Influence of Culture on Global Fashion Consumerism (2023)

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“The more we learn about culture the greater our understanding of the future of global consumerism in Fashion.”

Fashion industry is all about making fashion statements. The industry runs on the motto to be different, stylish, edgy as well as continuous changes in every season of every year. Fashion to customers is being different from the crowd or making a statement by using clothing and accessories that set them apart. Fashion industry is getting more expensive with passing time. In the United States, around 250 billion dollars is spent on fashion and accessories like bag, shoe, etc. (Anon., 2012)

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When fashion industry is concerned, culture is an integral part of it. Fashion and culture goes hand in hand. Our clothes are a source of non-verbal communication which send messages about who we are, where we come from, what we do and etc. Overall, fashion is a way of expressing ourselves through our clothing and accessories. People try to stay “in fashion” and they are mostly influenced by popular culture which is reflection of cultural forces as well as social factors.

Global consumerism

Widespread use of the internet and communications are changing how and on what people spend their money. This phenomenon has led to emergence of the global citizens who participate in the global marketplace through multinational corporations offering brands which meet their ever changing needs. (Byrnes, 2007, p. 1) This combination of global culture and global connectivity can be defined as globalization. Globalization has created a market with no border and as a result culture is running free in this new era. Now a day, we can see Indian food in every city of the globe or people living in Western countries are wearing ethnic clothes.

Consumption is an action that varies from culture to culture. (Byrnes, 2007, p. 2) The result of adopting consumption related values on a worldwide scale has been referred to as a ‘global consumer culture’. Global consumer culture is “shared sets of consumption-related symbols such as product categories, brands, and common consumption activities”. (Lee, 2006)

Global fashion consumerism

The global fashion industry is growing and changing at an incredible rate. According to a study in 2010, Dubai was supposed to reach $655 billion in textile and apparel trade which is 6% of global exports. The data indicates how fashion is evolving in the era of globalization. UAE was the biggest market for Swiss watches in 2013 and had increased 23% year-on-year to $835 million. (Wyne, 2013) This data shows the shift it global fashion consumerism. Meaning, now the Middle East has started emerging as the fashion hub though New York and Paris are still considered as fashion cities of the world. This change has been possible because of UAE’s vast amount of disposable income and also the influence of western culture in the people’s mind.

Cultural influence on fashion

It is important to know the influence of culture on fashion industry and to foresee cultural and social movements in order to comprehend the fashion environment. Fashion is not an isolated factor of clothing or accessories but it is connected to our life in every aspect and among them culture is the most significant. Fashion goes further than clothing and into the manner we desire to live our lives.Meaning, fashion influences our lifestyle. Fashion is influenced by cultural changes, such as modernization, art and even technological innovation.

There is an apparent interaction of shifts in consumer lifestyle, fashion and culture.It is essential to realize that fashion is made by people living in different cultures and different locations. If we want to understand fashion and its trend then it is necessary to understand what surround us in terms of the way we live. It is our society and culture which is our surrounding and they are the ones which influence our lifestyle.

Development of new fashions has mainly three sources in terms of culture. They are: High culture, low culture and pop culture. (Anon., 2010)

1. High culture means elite activities like visual art, auditory art, and applied art like photography, design and architecture. In terms of influencing fashion inspiration, these sources bring new types of ideas and concepts to the designers. How art impacts fashion can be seen in the Louis Vuitton partnership with quite a few contemporary artists, like Takeshi Murakami or Stephen Sprouse, who had embellished Louis Vuitton Monogram bags in the past.

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2. Pop culture or popular culture, is a cultural segment, which is followed, appreciated and understood by a larger portion of the world audience. Usually it is highly influenced by movie or music celebrities. This type of culture is seen as a mercantile culture which is produced at a mass level for mass consumption.An example of how pop culture influences our lifestyle and our fashion can be seen by taking into account the most fashionable TV shows, like ‘Sex and the City’ and how everybody wanted to wear clothes like the central characters of the serial.With the progress of globalization, common trends of fashion are seen all around the globe (i.e. Levi’s jeans).

3. Low culture includes local street activities like graffiti or Hip Hop. The power of subculture to fashion can be seen clearly skateboard culture from the 70s to present day.It can be difficult to distinguish certain styles as subcultures because they are quickly (predominantly clothing and music) adopted by mass culture. For example, the Japanese Harajuko girls, who are teenagers, originally from Tokyo’s Harajuko district, who dress in a particular way. American singer Gwen Stefani named her 2005 world tour as well as her clothing line after these girls.In this way, a subculture or local culture has become a part of the global fashion and has been adopted by the global fashion market. (Anon., 2010)

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Macro and micro trends in fashion

Macro trends are drivers for 5-10 years whereas micro trends are drivers for 1-3 years. (Sheppard, 2014) Like most industries fashion industry is also shaped by macro and micro trends. Macro trend is a larger behavioral group and a micro trend is the mini fashion craze. Currently the micro trend is undoubtedly the skinny jeans, which is closely followed by leggings and footless tights. But a larger macro-trend for a while in the fashion has been ethical and environment friendly clothing and accessories. Trends come and go because of the impact of media in our lives. The hit US TV drama Mad Men, which is set in the early 1960s, has had a big influence on high street fashion. Actress Christina Hendricks has helped to bring back full skirts, longer hemlines, and cropped cardigans as well as almost single-handedly brought back the curvy fit in the fashion market. The micro trends are also changing because of the internet.(Anon., n.d.)

Culture is made of factors like society, education, values, and norms and so on. Since, fashion deals with how we look and what we wear; it is largely influenced and controlled by culture. In the past, fashion was segmented and local culture influenced but with the emergence of globalization we are turning towards a more global fashion consumerism. This is why brands like Chanel, Burberry are seen in India, Thailand, and Dubai and so on.

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To understand the future of global fashion consumerism, we need to understand how people interpret fashion these days and whether they are influenced more by their own culture or popular culture. Though in countries like India, local culture plays a bigger influence on consumerism but still common people are seen wearing trendy clothes matching current global fashion. This shows the cultural difference among the people in the country. Thus, understanding the culture is very important for global fashion consumerism.


Anon., 2010. Cultural influences on trend forecasting. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 22 February 2015].

Anon., 2012. Fashion and Consumerism. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 21 February 2015].

Anon., n.d. BUDGET STYLE TIPS: FASHION CYCLES. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 22 February 2015].

Byrnes, K., 2007. The Sharing of Culture: Global Consumerism. UW-L Journal of Undergraduate

Lee, J.-W., 2006. Young consumers’ peceptions of multinational firms and they acculturation channels towards western products in transition economies. International Journal of Emerging Markets.

Sheppard, S., 2014. FORECASTING THE FUTURE. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 22 February 2015].

Wyne, H., 2013. Consumerism, affluence fan UAE’s fashion flames. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 21 February 2015].

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How does culture influence fashion? ›

The culture of the people ensure that the fashion accessories and clothes meet certain goals or objectives. Culture also influences design and fabric selection. For example, designers can choose from and make use of indigenous materials abundant in a particular place. This will create a strong local identity.

How does change in culture affect fashion? ›

Fashion is influenced by cultural changes, such as modernization, art and even technological innovation. There is an apparent interaction of shifts in consumer lifestyle, fashion and culture.It is essential to realize that fashion is made by people living in different cultures and different locations.

How has globalization influenced clothing styles? ›

Globalization provides them with an abundance of different fashion trends sold by massive retailers with the resources to provide a constant supply of products available online. In fact, shopping has become something of a recreational hobby for some Western consumers.

What is consumer culture in fashion? ›

Consumer culture on fashion apparel is influenced by lifestyle and value simulations by gaining product experience.

What are two factors that influence a clothing culture? ›

Social factors affecting fashion include cultures, norms, lifestyle, demographics and population changes. For example, a small clothing manufacturer needs to create styles that appeal to those of different cultures, especially if those cultural groups represent large enough segments of its market.

What are 4 factors that influence fashion trends? ›

Factors Influencing Fashion
  • Social Factors.
  • Cultural Factors.
  • Political Factors.
  • Environmental Factors.
  • Psychological Factors.
22 Jun 2021

How clothing is influenced by religion and culture? ›

When a religion uses dress to reinforce tradition, it will usually be seen in opposition to fashion, which by its very nature is dynamic. Religious dress will change slowly as organized religions often reject fashion as an attempt to focus on individuality rather than salvation.

What factors influenced your fashion style? ›

Fashion Designing Basics: Factors Influencing Popular Fashion
  • Fashion Forecast (Colour & Fabric) Deciding the colour, fabric and look for the upcoming season is something that every designer works on. ...
  • Movies & Music. The entertainment world is a major influencer of fashion. ...
  • Fashion Stylist. ...
  • Economy of a Country.
20 Dec 2017

Why is cultural clothing important? ›

What we wear is more than just material sewn together to protect us, our clothes are a signifier of our identity and culture. So it's no surprise that over the centuries, communities have used clothing as a means to communicate status, celebrate important events and show unity among many more things.

Who has the most influence on fashion trends? ›

There is no doubt about it – celebrities are one of the most potent factors in trend development.

What is the culture of consumerism? ›

Consumer culture is a form of material culture facilitated by the market, which thus created a particular relationship between the consumer and the goods or services he or she uses or consumes. Traditionally social science has tended to regard consumption as a trivial by-product of production.

What are the 3 cultural factors that affect consumer behavior? ›

There are several factors which influence the buying decision of consumers, cultural factors being one of the most important factors.
  • What are Cultural Factors ? ...
  • Subcultures. ...
  • Religion (Christianity, Hindu, Muslim, Sikhism, Jainism etc) ...
  • Status (Upper Class, Middle class and Lower Class) ...
  • Gender (Male/Female)

What are the effects of consumer culture? ›

The negative effects of consumerism include the depletion of natural resources and pollution of the Earth. The way the consumer society is working is not sustainable. We are currently overusing Earth's natural resources with more than 70 percent.

What are the three key influences on fashion? ›

Marketing, advertising, and the media all try to influence the way our generation dresses. Their reasons are mainly profit based. We also make our clothing choices based on the Functionality of the garment. Consumers of our generation often look at the comfort, durability, and adaptability of a piece before purchasing.

What are the 10 main sources of inspiration in fashion? ›

10 Sources of Inspiration for Designers & Film Makers
  • Art. paulobrandao. ...
  • Galleries and Museums. robinelaine. ...
  • The Internet. striatic. ...
  • Film. sookie. ...
  • Print Ads and Posters. neko_chan. ...
  • Magazines. tracyhunter. ...
  • Life. elmoalves.
15 Sept 2021

What are the factors that affect consumer clothing preferences? ›

purchase decision are price, promotion, product design/style, product quality, brand image, information availability, seller trustworthiness, product variety, ease of use, and service quality. These factors influence the purchase decision of the customers when they shop for clothing through online channels.

How does economic factors influence fashion? ›

The development of the fashion industry and trends are highly dependent upon the economic factors such as the recession, inflation, and economic growth. During bad economic times, it was hard for customers to keep up with the latest fashion trends, so most people cut down their purchasing on clothes.

Does your culture influence the type of clothes you wear? ›

True. Your culture influences the types of clothes you wear.

How does social media influence fashion? ›

Social media has led consumers to adopt and move on from fashion trends quicker than before, and to appease their customers, brands must keep up with the forecasts. Trend forecasting using social media analysis allows fashion brands to unlock their potential for commercial and creative success.

Why people are influenced by fashion? ›

In this contemporary world, people's liking has changed over the years. They are influenced by western patterns and approaches. They think that the western look is more popular than the traditional technique.

How does culture influence appearance? ›

However culture plays a huge role in our ideas of beauty. For instance, “youthfulness” is the beauty goal in America, while naturally flawless skin is the beauty ideal in Europe. Fairness is coveted in most Asian countries. A voluptuous figure, long bouncy hair and tanned skin is considered beautiful in Brazil.

How does cultural identity influence the way we design? ›

By gaining insight into your target culture's values, you're more able to understand how they perceive certain design elements (e.g. colors, symbols). There are many cultural dimensions that influence these perceptions, which in turn, influence your users' decision-making as well.

What influence do consumers have on the fashion world today? ›

In today's fashion space, the customer has more power and influence over product lines and design than ever before. This power and influence is wielded through purchasing trendy pieces, as well as online reviews and other forums for feedback within the digital marketplace.

What influences the current contemporary fashion trends? ›

Fashion trends can be influenced by a variety of factors including political, social, economic and technological. The emphasis should be on elegant, comfortable, practical and personality while following modern fashion trends.

What trends are affecting the fashion industry? ›

4 Top Apparel Industry Trends to Watch in 2021 and 2022
  • The Role of Digitalization. ...
  • The Importance of Sustainability and Social Justice. ...
  • Continued Growth in Athleisure. ...
  • A Shift Toward Size-inclusive Fashion. ...
  • Access More Information.
29 Oct 2021

Why did a culture of consumerism develop? ›

This abundance of new and cheap goods meant that there were many different and affordable products for people to buy. This led to consumerism because it created the system in which people could reasonably afford a variety of goods.

What is an example of global consumer culture? ›

Consumers no longer shop just locally; instead, they frequently purchase products across borders both on and offline (PDF, 4.36MB). Many businesses sell their products globally. Starbucks, GAP, Apple, IKEA, and Lego are some brands that are commonly consumed across the world.

What is an example of cultural consumption? ›

The cultural consumers describes a person who avidly consumes art, books, music, and live cultural events within a society. With the rise of expressive technologies, cultural consumers have harnessed the Internet to fuel their own creative efforts.

What are the 4 factors that influence culture? ›

Many cultural characteristics, and the health states related to them, are associated with education, occupation, income, and social status. These factors influence one's awareness of the world, and whether one will seek improvement or accept things as they are.

What are 4 examples of cultural factors? ›

The cultural and lifestyle information about a country can be broken down into several areas of research:
  • Material culture. ...
  • Cultural preferences. ...
  • Languages. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Religion. ...
  • Ethics and values. ...
  • Social organization.
28 Apr 2017

What are the 5 factors of culture? ›

The major elements of culture are symbols, language, norms, values, and artifacts. Language makes effective social interaction possible and influences how people conceive of concepts and objects.

What are the four effects of consumerism? ›

On this page:

Misuse of land and resources. Exporting Pollution and Waste from Rich Countries to Poor Countries. Obesity due to Excessive Consumption. A cycle of waste, disparities and poverty.

What is global consumer culture? ›

Global consumer culture is a “cultural entity not associated with a single country, but rather a larger group generally recognized as international and transcending individual national cultures” (Alden et al., 1999, p. 80).

What are the cultural and social factors affecting consumer Behaviour? ›

A consumer is influenced by his culture, environment, family, social status and groups. Companies need to understand these factors and develop strategies and market themselves accordingly to meet the needs of the consumers and increase sales.

What is influenced by culture? ›

The influence of culture is visible in many places: in what people say, what they think, how they behave, in music, in architecture, in societies etc. Specific manifestations of culture can be easily acknowledged when facing differences (e.g., different behaviours or building architectures).

Why is culture clothing important? ›

What we wear is more than just material sewn together to protect us, our clothes are a signifier of our identity and culture. So it's no surprise that over the centuries, communities have used clothing as a means to communicate status, celebrate important events and show unity among many more things.

What are 3 key influences on fashion? ›

So why does our generation choose to wear the clothing that they do? Of course we don't want to dress like our parents, but there are other factors involved in developing the style of a generation. Marketing, advertising, and the media all try to influence the way our generation dresses.

What is cultural influence in consumer Behaviour? ›

In the context of consumer behavior, culture is defined as the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customs that serve to regulate the consumer behavior of members of a particular society. Beliefs and values are guides for consumer behavior; customs are unusual and accepted ways of behaving.

How does cultural factors influence consumer Behaviour? ›

Cultural Factors have a strong influence on consumer buying behavior. Cultural Factors include the basic values, needs, wants, preferences, perceptions, and behaviors that are observed and learned by a consumer from their near family members and other important people around them.


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