Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design


Harps-Logan, Yvette

Advisor Department

Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design




consumer behavior, psychographics, fashion, marketing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


I have always been interested in all aspects of the fashion industry, from apparel production to retail sales. After interning in the sales department of a New York based designer, I became fascinated by the customers who spent over $10,000 to revamp their wardrobe every season. Were these women buying their clothes based on their own preferences, or did they buy the original $3,000 design to fit their lifestyle as a New York City socialite?

After completing a literature review on the psychology of apparel consumers, I wanted to determine if shoppers’ preferences were based on their own opinions, or if they were psychologically compelled to want the more expensive product because of what it represented: status. As a senior, I am about to complete the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design program with a minor in Business Administration. The combination of textile and business classes, along with my independent research, have given me a better understanding of the core concepts involved in this project.

I contend that college aged females have a tendency to prefer products based on psychological forces, not their own preferences. To test this hypothesis, I found products that were almost identical in appearance with vastly different price points and used them to create two different surveys. The first did not have the brand names or price associated with the product, and the second one did. The surveys were distributed to students in the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design major. After analyzing the results, I was able to determine whether or not college women choose apparel based on their own individualism.

This project will provide insight into whether a brand name can sway consumers from their own preferences, even if the product is almost identical in appearance to a less expensive counterpart. If there is a correlation between brand name and purchasing habits, companies can get an even better understanding of their target market by using psychological concepts in their marketing and branding tactics.