Consumer Psychology

Wearable Tech and the Psychology of Fashion [Study]

Today, the Apple Watch Hermès collection goes on sale, marking a new foray of tech into luxury fashion. A purchase will set you back a minimum of $1,150 (US) depending on which Hermès leather band you choose.

So, can tech win in or with fashion? It’s an open question, but to do so, tech companies will need to understand the basic psychology of fashion.  Fortunately, a recent study has been published outlining the psychology of fashion that was conducted at the London College of Fashion by Dr Kate Hefferon and Christoph-Simon Masuch.  It provides some useful insight for tech companies looking to enter the world of fashion.

Hedonic & Eudaimonic Wellbeing

Fashion makes us feel good and generates feelings of pleasure. Think about flicking through beautiful fashion images in a magazine, or putting on your favourite outfit. But fashion can also provide us with a meaning and fulfilment – our clothes can have sentimental, nostalgic or even supernatural value (your lucky pants!).  These two psychological benefits of fashion are known as Hedonic wellbeing and Eudaemonic wellbeing.

For tech to win in fashion, we need to deliver on both

  • Hedonic Wellbeing – promoting pleasure and personal satisfaction through sensorial appeal
  • Eudaemonic Wellbeing – providing meaning, purpose and sense of fulfilment

Three Ways to Maximise Appeal

Digging deeper into the psychology of fashion using grounded analysis, the LCF researchers identified three  benefits of fashion that contribute to psychological wellbeing. Focusing on these benefits in the marketing of   fashion-oriented tech will help you connect and resonate with potential buyers

  • Negotiating Selfhood – Combining self-expression (‘expressing aspects of self’ – characteristics, likes, dislikes) with social norms (‘creating sameness’)
  • Befriending the Body – Appearance management and impression management, concealing weaknesses and accentuating strengths
  • Managing Mood – ‘Catalysing cheerfulness’ on a good day, and ‘camouflaging on a bad day’

Understanding the links between positive psychology and fashion: A grounded theory analysis. International Journal of Fashion Studies, 1 (2), 227- 246.

 

Hefferon Model

 

The psychological benefits of fashion from: Masuch, S. & Hefferon, K. (2014). Understanding the links between positive psychology and fashion: A grounded theory analysis. International Journal of Fashion Studies, 1 (2), 227- 246.

 

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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