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Victoria University of Wellington

1. Brownie, Daniel. The authority of fashion: The impact of brand credibility and gender blurring on attitudes towards gendered fashion advertisements.

Degree: 2017, Victoria University of Wellington

Gender identity is increasingly accepted as a continuum. Consumers feel that they are no longer constrained by the norms of gendered consumptions, so they are expressing themselves and their identities through new purchase behaviours. Gender blurring refers to the crossing of gender boundaries, when masculine and feminine traits are swapped. This has been seen in the fashion industry, where brands are featuring male models in womenswear and vice versa. Despite the increasing usage of gender blurring in fashion campaigns, there is little empirical evidence as to how consumers respond to it. This study attempted to fill this gap in knowledge, investigating how brands that can utilise gender blurring in their advertising without eliciting negative consequences. Brand credibility influences the persuasiveness of advertising, and it is evident within luxury fashion brands and their ability to set fashion trends. In this study, a 3x2x2 between-subjects experimental design was used. Subjects were exposed to a fashion advertisement, featuring either a high- or low-credibility brand (Louis Vuitton or the Warehouse), with a male model wearing stereotyped, androgynous, or gender blurred clothing. The clothing was framed in either a work or casual context. As the purpose of the study was to assess responses irrespective of gender or social class, the sample was made up of adult consumers from New Zealand randomly assigned to experimental conditions. The findings indicate that overall consumers respond more negatively to gender blurring in fashion advertising, and more positively to advertising from a high-credibility brand. Interestingly, no main effect of context was found. The analysis suggests that brand credibility moderates the effect of gender blurring, as consumers exposed to gender blurring by the Louis Vuitton advertisements reported more positive attitudes than those in the Warehouse conditions. This normalising effect contributes to our understanding of cultural authority and the movement of meaning. High credibility brands have an authority over consumer culture, and thus can facilitate the movement of fringe issues, like gender blurring, into the mainstream, fostering wider acceptance. Managerially, marketers should be aware of the potential negative impacts of utilising gender blurring, and understand that brand credibility is an important factor. Advisors/Committee Members: Williams, Janine, Kadirov, Djavlonbek.

Subjects/Keywords: Gender congruence; Branding; Fashion advertising

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APA (6th Edition):

Brownie, D. (2017). The authority of fashion: The impact of brand credibility and gender blurring on attitudes towards gendered fashion advertisements. (Masters Thesis). Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10063/6801

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Brownie, Daniel. “The authority of fashion: The impact of brand credibility and gender blurring on attitudes towards gendered fashion advertisements.” 2017. Masters Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington. Accessed October 20, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/10063/6801.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Brownie, Daniel. “The authority of fashion: The impact of brand credibility and gender blurring on attitudes towards gendered fashion advertisements.” 2017. Web. 20 Oct 2018.

Vancouver:

Brownie D. The authority of fashion: The impact of brand credibility and gender blurring on attitudes towards gendered fashion advertisements. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. Victoria University of Wellington; 2017. [cited 2018 Oct 20]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/6801.

Council of Science Editors:

Brownie D. The authority of fashion: The impact of brand credibility and gender blurring on attitudes towards gendered fashion advertisements. [Masters Thesis]. Victoria University of Wellington; 2017. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/6801

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