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Contents Page

2.1 Factors Affecting Consumer Choices on Clothing and Textile 1

2.1.1 Individual and Family Considerations 1
2.1.2 Peer and Society 25
2.1.3 Culture 31
2.1.4 Environment 34
2.1.5 Science and Technology Innovation 41

2.2 Implications 44
2.2.1 Implications on Individual and Family 44
2.2.2 Implications on the Industry 49
2.2.3 Implications on Society 52
2.1 Factors Affecting Consumer Choices on

People wear clothes for many different reasons. Some of these reasons are to satisfy
physical needs, e.g. for protection. Others are for psychological needs and social reasons, e.g.
to enhance self-confidence, to express personality and identification. As a general concept,
clothes help people to express themselves. They can express their individuality and creativity
through their clothes. This can contribute to the building up of self-esteem, self-respect and

2.1.1 Individual and Family Considerations

(A) Age

Age is one of the considerations when people choose clothes and textile products for
different people. People who belong to an age cohort tend to have similar needs and
considerations. People of a similar age and who have undergone similar experiences
are called Age Cohort.

HK Consumer Age Groups 2006

80 - 84
Gray Market
70 - 74

60 - 64

50 - 54
Age Group

Mature Adult
40 - 44

30 - 34
20 - 24

10 - 14

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

Number of People(1000)

Figure 2.1 Hong Kong Consumer Age Groups 2006

(Source: Statistic Department, the Government of HKSAR)

(i) Children

This group contains infants, toddlers, pre-schools and teens. They have different
clothing needs. Comfort, practicality and safety are the factors their parents will
consider when buying clothes for children.

z Infants

Infant growth is fast, their clothes will become too small for them in a short period of
time. Shopping for slightly larger sizes will be more economical as their clothes can be
worn for a longer period of time. However, too large the size can also be dangerous
for infants because they can be tangled.

- Comfort

Tight garments or too many layers of garment will make babies feel
uncomfortable. Garments with soft texture are suitable for babies with
dedicate and sensitive skin. Harsh fabrics can cause skin rashes. Fuzzy
fabrics can irritate the nose and throat. Fabrics with good moisture absorption

are more suitable since perspiration can be absorbed. Cotton flannelette,
terry cloth and jersey are ideal fabrics for infant clothes. Garments made from
knitted fabrics are very popular because they are stretchable and provide
warmth and ventilation.

- Practicality

Infant clothing should be designed for ease of changing. Front or shoulder

opening, instead of pulling over the head, is an ideal design. Warmth is
important to babies since new born babies lies still and sleep most of the

- Safety

In order to protect infants, USA has legislation to make sure that all infant
sleepwear should be flame resistant. Another safety requirement is the type
of fasteners. Buttons and trims that can be pulled off are dangerous for
babies they can be swallowed or poked into the nose or ears if they become
loose. Therefore, lightweight zippers or gripper snaps are more suitable.

Layette is the assembled set of clothing and textile goods for infant babies. Examples
of the layette for newborn infants include:

Undershirts Blanket sleeper

Diapers (cloth, disposable) Bibs
Waterproof pants Diaper pins
Kimonos or gowns Crib sheets
Coveralls or stretch suits Towels
Shawls, bunting or topper set Socks
Bonnets or caps

Clothing of infants should be selected by height and weight rather than by age, since
the size of infants at the same age can be very different.

z Toddlers and preschoolers

Toddlers are children who are actively moving or walking. They are between the ages
of one to two years old. They have short bodies, short legs and a protruding abdomen.

Pre-schoolers are taller and are not as round as toddlers. They are starting to have a
defined waistline. They are between the ages of three to five years old.

- Comfortable

Toddlers and pre-schools should be dressed in simple and functional clothes.

The design of these clothes should allow them to have freedom of movement.
Extra easing should be provided at seat, armholes, pant legs and crotch.
Fabric used should have good elasticity to hold the garment in place. Soft and
unstructured styles such as one-piece playsuits are ideal garment for them.
Fasteners such as wide and crisscross shoulder straps could be used at the

Preschoolers begin to learn how to manage themselves. They develop a

greater sense of independency and responsibility as they learn how to dress
and undress by themselves. Therefore, clothes should be designed for them
to dress and undress by themselves easily. For example, bigger armholes,
great differences between front and back, closings at the front that are easy
to fasten.

- Practicability

Children always play. They are hard wearers. Reinforcements should be

applied at the points of strains. Materials should be durable, sturdy, soil, stain
resistant, elastic and anti-wrinkle.

- Safety

Flame-retardant fabrics are required for sleepwear. When selecting other

clothes, styles that are long and with flowing skirts, tie belts, drawstrings or
full sleeves should be avoided so as to prevent children from tripping or
catching on corners. Trims should be firmly attached and placed where they
do not hamper the wearers activities. Protection should be provided for
severe weather conditions, water repellent and warmth but not non-porous,
tight and heavy are ideal properties.

- Room for growth

Toddlers and preschools are still in a rapid growth period. Their clothes will
become too small for them in a short period of time. For the economic reason,
garment for this particular group should be of simple design with flexibility. For
example, large necklines, raglan or kimono sleeves, sleeveless armhole,
elastic waistbands, stretch fabric and wrap styles are ideal features. Wide

hems at sleeves and pants should be provided for length adjustment. If
clothes have shoulder straps, they should be adjustable.

z Young children

This group consists of children with an age range from six to twelve. Their clothing
should meet their physical needs, such as comfortable, practicability, safety. Besides,
starting from this stage, their psychological needs should also be considered. They
become conscious of what their peers are wearing and they want to look alike.
Approval by their peers gives them a sense of security and belonging. Giving children
some choices in what they wear would reinforce their interest in appearance. Parents
should provide guidance and sharing their experience with their children. Clothing
care should be taught at this stage.

(ii) Teenagers

Many changes take place when a person leaves the role of being a child and enter
into teenagers. The following are some characteristics of teenagers:

- A lot of uncertainties about the self

- The need to belong
- The need to find ones unique identity becomes important
- Active search of cues from their peers for correct and appropriate behaviour
and looks

Teenagers begin to have independent ideas of clothing. They tend to imitate the
clothing of older generations and resist to be called juniors. They are active
consumers of products related to beauty and fashion. Their preference is affected by
peers, celebrity and advertisement on magazines. They form a market with good
potential for clothing merchants.

(iii) Adults

Many of them are married or parents. They begin to have financial burden on housing
and childrens education. Selection of clothing is largely influenced by the opinions of
their spouse. The well-educated group spends more money on both career wear and
casual wear.

(iv) Mature Adult

They buy for themselves, for their families and for others. As this group ages, their
body shapes and preferences change with the growth of age. Some clothing suppliers
may sell relax fit collection to this group to fit their bulge figure. For most of the
women, interest in fashion does not decline with age. Many older female consumers
still have interest in fashion. They would go for appropriate or even distinctive looks
that is right for them, with generally no great pressure from social or peer groups.

(v) Elderly

People in Hong Kong are aging. Elderly are not a homogenous group. Elderly are
diverse in interests, opinion, actions and even income. However, one common
characteristic is that they have problems in finding preferred clothes that fit.

Elderly people usually have big changes on their body proportion. Their faces
gradually become thin, their abdomens and hips get larger, their legs get thinner and
their waistlines thicken. Older women have a larger and low bust and stooped
shoulders. Older men often have a protruding stomach. These cause older people
unable to wear standard sizes.

Comfort in wearing and getting dressed and undressed are the main considerations
for elderly when choosing clothes for themselves. They need large, accessible front
openings with easy-to-close fasteners.

Older people often feel cold more sensitively than the young. Heavy clothes are not
comfortable to them. Light weight fabrics that provide warmth are more suitable.
Fabric should be soft to skin since their skins are always thin, dry and inelastic. Heavy
fabrics and rough textures are not suitable for elderly people.

The following shows the characteristics of each group and their impacts on clothing

Generation Common Characteristics Impact on clothing choice

Children y Growing in size y Decided by parents and
y Dependent to independent then influenced by peers
y Learn to socialise y Unable to wear for a long
y Influenced by parents and time as they grow up very
then peers fast
y Main concerns - comfort,
practicability and safety
Teenagers y Techno-savvy y Influenced by peers and
y Prone to abrupt shifts in celebrities
taste y Challenging demand in
y Brand conscious
Adults y Self-reliant y Pursuit of their own look
y Cautious about marriage y Influenced by spouses
y Media-savvy easily
y Techno-focus y Willing to spend a lot on
y Entrepreneurial clothing and then facing
economic burden after
Mature Adult y Self-assured y Demand products that
y Pursuit of achievement gear towards their lifestyle
y Hard working y Brand names are
y Family focus important
y Body shape begins to
Elderly y Traditional Chinese values y Functionality is important
y Hard working

Figure 2.2 Age Groups and Clothing Choice

(B) Gender

Traditionally, males and female have different roles. Role specialisation of males and
females is still an important part of our todays culture. When parents select toys for
young children these days, they still tend to buy dolls for girls and toy cars for little

boys. This philosophy deeply influences peoples buying behaviour.

There are different social expectations on men and women. Males are expected to be
masculine and females are expected to be feminine. Many of them conform to these
expectations, and will act, speak and select clothing according to these expectations.

Gender differentiation with clothing and items of adornment can be seen in many
aspects. When certain elements on garment are designed exclusively as male or
female symbols, it is called gender coding of garments. Cultural customs or traditions
establish the gender of a type of garment. For example, pants as masculine and skirts
as feminine. Colour preference also reflects gender difference. For example, females
tend to prefer bright tones and are subtle to shadings and patterns, males tend to
prefer plain colours and patterns.

(i) Androgynous

Being androgynous means having the both male and female characteristics. During
the last few decades, rock and roll stars such as Elvis Presley began to use eyeliners,
mascara, cheek bluster and lip gloss. Today, unisex dressing and adornment are
common in some young male. Some examples are long hair and earrings.

(ii) Working Women

The dramatic increase in the proportion of women working outside of the home have
led to an upheaval in the female gender role, the way they regard themselves and the
products they choose to buy.

Working women are financial independent. They spend more on apparel than
non-working women. As they have to take care of their family and career, time is an
important asset to them. This trend has resulted in the growth of catalog and
e-shopping in overseas markets.

(C) Figure

Body image refers to a consumers subjective evaluation of his / her physical

appearance. Physical appearance can give a person self-concept and self-esteem.
Low self-esteem and negative feelings may result when ones body is discrepant from
cultural standards or perceived standards. In realty, clothing can be used to improve
the perceived shape. Certain styles of clothing are often chosen to disguise parts of
ones body due to a negative value on ones body image.

People have different ideals on their body shape in different times. If consumers
understand how their bodies vary from these ideals, it will be easier for them to select
appropriate clothing. The following is the general body ideals for males and females

Male Body Ideals Female Body Ideals

y Youthful, athletic build y Tall, slender
y Tall and slender y Shoulder and hip width are equal
y Broad and well-developed y Hip and bust circumstances are
shoulder muscles equal
y Torso tapers to slender waist y Waist 22.5cm to 27.5cm smaller
y Flat abdomen than hips / bust
y Hip narrower than the width of y Flat abdomen
shoulders y Calf 10cm to 15cm larger than
y Slender, well-muscled arms and ankle
legs y Thigh 15cm to 17.5cm larger
y Proportionate sizes of heads, than calf
hands and feet
Figure 2.3 General body ideals
(Source: Individuality in Clothing Selection & Personal Appearance, 6th Ed.,
Marshall et al.)

(i) Figure Types (Somatotypes)

Human body can be categorised into three basic somatotypes according to muscle
and fat distribution. They are Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph.

Endomorph Mesomorph Ectomorph
y Round body and y Sturdy and muscled y Tall and narrow
fatty frame body
y Short neck and limb y Large shoulder and y Long and thin limbs
y Well-developed arm
and leg muscles

Figure 2.4 Figure types

(Source: Individuality in Clothing Selection & Personal Appearance, 6th Ed.,
Marshall et al.)

(ii) Figure Shapes

When selecting clothing, it is important to know the height and distribution of fat on the
body frame and weight. The ideal body weight is distributed evenly from the center
core of the spine. The bust / chest mass should balance the buttocks mass. However,
females tend to store body fat in their hips and thighs whereas males tend to store fat
in the abdominal area.

Height and weight proportion yields different body silhouette. The common ones are:

Wedge Triangle Balanced Rectangle

Shoulder width Hip width Hip and shoulder Little or no waist
exceeds hip exceeds shoulder measurements indentation
weight width are equal; waist
measurement is
22.5cm 27.5cm

Figure 2.5 Different body silhouette

(iii) Impacts of Figure on Clothing Selection

Women generally pay more attention to their overall appearance change than men.
For men, it is the abdomen change at middle age that affects the most their size
choice of clothing. To pursuit betterment of appearance, women will seek different
means such as diet and sport to keep fit. In choosing clothes, the following rules are
generally followed:

y Thin vertical lines or long diagonal lines add height and slenderise while
broad horizontal lines widen the figure or cut it into shorter segments

y The contrast of low- and high-value colours can emphasise or downplay parts
of the body. Low value or light colours draw attention and can make areas on
the body seem larger than they are while higher value or darker colours
create the illusion of something being smaller

(D) Personal Image and Style

Consumers can use clothing to show their personality image and style such as
uniqueness, originality, risk taking, independence and assertiveness.

(i) Body Image

Body image refers to how the physical self is perceived. Different cultures and
different periods have different concerns and standards. In Western countries, the
female body image is regarded as good if it is attractive, thin and fit. Therefore,
consumers will look for clothing that can help them in building this image.

(ii) Self-image

Self-image refers to the physical and psychological perception that one has of oneself.
One can evaluate ones self-image through feedback from others on his/her
appearance and simply by looking at the reflection of ones image on the mirror.
Correct selection of clothing helps in building the self image.

(iii) Personality

Ones personality is made up of ones thought, feelings and behaviour. They are
influenced by in-born traits, experience and external factors. Ones personality is
unique. Apparel is a tool to express ones personality to others. Some examples of
clothing selection under influence of different personalities are as follows:

y Natural personalities usually prefer relaxed-style clothing

y Classic personalities usually prefer elegant, well-fitted, tailored clothing style,
y Creative personalities usually use a variety of clothing items in different
combinations to reflect their mood and show off their fitness

Clothing and personality should be harmonious. If wearers select clothing that does
not correspond with their personality or behaviour, causing others to experience
discomfort and uncertainty, it is called cognitive dissonance.

(E) Lifestyle

Lifestyle refers to the pattern based on which a person lives his / her life. It establishes
a pattern of consumption reflecting a persons choice on how one spends ones time
and money. Ones lifestyle represents the way how one selects to allocate ones
income on different products, including clothing.

In modern society, people are freer to select the lifestyle that defines them and create
an identity to situate themselves as a particular in different groups of people.
Consumers choice of clothing makes a statement about who one is and about the
types of people with one desires to identity.

Lifestyle is dynamic. Ones lifestyle is shaped by ones role at that particular time.
College students have a lifestyle that is centered on campus life. Parents lifestyle
changes with each development stage of children. Retired people often make
changes in their lifestyle, including changing hobbies, recreation and daily life.

Outward signs such as clothes, homes, cars and jobs help people link themselves to
others with similar lifestyle. Lifestyle is determined by the values, attitudes and
interests of each individual. Some contemporary lifestyle trends and their implications
on clothing selection are indicated in the following table:

Lifestyle Trend Description Implications on Clothing

Concern about Concern for plant and animal Select clothing produced with
the environment lives and the earth environmentally friendly
environment processes; recycled materials;
green customers
Focus on family Increased focus on family Wardrobes meet needs of
life values family activities
Cocooning Retreat into safe, home-like Internet and catalog shopping;
environment use media for fashion sense
Emphasis on Multiple roles to increase the Convenient shopping;
the value of time value of time multifunctional clothing; pay
attention to clothing care
Do not Reduced emphasis on more, Small, more utilitarian
emphasis on bigger, better, faster wardrobe; reduction in
materialism shopping

Lifestyle Trend Description Implications on Clothing
Emphasis on Increased interest in value for Great interest in discount
value of goods dollar spent apparel products
and services
Clanning Finding belongingness through Select apparel products that
clubs, support groups, can show social group
cohousing, cyber clans membership
Fantasy Avoid boredom Choose on the edge
adventure cosmetics; obsession with
Ergonomics Customisation of life; service Prefer customised apparel
on demand products
Figure 2.6 Lifestyle trends and implications
(Adapted from: F Popcorn and L. Marigold, 1997. Clicking. New York: Haper Collins)

(i) Values

Values come from ones culture, environment, family, peers and social experience.
They are influenced by family members, peers and media.

Values are also very individualistic. They cause conflict between people and
sometimes tension between generations. Different values occur in length of hair,
length of skirt, colour of hair dye, earrings and brands.

The following are examples of value orientation and their relationship to clothing:

Value Description Implications on Clothing

Theoretical Discovery Seek product information
Economic Practical Dress in comfort, bargain
Aesthetic Beauty Dress attractively
Social Other directed Conformity to dress code
Political Power Dress to impress
Religious Spiritual Modesty in dress
Figure 2.7 Sprangers value orientation
(Source: E. Spranger. 1928. Types of Men. P.J.W. Pigors, Trans. Halle[Saale]:
Max Neimeyer Verlag)

(ii) Attitudes

Attitudes are a persons mood, opinion and / or disposition. They are developed
through interaction with family members and peers, education and experiences
gained in the society. Attitudes can be reflected by clothing choice.

Attitudes have three components. They are:

z Affective

Emotions or feelings about an object. For example,

Emotions Clothing Choice

Sexuality Body-revealing
Youthfulness Current teen fads
Sophistication Understated, severe, cosmopolitan
Self-confidence Appropriate attire for specific functions
Happiness Fun-fashion, bright colour
Sadness Somber hue, body-concealing
Inferiority Seductive, worn, inappropriate
Superiority Expensive, high fashion, brands
Figure 2.8 Emotions and clothing choice
(Source : Individuality in Clothing Selection & Personal Appearance, 6th Ed.,
Marshall et al.)

z Cognitive

When belief clothing is very important to the status, respect and recognition, a person
may spend a large proportion of income on clothing by squeezing other living

z Behavioural

Attitudes reflecting what the person actually does. A teen may stay home from a
gathering because he / she does not have the right clothing. Some students behave
more disciplined in the street when they are wearing their school uniforms.

(iii) Interest

Interest refers to a feeling of having curiosity engaged by something particular.

Usually the stronger the interest in the matter, the more effort is put on it, for example,
stamp collection, make up or fashion. Sometimes, interests may be impersonal.
Interest in clothing can be expressed by the following means:

y Attending fashion show

y Attention to personal appearance
y Frequent shopping for clothing
y Attention to wardrobe care and maintenance
y Experimenting different looks
y Reading fashion magazines

(F) Education

With improvement of the education system, young people are more educated now
than at any time in the past. More educated consumers are more global minded,
receptive to imports, discerning and demanding. These consumers are able to collect
information on trendy and quality products. These factors stimulate apparel producers
to provide well-designed, high-quality apparel products.

(G) Occupation

There are two major trends in employment: (1) a shift from blue-collar to white-collar
jobs, and (2) an increasing number of women in the workplace. Write collar and
women usually spend more on clothing than blue collar and men.

Traditionally, most working adults are men. They dressed in their proper attire such as
formal suits and shirts for white collar, jeans and work wear for blue collars. Women
are housewives and dressed in casual wear. Today, women are participating at every
level of the economy and as a result, their clothing needs changes. More and more
manufacturers are producing clothing for women that are suitable for the workplace.
Many retailers have expanded their "career dress" departments and have developed
personal shopping services that cater to women who have less time to shop because
of professional commitments.

Another occupation-related factor, dress-down Friday, results in an increase in the

production of casual clothing for work. Many major companies have instituted

relaxing dress requirements for all their employees one day a week.

(H) Income

The amount of money that consumers spend on clothing and other goods mostly
depends on their income. Consumers living in developed countries may choose a
wide variety of goods. Their income is higher than those in developing and
under-developing countries. Consumers income can be measured in three ways:
personal income, disposable income and discretionary income.

z Personal income

- The total amount of income from all sources such as wages and salaries,
savings interest and dividend.

z Disposable income

- Personal income minus taxes. This amount determines a persons

purchasing power.

z Discretionary income

- Income left over after food, accommodation, and other necessities have been
paid for. This money can be spent or saved at the persons will.

People with more discretionary income tend to buy more fashion goods. Young people
spend the highest proportion of their income on clothing.

People with different levels of income may have the following consideration in buying

The very rich people with inherited wealth tend to be conservative in buying
clothes. Quality is an important factor while cost and trend are not important.
Understood elegance is probably the best way to describe their fashion

The new rich people do not consider cost and their fashion purchases are
usually made in the finest shops featuring the best of the worlds couture. The
label is everything. They wish to tell the world of their success and do it
through material extravagance such as expensive and recognisable apparel.

Affluent middle class people prefer designer labels and fashion-forward
merchandise. Many top fashion producers manufacture separate lines
especially for this market. Couture lines with brand names related to these
top fashion producers are introduced trying to satisfy the needs of these
consumers who find the price for the top fashion too extravagantly for them.
These new couture lines can are priced less expensively but still satisfy this
particular group of customers with their status labels. Besides, many of them
are regular shoppers at off-price stores, where they purchase designer labels
at lower prices than those at traditional department and specialty stores.

Merchandise selections of average middle class people are geared to lesser

quality merchandise. They are often the purchasers of trendy merchandise
copied down to lower-price points that they can afford.

For lower Income people, price is very important to them and purchases are
generally made at stores that sell budget merchandise. Most purchasing is
done at specialty chains that offer merchandise at minimum prices. They seek
fashion items but their purchases are made when the styles have reached
their lowest prices. In addition to the lower-priced specialty chains, they
patronise the value discount retailers and off-price stores for low quality

Poor people are more concerned with survival than fashion. These individuals
purchase clothing and accessories as necessities.

(I) Occasional Requirements

Consumers buy apparel for specific occasions. University graduates wear caps and
gowns in their graduation ceremony. Brides wear white gowns and veils in their
wedding party. These different kinds of apparel show the identities of particular
wearers. By wearing appropriate or inappropriate clothing, people show their
acceptance or rejection to the social environment. It is called modesty. The event a
person attends also influences the amount of modesty. A man may wear a kilt to play
a bagpipe at a gathering in Scotland but wearing a kilt anywhere else would probably
embarrass him.

The following are the description on dress codes for different occasions:

(i) Dress for Careers

The companys dress code is the primary guide to dressing in the job. The top
management of a company could show their power by wearing appropriate clothes.
Business power clothes are mens suit, shirt and tie and female version of the
business suits. In todays business world, the standards of appropriateness in
business dress code have undergone dramatic changes. They derive the following

y Traditional business dress consists of more classic business wear including

suits, for men and ladies, dress shirts and ties for men and classic blouse and
accessories for women.

y Smart casual wear is more relaxing than traditional ones.

y Everyday casual wear is very casual apparel including Tee-shirts, jeans,

sweaters and shorts.

y Creative dress is for the utmost expression of personality for people working
in entertainment and the creative industry.

y Uniform is outfits that can help identify individuals as members of a particular


(ii) Dress for Leisure

When engaging in leisure activities, people are more willing to present their personal
appearance in a form that reflects a specific lifestyle.

(iii) Dress for Special Occasions

Different events give opportunities to dress differently. Some examples of these

events are wedding, funeral, festival, etc. What to wear can create dilemmas if the
occasion is unfamiliar. Often the safest choice is to under-dress.

(iv) Dress for Travel

Before traveling, one should be familiar with the weather, intended activities and dress
customs of the place. Certain fabrics and garments withstand travel better than others,
for example garments made by wrinkle-free fabric.

(J) Quality and Durability

These are practical considerations for many consumers. Durability is highly related to
quality. Consumer demand for quality has risen in recent years. Consumers consider
clothing an investment and do not mind spending more for the lasting qualities of fine
detailing and workmanship. Some consumers may look for a particular brand or name
on the basis of a reputation for quality and durability. At the same time, the durability of
a garment and the ease of caring for it are often factors being considered in the
selection process.

Care Label

A great variety of fibres are used in making clothes. They have different physical and
chemical properties and need to be washed with different detergent and dried in
different ways. Care label becomes very important for clothing care. Many places in
the world have their own care label system to cater for their consumers need

Care label of different places are as follows:

British care label BS2747

International Standards Organisation - ISO150
International Association for Textile Care Labeling GINETEX
Japanese Standard Association JIS
Australian Standard AD1957 1987
American Society for Testing and Material ASTM O3136-88

In Hong Kong, there is no regulation for requesting textile products to have washing
instruction and fibre content attached with their products. Symbols commonly found in
a care label are as follows:

Washing Hand wash

Machine wash at 40oC

Bleaching Can be bleached

Ironing Cool iron at 110oC

Drying Can be tumble dried

Dry-cleaning Can be dry cleaned

(K) Physical Needs & Health Concern

People need physical protection from dirt, insects and other harmful agents in the
environment. Shoes protect a persons feet from soil, hard objects and hot and cold
surfaces. Some specific types of garment protect workers from the dangers that might
arise from their working environment, for example incident uniform of fireman (flame
resistant). As technology continues to develop, a lot of protective garment has also
developed. Hard hats and safety goggles have been standard equipment for many job
sites. More recently, special garment has been developed to protect against
contamination, chemicals, radiation and fire.

Athletics need to wear protective clothing, for example, helmets, gloves and pads
provide protection while skateboarding. Special shoes worn by tennis players and
basketball players are designed to protect them from slipping.

For maternity clothing of pregnant women, different parts of the garment should have
plenty of fullness for comfort when standing and sitting.

(L) Family influence

Family member is one of the reference groups affecting individuals choice of clothing.
There are three effects of family member:

(i) Joint Decision Making

For many people, the buying of expensive apparel items will be a joint decision with
parent(s), spouse or sibling(s) acting as advisors to the person who will wear the item.
Each of them will take up different roles in the joint decision making process and the
roles are as follows:

- User: The person who will wear the clothing

- Decider(s): This person could be the wearer or one of the advisor(s)
- Buyer: The person could be the wearer or in the case of a child user, this
person would be another family member.

(ii) Consumer Socialisation

Socialization is a process which new members of the society (children or adult

immigrants) acquire the values, beliefs and customs through different reference
groups. This allows them to get into the society and establish their identity in the social
group. Reference groups of young people are their family, classmates, friends and
neighbours. Through interacting with these reference groups, young people learn the
skills, knowledge and attitudes needed, such as what is the accepted behaviour,
suitable clothing for different occasions, appropriate consumption that fit their status.
Like children accompany their parents on shopping trips and learn how to select items,
how to compare price and quality and how to match styles and colours. When they
grow up, young people usually are skilled shoppers by the time they buy clothes for
themselves without supervision of their parents.

(iii) Family Life Cycle

Consumption is also shaped differently in different stages of the family life cycle. The
following table shows the consumption pattern of the family life cycle:

Stage Buying Pattern Products/Services to be

Bachelorhood - new family not yet formed - a high degree of autonomy
(I) - few financial burdens, plenty in expense
of discretionary income - expenses on entertainment,
- keep abreast with the fashion social activities and trendy
trend items, such as fashion,
dining out
Honeymooner - a new family is just formed - spend more on household
and without children good, such as washing
- financial burden is not too machine, dryer, television
heavy - may buy luxury good such
- a higher purchasing power of as cars and travel
durables. - may also buy products
related to leisure activities
such as casual wear,
Parenting: - with the youngest child at the - great increase in expenses
Full Nest I age of six on daily necessities and
- great increase in expenses baby products, such as
- interested in childrens baby food, medical
products and advertised expenses, toys, clothing
Parenting: - the youngest child is usually - purchase great quantity of
Full Nest II at the age of six to twelve household goods, such as
- may have an increased food, cleansing agents
income due to increased - buy larger-sized packages
working experience - expenses on childrens
- less influenced by advertising education as the major
expenditure, such as piano
lesson, extra curricular
- Purchase of daily clothing
and clothing for childrens

Stage Buying Pattern Products/Services to be
activities, such as sports
Parenting: - with the youngest child is a - may purchase
Full Nest III teenager non-essential products
- some children may have - children who start working
started to work to release will buy clothing for work
parents financial burden - besides buying basic
- may still need to support apparel products, will also
children who are attending buy items with special
school design
- not easy to be influenced with
Parenting: - children may get married and - may buy products with
Nest Leaving leave home better quality and more
- less financial burden durable, such as apparel
- not interested in new products with brand name
Empty Nest - retirement of both parents or - Expenses are mainly for
just one of them, decrease in basic necessity such as
income medical, appliances,
medical-care products and
services that aid health
- purchase of non-essential
apparel products declines
Solitary survivor - one of the parents died and - Increased expenses on
the other depends mainly on medical and care
saving - seldom buy apparel

2.1.2 Peer and Society

(A) Peers

Peers are the most important reference group influencing a persons buying decision
other than his/her family. Reference group refers to an individual or group. The
perspective of a reference group will affect the forming of attitudes and overt
behaviour of a consumer. The reference group of a buyer affects the consumers
buying decision in two ways:

They set level of aspiration for an individual

They define the actual items considered acceptable for the display of this level
of acceptance

Peer group is a reference group that affects a person most.

(i) Friendship Peer Groups

They are informal groups, usually with unstructured organisation. Friends fulfill a wide
range of needs: they provide companionship, security and opportunities to discuss
problems that an individual may be reluctant to discuss with family members.

The opinions and preference of friends have an important influence on the choice of
products or brands. Consumers are more likely to seek information from those friends
who they believe having the values or attitude similar to their own.

(ii) Formal Social Groups

A person joins a formal social group to fulfill specific goals such as learning, making
new friends or pursuing a special interest. Formal social groups often consume certain
products together. For example, a school requires all its students to buy uniforms, a
swimming society may persuade its members to buy swimsuit and equipments in
some outlets. Membership in a formal group may also influence each others buying
behaviour. Members have frequent opportunities to informally discuss products or

(iii) Shopping Groups

Two or more people shop together can be called a shopping group. Many people like
to shop with others have similar personality or who they feel have more experience or
knowledge about a desired product. Shopping with others also provides an element of
social fun. Besides, it reduces the risk that a product will be incorrect and socially

(iv) Working Groups

Working groups can be formal and informal. Formal working groups consist of those
individuals who work together as a team. Their direct and continuous work
relationship offers substantial opportunity for one or more members to influence each
other in terms of consumption-related attitudes and activities. Informal work groups
consist of people who have become friends as a result of working together, whether or
not they work together as a team. Members of informal work groups may influence the
consumption behaviour of other members during coffee, lunch time or after-hours

(v) Group Norm and Conformity

A norm can be defined as a rule of behaviour for meeting societal expectations. All
members of a group will adhere to the normative system established for that group. To
enforce this, any given group tends to exert conformity pressure on their members.
Conformity in dress can be thought as an acceptance of or adherence to a clothing
norm, which represents the typical or accepted manner of dressing shown by a
specific group. The term mode is used to mean the most common form of clothing
worn among a given group of people or the greatest frequency of style. A teenager
peer group may find one members choice of clothing unacceptable and make fun of
him/her before the group members accept it as a group norm of dress or conform to
the new mode.

Information from the peer group can lead to conformity with group norms, such as
high school cliques adhere to strictly defined clothing norm. School uniform also is an
example of conformity in dress, albeit imposed upon students by the school.

Similarly, dress codes in the workplace act to create or maintain a unified look or
image. They are sometimes explicit with clear rules restricting on the wearing of
uniform. More often, they are implicit where clothing norms are understood and

(vi) Group Effects on Individual Buying Behaviour

z Individualism

With more people in a group, it becomes less likely that any of the members will be
singled out. As a group, normal restraints on ones behaviour are reduced. For
example, people dress more dramatically in a costume parties or on Halloween night.

z Group shopping

Many people will shop with at least one other person tend to make more unplanned
purchases, buy more and cover more stores than those who go alone. Members of a
group may be convinced to buy a fashion item to gain an approval of the others or
may simply be exposed to more products and stores by pooling information with the
rest of the group.

(B) Society

When people do not know the correct way to respond to certain social expectations
and using other people as a cue to ensure that his/her response is correct, the
individual is under normative social influence. For example, a persons clothing choice
conforming to the clothing mode is for the acceptance of the peer group. People tend
to seek for validation of their own opinions and behaviour from others. For example,
when new employees in the workplace are unsure of how to follow an unwritten dress
code, they just take reference of their colleagues attire and follow.

(i) Types of Social Factors Affecting Group Conformity:

z Cultural pressure

Different cultures encourage conformity to different degrees, for example, collective

well-being and group loyalty over individual needs are stressed in Japanese society.

z Fear of deviance

The individual believes that the group will apply sanctions to punish behaviour that
differs from the groups expectation.

z Commitment

The more a person dedicates to a group and values its membership, the more
motivated the person will be to follow the groups norm.

z Group unanimity, size and expertise

As groups gain in power, compliance increases. It is often harder to resist the

demands of a large number of people than just a few.

z Gender difference

Women are more susceptible then men to interpersonal influence since they are more
sensitive to social cues and tend to be more group-oriented and cooperative in nature.

z Susceptibility to interpersonal influence

This refers to an individuals need to identify or enhance his/her image in the opinion
of his/her significant others. This enhancement process often is accompanied by the
acquisition of products the person believes will impress his/her audience. Consumers
who are low on this trait is called role relaxed and they tend to be older and affluent
and have high self-confidence. Young people are more susceptible to such influence.

(ii) Influenced by Word-of-mouth

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is important information being transmitted from individuals to

individuals through verbal means. It is a persuasive means as WOM tends to be more
reliable and trustworthy than the recommendations one gets from merchants. Unlike
advertising, WOM is often backed by social pressure to conform to these

Examples of developing WOM:

z A person might be highly involved with a type of product or activity and get
pleasure in talking about it. Fashion enthusiasts seem to steer their
conversation onto their subject.

z A person might be knowledgeable about fashion trend and use conservation

as a way to let other know about it.

(iii) Influence of Opinion Leaders

If a person intends to buy fashion items, he/she would tend to consult leading fashion
magazines, or see what the influential celebrities or fashion leaders are wearing.

An opinion leader is a person who is frequently able to influence others attitudes and
behaviour. Opinion leaders are extremely valuable information sources for a number
of reasons:

z They are technically competent and thus are convincing as they posses
expert power.

z They provide pre-screened, evaluated and synthesised product information in

an unbiased way, so they possess knowledge power. As opinion leaders do
not actually represent any commercial establishments, they tend to be more

z They tend to be socially active and interact with the community, which in
many ways enhances their level of influence.

z They tend to share similar values and beliefs as general consumers. They
are considered to possess referent power.

z Opinion leaders are often among the first to get hold of new products, so they
absorb the risk. This experience reduces uncertainty for others. They would
voice both the positive and negative side of the product performance.

Fashion opinion leaders are those people who buy early in the fashion season. True
fashion leaders constantly seek distinction and therefore are likely to launch a
succession of fashion rather than just one.

Fashion opinion would usually exhibit most of the following profiles:

z Young female
z Not married, without children
z Relatively high income or occupational level
z Readers of fashion magazines
z Gregarious, social and competitive
z Like and do not object to change
z Exhibitionist or narcissistic

(iv) Influence of Mass Media and Advertising

In Hong Kong, people have easy access to newspapers, many general and special
interest magazines and television channels. Consumers are constantly exposed to
new ideas, products, opinions and advertisements. Mass media communications
provide an important source of information that influences the formation of consumer

The primary purpose of advertising is to sell goods and services to people. It does this
by frequent and regular communication with customers, making them aware of
products and services and creating a desire to possess these products. The media
that carry advertisement include print (newspapers, magazines), broadcast (Radio,
TV), direct mail advertising, position advertising and point-of-sale displays.

Different advertising styles will be used for different price level of clothing.

High-end Fashion Medium-priced Low-priced clothing

y Only the designer y There are clear y Advertising is
or brand name photographs and limited and
appears. No extensive emphasise on
detailed description descriptions to tell price.
about the company customers that they
accompanies the will be fashionable
photography. and achieving a
y Customers are lifestyle that they
notified with the desire by wearing
new arrivals rather these styles.
than being
persuaded to buy.

Figure 2.9 Styles of advertising for different price levels

Advertising can psychologically affect the consumers. For example, the purchase of
licensed athletic goods from brands promises of athletic success; hair products offer
increased attention from the opposite sex.

2.1.3 Culture

(A) What is Culture?

Culture refers to the learnt, socially acquired traditions of thought and behaviour in
human societies. (Harris and Johnson, 2000, P.9)

Culture is passed down from generation to generation. Although it is always

re-interpreted by different generations, culture tends to be similar from one generation
to another. Each culture is unique. Individuals and groups in a particular culture differ
in their ideas of what is attractive, appropriate and fashionable because they are
influenced by different cultural environments.

(B) Motivation for Clothing Selection for Different Cultures

People live in different parts of the world. Each group forms a distinctive culture
different from others. They choose different clothing for different reasons:

(i) Protection

To protect the body from harm is the primary reason for different cultural costumes
being developed. There are two types of protection:

z Physical protection

This involves wearing the body coverings and adornment to facilitate individuals
survival in an unfavorable environment such as Eskimos wearing fur and skins to
resist the cold temperature and Arabians wearing hijab to protect them from sand
storms in deserts.

z Psychological protection

This involves wearing the body coverings and adornment that defend individual from
harmful spiritual powers. For instance, Western people believed that bridal veils
protect the bride from evil spirit and American Indian believed that eagle feather
possessed magical power.

(ii) Clothing for Modesty

Expression of modesty is found among all cultures but still there is a lack of
agreement as to what constitutes modesty. To what extent the body is covered is quite
different between different cultures, and even among individuals in a culture.
Traditional Japanese take the bath in public bath where both genders bath together
and their nudity is not considered immodesty, but Japanese kimono is body
enveloping. Bikini is very common in beaches of foreign countries, but many Chinese
females are hesitated to wear it in China.

(iii) Clothing as a Means to meet Socio-economic Needs

In many cultures, social and economic positions are indicated by the quality and
quantity of possessions. For example, in ancient China, wealthy Chinese women grew
their fingernails to inordinate lengths, tied the feet and wore long sleeved robes, thus
showing that they did not need to perform lowly manual jobs. In the 19th century, rich
and powerful English businessmen wore high, tight and white collars with their heavy,
stiff Edwardian suits. The clothes made them look gentle and thus they were called
the White Collar Workers.

Today, many people also show their status with particular selections of clothing.
People think that wealthy people are financially resourceful to afford any kinds of
clothes they choose whereas less income means less money for clothing. Low
income people who desire to appear prosperous may spend the majority of their
income on apparel.

Volume Layers of garments, number of beads and necklaces, rows of

Colour Rare and exclusive colour
Style Tailor-made design and accessories
Quality Metals, jewels, fabrics, fur, tailor-made
Workmanship Construction skills, quality of tattooing or scarification
Figure 2.10 Clothing and social status
(Source : Individuality in Clothing Selection & Personal Appearance, 6th Ed.,
Marshall et al.)

(iv) Sumptuary Laws

Sumptuary laws are the laws regulating the pattern of consumption including style of
and personal expenditures on clothing. They restrict individual choice on colour, motif

and style that designated rank, class and position in society. In ancient China, people
were forbidden to wear in royal colour. In ancient Japan, all citizens were controlled on
wearing apparel of specific fabrics, colours and decorative designs according to their
positions in society. In contemporary societies, some limitations are still observed
around the world. Some examples of these apparel limitations are:

(C) Ethnic Group

Geographic environment separates human being into different ethnic groups on the
globe. They have different cultures and identity. Ethnic identity refers to a set of
self-ideas and the presentation of individuals as members of a particular ethnic group.
The identification of a unique cultural construct through which people identify
themselves is call ethnicity. The cultural construct involves shared value, believes,
customs and norms.

Dress and adornment are some elements of the identity kit for any particular cultures.
They are used as the tangible evidence of the link to the geographic place of their
cultural heritage. In many regions of the world, national costumes and styles in dress
and ornament declare membership in a certain village, caste, religion, etc. A
Scotsman declares his clan with his tartan. A Muslim woman might wear a hijab to
express her religion. A male Sikh may display his religious affiliation by wearing a
turban and other traditional clothing. A French peasant woman may identify her village
with her cap or coif.

(D) Marital Status

Visible means of recognising marital status is a common practice among many

different cultures. Hindu women, once married, wear sindoor, a red powder, in the
parting of their hair; if widowed, they abandon sindoor and jewelry and wear simple
white clothing. Japanese women wear kimono and puff with different styles and
colours to indicate their marital status. Men and women of the Western world may
wear wedding rings to indicate their marital status.

(E) Political Belief

Political movements have been supported and suppressed by dress. During the
French Revolution, people wore sans-culottes, which was a symbol of freedom. In

China, the revolution leaders like Sun Yat-sen and Mao Ze-dong wore tunic suits
representing liberation and revolution. People regard themselves as comrades and
also follow the Zhongshan zhuang and Mao suit styles.

Colours also represent personal political believes. In political gatherings in Taiwan,

supporters of different political parties wear Tee-shirts in different colours: red, green
and orange.

(F) Religious Habits and Special Religious Clothing

. Sometimes, religious clothing is worn only during the performance of religious

ceremonies. However, it may also be worn every day as a marker of special religious

Some examples of religious clothing as markers of special religion status are:

Tenets of the Islamic faith prohibit the wearing of pure silk garments. However,
wearing silk blended with cotton is acceptable.

Indian women are adorned with a red or saffron tika mark on their foreheads
to show that they have made their offering at the temple.

The saffron-robed monks of the Buddhist faith wear draped garments of an

intensive yellow-orange colour set to show their status.

2.1.4 Environment

(A) Physical Protection

Clothing selection should consider the facilitation of individuals survival in unfriendly


Different climates in different places create different clothing needs. Garments for
summer and winter vary in terms of texture, weight and colour. Clothes for hot
weather need to make the wearers feel cool while clothes for cold weather need to
have warm effect. Consumers wardrobes need to be changed according to the
change of weather.

Most animals have hairs to keep warm in cold weather. To keep the body warm,

human being should cover the torso with several clothing layers. Each layer traps a
pocket of air. This keeps body heat in and lets moisture out. However, wearing too
many layers will hinder body movement. Also, the outer layer must be big enough to
go over the rest.

On the contrary, people living in hot weather regions wear less. Natives in Africa used
to wear bare tops to make the body feel cold. Hot weather clothes are characterised
by shorts, Tee-shirts, hats, bikini, etc. Today, people are more concerned with
protecting the body from direct sun exposure.

The fabrics of garments should be chosen according to climatic conditions. To keep

warmth, consumers choose fuzzy, wool-like garments. Double knits, quilted fabrics
and laminated fabrics give extra warmth. Down or other fillers are used in garments to
keep warmth too. Garments that fit snugly at the neck, wrists and ankles keep drafts of
cold air out.

For hot weather, garments of cotton are a good choice as they absorb respiration
effectively. They are very comfortable and let the body breathe with ease.

Colours affect the level of heat absorbance of clothing. The white colour reflects heat
while the black colour absorbs most heat. In summer, wearing white or light colours
will have a cooler effort than black or dark colours.

When going outdoors, people sometimes need protection against wind and rain.
People need apparel to keep warm and dry. In cold weather, long undergarments
worn under clothes provide a great amount of warmth.

In the northern part of the globe, cold climates demand higher spending costs of
clothing. Items such as coats, boots, hats, scarves, sweaters, and long underwear are
needed to protect individuals against the cold. People need more variety in their
wardrobe when they live in geographic regions that have distinct seasonal changes. A
mild climate, where temperature variations are less severe, causes fewer clothing
needs and less clothing budget.

(B) Ultra-Violet Light and Ozone

(i) What is Ultra-Violet Light?

Emissions of the Sun include Ultra-Violet (UV), visible light, heat and other radiations.
These emissions are characterised by their wavelength, expressed in manometers (1

nm = 10-9 m).

As visible light can be divided into colours which we can see in rainbows, UV is
subdivided and commonly defined as Ultraviolet-A(UVA), Ultraviolet-B(UVB) and
Ultraviolet-C(UVC). All UVC (very short wavelength UV) is absorbed by the
atmosphere and does not reach the Earth's surface. UVB is biologically damaging UV
but most of this is absorbed by the atmosphere. Long wavelength UVA is the most
intense UV reaching the Earth and can penetrate furthest into tissue but it is not as
biologically damaging as UVB. However, recent researches revealed that UVA
contributes to aging and skin cancer.

(ii) Depletion of Ozone Layer

Ozone is a form of molecular oxygen existing predominantly in the upper atmosphere.

It is continuously formed by oxygen absorbing the sun's short-wave UVC and then
broken down by a number of chemicals such as chlorine from chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs) and by absorption of UVC and UVB. Since ozone is an effective absorber of
UV, depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer results in people and the environment
being exposed to higher intensities of UV, particularly UVB. Due to the pollution of the
atmosphere, the protective ozone layer is being depleted at a rate sufficient to leave
"holes" over the Antarctic, causing higher UV exposures to residents of New Zealand
and some southern parts of Australia. Ozone holes have now been reported over
parts of Europe and North America.

(iii) Factors Affecting UV Exposure

z Solar elevation (height of the sun in the sky)

The intensity of solar UV, and especially UVB, depends on the height of the sun in the
sky. This varies depending on the season of the year, time of day and latitude. UV
intensities are highest during the summer months in the 4-hour period around noon
(or 13:00 if daylight saving is in effect).

z Latitude and altitude

The UV intensity at the earth's surface is related to the angle at which the UV rays
pass through the atmosphere. In the tropics (near the equator), solar UV is more
intense because it has less distance to travel through the atmosphere to the surface
of the Earth. UV intensities increase with altitude. This is because the amount of
atmosphere available to absorb UV is decreased when the altitude is higher, so more

and shorter wavelength UV is able to reach higher altitude areas. In high altitudes,
skiers can be exposed to higher intensities of UV, especially with snow being a very
effective reflector.

z Atmospheric scattering

Solar UV is composed of direct and scattered radiation. The sky looks blue because
the blue rays from sunlight are highly scattered by the atmosphere. UV is scattered
even more than blue light and this can lead to an increase in a person's exposure to

z Clouds and haze

UV intensities are highest under cloudless skies. Clouds generally reduce UV

intensity but light or thin clouds have little effect and under certain conditions may
even enhance the UV intensity. Hazy days generally have higher amounts of water
vapor in the air; UV scattering in the atmosphere increases and can result in a higher
personal UV exposure. Thus, even though haze or cloud cover can cause one to feel
cooler, the UV exposure can still be high.

z Ground reflection

Most natural surfaces such as grass, soil and water reflect less than 10% of incident
UV. However, fresh snow strongly reflects 80% UV. Sand also reflects 10-25% UV
and can significantly increase UV exposure at beaches. Reflected UV is an important
source of exposure to the eye.

(iv) Choose Protective Apparel and Accessories in Sunny Days

The best form of protection is to wear loose-fitting, closely woven fabrics that cast a
dense shadow when held up to the light. Most types of textiles, both natural and
synthetic, provide good protection against Ultra Violet. It is the density of the weave
that primarily determines whether or not the material is a good sunscreen. Whether a
material is wet or dry is also important in relation to the amount of UV it absorbs.
There is less absorption of UV when a fabric is wet. Colour also plays a role. Dark
colours may be warmer to wear and provide better protection because the dye
pigments absorb UV rays and also visible light. Hats with brims at least 7 cm wide not
only protect the top of the head but also provide shade for the face and neck on which
skin cancers commonly occur. A neckerchief (a small piece of material about the size
of a large handkerchief) on the back of the neck will provide added protection against

UV exposure. The overexposure of UV radiation can eventually lead to eye cataracts
and other vision problems. Sunglasses can provide UV protection.

(C) Cold Weather

While in many places clothing is more a way of expressing personal style, clothing for
colder climates depends on the outside weather. Clothing becomes an important
factor for protecting the body and comfort.

The body needs an optimum temperature to maintain the basal metabolic rate.
Prolong exposure to cold will lead to hypothermia which is fatal. Therefore it is
important to wear proper clothes to maintain a stable body temperature. Wearing
several layers of clothes can keep the body warmer than just one thick piece of
clothing. Air bags are formed between layers of clothing, the air trapped in the air bags
is a poor heat conductor and retards the lost of body temperature.

In cold climate, 3 layers of clothing can be worn for keeping warm. Different
accessories can also be used to keep the sensitive parts of the body warm.

(i) The First Layer: Wicking Layer

The body temperature goes down when sweat is evaporated. Even without physical
activity, the body sweats about 0.05 to 0.08 liters of water per hour. In high altitude
and in extreme coldness, it may even be more. It is important to stay dry and avoid the
lost of heat. Polartec material and pure polypropylene with a layer of wool woven are
suitable as the 1st layer of clothing in the cold weather. They are able to absorb the
moisture on the skin and dry quickly as the moisture is transported to the next layer of

(ii) The Second Layer: Insulation Layer

The second layer can compose of several pieces of clothes which act as insulator to
preserve the warm air caused by the body temperature Fleece, pile materials (e.g.
corduroy and velvet), woven and knitted fabrics made by blending cotton, wool, silk,
polyester, acrylic, nylon and other fibres together are suitable textiles materials. Down
can also keep the body warm but should never come in contact with moisture.

(iii) The Third Layer: Protection Layer

The 3rd layer of clothing should be able to resist rain, wind and snow. A coat using
thick woven materials made of wool, polyester, nylon, polyester and cotton blend can
keep the body warm. Fabric with wind blocking finishes can block the cold air.

(iv) Sensitive Body Parts: Hands and Feet

Multilayer socks should be worn to protect the feet. The first layer of socks should be
thin polypropylene socks or silk socks. A second layer can be of fleece socks or sheep
wool socks to keep the feet dry. Boots with inside part made from felt is very suitable.
Gloves can protect the hands from low temperatures because cold would make
fingers become stiff and start hurting.

One can further protect the head with a cap (wool or fleece) or a headband. The neck
part can be wrapped with a scarf of wool or fleece.

Eyes need to be especially protected at high wind speeds. Skiing glasses with double
layered screens are very useful.

(D) Environmental Protection

Physical environment influences our lives and the clothing we wear. If the
environment is not properly protected, we and our next generations will suffer.

Today, many consumers, especially the young consumers, show their favour to
environmentally friendly products when they make their buying decisions. They are
educated to be environmentally aware in school. Environmental advocates, mass
media and governments also promote to build a green and sustainable living
environment for people.

In foreign countries, products complying with criteria of environmental protection are

attached with an eco-label. This practice is more systematic in developed countries
such as the Eco-label in EU and Eco Mark in Japan.

Environmental labeling or "eco-labeling" plays a very important role to attract

consumers to support environmental protection, especially with the increased
awareness on the need to protect the environment. Consumers, industrialists,
technologists and society as a whole should not only make their purchasing decisions
based on the key aspects associated to the product itself but also include the

environmental effects before, during and after manufacturing of the products. Thus,
"eco-labeling" presents a judgment of products' relative environmental qualities. It
also guarantees that a product is environmentally friendly at all stages of its life cycle
and that it satisfies both voluntary and regulatory requirements.

Participation in eco-labeling programs is voluntary. The criterion for granting eco-label

to a product is based on the degree of environmentally friendliness involved during its
lifecycle. The lifecycle of manufactured products means:

z Pre-production such as recycling textile materials

z Production such as emission of toxic air, waste water, etc
z Packaging/Distribution such as harmful plastic materials
z Utilization such as energy saving in ironing, water saving in laundry
z Disposal such as decomposition

Some common environmental labels used outside Hong Kong are:

z Eco-label Flower (EU)

z Oko-Tex 1000 (Sweden)
z Eco Mark (Japan)
z Environmental Labeling (China)

In Hong Kong, a voluntary organization, Green Council, is promoting the eco-labeling

scheme. Although the movement is only at its initial stage and has not yet covered
textile products, it is anticipated that with the advancement of environmental
protection, more and more products, including textile and apparel products, will apply
for eco-label in order to be recognised in the market.

Green Label (Hong Kong)

2.1.5 Science and Technology Innovation

(A) Technology Development and the Apparel Industry

In a technical and highly industrial society, clothing styles change rapidly. When
cotton was the chief clothing materials, cotton textile mills were built. The mills
produced great amounts of fabric. Factories that mass produced cotton clothing
followed. With the invention of synthetic fibres, people changed their taste and
synthetic fibres were then mass produced.

Scientific and technological innovation in the textile and apparel industries is an

important factor driving the preference of apparel consumers in the past and present.
It will most certainly continue in the future.

(B) What is Innovation?

An innovation is any products or services that are perceived to be new by consumers.

Innovations may take the form of a new material, new clothing style, a new
manufacturing technique or a new way to deliver a particular kind of service.

If an innovation is successful, it spreads through the population. First, it is bought

and/or used by only a few people. Then more and more consumers decide to adopt it
until it seems that almost everyone has bought or tried the innovation. Diffusion of
innovations refers to this process whereby a new product, service or idea spreads
through a population.

(C) Users

Not all people adopt an innovation at the same rate. Some do so quite rapidly and
others never do at all. Young people are usually early adopters of new products such
as mobile phones and fashion products. In some cases, consumers deliberately wait
to adopt an innovation because they assume that its price will fall after it has been in
the market for a while or, in the case of technology, its qualities or features will be

In our society, many people become so called "techthusiasts" people who buy new
technology or subscribe to new services rather promptly. They are more affluent,
younger and better educated city dwellers. In contrast, technophobes have a fear of


(D) Techno Garments

Garment design can involve very high level technology in the production process.
Today, many designers work hand in hand with scientists in different new frontiers.
Besides colours and styles, garments are designed with functions that can detect and
respond to temperature changes, identify and combat bacteria, screen out ultraviolet,
remember the shape, change colour and wick away moisture. Consumers can have a
wider selection of garments with well-fitted functions.

(E) Information Technology (IT)

The cyberspace provides a platform for consumers to explore, compare options of

and make decision on clothing. They can view fashion shows on webcast to know
what will be the trendiest styles in other places of the world. They can also buy
clothing through the Internal at home. Furthermore, information technology also aids
sellers to design and market their apparel products to consumers in more effective

(i) Use of IT in Retailing

Technology will greatly attract consumers to buy more clothing. It reduces long
checkout lines and facilitates credit card processing. It will make the process of finding
products quicker and easier. Consumers can get product and marketing information
from retailers through their customer database.

Non-store retailing allows consumers to obtain convenience and entertainment in the

course of their shopping process. Developed from catalog mail order, non-store
retailing includes television retailing and e-tailing.

y Television retailing involves showing and describing merchandise on certain

TV channels. Viewers order by telephone, pay by credit card and have the
apparel sent to them.

y E-tailing (Electronic retailing) involves viewing merchandise on computers at

home. 3-dimensional pictures with detailed descriptions will allow users to
compare different features and prices. Viewers order by keying in the item(s)
and credit card information. The merchandise will then be sent to them.

Through the Internal, goods can be sold directly to consumers at anytime
around the world.

Body scanning will be the other IT equipment eventually used by high-tech retailers. It
collects individual sizing information and store on smart cards that can be read by
card readers and updated if needed. Consumers will be able to redesign garments
electronically. Lengths, colours and patterns can be changed until the right selection
is made.

(ii) Use of IT in Production

Innovation adaptors want fashion that is close to the trend. To meet their demands,
apparel sellers use IT to facilitate the quick supply of goods to the market. Lead time
of production is shortened to a few weeks and even a few days.

Today, because of computers, apparel firms can learn quickly from retailers what has
been sold. This permits apparel firms to continually update its record and decide what
to produce. New technology enables the industry to speed up the product
development process, preassembly operations, manufacturing processes and
finishing operations. For many companies, computers make transfer of information
from one company to another in very fast speed.

Designers develop a group of new designs in advance of the buying period of

consumers. The designs may be done nine months to one year in advance.
Computer-aided design system can shorten this lead time. Computers can store many
basic styles including designs from previous lines. When creating new ideas for a line,
designers can sketch new garments on the screen and manipulate lines, silhouette,
fabric patterns, colour and other design features. Old style can be retrieved for
modification, too.

Many companies today store a large portion of their basic patterns in the computer's
memory. In the product development stage, a company can modify an existing pattern
for many new styles without having to start from the beginning.

By not having the need to go through the sample-making stage every single time, a
great deal of time is trimmed from the schedule of developing a collection.

2.2 Implication

2.2.1 Implications on Individual and Family

(A) Proper Selection of Clothing

Since individuals clothing will accumulate overtime and become ones asset, it is
important that the selection should be appropriate. Improper selection of clothing will
have a negative impact on individuals finance, appearance, hygiene, health, group
image and even sustainable development of society and the environment as a whole.

(B) Wardrobe Planning

Developing a well-planned wardrobe can make sure ones clothes are suitable for
his/her lifestyle, within family budgets and, most importantly, avoid of resources
wastage. This requires a careful analysis on styles, fabrics and clothing construction
and then organisation and coordination of different groups of clothing to serve
different needs.

(i) Lifestyle Analysis

The lifestyle analysis will help individuals understand the pattern of various activities in
everyday living. Using a chart to show different activities can help get a graphic idea of
the percentage of wardrobe devoting to different types of clothing required by these
different activities.

(ii) Existing Clothing Analysis

The analysis helps individuals understand his / her clothing preference and identify
ones his / her own fashion personality. One can use the following to evaluate the
clothing owned:

Lifestyle z Dominant activities
z Anticipated dominant activities

Design z Lines
z Style
z Colour
z Texture
z Classic or trendy

Fit z Current body conformity

z Comfort
z Psychological comfort

Quality z Price
z Durability
z Fibre Contents
z Fabrication Design Construction

Care z Shape Retention

z Ironing Ease
z Soiling Vulnerability
z Cleaning Methods
z Maintenance Expenses

(iii) Grouping of Clothing

The next step is to group ones clothes in the wardrobe into categories. They can be
sorted in the following four groups:

z Clothing worn frequently

They are clothes that an individual likes to wear. They are probably well-suited to
ones personality, lifestyle and climatic conditions. These clothes are probably the
most flattering to ones body shape and complexion.

By examining the styles, textures and colours of the clothes in this group, one can
discover what makes them pleasing, practical and appropriate for ones needs. This
information can help one make wise purchases in the future.

z Clothing worn occasionally

This group is not the most favourite clothes for an individual. They are worn
occasionally. However, one can try to create some fashion flairs by combining these
separates with some items in the first group. Mixing clothes is not about having a lot of
clothes but it is about being resourceful, allowing one to maximise the use of the
existing resources.

z Clothing that needs modifying

This group consists of the clothes worth to save but need attention before they can be
worn again. Fixing these clothes will expand ones clothing collection with less money
spent when compared to buying brand new items.

Some clothes can be recycled by alternation or restyling. For example, removal of the
extra fullness of a skirt, alteration on the length of a pair of pants or addition of some
trimmings. Some outdated garments can be modified to reflect the current trend.

z Clothing not worn for a year

This group of clothes is not right for one because they are not comfortable, outdated,
unfitted or do not match with ones lifestyle anymore. If the item is still liked, one
should put it into the closet for later use. The rest should be disposed to save space in
ones wardrobe unless there are good reasons to keep them.

(iv) Develop a Future Wardrobe Plan

After assessing the future needs and wants and examining the existing wardrobe, one
can develop a future wardrobe plan by mending the weak areas of ones wardrobe. In
developing a wardrobe plan, one should consider the balance between basics and

z Basics

These are the basic apparels that are also the core of ones wardrobe. They are worn
most often. They should be apparel of good quality, without faddish details or extreme
silhouette. They can be mixed and matched with other items. Clothes that last a long
time without going out of fashion are called investment clothing. They are worth being
kept in ones wardrobe.

z Extenders

Sometimes they are called extras. Extenders add individuality and flairs to the
wardrobe. If extenders are coordinated, they can be mixed and matched in different
fashionable ways and produce multiple combinations of outfits.

(C) Clothing Care

Proper care of clothing does not only keep the quality appearance of clothing, it also
prolongs its life and avoids wastage.

(i) Routine Maintenance

z Daily care

Preventive care keeps soiling and damages to a minimum. When dressing and
undressing, wearers should:

- not ruin clothes by snagging, ripping or stretching them.

- be careful not to stain the cloth with cosmetic, food, etc.

After wearing, wearers should check it for stains, soils and damages such as rips,
missing buttons, broken zippers or unstitched hems. Brush, air and press clothes
when needed to prepare them for the future wearing.

z Seasonal care

This is usually done in springs and autumns for weather changes. Apparels that will
not be used for several months should be put away to leave wardrobe space for
clothes of the current season. Clothes should be cleaned before being stored. Also,
make any needed repairs before the damages worsen. Some clothing launderers
have long-term storage service.

(ii) Clothing Storage

Ideal storage can provide protection for garments from:

Dust and dirt

Fungus and bacteria
Dye transfer

Raw wood

In well-organised closets, garments should not be crowded. They should be hung

straight and alternated with appropriate space. Hanging space is organised to
accommodate length and bulk of garments. In a wardrobe, there should be flat and
hanging storage space as well as accessory storage space. Separate storage areas
should be designated for basics and extended items.

(iii) Laundry Work

Laundry work refers to the ways used to clean garments to restore their original looks
involving the following aspects: washing, bleaching, drying and ironing. Usually, care
instructions are shown on the care label on apparel. If the garment is not treated
properly according to the stated instructions, it may be damaged.

One of the following methods can be used according to the materials, fabrication and
construction of garment.

z Washing

The process of hand or machine washing and drying the garments to remove soil and
stains as well as to restore their appearance.

z Dry cleaning

The use of petroleum solvents such as perchloroethylene (PERC) and synthetic

solvents such as tricholotriflourothethane for soil and stain removal.

z Wet cleaning

The use of water-based technique such as steaming, spotting, etc, to wash garments
for soil and stain removal.

(D) Making the purchase

A smart consumer always plans purchases and shop wisely. Money spent on clothes
consumes a portion of income. Shopping wisely can save money and help get better
quality goods. Beside fashion consciousness, one must also be budget conscious.

To search for the best clothes, one must compare the qualities and prices of the same
or similar items in different stores before buying. Quality is often, but not always,
related to price. Sometimes, high quality garments are on sale or it may be offered in
the store with low overhead. Furthermore, not all high priced garments are of high
quality. Sometimes, prices are raised to help pay for higher advertising costs.
Consumers should develop a proper sense of quality awareness. They buy the quality
that suits their needs and pay the prices that they can afford.

2.2.2 Implications on the Industry

(A) Business Responsibility

The apparel industry produces garments for consumers to choose from. Apart from
making profit, they have to take up some social responsibilities and business ethics
for the benefits of individual consumers, society and the environment that we are
living in.

Before the 70s of the 20th century, consumer complaints about faulty products and
poor services were often ignored by retailers. In the 70s, several factors such as
better education, the establishment of the Consumer Council and the introduction of
legislation give rise to local consumerism in Hong Kong.

Today, manufacturers have to put more effort on quality control and product testing.
Retailers have to make sure the product information provided is accurate and
advertisements should be without misleading content. In order to listen to and
entertain complaints, many large retailers establish their own Customer Service
Counters to handle complaints from customers.

(B) Providing Truthful Information on Products

It is the responsibility of suppliers to give clear description of the products in order to

assist consumers to make purchasing choices. In some countries such as USA, laws
were passed to enact the truthful labeling of clothing. This has encouraged ethical
practices to protect consumers against deceptive labeling and advertising after the US
Government consulted the textile industry, apparel manufacturing industry, apparel
care industry, apparel retailers and consumers. Attaching labels with true information
helps encourage better quality, product safety, reliable services and honest


The following is the basic information often included in garment label description:

Identity of producers Brand labels must be attached. Besides, the

registration number (RN number) of manufacturers
must be given.
Country of origin The countries where the items are assembled must
be stated.
Fibre contents The generic names of fibres must be listed. The
ingredients must be presented by percentage.
Care requirements Clear and complete instructions and warnings about
care and maintenance of the item must be attached
on garments.
Size Size and certain dimensions of garments must be

(C) Product Safety Responsibility

It is also the responsibility of suppliers to ensure the apparel products are safe to
consumers under normal use. In USA, sales of highly flammable fabrics and wearing
apparel are prohibited. Higher standards are set for childrens sleepwear, underwear
and dresses.

Other safety responsibilities are concerned with fibres and finishes developed from
chemicals that might irritate the skins or eyes. Some might give off unpleasant odors
or cause allergies and even cancers.

Another safety concern is related to the physical injury of children. It is the producers
responsibility to make sure no inappropriate designs and trimmings are applied on
garments. Small buttons detached from garments may clog the throat of babies while
drawstrings at the neck area may tie the neck of children.

Responsible suppliers usually test samples of the products in testing laboratory before
putting them on the market.

(D) Labour Rights Responsibility

Although consumers demand reasonable price for quality goods, it is the responsibility
of suppliers not to exploit labours for lowering the production cost. Consumer groups
exert pressures to apparel retailers, requiring them to ensure the garments are not
produced in sweat shops. Major concerns also include employment of child labour,
forced labours, working conditions, discrimination and freedom to organise union to
protect their own rights.

(E) Environmental Concerns

Industrialisation without care about the living environment produces pollution. In

recent years, governments of some countries begin to have longer-sight on
sustainability development and take measures to protect the environment. Beside
compliance to legal requirements, many large apparel firms also begin to be aware of
negative public perception that the fashion industry is an industry that encourages

In recent years, some large apparel companies focus environmental responsibility in

all phases of the product use cycle. They promote sustainable (green) design of
products, which encompasses the concept that the creation, use and discarding of
product should not cause harm to the ecosystem.

Sustainable design includes the following efforts:

Use of naturally grown fibres such as cotton and ramie

Use of humanely sheared, free-range sheep
Application of yarn blended for user comfort and compostability
Use of environmental compatible dyes and chemicals
Elimination of pollutants and toxic vapors during textiles manufacturing
Use of recycled components
Reuse of post-consumer or biodegradable products


Eco-labelling is a symbol that is stuck on a product. The symbol shows that the
product is safe to be use, has met the quality standard and environmental requirement.
Information commonly found on eco-labels is as follows:

Recycled content
Ozone friendly
Environmentally friendly
Environmentally safe
No animal testing
Source reduction

Eco-labelling is a set of labels that is still under developing. Many countries have
their international recongised eco-labelling system. There are no common statutory
criteria for all systems to identify the authenticity of the environmentally friendly

2.2.3 Implications on Society

(A) The Role of the Government

A government regulates business in the context of competition and safety, provides

information to consumers and ensures the sustainable development of a society.

To protect the safety of consumers, the Hong Kong Government has legislated laws
concerning the rights and interests of consumers. The purposes of these legal tools
are to protect consumers from fraudulent and unfair trading practices and eliminate
unsafe goods from the market. After years of study, the Hong Kong Government has
introduced ordinances to control the quality of several types of product which

Toys and children s products safety

Electrical appliances
Consumer goods
In Hong Kong, retailers engaged in fraudulent or unfair business practices will risk
being prosecuted by the Customers and Excise Department. An example is to sell
fake and counterfeit products of famous brands. Fake goods infringe the intellectual
property of the original brands and cause much damage to the reputation and profit of
designers and companies.

(B) Consumers Rights

The Consumer Council of Hong Kong is also involved in the protection and promotion
of consumer interests. Activities promoting consumer rights and interests include
mediating in consumer disputes, giving consumers access to legal remedies,
conducting product testing and studying consumer-related issues, making
suggestions to the government for consumer legislation, disseminating information
and educating consumers. With the presence of the Consumer Council and its
activities protecting consumer interests, it is evident that more and more businesses
care about the rights and interest of consumers.

One aspect of the responsibilities of Consumer Council is the education of consumers.

They set out guidelines to consumers concerning what they their rights and
responsibilities are in the marketplace.

Rights Description Implication on Clothing

The right to To have access to basic, Sufficient apparel supply in
satisfaction of essential goods and services: the market. Minimum
basic needs adequate food, clothing, shelter, restriction on imported
healthy care, education, public apparel goods.
utilities, clean water and
The right to To be protected against Harmful materials should not
safety products, production processes be used on apparels.
and services that are
hazardous to health or life.
Personal data and privacy
should be respected and
protected. People harmed by
dangerous products have the
right to charge the
manufacturer and ask for

Rights Description Implication on Clothing
The right to be To be given the facts needed to Apparels products should
informed make an informed choice and to have sufficient information on
be protected against dishonest labels and packaging
or misleading advertising and including price, brand,
labeling information to country of origin, fibre
consumers such as product content, care and warnings.
specification, place of origin, Sellers should also clearly
safety warnings, price, mode of define the warranty and
payment, data of quality period of goods return.
assurance, description of
after-sale services, warranty,
ingredient, nutritional facts, etc.
The function of the products is
not exaggerated, no deficiency
is disguised, have appropriate
instruction for use and safety
The right to An adequate supply of products A range of clothing and
choose and services in the market for related services offered at
consumer to choose. Free competitive prices with an
competition in the market with assurance of satisfactory
no monopoly. Consumers quality.
should be have the right of free
choice, able to buy the products
and services needed in a
reasonable price, not affected
by the anti-competitive
behaviour, illegal and
unreasonable practices of
The right to be To have consumer interests Customer services should be
heard represented in the policy set up by apparel retailers.
making process of government,
trade, professional and industry Channels of complaint
associations, where the making should be sufficient.
and execution of those policies Legislation should protect the
will have an impact on the rights of consumers.

Rights Description Implication on Clothing
supply of goods and services to
The right to To receive a fair settlement of The Consumer Council and
redress just claims including mass media should play an
compensation for active role.
misrepresentation, shoddy
goods or unsatisfactory
The right to To acquire knowledge and skills The Consumer Council and
consumer needed to make informed, schools should play an active
education confident choices on goods and role.
services while being aware of
the basic consumer rights and
responsibilities and how to act
on them.
The right to a Consumers can ask for Apparel suppliers should
health and pollution free, safe and healthy have social and
sustainable life and working environment. environmental responsibility.
environment Sustainable principles are
applied during the designing,
manufacturing and selling of the
product, e.g. energy saving,
environmental friendly.

Consumer responsibilities, as advised by the Consumer Council, are:

Keeping informed as best as possible

Exercising due care when making decisions in the marketplace
Considering the detrimental consequences that may arise from ill-considered
Honoring reasonable obligations arising from the decision

(C) Safety and Health Concern

Unlike some consumer products such as toys, foods and drugs, clothing has not been
received much concern in terms of product safety in Hong Kong. Most people do not
treat the safety and health of clothing as a top priority. Most sellers do not provide
sufficient information on clothing products concerning their potential safety and health
hazards. When consumers suffer from such hazards, they can only sue for
compensation by civil law. Beyond that, there is no other legislation to protect
consumers from product safety.

Although there is no strict regulation on product safety in Hong Kong, the general
principle is that apparel products should not pose any danger to the health and safety
of consumers in any shapes or forms. Broadly speaking, there are three major
sources of risk to consumers with regard to product usage:

Physical injury arising from deficient structure, construction, strength or other

mechanical and physical properties of products
Harmful or toxic chemical substances contained in products that will pose
health hazards
Physical damage arising from the flammability of products

The following are some examples of health and safety concern on apparel products in
foreign countries:

Azo dyes applied on garments would cause skin carcinogen amines

Some dispersion dyes would cause allergies in human beings
Children's nightwear should be inflammable
The hood of a child's outer garment should not be designed to be secured by
means of cords drawn through the material

The usual action that apparel suppliers can take is product recall or return. In the case
of any consumers being injured, he/she has the right to claim the supplier by law. It is
a social responsibility for individual company to make sure the creation of any health
hazards by the products to consumers does not exist before the products are
introduced to the marketplace.

(D) Sustainability Development

The Council of Sustainable Development is set up to promote sustainability in Hong

Kong. Sustainable development requires a full integration of the entire economic and
social development to conserve the environment.

Sustainable development, according to the World Commission on Environment and

Development, is:

"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs." ("Our Common Future",

Sustainable development for Hong Kong means:

Finding ways to increase prosperity and improve the quality of life while
reducing overall pollution and wastage
Meeting ones own needs and aspirations without doing damage to the
prospects of future generations
Reducing environmental burden being put on neighbours and helping to
preserve common resources

Consumers are encouraged to select apparel products which:-

are environmentally friendly and do not cause harm to the environment

can be repaired, upgraded, recycled or refilled
are with efficiency in the use of energy
do not generate unacceptable levels of waste
allow individuals to observe the correct separation requirements for the
categorisation of used products to be placed in relevant waste disposal bins

Many charity organisations also promote recycling of apparels by putting old clothes
collection boxes in streets of different regions to collect used apparel items.

(E) Protection of Intellectual Property

The government also covers the protection of apparel industry, an industry that puts a
lot of effort in designing and creating products. They own the intellectual property.
Intellectual property is the name commonly given to a group of separate intangible
property rights. These include trade marks, patents, copyright, designs, plant varieties
and the layout design of integrated circuits. Respecting intellectual property is
important in our society. The brand-name logos on clothes like Tee-shirts, articles
contained in newspapers, TV programs, pop songs, cinema films and fashion design
all have a strong connection with intellectual property.

Hong Kong has intellectual Property laws that reach the highest standards of
intellectual property protection. However, there is still a flood of fake products in the
market and this situation harms the designers and producers who design and produce
with originality. It is the responsibility of the Customs and Excise Department to fight
against this illegal act. Most importantly, consumers should also be aware of not
encouraging these illegal acts in clothing selection.

Not for Sale

The copyright of the materials in this booklet belongs to the Education Bureau. The
materials can be used by schools only for educational purpose. Prior written
permission of the Education Bureau must be sought for other commercial uses.