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Women for Women : The cult of youth: Mothers who share clothes with their daughters

Mothers who share clothes with their teenage daughters generate emotional mother-daughter links and project the ideal image of a woman on their daughters.

These are some of the conclusions made by researchers from SKEMA Business School in France which they think will enable fashion professionals to better understand consumption of women’s clothing.

Two professors at SKEMA Business School have published a research article that discusses the phenomenon of mothers and their adolescent daughters sharing their clothes and how it can affect marketing strategies.

In “The tendency of clothes-sharing between mothers and their teenage daughters: impact on marketing strategies”, the authors propose the propensity to exchange clothes as a new market segmentation variable which is important for professionals to identify in order to implement marketing strategies differentiated for each profile.

From a survey of 987 mothers of adolescent daughters, three groups of mothers were identified by their low, medium and high propensity to exchange clothes with their daughters: “the refractories“, “the disposed” and “the followers.” The “refractories” claimed to have never shared their clothes with their daughters compared to occasional exchange of clothes for “the disposed“. The “followers”, however, exchange clothes frequently and some even share a wardrobe with their daughters.

These behaviours of co-consumption, such as shopping together, co-owning items bought and sharing clothes, demonstrate very different logics according to the profiles of women; economically speaking (they will vary their wardrobe), symbolically (generate emotional mother-daughter links) and in terms of their identities (the mother’s projection toward her teenage daughter, who gives her in return the ideal image of a woman).

Segmentation tool

“This tendency to exchange clothes can serve as a relevant segmentation tool for the women’s market to predict consumer behaviour for different clothing – clothing that is likely to be exchanged or not, the mother changing the brands she wears, the stores where she shops or her clothing style – at the point where her daughter enters the age of adolescence,” said Isabelle Decoopman, professor of strategy and management at SKEMA and one of the authors of the article.

“In our society, which has induced standardization of the image and the cult of youth, the results of this study will enable fashion professionals to better understand these co-consumption and/ or trans-intergenerational phenomena”, said co-author Elodie Gentina-Dancoine.

The research article was awarded the 2013 Academic Award for Research in Management given by the French National Foundation for Companies Management Academic Education (FNEGE) in the marketing category.

Isabelle Decoopman is professor of strategy and management and a marketing researcher at SKEMA Business School. She holds a PhD in Management Science and her research interests include: new models of value creation; impact of new information technologies on strategy; business models of organizations; role of consumption in the identity construction and in the reconfiguration of relationships between generations.

Elodie GentinaDancoine is professor of Marketing at SKEMA Business School. She holds a Doctorate in Management from the University of Lille 2. She is passionate about Generation Z and the implementation of new marketing strategies specific to this generation; alternative forms of consumption and their role in the reconfiguration of relationships between generations; and new approaches to market research for the launch of new activities and / or new products or services.

Tel. +33 (0)1 41 43 72 83 / E-mail:


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