like masculine silhouettes done in a playful way which I’m enjoying seeing in shops at the moment because I find men’s clothes fairly boring at times but I like the shapes IP: Do you find it difficult to find your sizing at all in the men’s section? 3453: Um, sometimes, like I normally just go with a men’s small and I’m fine with that because I like the shaping it gives IP: Is there anything that makes the shopping experience difficult as a non-binary person? 3453: Yeah, I’ve gotten more at ease as I’ve gotten older with being able to more confidently shop for the clothes I want but definitely when I was younger I was embarrassed to be seen shopping in the men’s section IP: What do you think made you feel embarrassed? 3453: I don’t know, just judgement from other people I guess because they read me as a girl and I didn’t fully understand how
I felt at the time, it was just awkward for everyone involved (laughs), the whole shopping experience used to make me feel so uncomfortable IP: What made you become more comfortable with it? 3453: I think finally figuring out what I felt inside was valid and I am allowed to wear whatever I want, I guess, and also just adopting an attitude where I don’t care what other people think or say IP: Do you think it would have helped to have had more representation in the industry? 3453: Probably, yes, it wouldn’t have been such an embarrassing thing for young me IP: Do you think that representation and personal connection to a brand is important? 3453: Um, I’m not sure, I mean I would like to see a brand that carries clothes which are inclusive and it would help a lot of young people struggling with their identity to know that it’s okay to be who they are, I think if brands reached out and did build connections with kids like that it would be a good thing, but then you do get one’s where it is clearly just jumping on the bandwagon
Assisted Shopping Trip 2: Participant 8786 – Non-binary, gender non-conforming, 23 years’ old Location – Topshop in Nottingham Victoria Centre Date – January 8th, 1:00pm Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) Activity 1: Observation 8786 begins to look around the racks at the entrance of the store where there are sales racks displayed The racks are arranged by size and 8786 heads over to theirs 8786 flicks through for about a minute but walks off appearing disappointed 8786 begins looking at the coats just outside of the sale section, they appear excited and happy looking through them 8786: Coats are my favourite 8786 tries on a faux fur yellow jacket in front of the mirror on the shop floor and then takes it off and puts it back 8786: Not keen For the remainder of the time in the women’s section 8786 walks fairly aimlessly round glancing from left to right and brushing clothing with their hand as they go past but not stopping to look at anything else 8786 then heads toward the stairs and goes down to the men’s section They again walk around a few times picking up a patterned shirt at one point and looking it over 8786 appears a bit frustrated as they look through the racks and eventually heads back upstairs They browse the bags in the women’s section for a few moments and picks up one small bag with cage detailing 8786: This is cute, I can’t really find anything else
Interview IP: As you browsed both sections anyway I think there’s no need to do the challenge portion of the activity as normally I would get participants to go look around the section they wouldn’t normally 8786: Oh right, (laughs) did I ruin it? IP: Oh no (laughs) it’s fine it’s good to get different ways people shop. So, I think I’ll start by asking what makes you look around both sections? 8786: I just like a mixture of styles, sometimes the styles I like will be in the women’s sometimes it’ll be in the men’s, so I look round both IP: You seemed to struggle a bit to find things? 8786: Yeah I just didn’t see much I wanted, it just be like that sometimes IP: How would you describe your style? 8786: All over the place (laughs), um no, my style is classy, chic but badass (laughs) if I do say so myself IP: (laughs) So do you find items that fit that description in both sections 8786: Yeah I’d say so, I like mixing it up, like I love wearing maybe a men’s suit but styling it up with feminine accessories and makeup, I think that’s my favourite look IP: Is there any barriers you’ve come across to being able to start wearing feminine clothes? 8786: Yeah I don’t really like using the changing rooms because, where do I go? I’m trying on a dress but do I go to the women’s section because it’s a women’s item or do I go to the men’s section because people’s small minds can’t gather that I’m not a boy. I just prefer to avoid the anxiousness and try it on at home IP: That sounds tough 8786: Yeah IP: Have you ever shopped with a unisex store? 8786: I’ve dabbled, I’ve bought some nice minimalist pieces before from & Other Stories because they did a collection a while back, I think it was them anyway, and yeah nice and sleek IP: How did you feel about brands bringing out collections like that? 8786: I think it’s good, it doesn’t stop me wanting a cute dress I saw in Zara or whatever though, like that’s still women’s but am I not allowed it because it’s not explicitly in their unisex section (laughs) IP: Do you find yourself just drawn to certain items and it doesn’t matter the section? 8786: Pretty much IP: How would a brand be able to get your attention with a unisex offering? 8786: I guess simply have the clothes in it that I like
Assisted Shopping Trip 3: 9999 – Male, masculine gender expression, 24 years old Location – Topshop in Nottingham Victoria Centre Date & Time – December 15th, 3:45pm Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) Activity 1: Observation 9999 heads immediately to the men’s sections, walking fairly fast with the destination in mind and not bothering to look at the clothes he passes in the women’s section. Once downstairs 9999 confidently starts to browse, picking up certain items of clothing looking at them then putting them back on the rack. He picks up a pair of leggings and appears very interested in them but also unsure at the same time. 9999: Are these for guys? IP: Does it matter? 9999: No…but are they? IP: They are in the men’s section 9999: They look comfy, something to wear to bed or keep me warm under jeans IP: Get them 9999 stares at the leggings for a couple of minutes and appears to be in conflict with himself, he keeps laughing when he mentions the possibility of wearing them himself and appears to be trying to gage whether I think it would be alright for him to buy them even though he considers them something a woman might wear. 9999 puts them back on the rack. He then goes through most other sections on the floor and picks out just a pair of jeans as something he would buy, although lingers in the joggers section trying to find a pair he likes. 9999: I’m always needing new joggers, I need something comfy to wear 9999 continues to look through the pyjamas and joggers for a couple of minutes IP: What about the leggings? 9999: Are they girly though? I don’t care about what I wear, but I just want to know like are they for girls? 9999 clearly wants the leggings but is confused because he considers it feminine, although recognises that he shouldn’t care at the same time. IP: They are in the men’s section, no-one will see you wearing them. 9999 has an internal debate with himself for a couple minutes more, still resistant even though no one will see him wearing the item of clothing he considers feminine. Eventually 9999 goes back over to the leggings and picks them up, buts back the jeans he was holding onto and goes to pay at the till. After he’s done paying he declares that he is finished.
Activity 1: Challenge IP: so, it’s safe to assume you exclusively shop in the men’s section? 9999: Yeah, there’s no point looking around the women’s is there, since I’m a man IP: Well I’m now going to challenge you to find something you like in the women’s section. 9999: …really...(laughs) 9999 looks a bit taken a back, intimidated and uncomfortable – his body language immediately changes from confident to a bit out of place and unsure. 9999: what am I looking for really? IP: Just anything you like the look of, why don’t you just have a look and browse some of the items 9999 approaches the nearest clothing rack in the women’s section and starts to flick through the items 9999: I feel silly IP: What is it that makes you feel silly? 9999: well I clearly don’t belong in this section and these clothes weren’t made for me IP: How about you try not to think of it as women’s clothes, but just clothes, and flick through with an open mind as if you really are trying to find clothing you could buy. 9999: okay 9999 moves to another rack which houses t shirts, he walks directly around a rack which displays dresses and has a lot of sequins. 9999 begins to relax a bit more and starts pulling out t shirts in a similar way to how he did when browsing the men’s section earlier. He walks further down the shop away from the small area we had started in. He heads towards a row of jumpers and pulls out a ribbed black one 9999: I guess I would wear this, like it doesn’t really look feminine even though it’s made for women 9999 could have finished there by selecting the jumper but he continues to look through the jumpers some more and appears interested in looking through them and finding things he likes now. 9999 shows me a jumper with a floral embroidered design 9999: See something like this I wouldn’t wear because it’s so obviously feminine, it’s just not for me 9999 then pulls out another jumper, this one blue with a honeycomb texture and oversized look. 9999: I like this one too IP: would you wear these jumpers
9999: (pauses) I guess? IP: You seem unsure 9999: well I don’t know, because they are women’s aren’t they IP: What if this exact item was in the men’s section, would you buy it then 9999: (pauses) I think I probably wouldn’t have to think about it so hard and would purely judge it on how it looked on me and whether I liked it, but because it’s in the women’s section I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t like it I don’t know We finish the trip and leave the store.
Interview IP: So, to start, what did you think about the tasks we just went through? 9999: It was…interesting, made me think about things I wouldn’t normally when shopping, I guess because I normally wouldn’t even consider going in the women’s section because I’ve never thought of it as something “for” me. IP: Why do you think that is? 9999: I guess because instantly the labels of men and women on the categories tell you where you should be in the shop, so why would you look at clothes that are opposite to that? And as a guy who identifies as a guy, male clothing appeals to me IP: In the second exercise where you shopped in the women’s section, how did that make you feel? 9999: Oh, totally out of my comfort zone, like I’m not one to say men can’t wear women’s clothes or whatever but as soon as it was me having to shop in that section I was like ‘this isn’t right’ (laughs) which I suppose is a bit hypocritical of me - but yeah it felt weird and I didn’t really know how to approach it, even though I guess the clothes are just clothes and I did find a couple I would wear IP: Would you ever consider shopping in the women’s section in the future? 9999: If I’m honest, no I wouldn’t…mainly just because I think my style is just more masculine and so the men’s section provides that for me and I don’t have a desire for anything else, as boring as that may be IP: What if there were no labels dictating men’s and women’s? 9999: I think that would be good actually, it would probably take away the fear of the women’s section and open up new clothing possibilities but also I would still stick to my own personal style and gravitate to masculine styles IP: In the first task, you struggled over whether you wanted to buy the leggings even though you seemed to really like them and they were in the men’s section, why was this? 9999: It seems so stupid doesn’t it (laughs), it’s just because it seems like a woman’s product so like I was unsure IP: You liked them though! 9999: I know! I don’t understand it myself, it’s like this thought of wearing something that’s for women really held me back and made me uncomfortable, and it’s annoyed me actually because I consider myself someone who is quite secure in like my sexuality and stuff, I couldn’t help it though IP: If clothing were mixed, do you think this unsure feeling would apply to all of the clothes? 9999: Um…I don’t know, I guess it could because there would still be the thought inside that certain clothes are for women and certain clothes are for men like just because there isn’t a woman’s label I’m still not going to buy a dress y’know? But then maybe over time it would make people less unsure and resistant over more basic pieces like I might buy that black jumper I picked up in the women’s because that label wouldn’t stop me, and it would be good for men who are more feminine and do like feminine clothes as it wouldn’t be as weird? I don’t know IP: Do you think your shopping habits would change at all? 9999: Maybe… actually yeah, they would! I would have to be a bit more open and look at more possibilities than just walking straight to the men’s, there would definitely have to be some kind of good organisational system though (laughs) IP: (laughs) yeah 9999: Like if I’m in a hurry I wouldn’t want to have to sort through a load of sparkly stuff just to find a shirt, ‘cause I’m sorry but you’ll never get me wearing sequins (laughs). I guess I’ll still have my more masculine leaning style and search for those pieces but it’ll make people less restricted which can’t be a bad thing IP: Do you think personal style and self-expression is a key factor for you when buying? 9999: Oh, yeah of course, like everyone buys stuff based on their personal tastes don’t they IP: Do you strive to be original? 9999: Mostly I just buy what I like and want to look good, but I wouldn’t mind people thinking I’m original and the first to trends and all that because no one just wants to be a clone, but I think most people like to believe they’re original but they aren’t really because they are just following someone else IP: What do you mean? 9999: Well, people think they are doing something new, but you walk down the street and 20 people have the same thing IP: Do you think people could be more expressive If gendered sections didn’t exist? 9999: Probably, guys who like feminine stuff wouldn’t be as scared to buy it or wear it maybe, same with women too I guess, so they could be more themselves, but I think people like me would probably stay the same because I’m quite happy slotting into a stereotype as bad as that may be IP: Nothing wrong with that (laughs), are your shopping habits the same or different online? 9999: Um, the same ‘cause online I would just go straight to the men’s section too and just look for what I’m comfortable with like I do in like an actual store. Online is just more relaxed isn’t it IP: So, if you saw those leggings online instead of instore, would you have been more relaxed about buying them? 9999: (laughs) yeah I think so, because they would clearly be in the men’s section and there wouldn’t be a doubt in my mind that they’d just accidentally been placed there…so stupid (laughs) IP: It seems important to you that something is clearly marked as ‘male’ if it is more of a gender ambiguous item 9999: yeah, I wouldn’t ever think I would be like that ‘cause it’s not something I normally would think about! If the gendered categories had never been a thing though it would probably not be something I would struggle with IP: You think? 9999: Yeah, ‘cause it just wouldn’t be a factor would it IP: So changing it all now, do you think you’d struggle?
9999: Possibly, but I would get over it I think, it might actually make me less expressive for a while ‘cause I might just stick to items I’m sure are masculine, but that kind of mind-set I’m sure would wear off if it were normalised IP: What if there wasn’t any pressure to be more feminine, and it was still clear you could have your own style and didn’t have to change? 9999: I think that’s the way it would have to go, like you can’t force guys to suddenly like female stuff, it’s just not gonna happen, you have to accept that they want to buy the masculine stuff and there are gonna be some girls who just want to buy the feminine stuff IP: Exactly, yeah. But then it also opens up the possibility if they ever did find themselves like something as simple as a jumper and wouldn’t be stopped by a ‘male’ and ‘female’ sign
Assisted Shopping Trip 4: 0001 – Male, masculine gender expression, 19 years’ old Location – Topshop in Nottingham Victoria Centre Date & Time – December 15th, 4:45pm Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) Activity 1: Observation 0001 walks into the shop and straight to the stairs where he walks down the stairs to the men’s section 0001 walks the whole way around the shop floor once and then comes back around and looks at the shirts on sale 0001 picks up a few items and seems to compare them against each other before selecting a dark paisley print one 0001: yeah that’s about me done IP: That was fast! 0001: I don’t like to dawdle when I shop (laughs) IP: Fair enough
Activity 2: Challenge IP: Well now that I’ve seen your very quick normal shopping trip I’m going to challenge you to find an item you like in the women’s section 0001: The women’s? 0001 seems taken aback and finds the thought amusing IP: Yup 0001: Okay I guess 0001 heads upstairs and stops at the top looking around 0001: Don’t really know what to look out, this is alien territory for me 0001 slowly walks up to the closest stand and looks through but doesn’t really pay much attention to the clothes he’s going through, he acts like he is not interested 0001: Don’t think it’s going to be as quick to find something I like in here somehow (laughs) IP: Are there any items you’ve been after recently? 0001: Um, maybe basics IP: How about you start with that then 0001 walks toward a row of t shirts and flicks through them again going backward and forth between the items 0001 picks up a striped t shirt on the 3rd look through 0001: I guess this would be fine, I would have to get it in a big size if I were to buy it though to make sure there’s not that girly shape girls tops sometimes have
Interview IP: Do you exclusively shop in the men’s section? 0001: Yeah always IP: How did you feel about being asked to pick something out of the women’s? 0001: A bit taken aback, it’s not what I would usually do so I don’t really know how to navigate myself around it, it was hard to know where to start IP: You ended up picking up a t shirt, tell me a bit about what made you choose it and your thoughts on it 0001: Um, well it’s a standard basic I guess, like even though it was in the women’s section I’m not opposed to it because it doesn’t look feminine, nothing wrong with looking feminine it’s just not my style IP: Do you think this experience opened you up at all to the possibilities of wider options? 0001: In a way, I would never go to the women’s section so it was interesting being put out of my comfort zone like that, but with a striped t shirt I could easily have got that in the men’s section so it doesn’t make too much difference which one I buy it from. I think I would never look in the women’s section so I don’t really know I they have anything to offer that I would want that the men’s don’t have…I guess women in general have more options to begin with like their section is always bigger so there’s that, but I just like men’s styles better IP: Do you think the men’s section is lacking in options compared to the women’s then? 0001: I would say so, yeah, there just isn’t as much room to have different styles like the women’s, I guess because women are known to be bigger shoppers IP: I noticed when shopping normally you were very to the point in and out, not really stopping to look around much
0001: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of shopping as it can be quite overwhelming and it’s always hot in there so I don’t like to spend too long, I prefer to shop online really where I can just relax more IP: Would you say convenience is important to you when shopping? 0001: Yeah I like to be able to go straight to what I’m looking for and just get it IP: How would you react if men’s and women’s were merged? 0001: I don’t really know to be honest, I feel like it would take a bit of getting used to, I wouldn’t be opposed to it but I think I would need to be able to have that same convenience level which if men’s stuff was just scattered amongst the women’s would not be easy because you’d have to go through so much crap to find one thing
Assisted Shopping Trip 5: 2222 – Female, feminine gender expression, 21 years old Location – Topshop in Nottingham Victoria Centre Date & Time – December 16th, 12:00pm Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) Activity 1: Observation 2222 begins looking around the entrance of the store flicking from item to item pausing for longer on some and pulling others out They weave in and out of the aisles looking at most of the racks and makes sure they don’t miss much Occasionally 2222 pulls out an item and goes over to the mirror to look at it in front of her 2222 looks at dresses for the longest amount of time in total They get frustrated when one dress they had been looking at, a sequin one, didn’t have her size on the rack 2222: I’m going to ask 2222 asks the shopping assistant and they bring out her size from the back 2222 seems happy with this and goes to the changing room to try it on When they come out they are holding the dress 2222: I’m actually going to buy this, I didn’t expect to find something I wanted or to spend money today 2222 goes to the till and pays
Activity 2: Challenge IP: Okay now I’ve observed you shopping I’m going to ask you to go to the men’s section and do the same there, have a look around and pick something out you like 2222: Oh, okay sure 2222 goes downstairs and approaches the men’s section in the same way she approached the women’s; going through almost every rack and flicking through the items considering each on 2222 pulls out a patterned shirt 2222: I would buy this for my boyfriend, not for me though 2222 continues looking around and takes her time 2222 eventually pulls out a hoodie which she considers for a moment 2222: Okay I would get this
Interview IP: So I think I’ll start by asking, do you always shop in the women’s section? 2222: Yeah always IP: Ever in the men’s 2222: Oh yeah, occasionally, their stuff is just so much more comfier I love getting men’s t shirts and jumpers IP: So the challenge wasn’t too much of a stretch for you? 2222: No not really, it was just the first time I looked around I didn’t think to go down there because it’s quite out the way and hidden so I forget it’s there sometimes, you kind of really have to be wanting something specific from there to bother going down whereas I come into Topshop and just casually browse everything even if I don’t have anything in mind IP: That’s interesting, would you say you are prevented from looking at the men’s because of this? 2222: In a way I guess, it’s just out the way really IP: Tell me about the dress you bought 2222: Oooh, I’m so happy with it, I didn’t expect I’d actually buy something but I do have a Christmas work party coming up so I wanted something Christmassy and it’s just perfect IP: Would you say you’re quite an impulse buyer? 2222: Guilty (laughs), I try not to buy stuff but it doesn’t last long IP: Do you think you are not as impulsive when buying men’s stuff because you mentioned you go to the men’s only when you have specific items in mind 2222: You could say that because I’m not just casually browsing the men’s for just a bit of fun shopping so if I have an item in mind I’ll go down and maybe I’ll impulse buy something else, but other than that I don’t really impulse buy anything from there IP: Tell me about the hoodie you liked 2222: It’s just a good comfy hoodie isn’t it, can never get enough of those and men’s ones are always better and it’s not like you can tell it’s men’s, it’s basically unisex anyway IP: How would you feel if the men’s and women’s were merged? 2222: It would be bad for my bank account because as you pointed out I don’t have to impulse buy as much men’s stuff (laughs), but seriously, I think that would be good, putting people into boxes is a but outdated anyway isn’t it
IP: How so? 2222: Well who cares if a guy wants to wear a skirt, who cares if a girl wants to wear a suit, it’s 2019 people
Assisted Shopping Trip 5: 6757 – Female, feminine gender expression, 28 years’ old Location – Topshop in Nottingham Victoria Centre Date & Time – December 16th, 1:00pm Moderator: Isobel Plummer (IP) Activity 1: Observation 6757 walks slowly around the store Occasionally they stop to look at a few things but only fleetingly pushing items back to see what the item behind is and then continuing 6757 continues to walk around the store for several minutes They spend the longest amount of time looking at the earrings and phone cases on display by the tills of the store They bend down to look at the ones at the bottom, taking ones of the rack to see the ones behind They go around the cases which hold the earrings and accessories several times 6757: I like these earrings They are holding a pair of small gold stud earrings 6757: I think that’s all I’d look at
Activity 1: Challenge IP: Okay now I’d like you to look around the men’s section and do the same again, try and pick out something you like 6757: Okay 6757 goes straight down to the men’s section They seem okay with the task and not shocked or uncomfortable in the slightest 6757: Same again did you say? IP: Yes please 6757 walks around the smaller men’s section in a similar way to how they walked around the women’s section They appear to be taking everything in in an overview of the store Eventually 6757 approaches one of the racks and flips through some items before stopping and continuing walking around They do this several times and are engaged with process without any noticeable differences between this experience and the women’s section experience 6757 looks through all of the t shirts on offer Once she has flicked through them all she goes back through them and pulls out two white t shirts with graphic print designs on them 6757: These two are my favourite, I like the pattern
Interview IP: Do you always shop in the women’s section? 6757: Yeah I’m a woman and I like women’s clothes so it’s the perfect section for me IP: Do you ever shop in the men’s section? 6757: Not really, I mean, I have done several times but I never think to really IP: How did you feel about being asked to today? 6757: Totally fine, not a problem with it, it’s quite normal really, a woman isn’t really being revolutionary if she wears men’s instead of women’s IP: Do you think that’s the same both ways? 6757: What, if a man wore women’s? IP: Yeah 6757: I don’t think that is particularly revolutionary either, I mean, of course it’s not the norm and people wouldn’t look twice if I wore men’s but they probably would if a man wore women’s IP: How did you find the experience of shopping in the men’s? 6757: Yeah, fine, not a big deal to me, it’s just like looking around the women’s but less flashy IP: If it’s the same why don’t you ever shop in there? 6757: Just don’t think to, not something I think about IP: Do you think it would be a good thing to not have the barrier of men’s, and to open up more options to you? 6757: Well I don’t think there’s much of a barrier at the moment, well for me anyway, because I have no problem shopping in the men’s, but then again I guess there is one because I don’t shop there so I don’t really have the options open to me even though I do like the clothes…It’s kind of like if they cordoned off the dresses in the women’s section, I might not ever go in there because I don’t think I need a dress but then I never look so I don’t know what I’m missing, hm.. IP: Tell me about the items you did pick out from the men’s 6757: I do really like men’s t shirts, I prefer the sleeves because they are baggier and those patterns were cute IP: Do you think there needs to be that distinction that those t shirts are for men? 6757: No, they are basically unisex aren’t they it’s just I had to go into the men’s section to get them, they might as well have a version out in the women’s section too
6.5.5 Industry Interviews Industry Interview 1: Trishna Daswaney, founder of Kohl Kreatives 1. What was it that inspired/motivated you to create your company which has such a strong focus on the transgender community? Unanswered 2. What impact do you think indicators of gender, or stereotypes in general, have on the way consumers purchase or make decisions? Unanswered 3. How important do you believe the idea of achieving self-identity and self-expression is, from what you have seen within your client-base? Super important it comes from my experience with me myself and I. I used to use makeup as a self empowerment tool and I share that experience with everyone 4. Do you believe the world has changed at all in the way we view gender and how do you think companies such as yours impact the community it works with? Yes, for me it’s very hands on I run free workshops weekly for those who need help in discovering makeup to better their lives on a weekly basis. 5. Is there anything that you believe the fashion industry could learn from the beauty industry in the way it operates? Yes! Inclusivity is not temporary it’s not a marketing tactic, it’s everyday, there are real people and it affects them not just during special events like “breast cancer awareness month” or “transgender awareness week” 6. What is the most important message Kohl Kreatives aims to get across? Beauty is for everyone, it’s what you make of it, there’s no wrong or right, and unlike most blanket “giving back” ours is tangible, if someone buys a brush I offer them personalised tutorials, if they’re struggling I offer them help. It’s not the distance I want from the consumer it’s truly inclusive. Industry Interview 2: Spokesperson from One DNA 1. What was it that inspired/motivated you to create your company which has such a strong genderless focus?
We don’t believe clothes should have a gender. We don’t shop for clothes through a binary lens. We believe there’s a community of people -- that come from all walks of life -- that share a similar POV. Further we think there’s a message behind the idea of removing gender from clothing and escaping the gender binary in general... and that is that we should break down boundaries and be more inclusive and open minded
2. What impact do you think categories of gender, or stereotypes in general, have on the way consumers purchase or make decisions? The main point to make from our POV is that when you label clothing women’s or men’s your automatically creating an artificial boundary that divides people. A person might want to dress more feminine or masculine (all of the time or some of the time) so removing the label allows them the freedom to choose without question. This is true for people from all walks of life and includes gender non-conforming people, trans people, etc
3. How important do you believe the idea of achieving self-identity and self-expression is for consumers? Self-expression is a key part of fashion and consumerism more broadly. We are motivated to allow people to feel good and empowered through their dress
4. Do you believe the world has changed at all in the way we view gender and how do you think companies such as yours impact the community it works with? The idea of removing gender from objects like clothing is becoming increasingly mainstream. For example, several large organisations have taken steps to break free from gendered labeling and to end gender related stereotypes in their products and marketing. The issue of gender identity still has a long way to go in our opinion but others who work more closely in medical arenas, gender studies, and so on are more qualified to discuss that.
5. Is there anything that you believe the fashion industry could develop in its approach to gender?
There’s many steps the industry can take both big and small. The more progress the industry makes the better, in our opinion. The list is too long to go into here but suffice to say we believe we are doing more than or fair share by creating a unique line that has been gender-neutral from day one
6. Are there any key obstacles you came across when setting up One DNA as a brand in relation to it’s genderless offering? We work hard on developing silhouettes that fit people from all walks of life and that level of experimentation and innovation
What is the most important message One DNA aims to get across?
We are all the same underneath
6.5.6 Consent Forms
6.5.7 Gantt Chart Week Commencing 19th Nov
Theory Research Write Lit Review Write and Send Out Survey Contact Experts Expert Feedback Contact LGBT+ Society Assisted Shopping Ethnography Depth Interviews Focus Groups Analyse All Results Write Report Create the Visuals Print the Report
6.5.8 Customer Segmentation Model Gender Is Irrellevant to Fashion
Innovators Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming Activists
Tried and Tested
Followers Not Do-ers Online Savvy
Early Adopters Fashion Forward Online Savvy Under 30s
Late Majority 30+ Facebook Over Instagram Doesnâ€™t Aim to Stand Out
Laggards Function Over Fashion Traditional Mind-Set Gender Is Always Necessary in Fashion
Like Trying New Things
The Government is reviewing changes to the Gender Recognition Act which will improve the rights of transgender people (Stonewall, 2019)
Digital natives, or GenZ, express preference for the use of social over traditional media social media (Nikou, Mezei and Brännback, 2018), this impacts brands as investment into spaces individuals are receptive to is integral for success.
Policy changes push gender-neutral school uniforms in a bid to be more open for gender-questioning children (Yeung, 2016) as well as allowing less focus on gender divides during early childhood
Economical Millennials and Gen Z control $44 billion in direct purchasing power (Adams, 2017) which is set to increase as Gen Z comes of age, making the groups a huge oppotunity that cannot be ignored. The unemployment rate of under 24s is at 46,000 in the UK and is rising at its fastest rate in 5 years (Patington, 2018). This impacts industries marketing to this age group as individuals have less to spend on luxury items.
Social The ‘Me Too’ movement has brought around a widespread critique of toxic masculinity (The Future Laboratory, 2018) as traditional ideals spead negative consequences for everyone. As a result, male centred brands such as Gillette and Harry’s have brought out advertisements which aim to break down toxicity and normalise healthy portrayals of masculinity.
This has affected their personal values more than any other group in society, showing how social media and the spread of knowledge online can influence individuals’s mind-set (Nikou, Mezei and Brännback, 2018). Legal The Advertising Standards Authority introduced new rules on gender stereotyping in advertising, after recieving many complaints in recent years. For advertisers, this means more care and consideration to the factor of gender should be taken, whilst additionally paving the way for campaigns that challenge existing social stereotypes and the way society views the genders (Duckett, 2017)
The rise of individualism can result in over consumption as values become tied to possessions and materialism (Kasser, et al., 2014), this is something that needs to be considered as increasing critique of the fashion industry’s damage to the environment rises and a continuation of over consuming is not sustainable.
FMB dissertation part 2/3