Fashion leaders are people who are influential in fashion. There are two main dimensions that can be seen in fashion leadership: fashion innovativeness and fashion opinion leadership. Fashion leaders are generally people who are genuinely interested in fashion for themselves and do not merely wear clothes to set trends for others.
Fashion innovativeness is a characteristic of fashion leaders who have the tendency to buy a new fashion earlier than other consumers. While anyone can be a fashion leader, we are most likely to think of celebrities as fashion leaders, as these are people in the public eye who we see wearing new fashions and engage with. Fashion innovativeness in celebrity fashion leaders will often lead to trend setting, and members of the public will buy items in the new fashion as worn by the fashion leader.
Fashion Opinion Leaders
Fashion opinion leaders are people who communicate or express information about a new fashion in such a way that other people are influenced to accept or reject the fashion. Today, fashion bloggers are becoming influential fashion opinion leaders as they communicate online about new fashion trends. This can influence whether particular fashions are purchased. Fashion leaders can play a very significant role in the "adoption process" of fashion, because buyers will often decide whether to buy clothing in a particular fashion based on which fashion leaders they have seen wearing it. In the case of very popular celebrity fashion leaders, they can set a fashion trend or stop a style from being sold to the public.
Fashion Leader Characteristics
Fashion opinion leaders usually have a very strong interest in fashion and have a positive attitude towards change in fashion. It seems that the main differences between fashion opinion leaders and fashion followers is that fashion leaders are far more interested in and informed about fashion than fashion followers. Fashion opinion leaders do not generally take notice of the price of clothing. Fashion leaders have been found to possess worldliness and gregarious and they are willing to try new trends in fashion and take fashion risks.
Fashion leaders may seek many sources for insight into fashion and the desire to discover new and different fashion items. Studies show that fashion leaders will consult a larger variety of fashion sources than fashion followers. Fashion leaders have a genuine interest in fashion and will use forms of media such as magazines and the internet to gain information on fashion. A study by John O. Summers, published in the Journal of Marketing Research in 1970, found a strong link between magazine readership and fashion leadership. Fashion leaders may also frequent fashion events
- “Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management”; Hedonic and Utilitarian Shopping Motivations of Fashion Leadership; Jiyan Kang and Haesun Park-Poaps; July 2009
- University of Georgia; A Comparison of Fashion Opinion Leaders and Political Opinion Leaders in Terms of Attitude Toward Fashion Advertisements with Political Content; Beth Harben; 2001