Turns out that, yes, if a fashion brand uses an Abbey Lee, Edita, or even a Daisy in its campaigns and runway shows, anyone who happens not to be shaped like an Abbey Lee, Edita, or Daisy is less likely to pull out their credit cards and buy the wares.
According to the eminently qualified Ben Barry — a modeling agency CEO with a Ph.D. in business from Cambridge — studies confirm that consumers are 60% less likely to purchase from a brand featuring models who “didn’t reflect their size.” Conversely, when certain women saw models who approximately matched their body types, their “purchase intentions” increased by 300% (!!!). So much for the myth that models with “aspirational” body types offer "inspiration" across the mainstream.
As Barry’s brief of his study — available here at Elle Canada — continues, we learn that similarities in age, ethnicity, and other factors between the observer of a fashion campaign and its star also produce positive effects, while the industry standard of thin, white models had a correspondingly negative impact. Yes, designers and editors may talk all day about the aesthetics of models with a certain “look,” but for anyone interested in commerce — which, let’s face it, is the backbone of fashion — Barry’s results are a strong argument for tailoring campaigns to fit audience demographics or at least offering more diversity on runways and in magazines.
Perhaps more interesting, though, was Barry’s research into how women felt, seeing glamorous clothes wrapped around a model who looked somewhat like them. Said one study subject about a model with her body type, “she does more than make me feel beautiful; she inspires me to go out and get this dress and celebrate my beauty.” Love Abbey Lee, Edita, and Daisy as we do, you can't really put a price on that kind of response. (Elle Canada)
Image: via Elle Canada.