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What is cool? Operationalizing the construct in an apparel context

Rodney C. Runyan (School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Mijeong Noh (Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development, Department of Human and Consumer Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Jon Mosier (The L.A. Office, West Hollywood, California, USA)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Publication date: 5 July 2013



The purpose of this paper is to operationalize the ubiquitously used concept of “cool,” specifically considering its meaning to Generation Y consumers of apparel. Using Churchill's rigorous scale generating method, the authors generate items, pre‐test, and the test with a sample (n=265) of college students.


Researchers specify the domain of the cool construct, conduct item generation, collect data through a pre‐test to purify the measures and then collect data from a large sample to assess reliability and validity of the measures and construct.


Results of exploratory factor analysis reveal a six‐factor solution; a confirmatory analysis shows that cool is a multi‐dimensional construct reflected in two second‐order factors that this paper labels hedonic and utilitarian cool. These factors are reflected in five first order factors: singular, personal, aesthetic, quality and functional cool.


The study provides a valuable insight into cool concept as being a multidimensional construct, operationalizing a scale to measure cool.



Runyan, R.C., Noh, M. and Mosier, J. (2013), "What is cool? Operationalizing the construct in an apparel context", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 322-340.



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