ModCloth, the leading online fashion retailer specializing in unique styles from independent designers, today released its “Truth in Fashion” report, revealing the effects of fashion advertising on the emotions and shopping behaviors of women. Conducted via research to more than 1,500 U.S. women, the study found that over two-thirds (68%) of women are more likely to buy from a company that uses models of varying sizes. Among the findings is the dismaying statistic that a mere 13% of women agree that “real women” are accurately portrayed in the fashion industry.
In response to these findings, ModCloth’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Susan Gregg Koger, penned an open letter challenging the fashion industry to join ModCloth and pledge to represent women as they truly are. To read Susan’s letter, please visithttp://blog.modcloth.com/2014/09/03/fashion-truth-letter/.
The company also announced the launch of #fashiontruth – ModCloth’s “Casting Call For ALL.” This casting call – open to everyone – demonstrates the company’s commitment to featuring a variety of people as their true selves. Those who submit a “selfie” using #fashiontruth on Instagram or Twitter will be considered for use in ModCloth’s marketing and social communities. More information can be found at modcloth.com/fashiontruth.
Recently, ModCloth was the first company to sign the “Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge,” agreeing “to do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features of people in our ads in post-production” and if anything is materially changed, to label the people in the ads so people do not confuse an advertising “ideal” with what is real.
“The reality is that women are being altered and misrepresented in the fashion industry, and as our findings show, these false depictions are affecting them negatively,” said Gregg Koger. “ModCloth’s mission is to help women feel like the best version of themselves and we are calling upon other fashion companies to step up to the plate and challenge the status quo.”
Overwhelmingly, women feel alienated by the fashion industry and cannot relate to the advertising they see from brands. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of women said they “never” or “rarely” see women who look like them reflected in fashion advertising. The results were even more dramatic among plus-size women – where over three in four (78%) women reported “never” or “rarely” seeing themselves reflected in advertisements. Only 25% believe “there are many good role models for women” in the fashion industry or that it “celebrates beauty in many forms.”
The insights also show that not only do women want to see more “real women” in fashion advertising, but they would actually purchase more from brands that showcase diversity. Two-thirds of women said they are more likely to buy from a brand that uses real women as models, and almost half (43%) stated that they actively avoid shopping with companies who only support an ultra-thin standard of beauty, shattering the notion that women only purchase from “aspirational” advertisements.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Nearly three-fourths (71%) of women agree that there needs to be more diversity among fashion models.
- Nearly half of women (47%) feel excluded by the fashion industry. Among plus-size women, that statistic rises to nearly two-thirds (65%).
- 62% think that the fashion industry is harmful to women’s body image.
- When asked to describe their reactions to fashion advertising, 39% of all women stated they couldn’t relate to fashion advertising. 52% of plus-size women reported the same.
- Two-thirds are more likely to buy from brands that use models of varying sizes.
- Over half (58%) are more likely to buy from brands that use models of varying ethnicities.
- Over half (52%) are more likely to buy from brands that use models of varying heights.
- Nearly three-fourths (73%) of women think that the current amount of retouching used in the fashion industry is misleading to consumers.
- Two-thirds of women (67%) agreed they would buy more from a company that uses limited amounts of retouching and Photoshopping.
The survey was conducted by ModCloth using an external sample of 1,514 U.S. women ages 18-44 via an independent third party provider. The survey was fielded from July 24 to July 28, 2014. Data was weighted to accurately represent the U.S. female population based on U.S. Census data. For purposes of this survey, plus size shoppers were defined as women who regularly purchase shirts/tops in size 16 or above.