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Fashion Adoption and Fashion Leadership Theories

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Ally Smith

on 26 October 2013

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Transcript of Fashion Adoption and Fashion Leadership Theories

Fashion Adoption and Fashion Leadership Theories
Fashion Theories:
There are three academically accepted theories which consider the individuals or “admired groups” from which fashion leadership flows:

1. “trickle-down or traditional adoption”
2. “horizontal, trickle-across, or mass dissemination”
3. “trickle-up, bottom-up, or reverse adoption”

Each theory has its own claim to validity and credibility with respect to the fashion cycle and specific fashions.
Fashion Innovators
are found at the
beginning of the fashion cycle
when a fashion is introduced.

Fashion innovators create fashion

Traditionally these innovators were designers whose innovations
trickled-down to the masses

This trickle-down process is most successful when innovated styles are worn by
fashion motivators.
Examples of globally recognized designers, and hence innovators, include St. Laurent, Armani, Lagerfeld, Valentino, and Calvin Klein.
Fashion Motivators
If a style is
worn by a fashion motivator, or trendsetter,
there is an
that it will be
accepted by a mass consumer group

Fashion motivators are found at the beginning of the fashion cycle when a new style is being introduced.

Fashion motivators are
typically affluent and come from visible segments of society
such as royalty, politics, sports, and the entertainment world.

Although they may come from different walks of life, what fashion motivators have in common is visibility, money, and the ability to bring fashion to life. What they wear today will fill the closets of the world tomorrow.
Fashion Adoption at Every Price Point: An Example

It should be understood that for the majority of consumers to wear styles popularized by fashion leaders these styles must be copied and manufactured at typically mass produced price points. Remember looking at the manufacturing levels, couture, ready-to-wear (RTW), and mass production.
Although there is a consistency with the style at each price point, the fabrication, production methods used and detailing will differ greatly between the three industry levels. See the handout with the flow chart of how a style becomes adopted by a mass consumer group following the trickle-down, or traditional adoption theory of fashion acceptance.
is influenced by many different variables.

We have learned about a variety of influences such as royalty, war, economics, technology, societal values, the growth of retail, and designers.

In our last lesson, you learned about the
fashion cycle
and how different consumer groups fit into this cycle.

New Question to Explore:
How are new fashions spread and then adopted by the average consumer? The answer is -
the fashion leader
Street Fashion
Street fashion has a
trickle-up effect
, in other words, the
street influences and inspires the designers
, who in turn design clothing which is worn by fashion motivators. The grunge look of the mid-nineties is an example of street fashion that was reinterpreted by Lagerfeld for the House of Chanel.
Street Fashion
Street fashions originate as underground styles which are then made popular by designers. Two early examples of street fashion include jeans and the mini skirt. Jeans which began as a functional garment, popular among gold miners and farmers, because of their durability and ease of care, were reinterpreted by Calvin Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt in the mid 1970s. The mini skirt which was originally worn by working girls, art students, and mods in London, England during the 1960s, had a resurgence in the 1990s. The mini is now a staple wardrobe item in many women's closets. A more recent example of the street influencing fashion would be rap
Fashion Motivators & the Media
The media is masterful at understanding the powerful communicative value of fashion in relation to the societal values and customs of the day.

The media popularizes the styles motivators and trendsetters are wearing thus assisting in the adoption of these styles by mass consumer groups.

For example, think about the media coverage given to red carpet fashion at the Academy Awards. Such focus on what the female actors are wearing is relatively recent when one considers the number of year the Oscars have been awarded.
Media Continued
Popularizing styles worn by celebrities is only one aspect of how the media influences the adoption of fashion.

What has not been addressed in depth is the use of
manipulated and constructed media images to advertise and sell fashion, as well as to promote the perceived societal standard of beauty and success.
Fashion Theories
Trickle Down Theory
Fashion is adopted by the upper class, then the middle class and the lower classes.

Trickle Up Theory
(reverse adoption)
Attention is on consumer innovations .

New styles filter up from the street.

Fashion forecasters look to the ideas of 18-24 yr olds.

Some of these ideas reach designers and eventually the runway.
Trickle Across Theory
(Mass Dissemination)
Quickly becoming the MOST COMMON model of fashion adoption taking the place of the traditional theory.
It indicated that everything is available at the same time at various price points and therefore impacts quality level.

This theory has developed due to modern communication and technology which has increased the speed at which information travels as well as the speed in which production of fashion pieces are occurring.

(Traditional Adoption)
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