Involvement is a motivational state of arousal encouraged by a particular stimulus or situation and displayed through properties of drive (Khare & Rakesh, 2010; Park, Kim & Forney, 2006). Fashion clothing involvement can be stimulated by various factors such as person factors, product factors or situation factors (Solomon & Rabolt, 2004:120; Hourigan & Bougoure, 2011) but none of these factors consider body image. Body image is based on the perception and attitude an individual has of her body and affects how she may feel, think and behave towards the appearance of her body (Muth & Cash, 1997). Since a young female usually interacts with herself and others through a clothed body, the perception and attitude she holds of her body can lead her to actively manage her physical appearance through fashion clothing (Chattaraman & Rudd, 2006). A young female’s daily practice of managing her appearance is usually directed by the mental picture she holds of her body. Fashion clothing as a form of appearance management has to do with the everyday adornment and presentation of the body, illustrating the conscious and visible effort and investment an individual places on her body and its appearance (Tiggemann & Lacey, 2009; Johnson, Francis & Burns, 2007). This illustrates that body image, as a dynamic and subjective personal characteristic, can affect how a young female interacts with fashion clothing in order to manage her appearance (Rudd & Lennon, 2001). A relationship between body image, fashion clothing involvement and appearance management may exist, however the extent of that relationship may vary from person to person, depending on how they evaluate their body and how invested they are in the appearance of their bodies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the role body image evaluation and investment in young female consumers’ fashion clothing involvement and appearance management. Young female consumers’ between the ages of 18-24 residing the Tshwane district were used as the unit of analysis for this study. Various involvement studies have found that young females are more involved in fashionable product categories, such as fashion clothing (Naderi, 2013:89). A convenience sampling method was used to collect data across at the University of Pretoria. The measuring instrument for this study was a structured, self-administered questionnaire. This method was used to collect 280 useable questionnaires. The findings of the study indicate that the young female consumers are low fashion clothing involvement consumers and that fashion clothing doesn’t play a central role in their lives. With regard to body image evaluation, as an attitudinal dimension of the respondents’ physical appearance, it can be understood that how the respondents’ felt about their physical appearance didn’t particularly stimulate their interest in fashion clothing per se. However, with regard to body image investment, the cognitive structures that guide how the respondents’ manage their appearance it is possible that the respondents’ become more involved with fashion clothing. This can be attributed to the sense of self and self-worth the young female respondents get when they put effort and invest time in the fashion clothes they wear. The investment in the young adult female respondents’ fashion clothing involvement is reflected by sense of self-fulfilment the respondents obtained. With regard to appearance management, the findings also showed that the young adult female respondents considered their personal appearance to be important and this was also reflected by their interest in fashion clothing consumption. The respondents’ interest in appearance management and consumption involvement can be attributed to the personal satisfaction they got from managing their appearance and putting effort in the way they look.
Dissertation (MConsumer Science)--University of Pretoria, 2015.