Barriers to access: Investigation of plus-size women consumer experiences at fashion events
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Elliott, A. & Finkel, R. (2019) Barriers to access: Investigation of plus-size women consumer experiences at fashion events. In: Walters, T. & Jepsen, A. S. (eds.) Marginalisation and events. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 179-192.
Recent cross-disciplinary literature in the social sciences has shown that fat women experience weight bias and marginalisation in nearly all aspects of life, including within the fashion industry. This stigmatisation results in exclusion from brand and designer collections, runway shows, and other fashion events. As research in this area and in particular within an event context is very scarce, this chapter draws upon accessibility research, fat studies, and critical events studies to investigate the physical and psychological barriers to access for plus-size women at fashion events along with consumer attitudes with regard to fashion events. Research methods adopt quantitative approaches and include a survey of plus-size women who have attended a fashion event in 2017, which allowed for analysis of their experiences with regard to accessibility obstacles as well as their attitudes regarding fashion events and fashion event managers. Findings reveal plus-size consumers are more likely to attend fashion events if they see their body types represented in promotional event materials. They are also more likely to attend if they believe their needs will be met by the event facilities. Consumer attitudes toward fashion events and fashion event managers were generally negative, but provided several opportunities for growth and improvement.