In current western societies, in which different types of ‘beauty’ are celebrated, online fashion retailers are increasingly using diversity of ‘body types’ in models, mainly because the online fashion retailers receive an increase in sales when including items for different body types. Some fashion webshops also introduced tools which made consumers able to view clothing items on a selfselected body type that best represents the consumer's body. Even though companies are increasingly displaying body diversity in models on their webshop, it has not been researched yet whether women like this representation of body diversity. This thesis investigates perceptions of young women on the increasing body diversity on fashion webshops and therefore fills a gap in the literature. Moreover, online fashion companies could use the results of this study when selecting models for their webshop and designing their marketing strategy. The accompanying research question is: How do young women perceive the increasing diversity in body types in models on fashion webshops? In order to answer this research question, eleven semi-structured one-on-one interviews have been conducted with highly-educated, Caucasian women, aged between 18 and 26, that reside in the Rotterdam area. All participants were friends of friends and convenience sampling has been used to recruit participants. Stimulus materials from ASOS and Sizeable, two online fashion retailers with tools created to help consumers view clothing items on ‘their body type’, were shown to participants during the interviews. All interviews were transcribed, which served as the basis for a thematic analysis. This thematic analysis resulted in six themes which helped answering the research question. In general, it has been found that all participants were positive towards online fashion retailers that include models that are ‘body diverse’, even though social desirability bias should be taken into consideration here. In contrast, the tools from Sizeable and ASOS were not always perceived in a positive way: participants mentioned some critiques on the tools, of which some were very much shaped by the highly individualistic society the participants live in and some were much related to the perception of the participant’s own body. Additionally, participants value companies that include models with different ethnicities. Lastly, participants differed in their definition of ‘body types’, something that corresponds to current literature. Operationalization of the concept is therefore problematic. Fashion webshops are advised to integrate body diversity in models on their website without the usage of tools that require self-reflections. Companies should alternate between 'ideal' and different 'non-ideal' models to represent different clothing items, without labelling the model's body type.

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Keywords media, business, In current western societies, in which different types of ‘beauty’ are celebrated, online fashion, retailers are increasingly using diversity of ‘body types’ in models, mainly because the online, fashion retailers receive an increase in sales when including items for different body types. Some, fashion webshops also introduced tools which made consumers able to view clothing items on a selfselected, body type that best represents the consumer's body. Even though companies are, increasingly displaying body diversity in models on their webshop, it has not been researched yet, whether women like this representation of body diversity. This thesis investigates perceptions of, young women on the increasing body diversity on fashion webshops and therefore fills a gap in the, literature. Moreover, online fashion companies could use the results of this study when selecting, models for their webshop and designing their marketing strategy. The accompanying research, question is: How do young women perceive the increasing diversity in body types in models on, fashion webshops? In order to answer this research question, eleven semi-structured one-on-one, interviews have been conducted with highly-educated, Caucasian women, aged between 18 and 26, that reside in the Rotterdam area. All participants were friends of friends and convenience sampling, has been used to recruit participants. Stimulus materials from ASOS and Sizeable, two online fashion, retailers with tools created to help consumers view clothing items on ‘their body type’, were shown, to participants during the interviews. All interviews were transcribed, which served as the basis for a, thematic analysis. This thematic analysis resulted in six themes which helped answering the research, question. In general, it has been found that all participants were positive towards online fashion, retailers that include models that are ‘body diverse’, even though social desirability bias should be, taken into consideration here. In contrast, the tools from Sizeable and ASOS were not always, perceived in a positive way: participants mentioned some critiques on the tools, of which some were, very much shaped by the highly individualistic society the participants live in and some were much, related to the perception of the participant’s own body. Additionally, participants value companies, that include models with different ethnicities. Lastly, participants differed in their definition of ‘body, types’, something that corresponds to current literature. Operationalization of the concept is, therefore problematic. Fashion webshops are advised to integrate body diversity in models on their, website without the usage of tools that require self-reflections. Companies should alternate between, 'ideal' and different 'non-ideal' models to represent different clothing items, without labelling the, model's body type.
Thesis Advisor A.M. Hermans
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/2105/50042
Series Media & Business
Citation
C. Hollaar. (2019, June 24). “We do everything we can to help you find your fit” Young women’s perceptions of the increasing body diversity in models by online fashion retailers: An explorative qualitative study. Media & Business. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/50042