Authors: Harshit Bhardwaj, Dr. Rajyalakshmi
Certificate: View Certificate
This study investigates the role of fashion opinion leaders and followers in information seeking within the clothing fashion domain. The research focuses on examining the number, frequency, type, and variety of fashion information sources used by leaders and followers during different stages of the fashion adoption process, namely awareness, comprehension, and legitimation. However, opinion leaders demonstrated a higher propensity to consult a greater number of sources and do so more frequently compared to followers. Moreover, both leaders and followers recognized marketer-dominated sources as influential in creating awareness of new clothing styles. Notably, during the comprehension stage, the most significant sources differed between the two groups, with opinion leaders relying more on marketer-dominated sources, while followers leaned towards consumer-dominated sources. Additionally, the research examined demographic characteristics of the respondents but found no significant differentiation between opinion leaders and followers based on these factors. This suggests that the distinction between leaders and followers in fashion opinion is not necessarily driven by demographic attributes. These findings contribute to the understanding of opinion leadership and information seeking in the context of clothing fashion. The study emphasizes the importance of opinion leaders in driving fashion-related information dissemination, as well as their inclination towards a diverse range of sources. The differential reliance on sources between leaders and followers during the comprehension stage further highlights the unique role played by opinion leaders in influencing fashion adoption. The implications of this research extend to marketers, fashion designers, and retailers, providing insights into effective communication strategies and the identification of influential individuals who can shape fashion trends. By recognizing the sources that hold the greatest influence at different stages of the fashion adoption process, industry practitioners can tailor their marketing efforts to engage both opinion leaders and followers effectively. This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge on opinion leadership and information seeking in the realm of clothing fashion. This research focuses on the behavior of leaders and followers and their utilization of diverse information sources. It provides valuable insights for understanding and navigating through the complex dynamics of fashion trends and consumer preferences.
Opinion leadership refers to individuals who are considered experts or trendsetters in a specific domain, such as clothing fashion. These opinion leaders have the ability to influence the opinions, attitudes, and behaviors of others in their social network, based on their perceived knowledge and expertise. In the fashion industry, opinion leaders can take various forms, such as fashion bloggers, influencers, celebrities, or fashion experts. Their influence has become increasingly important with the rise of social media and the abundance of fashion-related information available online. Understanding the role of opinion leadership in the fashion industry is crucial for marketers and advertisers seeking to influence their target audience. Information seeking can be defined as an active process of searching for and obtaining information on a particular topic or subject. It involves a range of activities, including defining a problem or information need, identifying relevant sources of information, gathering and evaluating information, and applying the information to make informed decisions or solve a problem. In the context of clothing fashion, information seeking is an important part of the decision-making process for fashion consumers. It can involve searching for information on current fashion trends, styles, designers, and brands, as well as seeking advice and recommendations from fashion experts, friends, and family members. Consumers may gather information through various sources, such as fashion magazines, social media platforms, online fashion blogs, retail websites, and fashion events.
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
The consumption of clothing, especially fashionable clothing, serves as a way for individuals to communicate information about their personality and status to others.
Some consumers develop a strong interest and knowledge in clothing and fashion, leading them to become opinion leaders who influence the choices of others.
These fashion opinion leaders are crucial for the spread of new fashion trends as they share information and advice with other consumers, who seek them out for guidance. Numerous studies have examined opinion leadership in general and specifically in the fashion domain. However, there is still limited understanding of the personality traits and motivations that drive fashion opinion leadership, which prompted this study.
In parallel to opinion leadership, there is opinion seeking behavior, which complements the influence of opinion leaders. Opinion seekers play a vital role in disseminating new fashion trends by acting upon the information received from opinion leaders and may even become opinion leaders themselves.
Opinion seekers generally have a lesser interest and knowledge in the product category compared to opinion leaders, which is why they seek information and advice from the latter. However, opinion leadership and opinion seeking are not mutually exclusive behaviors.
It is suspected that opinion leaders, driven by their interest in the product category, also seek information from others who share the same interest.
Opinion seekers may also spread word-of-mouth about the category based on the information received from opinion leaders. Hence, there is likely to be an overlap between opinion leadership and opinion seeking. Several studies have reported positive correlations between the two behaviors across different product categories, indicating a relationship.
The motives for fashion opinion seeking extend beyond the need for information to make good choices. Despite having a lesser interest in the product category than opinion leaders, opinion seekers still strive to make informed decisions in clothing and fashion due to the social implications associated with this consumption. It has been proposed that opinion seeking is related to two consumer behavior concepts that capture the influence of others on consumers: the consumer need for uniqueness and attention to social comparison information.
The consumer need for uniqueness refers to individuals' tendency to seek differentiation from others in the market by acquiring and using products and brands that enhance their self and social image. It consists of three factors: creative choice counter conformity (selecting products that differ from established norms but are still acceptable), unpopular choice counter conformity (making choices that position the individual as distinct from the group), and avoidance of similarity (intentionally avoiding commonly used products or brands).
These counter conformity dimensions are particularly relevant as they reflect a deliberate deviation from established social norms in the consumer context
To understand and leverage the profound interest in fashion and trends within the student community for the purpose of influencing and shaping fashion trends, while simultaneously serving as a source of fashion advice and information.
This is primary research focused to investigate the opinion leaders among the student community of management schools. 100 percent of the sampling population considering the entire management students in the Management schools in the sector was considered for the study. Random sampling method was adopted. The sample population chosen for study was 118, Likert scale tested for validity and conformity was used as the survey instrument. Analysis and Interpretation is presented.
V. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
A. Informal Consultation with Friends and Peers on Fashion
Informal consultation with friends and peer community on fashion and trends had been an often-ongoing activity among 28 percent of the student community. Only 11 percent oof the student population never spoke or consulted on fashion with fellow colleagues. It is indicative 20 percent discussed fashion and trends and advocated to peer community very often being the opinion leaders.
VI. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION
The data reveals a deeply rooted and pervasive interest in fashion and trends within the student community. Conversations about fashion are not only common but also characterized by the active exchange of information, ideas, and preferences. A considerable number of students actively seek and offer fashion advice, reflecting the significance of this subject in their lives.
Furthermore, the data emphasizes the presence of influential opinion leaders within the student population, with 20 percent advocating and actively discussing fashion trends. This community's receptivity to fashion discussions, coupled with a high likelihood of such discussions occurring, suggests an environment where students actively shape and influence fashion trends.
In essence, the student community's dynamic engagement in fashion discussions underscores the pivotal role they play in the fashion landscape, acting as both trendsetters and eager learners, contributing to the evolution of fashion trends and preferences
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Copyright © 2023 Harshit Bhardwaj, Dr. Rajyalakshmi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.