Psychology plays a major role in every professional creative field. The art of fashion design is not an exception. Fashion uses psychology in many different ways, from getting customers to purchase clothing, to self-expression in the clothing, to analyzing psychographics in a population to identify a potential target market. First impressions are made largely on how a person’s attire looks, through use of color, fit, and design. Emotions and moods can be evoked through fit and color on a person’s body. All these effects on the human brain and psyche are taken into great consideration when designing garments.
Psychographics are used to classify people into like-minded groups. This is a way to examine a population and determine what their behavioral patterns are. These behavioral patterns transfer over into the fashion world. With this extremely useful information, the industry can now know who to sell a product to, based on a variety of factors common in these groups. Spending habits, social class, opinions on certain groups, etc. all apply to a successful marketing campaign. One may use a target market such as “women from ages 20-25”. However, this includes a huge variety of people. In order to successfully market a product, one must know who they are selling to. A successful marketing campaign includes the behaviors of those women aged 20-25. For example a target market could be described as “women aged 20-25, who follow fashion’s latest trends, not willing to spend more than $60 on a single garment, are politically active, and are mostly independent.” Thus designers and marketers can make clothing lines better suited to these individuals.
Emotions and moods can be evoked from someone’s clothes. Fashion is now viewed, either knowingly or not, as wearable art. It is not just an article of clothing, but a form of artwork and decoration that is wearable. Thus, like art, clothing can evoke emotion through the use of color and composition. Pantone puts out a forecast for every season with a theme. This theme is then broken down into how it evokes mood changes and how the color palette accentuates this mood. These moods and emotions affect the brain and behavior of the onlooker, causing them to either want or reject the item. Just like personal tastes in art, the consumer uses art as a form of expression and personal taste, hinting to others elements of their personality.
As stated before, psychology is a form of self-expression, and a form of visual communication. The way one dresses may put one in a fashion subcategory. These subcategories are thought of as a whole and are subject to judgment and discrimination of sorts. For example, a person with many tattoos and a vintage style of clothing may be viewed as a “hipster”, and hence the viewer may assume many things of the individual. The fit of garments say many things about oneself. Made-to-fit clothing on men in the business world is more respectable than non-tailored clothes. With women, skirt suits create the balance between attractiveness and masculinity in order to appear respectable, much more than the overly aggressive pant suit. One may see the effect of clothing when one researches on how to dress for an interview in order to make an impression upon the hiring manager.
Clothes are the way people express themselves in Western culture without the use of words. One can tell many things about a person based upon the way they are dressed. While many things may be erroneous when judging someone by the way they are dressed, a lot of things can be said of them based upon their dress. Thus, fashion designers and marketers must work together to cater to these people in these psychographics/target markets, while offering enough for the individual to make a personal choice in order to be different. Psychology plays an extremely important role in fashion design.