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An analysis of factors affecting fashion opinion leadership and fashion opinion seeking

Ronald E. Goldsmith (Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Ronald A. Clark (East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




This paper aims to test hypothesized relationships of consumer need for uniqueness, attention to social comparison information, status consumption, and role‐relaxed consumption with opinion leadership and opinion seeking for new fashionable clothing.


The authors surveyed 598 consumers between the ages of 18 and 83 years using a self‐administered questionnaire. Correlation and linear regression analyses showed that all four independent variables were related to both dependent variables.


Consumer need for uniqueness was related positively to opinion leadership, but negatively with opinion seeking for younger consumers. Attention to social comparison information was positively related more highly to opinion seeking than to opinion leadership. Status consumption had the largest overall positive association, followed by role‐relaxed consumption, which was negatively related.

Research limitations/implications

Some findings confirm earlier studies and some break new ground. The findings are limited to US consumers and the convenience sample. Other limitations include the specific measures used and the cross‐section survey method precludes making causal statements. The effects of other, unmeasured variables could be assessed.

Practical implications

Apparel marketers seeking to encourage opinion leaders to promote their lines of new clothing might devise appeals emphasizing the social significance and status of the new fashions and how they bestow uniqueness on their wearers.


The study not only confirms previous findings regarding consumer need for uniqueness and attention to social comparison information, but expands the description of motivating factors with status and role‐relaxed consumption.



Goldsmith, R.E. and Clark, R.A. (2008), "An analysis of factors affecting fashion opinion leadership and fashion opinion seeking", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 308-322.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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