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Kath Hirst

  • kathrynhirst@live.co.uk

  • 07590288517

2021:Fashion Marketing



My work consists of a comprehensive research portfolio detailing the creation and marketing plan of a new sustainable fashion-food publication, in addition to a dissertation on VM of vintage clothing.

To view my full portfolio in interactive mode please use the following links:

Dissertation abstract
This research improves understanding of the importance of digital visual merchandising (VM) in vintage fashion retail. Growth in vintage clothing consumption has been widely studied, however few researchers have explored VM capabilities specific to vintage clothing retail. To investigate these challenges, ten in-depth interviews with online vintage clothing retailers (OVRs) were undertaken. The study combines interviews with qualitative case study methods to establish a conceptual framework. Nvivo thematic analysis classified the findings, considered through the customer journey to produce a clear picture of where consumers face difficulties in the online vintage buying process. This study finds vast new and existent VM challenges are faced by OVR. The findings reveal experiential barriers as OVRs are unable to alleviate negative nostalgic feelings, nor re-produce the social feel of offline shopping without the ability to engage senses or offer treasure hunting thrills. Product concerns are key, as scepticism of fit, quality and style offerings of vintage clothing cannot be effectively countered online. Product display and colour inconsistency is also problematic. In addition, OVRs may struggle to expand or communicate to non-vintage consumers without vintage knowledge. The study finds most VM barriers are logistical such as: increased online text and associated effort, poor visual paths, visual clutter and informational fit-to-task problems. Additionally, catering to utilitarian and hedonic consumer motivations in balance proves difficult and can negatively impact ability to achieve consistent brand image. Insight is given into current UK VM applications to reduce risks, including personal interactivity, increased visual product communications and transparent marketing content. Establishing VM limitations for online vintage retail, this article contributes to industry understanding of the consumer experience of buying vintage fashion online, enabling marketing strategies to address obstacles found in the consumer decision journey.