PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate if accessible luxury fashion brands discriminate overweight and obese consumers.Design/methodology/approachThe physical sizes of garments are surveyed in-store and compared to the body sizes of the population. A gap analysis is carried out in order to determine whether the supply of clothes match the demand of each market segment.FindingsThe surveyed accessible luxury garments come in very small sizes compared to the individuals that make up the population.Research limitations/implicationsThe survey is limited to London stores but the garment sizes are compared to the British population. It is therefore possible that the discrepancies between assortments and the population are in part attributable to geographic and demographic factors. The study’s results are, however, so strikingly clear that even if some of the effects were due to extraneous variables, it would be hard to disregard the poor match between overweight and obese women and the clothes offered to them.Practical implicationsFor symbolic/expressive brands that are conspicuously consumed, that narrowly target distinct and homogenous groups of people in industries where elitist practices are acceptable, companies can build brands via customer rejection.Social implicationsThe results highlight ongoing discrimination of overweight and obese fashion consumers.Originality/valueThe study is the first to provide quantitative evidence for brand building via customer rejection, and it delineates under which conditions this may occur. This extends the theory of typical user imagery.
Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 12, 2018
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