In recent years, majorities of people across the world consider ‘fashion’ as a status symbol and see it as a sign of growth and prosperity. Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, make-up etc. The word ‘Fashion’ refers to a distinctive; however, often-habitual trend in a look and dress up of a person, as well as to prevailing styles in behavior. Generally speaking, it is the latest creations made by designers and is bought and used by only a limited number of people immediately after its launch. However, often those fashions are translated into more established trends. Technically speaking, the term, ‘costume,’ has become so linked in the public eye with the term “fashion” that the more general term “costume” has in popular use mostly been relegated to special senses like fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term “fashion” means clothing generally, and the study of it.
For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in modern society, refer to the entries for clothing, costume and fabrics. Moreover, fashion icons and fashion leaders are closely related to the huge crowds who like fashion and followed fashion. This project work tries to highlight and analyze the differences between the identity and transmission route of China and Britain’s fashion icon and fashion leader. The idea of this project work is to analyze to what extent the different culture and tradition influenced the identity of fashion icon and fashion leader in China and the UK.
This project will initiate surveys at four university campuses in Hampshire and interact with students, teachers, web-red fashion icon in China, UK fashion industry workers, fashion out let staff in these two countries and other relevant players in the field. This project will pave the way for a better understating of the identity and transmission of China and Britain’s fashion icon and fashion leader, which will be beneficial to both the fashion icon and fashion leader’s development.
It is an unknown fact as to when did fashion became a trend-setter and growth factor in modern society and influenced people’s life to a larger extent. Moreover, there are two key players in this field –fashion icon and fashion leader –which are closely related to huge crowd-pulling, attract more and more people towards the new trend in the world of fashion. Also, certain business establishments make use of the existence of fashion icon and fashion leader for their expansion schemes, such as searching for the ideal and target consumers.
Fashion icon could be a celebrity, designer, or a particular character in a TV program. At times, these icons could be some common people who are prone to the emerging new fashion trend. They used to update their styles every now and then with the use of social media, such as Facebook, twitter and blog, which is a popular phenomenon in recent years. Their fashion looks attract more and more people and enhance the number of their followers.
According to the innovation adoption curve of Rogers, the fashion leader plays the role of innovators. Fashion leader is determined to promote innovation –innovator in the process of communication, plays a key role in promoting new trend in fashion. Fashion leader introduces new fashion products to wear and introduce new fashion trend in the market. Fashion icons are supposed to be the first to try a particular brand in the market. However, they take utmost care while going for a new brand, as the success and failure of a particular brand mainly depend on their endorsement. Furthermore, fashion icons usually collect some new fashion items from the fashion leader and combine their own personal style to create a brand new personal appearance.
UK has never been short of fashion icons. Britain is a constitutional monarchy, having a particular royal family to govern the country. The royal identity is very particular, which means that they are to be top of the pack. From Princess Diana to today’s Princess Kate, their fashion and generous dressing style have been very popular among the British people. On the one hand, it should be mentioned here that Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham, who carry weight in UK’s fashion arena either.
On the other, China’s fashion icons are generally different from that of UK. A majority of China’s fashion icons are working around the fashion industry and entertainment field. Since last several years, there is no dearth of Internet fashion celebrities exist in the fashion arena. Though they are not directly involved in any fashion work, they are in great demand for everything about fashion. Several fashion icons are active on the Internet too in recent years.
According to Burcz (2012), as of late China is at the forefront of the fashion technology industry. Even Louis Vuitton was enthusiastic about the news of the Chinese bandwagon hosting the brand’s glamour-filled fashion show and the musical performance by Lana del Rey following it in Shanghai last month. Even more so, Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging site, akin to a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, is now being used by over 30% of internet users in China, facilitating a digital space for many up- coming fashion bloggers in the country. The Chinese fashion blogger sensation Han Huohuo, for instance, uses the platform to reach to over his millions of followers.
Different countries have different culture and tradition, which ultimately result in diverse phenomenon. Because of this reason, there are certain distinguished features exist between these two countries. The purpose of this paper is to analysis the different identity and route of transmission between China and Britain’s fashion icon and fashion leader.
This project work could be divided into five main parts. Firstly, the paper will deal with a literature review about the fashion icon and fashion leader’s definition and the current scenario. Subsequently, this paper will expound the research’s methodology and feasibility study to evaluate the different status of fashion icon and fashion leader in China and the UK. The research includes documentation; observe the background; depth interview; questionnaire and statistical data. Finally, this paper will give a detailed list of this research’s organization time during the length of the project.
According to Stone (2007), before its worldwide acceptance by a majority of the people, fashions were only appreciated by a few. One who affects others’ acceptance of a new fashion or style is generally referred as a fashion leader, while most of the consumers, following the fashion leader are labeled as non-leaders or followers. A considerable proportion of college students fall in the category of fashion leaders, while a considerable part of them could be grouped as fashion followers (Stanforth, 1995). If it were not for fashion leaders, the industry would have been caught in difficulties in introducing new fashion elements into the market, being unable to offer suggestions to fashion followers in their purchasing.
When compared to fashion followers, fashion leaders show distinctive characteristics. Although fashion leaders are more frequently seen in certain age groups, they could also be found among groups that may not be regarded as fashion leaders in a traditional way. Summers (1970) held that fashion leadership in comparatively on the higher side, is often seen in younger and more educated people with higher income and professional status. It was noted by Beaudoin, Moore and Goldsmith (1998) that fashion leaders were inclined to pay out more money on clothes, spend more time on reading fashion magazines and on shopping than followers.
Belleau, Nowlin, Summers and Xu (2001) made studies on fashion orientation held by both leaders and followers, viewpoints and understanding about exotic leather clothes, as well as their shopping orientation. Sproles(1979) proposed that there are eight stages in fashion adoption, including awareness, interest, evaluation, identification of alternatives, decision, clothing inventory, usage, and obsolescence. Since previous researches were focusing on examining fashion leadership with reference to a product from a classification that was regarded as less familiar by researchers, the sample was made up of fashion professionals because their involvements with the fashion industry equipped them with more accurate awareness of trends.
Then, some may assert that there are no differences in shopping orientation between fashion leaders and followers. Shopping orientation included factors such as shopping enjoyment, cost consciousness, traditionalism, and practicality planning and following. Generally speaking, fashion leaders found more pleasure in shopping than followers, and were less likely to take into account the price factor, and were not comfortable at being different or impractical in choosing fashion items. Meanwhile, due to the fact that fashion leaders were more enthusiastic about fashion, they found more enjoyment in shopping. Usually, it was more likely that fashion leaders were full-time professionals in this industry.
Based on 20 studies conducted over fashion adoption, Behling (1992) made meticulous analysis on them. These studies were conducted during the period from 1955 to 1988. In terms of similarities of their themes, the studies were classified into three categories — under the themes of leadership, innovativeness and adoption. According to the findings of this research, fashion leaders were closely related to the following eight demographic variables: age, marital status, children, education, income, socio-economic level or status, gender, and race. It was also concluded from the studies that along with women’ increasing age, getting married, and having children was their declining level in fashion leadership.
Summers (1970) held that fashion opinion leaders are primarily expected to be more creative in fashion. Tat (1984) conducted researches on African American females’ opinion leadership in regard to fashion. In the study, fashion opinion leadership mainly centered on whether women would deem themselves as someone who would be expected to present their fashionable personal outlook to others. Among those participants, 34 percent of them were fashion opinion leaders.
Besides, many activities and interests harbored by opinion leaders were also entertained by fashion leaders. For instance, it was found that fashion opinion leaders were more enthusiastic about fashion than those who are not opinion leaders in fashion. Besides, they frequented stores to observe fashion items and reviewed other fashionable women with the purpose of gaining inspiration for themselves in dressing. It was also found that compared with opinion followers, they tended to be more exposed to mass media.
One finding gained from the research was that age was in negative correlation with fashion originality, authority in fashion viewpoints, and spending on newly-published fashion literature.
Dixon (2007) conducted studies on the social and psychological elements of the apparel and appearances of African American college students’, among which one key element analysed was ‘fashion leadership’. According to the study, the major element that set leaders apart from followers was one’s desire to assert his self-identity through dresses. In a sample survey conducted, over half of them who were identified as leaders, claimed that they had no doubt about their ability to perceive fashion trends, and nearly half of them considered apparel as a means of showcasing one’s individuality.
Apparel preferences are guided by several factors, including self-consciousness, self-confidence, fashion leadership and shopping experience. Among these factors, fashion leadership has been found to have the largest impact on peoples’ choice of apparel.
According to Howell (1998), in the year 1997, Mario Testino, a very famous fashion photographer, photographed Princess Dianna, dressed in Gianni Versace, for the Vanity Fair magazine. These photos later became the standard defining fashionable women in the 20th century. Even today, in the 21st century, interest of the media in her images reigns high.
Princess Diana got married on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral, dressed in a gown designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, a symbol of the fine British craftsmanship. Since then, Diana has been regarded as an international celebrity, and became the focus of all the photographers and journalists. Diana’s interest in clothes can be attributed to her personal enthusiasm and the demands of the beginning of her public life. As an important member of the British Royal Family, she was required to be attired in gowns, hats, shoes and handbags appropriate to the occasions and functions she attended, in the presence of highly distinguished people. In other words, Diana was far removed from the fashionable fads of youngsters in the early 1990s.
Under such circumstances, it is only natural that during her days as a newlywed, Princess Diana became closely acquainted with famous British fashion designers, such as Murray Arbeid, Bellville Sassoon, and Gina Fratini etc., who were famous for their traditions of classic tailoring of gorgeous evening dress even five decades ago. Diana then made up her mind to become the fashionable and vigorous young woman of great style and fashion, which she later on did accomplish. Catherine Walker, in particular, did her best to help Diana embrace a graceful and unique look of her own.
Tierney (1997) asserts that Princess Diana also developed her own modern graceful and youthful style, within the permissible range of the royal traditions. Thus she etched for herself the image of a fashionable celebrity.
Howell (1998) finds that since 1980s, Diana invited Catherine Walker to design her fashionable clothes for formal occasions. However, after her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana went on to establish a more personal style that was a vivid indicator of her independence and frank nature. Diana knew full well that, as a fashionable public celebrity, all her costumes would be subject to the scrutiny and analysis of fashion critiques. During the 1990s, to get a new look, Diana followed the advice of Jacques Azagury, a renowned British designer.
Gradually, Diana turned her eyes to other European designers, such as Versace and Valentino from Italy and to the French couture houses of Dior, Lacroix, and Chanel. Diana paid great attention to the minutest of details, and experimented with both modern and simple looks. To be more specific, Princess Diana is known for her exquisitely cut dresses in luxurious materials as well as for her accessories, handbags, jewelry and shoes. It is this look that is universally recognized as the typical fashion image of the late 20th century.
There are very few articles that deal with the different identities and the process of evolution of fashion in China and its linkages to the Fashion scenario in The United Kingdom. The following research attempts to reach corresponding conclusions.
Methodology and Feasibility.
Type of investigation
This research project is mainly based on questionnaire survey and interview. This is helpful in order to explore the different identities existing between China and Britain and to trace the path taken by the fashion world between both the two countries.
Design of Questionnaire
The purpose of this research is to analyse the extent of the influence of different cultures on the identity of fashion icons in China and the UK. It also gives us a more clear definition of the fashion leader and fashion icon and their present day status in the society. Survey method has been used to carry out the research. To give a positivist foundation to this study, questionnaires have been used.
The design of the questionnaire is primarily based on multiple item measurement scales taken from previous researches. Moreover, the interviewees of this research have been selected through a careful analysis so as to contrast.
Quantifiable data has been obtained through a structured questionnaire that consists of three sections: the definition of fashion icons and fashion leaders (four questions), a quantification of the different identities and Fashion Bridge between Chinese and British fashion icons and fashion leaders (ten questions).
There are two parts in the pre-tested questionnaire and each part consists of five respondents who have been chosen randomly from four different universities in Hampshire. As the first step, comments and suggestions regarding the questionnaire were collected from various respondents. Additional changes recommended by the respondents were suitably incorporated into the questionnaire. Next, the revised questionnaire was used to get an idea regarding the understanding of the fashion icons and fashion leaders mentioned in the questions. Any misleading and unclear questions were revised and re-tested on the next respondent. The coefficient alpha of all risk dimensions in the pre-tested questionnaire was better than 0.6, which indicates that they all met reasonable standards of internal consistency and reliability (Nunnally, 1970).
The sampling procedure used for the study was simple random sampling. Using the method of convenience sampling, students and teachers from four different universities of Hampshire, UK, have been chosen. In order to analyze the data using descriptive statistics, the responses to questions were stored in a SPSS file. SPSS was used to determine the percentage of their demographic profiles and to examine the strength of relationship between variables and to answer the research objectives.
Combining quantitative analysis of the data and feedback of the interviewees, a series of conclusions were drawn. The University of Hampshire was specifically chosen because of its geographical advantage. Moreover, all the four Universities have Chinese students and professors in arts. The data for the research was easily available. As a concluding remark, it is expected that this project will help in tracing the influence of British fashion icons and leaders on the present-day fashion scenario existing in China.
To finish the whole project, an effective timetable was required. This research was divided into fifteen steps which was started on 1st Jan. 2013 came to an end by 1st May. 2013.
Week1 (1st Jan. 2013): Selected the topic and the target readers for this research. Week2 (8th Jan. 2013): Obtained the relevant literature and the background information Week3 (15th Jan. 2013):
Completed the literature review
Week4 (22nd Jan. 2013): Drafted the questionnaire
Week5 (29th Jan. 2013): Completed the draft proposal
Week6 (5th Feb. 2013): Developed required research methods and revised the existing proposal Week7 (12th Feb. 2013): Conducted a Survey using the questionnaire Week8 (19th Feb. 2013): Conducted another Survey in Winchester School of Art and interviewed some fashion trend-setters in school (students and teachers) Week9 (26th Feb. 2013): A third survey was conducted in Solent University and interviewed some more fashion trend-setters there (students and teachers) Week10 (5th Mar. 2013): A fourth survey was conducted in Winchester University Week11 (5th Mar. 2013): Interviewedsomeweb-red fashion icons in China, the British fashion designers, boutique owners of these two countries and other eminent people from the fashion industry.
Week12 (19th Mar. 2013): Collected data from these Surveys
Week13 (26th Mar. 2013): Analyzed the data
Week14 (2nd Mar. 2013): Completed the draft of the paper
Week15 (9th Apr. 2013): Revised the draft
Week16 (16th Apr. 2013):Did the final check
Week17 (23rd Apr. 2013): Research Project was approved.
Total time taken: Four months
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and followers’ attitudes toward American and imported apparel. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 7(3), 193-207. Behling, D. (1992). Three and a half decades of fashion adoption research: What have we learned? Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 10(2), 34-41. Belleau, B. D., Nowlin, K., Summers, T. A., & Xu, J. Y. (2001). Fashion leaders’ and followers’ attitudes toward exotic leather apparel products. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 5(2), 133-144. Burcz, C. The Asian Influence: 15 Chinese Fashion Blogs We’re Excited About. [Online] Available at: http://heartifb.com/2012/08/09/the-asian-influence-15-chinese-fashion-blogs-were-excited-about/ Clothing and Fashion. Diana, princess of wales.[Online] Available at: http://angelasancartier.net/diana-princess-of-wales Dixon, D. L. (2007). The influence of values and other social and psychological factors on the dress and appearance of African American college students (Doctoral dissertation, Louisiana State University, 2007). Dissertations & Theses: A&I Database. (Publication No. AAT 3277102). Nunnally, J. C. (1970). Introduction to psychological measurement. McGraw-Hill (New York) Stith, M. T. & Goldsmith, R.E. (1989). Race, sex, and fashion innovativeness: A replication. Psychology & Marketing, 6(4), 249. Sproles, G. B. (1979). Fashion: Consumer behavior toward dress. Minneapolis: Burgess. Stone, E. (2007). In fashion: Fun! Fame! Fortune! New York: Fairchild. Summers, J. O. (1970). The identity of women’s clothing fashion opinion leaders. Journal of Marketing Research, 7(2), 178-185. Tat, P. K. (1984). Opinion leadership in black female fashion buying behavior. Mid- Atlantic Journal of Business, 23(1), 11.