Practitioner Papers: ‘Looking the part’: Identity, meaning and culture in clothing purchasing — Theoretical considerations

Christopher A. Dodd (is Lecturer in Marketing in the School of Management, Heriot‐Watt University)
Ian Clarke (Booker Professor of Retail Marketing at Durham University Business School.)
Steve Baron (Professor of Retailing and Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University.)
Vicky Houston (Head of the School of Food and Consumer Studies at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Publication date: 1 January 2000


Fashion retailers are increasingly attempting to categorise fashion clothing according to their perceptions of consumer motivations. However, much of the research in this area centres around economic and demographic considerations, disregarding the social and psychological significance of fashion clothing as a means of forming group identity and differentiation. Knowledge of the form and frequency of these group dynamics involved in fashion clothing purchasing will, potentially, have important implications for retailers and marketers alike. The paper considers prevalent theories on the development of social identification, the role of fashion in facilitating these formations (through the semiotic conveyance and interpretation of information), and the mediating role of culture and lifestyle determinants. The relationship of these theoretical underpinnings to the social interactions of the apparel consumer is explored through the construction of an incipient conceptual framework, underlying the cyclical but capricious nature of clothing choice. Implications for future research are identified.



Dodd, C.A., Clarke, I., Baron, S. and Houston, V. (2000), "Practitioner Papers: ‘Looking the part’: Identity, meaning and culture in clothing purchasing — Theoretical considerations", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 41-48.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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