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Shakaila Forbes-Bell

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At its core, the phenomenon behind consumer culture is a form of envy. As our desire for newness intensifies, how can we keep our Green-Eyed-Monsters in check whilst making sure we stay out of the red and get into the black?

Fashion Psychology, Psychology of Fashion
Jumpsuit: Asos, Scarf: Urbancode

Of all the mythical creatures that we’re socialised to be fearful of, whether it be ghosts, goblins or various incarnations of the bogey-man, there is only one that possess the power to cause us actual harm. Despite this threat we accept this creature, become accustom to his reoccurring nature, often failing to tackle his looming presence. The creature I’m referring to is the Green-Eyed Monster, the cretin that appears any time your neighbour gets a new car or when you see someone in a pair of shoes miles out of your budget. He sloths around, feeding eagerly off your envy.

Early Greek philosophers believed envy to be ‘pain experienced on account of another’s good fortune’ and modern-day scientists have confirmed the manifestation of this pain. The anterior cingulate cortex is one of the brain areas associated with pain and studies have shown that this same area is activated whilst we’re experiencing envy (Takahashi, 2009). Whilst we may not be able to see the scars formed at the hands of the Green-Eyed Monster, envy upsets our psychological balance and creates a very real experience of social pain.

Despite its harmful consequence, many have argued that envy is not always all that bad. Psychologist, Niels van de Ven has articulated two types of envy. ‘Malicious Envy’ concerns only negative outcomes such as a loss in motivation and feeling that the envied target is undeserving of their good fortune, resulting in you wishing them ill will. On the other side of the spectrum is ‘Benign Envy’, a motivational type of envy that can cause people to attempt to reduce the gap that exists between them and the envied target. These days, it is often the case that we never even meet our envied targets in real life but instead, fawn over their ‘Insta-Perfect’ lifestyle through a screen.

 

Fashion Psychology Shakaila
On the phone to Hermes finding out that 'Next Day Delivery' is more a figure of speech than an actual fact.

The theory of Social Comparison suggests that we measure our self-worth based on how we stack up to others. Our Green-Eyed Monster never goes hungry as our obsession with social media means that we’re confronted daily with the highlight reel of our ‘friends’ lives, their perfect bodies, their amazing hair and their expensive outfits, providing a hearty blend of envy and self-loathing – his favourite meal. The culture of social media coupled with the culture of consumerism “creates a void in us, making us feel that we are ‘less than’ or ‘not as whole’ if we don’t have the latest.” With every post we publish, our desire to control the impressions of others increases.

Jacket: Warehouse, T-Shirt: Topshop

Our presentation, which in large part concerns our clothing, is also driven by a desire to create an image that is consistent with our personal identity. In a time when it’s possible to monetise your online identity, we often try to brand ourselves in a similar way to celebrities; by capturing images of ourselves dining at exclusive restaurants, wearing luxury brands and never wearing the same outfit twice (God Forbid!). In return, we build our social currency in the form of likes and followers, resulting in dopamine fuelled high. But what happens when our actual currency pales in comparison to our social currency? What are you supposed to do when likes aren’t covering the bills, when the thirst for the latest fashions cannot be quenched, when Instagram shows that we’ve already worn this outfit 3 weeks ago and the belly of our Green-Eyed Monster is fit to burst? 

One brand attempting to simultaneously circumvent this social crisis and stretch our paycheques is ‘Rent the Runway’. Founded in 2008 by Jennifer Fleiss and CEO Jennifer Hyman, Rent the Runway is an online platform that allows its users to rent an extensive collection of designer clothing and accessories at a starting price of just £67($89) per month. A clear pattern of Millennials shunning ownership in general has long been documented. We’re taking Ubers instead of buying cars and opting for landlords instead of mortgages so sharing ownership of our wardrobes is a pretty logical extension of our non-committal nature. When a pair of Marni sunglasses can cost up to £350, the option to enjoy them, even for a short while, at a fraction of the cost is certainly intriguing.

Jacket & Skirt: Warehouse

Despite the rise of so-called ‘shopaholics’ we are hard wired to be thrifty. Research has shown that for many consumers, the region of the brain that is activated when we smell or see something repulsive or are anticipating a painful shock is also activated when witnessing a price that seems too high. Although brands like Rent the Runway and Girl Meets Dress market themselves as a solution to the pain experienced when we overspend they gain their intrigue by being an antidote to the pain experienced by Benign Envy. In an interview with Forbes, Hyman acknowledges the pressure that this new era of social media places on Millennials, “now you can’t repeat outfits because your friends have seen that outfit on social media. As ridiculous as that sounds, that is what drives our business.” Despite the growing popularity of wardrobe rentals, not everyone is as willing to ease their Instagram agony. 

A Neilson study polled more than 30,000 people in 60 countries, found that Brits were more reluctant than other nations to get on board. In the UK, 37% were willing to embrace collaborative consumption versus 54% of Europeans and 68% of people globally. An unsurprising finding considering the fact that British consumers are generally more comfortable splashing the cash, even outspending their fashionable French neighbours.

Although experts advise that periodically disconnecting from social media can be a good way to starve your GEM, Benign Envy is very much a part of our 21st century lived experience both on and offline. Renting a look for your latest post or for a special occasion can be an economically friendly way to both keep your GEM in check and portray the best version of yourself or as the kids would say, ‘ball on a budget’.

When I started working on this piece I would have never, not in my wildest dreams, expected the subject to hit so close to home. Several weeks later and whilst I meander from day to day I remain stuck in shock at the sudden loss of my big sister. At this point in time I can only describe my grief as contradictory. I haven’t hit the stages of bereavement that traditional Psychology teaches in a neat and predictable fashion. Rather, I float between misery and acceptance, anger and denial. I have made countless bargains with the universe in a desperate effort to turn back time while I hinge on the pendulum that is my life, where everything now exists either before or after that tragic day. 

One thing I know for sure is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with loss. Whilst my mother has relied on her faith to see her through each day, I have noticed a shift in my ability to cope when I’m in the presence of my sister’s belongings. A love of fashion was one of the countless subjects we bonded over. As with most sibling relationships the importance of ownership of our treasured pieces varied from day to day. Her old jumpsuit slowly became our jumpsuit, my new top instantly became hers upon the joint conclusion that she looked better in it. On the flip side, there were many fights involving some variation of ‘what’s mine is mine and don’t even think about asking to borrow it!’. From a cognitive standpoint, studies have shown that brain areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex (MPC) which are active when we’re thinking about ourselves are also active when ‘we create associations between external things and ourselves through ownership’ (Kim & Johnson, 2010). That is to suggest that our belongings are an extension of ourselves that conjure up countless narratives of both our singular and shared identities. 

Some researchers argue that the extent to which we see our possessions as an extension of ourselves or others depends on our confidence levels. In a study where participants were given false feedback on a personality questionnaire which made it seem that they were not particularly self-aware, they responded by rating their belongings as particularly self-expressive – as saying something about who they are (Jarrett, 2013). It is fair to say that in this moment in time my confidence has been significantly reduced. My belief system and understanding of my place in the world has been shaken and only in clinging to tangible items, specifically those that she has left behind, reminds me that she is still a very huge part of who I am and that she will always be with me. 

When it comes to a lost loved one’s possessions, the importance of ornamentation and jewellery in the grieving process spans across all human cultures over many decades. For example, in the Victorian era, so-called ‘mourning jewellery’ was a popular trend of the time, whereby accessories were fashioned out of the tresses of the deceased. In Buddhism, the ashes of accomplished Buddhist teachers are mixed with clay are made into devotional images that link the living and the dead (Goss and Klass, 1997). Whilst trinkets featuring coils and curls can still be found today, a fashionable take on the Buddhist tradition has recently grown in popularity in the form of memorial jewellery. 

 

One company that is paving the way in memorial jewellery is Heart In Diamond. Serving many countries worldwide including the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, China and more, the diamond specialists serve to propel the healing power of jewellery one step further by creating beautiful bespoke diamonds in over 500 styles featuring the ashes of your deceased loved one.  

Volkan (1981) suggests that ‘linking objects’ (actual material objects of the dead) function to maintain a bridge with the lost person. Unsurprisingly, Heart In Diamond’s testimonials reveal a deep sense of comfort clients feel about possessing a very physical and tangible reminder of their loved ones that they can carry with them at all times. 

To sympathize with someone is to agree with a feeling or a sentiment but to empathize with someone is to understand and be in tune with their feelings. Having been through this process as well as supported friends that have too I hope that I can share that experience with other families in an empathetic way. My diamond symbolizes the loss of my father. The combination of his ashes and my hair has now unified us forever and was a poignant journey for me to take. The Orange-Yellow Princess cut diamond is a representation of Japan and its reputation as the land of the rising sun and this is where he saw his final sunset. – Claire, USA, Heart In Diamond Client”

Linking objects like memorial jewellery can provide a way to maintain contact with the dead and ‘allow the mourner to externalize elements of the self and internalize elements of the other’ (Volkan, 1981). They serve a bridging function as symbolic representations of the person’s experiences with the loved one’s soothing and comfort.

“We were never big supporters of the highly regulated diamond industry that gives the general public the idea that diamonds are rare and valuable. We believe that what gives an item value is the history and what that item means to us personally. Purchasing a diamond from the store neither has a meaningful history nor does it have any personal attachment to us. Heart In Diamond has changed the diamond industry and has made diamonds really worth something valuable. – Kenneth, Nikki and our furry son, Orchid, USA, Heart In Diamond Client” 

When we lose a loved one the financial burden is often one of the most psychological draining and unexpected parts of the bereavement process. When speaking to David Miller, Heart In Diamond’s content director I found out that the mounting costs of burials is one of many reasons people are seeking their services. “Cremation is cheaper than a burial, sometimes up to 70% less (we actually wrote an article on this). Cremation enables you to make memorialization objects such as cremation diamonds. If you don’t burry the cremated ashes, cremation also saves land.”

The environmental benefits of cremation jewellery doesn’t stop there. “The diamonds are absolutely conflict free because they are directly sent to us, no mines are involved”

“Step 1: After we have received the sample, it undergoes the process of analysis. The purpose of the analysis is to define the chemical composition and extract the perfect amount of carbon out of the material. Our laboratory specialists need about 3.5 oz of ashes or 0.07 oz of hair.

Step 2: the carbon is added to the diamond growing foundation, out of which a unique crystalline matrix will grow creating a personal diamond.

Step 3: The mixture is placed in the core of the HPHT where diamond-growing conditions from the earth’s crust are simulated with temperatures of over 2000

Step 4: Raw diamond will be polished and cut according to client’s specifications

About our personal service: if you live in one of the regions we have a representative in, we can come to your house to take your order and help decide. We hand deliver the memorial diamonds to you”

For those who feel ready, memorial jewellery can be a wonderful way to feel close to a loved one again. At such a difficult time anything at all that brings a measure of comfort is highly valuable.

Clothes and accessories have many powers beyond their aesthetic appeal. They can make a statement, reveal something about your identity and as we’ve seen with memorial jewellery, they can also provide comfort and a sense of peace, some shelter from the powerful negative emotions that can surround the death of someone we were close to.

To find out more about memorial jewellery and Heart In Diamond visit their website here.

For bereavement support contact Cruse Bereavement Care here. 

When it comes to New Years Resolutions 60% of us suffer from The False Hope Syndrome. Find out how to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes each year!

Happy New Year! 

We’re 3 days in and for a lot of us, things are pretty much the same as they were 3 days ago.  Same job, same friends, same surroundings. The only difference is that we’ve promised ourselves that 2017 will bring with it a deep and meaningful personal change. We’ll stop smoking, stop splurging, travel more, worry less, eat healthily and pursue our dreams.

Every year 40-50% of Americans and 60-70% of Brits make New Year’s resolutions and unsurprisingly studies show that most of us make the exact same promises to ourselves year in and year out. More specifically, 60% of us suffer from what researchers call The False Hope Syndrome (Polivy & Herman 2002), vowing on average 10 times to keep a resolution we’ve failed at sticking to in previous years. It’s certainly admirable that in the face of certain failure we remain optimistic. We believe that by simply learning from our past mistakes, by making a few changes here and there that we’ll become the person that we’ve always wanted to be.

But what if, instead of engaging in this never-ending cycle of misplaced optimism that we join the percentage of people who actually see their resolutions come to fruition (those people do exist)? Psychology points to 4 main reasons why you’re unable to stick to your resolutions (and how you can fix it!)…

1.  Your goals are not Self-Concordant 

Have you ever asked yourself why something had made it to your list of resolutions? The self-concordance of goals reflects the degree to which they are consistent with your own personal developing interests and values.  Say for example you have resolved to learn how to play the guitar this year. Do you want to learn to play the guitar because you genuinely have a passion for it, or is it really because your ex-girlfriend’s obsession with John Mayer was always a sore sport for you? If it’s the latter it’s likely that come summer time, you would have lost your trusty guitar pick and your strings will be collecting dust.

​A study by Deci & Ryan (2000) found that you have little chance of realising your resolutions if your reason for pursing them are:

External:  Because somebody else wants you to do it
Introjected: Because you would feel ashamed, guilty, or anxious if you didn’t.

You’re significantly more likely to achieve your goals if they are self-concordant i.e. if they are:

Identified: It’s something you really believe that it is an important goal to have
Intrinsic: The fun and enjoyment  which  the  goal  will provide is the primary reason for having it and you’re simply interested in the experience itself.

2. Your list of resolutions is all wrong

Many people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions because they’re structuring their goals incorrectly. According to researchers Baumeister & Heatherton (1996) and Austin & Vancouver (1996), some of the key mistakes that you’re making with your New Year’s resolution list is that:

You’ve set too many goals – if you’re planning to make 32 major life style changes this year more than likely, come 2018 you’ll find yourself bitterly disappointed. There is such thing as too much of a good thing. Start with 3 resolutions and take it from there, you can always add more to the list as the year progresses.

You’ve set goals that conflict with one another – although it’s clear to most that resolving to save more money this year whilst also resolving to treat yourself to a new wardrobe full of designer pieces doesn’t make sense, we still make the mistake of filling our lists with contradictory goals. Before you commit to any resolutions ensure that they complement one another, this will only bolster your chances of success.

Your goals are set too far in the future – there’s nothing wrong with having a five-year plan but when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions a sure way to ensure success is to make sure that your list consists exclusively of proximal goals – Live in the hear and now!

3. You don’t have an action plan

So, you’ve made your list, you’ve ensured that your resolutions are specific, proximal, complimentary, challenging (yet realistic) and most importantly self-concordant. Now what? Well now you need to develop an action plan. Research into New Year’s resolvers found that people who engage in wishful thinking such as those who think they’ll achieve their goals through a combination of willpower and winging it will most likely fail (Norcross et al., 1989).

​Making the list was the easy part.

​Now you need to plan specifically when you’re going to initiate your goal pursuit and how you’re going maintain your pursuit in the face of obstacles and distractions (Gollwitzer, 1999). Speaking of plans, another reason why you’re not sticking to your resolution is because…

4. You’re not scheduling time to break your resolution

A recent study by Vale, Pieters & Zeelenberg (2015) compared people who had planned moments in which they would deviate from their goal pursuit and people who followed a rigid and strict plan. Essentially people who had cheat days vs those who didn’t. Surprisingly, results found that cheat days can: 

a) Help regain self-regulatory resources
b) Help maintain your motivation to pursue with regulatory tasks, and 
c) Have a positive impact on your mood

This all contributes to facilitate long-term goal-adherence. So, if you want to have that red velvet cupcake its ok, just as long as it’s on a day where you plan to be bad and not in the middle of the night after a day of eating nothing but kale and cayenne pepper. 

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Sound off in the comments below. 

Fast Fashion is fast becoming a dirty business.  Whilst reports suggest that Fast Fashion is the fastest growing sector of the entire apparel industry (FEE, 2017) it is also the second dirtiest industry in the world, surpassed only by Big Oil (Eco Watch, 2015). While these findings are shocking they’re unsurprising. Online and high street brands face a pressure to compete in a society where disposable incomes are on the decline whilst demand continues to climb. As a society, collectively we’ve become more conscious of the impact that our lifestyles are having on future generations as the threat of global warming can no longer be ignored. And yet, consumers continually experience cognitive dissonance when our purchases fail to match up to our environmental principles. In an effort to reduce this psychological torment, the Slow Fashion movement was born.

According to Clark (2008) slow fashion consists of three components; placing value on local resources and economies, transparency in the production system, and creating products with a longer usable life. Research has shown that consumers agree that the slow fashion movement is “an ideal situation that they would be striving to work toward” (Pookulangara & Shephard, 2013) but arguably one of the main factors holding consumers back from reaching their slow fashion goals is a lack of knowledge that both environmentally conscious and fashion forward brands actually exist.

One brand flying the flag of the Slow Fashion movement is KORLEKIE, a UK based luxury brand that combines hand woven fabrics & heritage techniques with sensual elegance. With a celebrity clientele that includes the likes of Alicia Dixon, Rita Ora and Tiwa Savage alongside features in i-D and Vogue KORLEKIE proves that utilising traditional craft techniques can give you a head start in the race to the top.

Korlekie designer Beatrice Newman (Left) and myself at the MADE BY KORLEKIE event hosted by Fvshion Dvting. Photography by Adaeze Ihebom.
MADE BY KORLEKIE
MADE BY KORLEKIE event, Photography by Eyesweet Photography Ltd.

On the brand’s 4-year anniversary I was invited to the MADE BY KORLEKIE event, an archive of images and collections to introduce you to the story of KORLEKIE, hosted by Fvshion Dvting. Not only did I get the chance to see the stunning craftsmanship up close and personal, I was able to speak to KORLEKIE founder and creative director –  Beatrice Newman. Taking her cue from Ghanaian Kente weavers, Newman has contemporised traditional weaving methods to produce unique and ornate structures that is simply unachievable in the fast fashion sector due to the sheer skill involved. When speaking to Newman I came to realise her Ghanaian heritage is literally interwoven into the fabric of the brand in more ways than one. Newman shares her middle name ‘Korlekie’ with her brand which translates to ‘Queen of Eagles’ by the Gaadangbe tribe in the eastern region of Ghana. Citing Grace Jones, the queen of androgyny herself, as one of her muses, Newman stated that the KORLEKIE woman is one that is unashamedly fierce, daring and takes a mindful approach to dressing.  

Mindful dressing is a rapidly growing concept in the realm of slow fashion as consumers are gradually challenging the ‘treat yo self’ throw-away culture that encourages the temporary highs and lows of fast fashion purchases. Whilst its numerous advantages are somewhat undeniable, the sheer pace of fast fashion brands leaves it incapable of creating that personable experience that many consumers are craving.

Slow fashion brands like KORLEKIE have the advantage of a highly ethical and transparent business practice as well as a culturally rich background that, psychologically speaking allows consumers to forge genuine connections with every piece purchased.  The result is the highly sought after ‘mindful shopping experience’ where need and beliefs can finally go hand in hand.

To see pieces from KORLEKIE’s latest collection visit their website here.

The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ Founder Shakaila Forbes-Bell was interviewed for CNN’s Colorscope -an award-winning series exploring our perception of color and its use across cultures, one shade at a time. It’s latest featured surrounded Fashions current IT-Colour ‘Safety Orange’, the focus of our current Colour Psychology Style Edit.

…. It is also considered a transitional color because it is associated with the change in season. Fashion psychologist and blogger Shakaila Forbes-Bell said the color has gained a lot of interest in recent years. “We see safety orange, as it is titled, up and down the catwalks for spring and summer 2018 especially in the New York shows like Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Rihanna’s Fenty Puma,” she said.  Forbes-Bell said it’s not surprising that orange is having a revival.

Source: CNN

Read the full feature here. 

 

My journey into the field of Fashion Psychology officially began when I was accepted onto the Masters programme at University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion (LCF) in 2014. Since graduating and founding The Psychology of Fashion Blog™, I have been inundated with questions about the course, mostly from people who are unsure if they have the right background to be accepted. Luckily, LCF have since created an undergraduate version of the degree and I spoke to the course leader Dr Aurora Paillard who revealed how the course is going from strength to strength and how you can get a BSc in Psychology of Fashion

Shop SheIn for the latest in Fall and Winter Fashions

Shakaila: What inspired you to join London College of Fashion as the BSc Psychology for Fashion Professionals course leader?

Dr Aurora Paillard: I have always been fascinated by Psychology and intrigued by the mysterious world of Fashion. Working at London College of Fashion was a dream for me as I’ve been able to learn and observe Fashion in one of the best Fashion universities, while being able of using my knowledge in Psychology. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to work in an amazing subject, surrounded by successful colleagues and in such great institution. I particularly like the idea of becoming the Course Leader of the first and unique undergraduate course of Psychology of Fashion.

What can potential students gain from a bachelor’s degree in Psychology for Fashion Professionals that they couldn’t from a pure Psychology degree?

At the end of the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion, the students will have gained the same knowledge and skills that bachelors from a pure Psychology degree. On top of these Psychology skills, they will know how to applied these skills to the fascinating word of Fashion and would have spent three years evolving as a Psychology student in one of the most amazing Fashion nest, London College of Fashion.

What type of research are current students producing?

Students (and staff) are producing a very large panel of research where we apply any Psychology concept (Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Mental Health) to Fashion. As an example, we’ve been running these projects since this September:

–          Are people ready for Unisex clothing?

–          The digital coming out: can Fashion and Social media help people with their coming out?

–          Sensory integration in store: is there a link between brand equity and the use of senses in Fashion stores.

–          Body image in people over 60 years old

–          Well-being in Fashion students


What type of career can a degree in Psychology for Fashion lead to?

It is envisaged that graduates from this course and those who continue onto the MSc, will be highly sought across the fashion industry. They will possess the skills, knowledge and, moreover, the aptitude demanded by employers. Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour so it can be applied in all contexts across the fashion industries and beyond. Some examples of potential graduate destinations are:

–          a creative service-based industry which may be physical or virtual, start up or mature

–          an entrepreneurial role in an existing organisation

–          a business development role using in retail, design, production or media

–          working in Research and Development in a leadership/management role within service and design-led industries

–          a leadership/management role within an existing business or group

–          establishing a new business venture

As the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion is accredited by the British Psychology Society as an undergraduate course, the bachelor will be eligible (if they obtained a 2.1) to the Graduate Basis Charter Membership, which is the first step in becoming a Chartered member (i.e. a Psychologist). The BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion would be the most suitable undergraduate qualification in order to apply for a MSc related to Consumer Psychology and then become a Consumer Psychologist. Like any other BSc Psychology course, the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion bachelors would be able to apply to any MSc Psychology in order to become Psychologist.

Can you give us a breakdown of what the course consists of?

The BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion breaks new ground. Students will learn how to apply psychological science in the context of fashion to enable an evidence-based understanding of human behaviour across the broad spectrum of the fashion industry. The scientific discipline of Psychology equips graduates with an extremely rich and diverse portfolio of skills and knowledge that gives them a distinct edge in the employment and entrepreneurial markets of the fashion and related industries. The curriculum sits at the forefront of knowledge demanded by the fashion industry, which is increasingly concerned with enhancing the human aspects of its provision. The BSc is a three-year course:

Year 1 (level 4)

The Introduction to Psychology of Fashion unit aims to introduce you to your course and its subject specialism, as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge base needed to understand your discipline. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.

The Applications of Psychology in Fashion unit will consider how the application of psychology can make a positive difference in the fashion industries in general and in fashion business in particular. You will study theories and concepts from the core areas of psychology including individual differences, biological, cognitive, emotional, social, lifespan psychology, and discuss their application to develop solutions to real life issues in fashion.

Philosophy and Ethics in Research unit acknowledges the study and application of ethics is a fundamental component of any psychology programme. You will learn the fundamental elements of conducting research with human participants from philosophical and ethical perspectives. In doing so, you will understand how to adopt an ethical approach to conducting research in fashion business, and why a particular method of data analysis is preferable to another as a tool to interpret your results.

Introduction to Cultural & Historical Studies unit introduces the Cultural and Historical Studies approach to fashion and related areas. The unit provides a broad overview of the subject and introduces key concepts and ways of thinking that will form the basis of subsequent study. It will also inform decisions regarding the Cultural and Historical Studies unit that is chosen for future study.

The Collaborative Project unit introduces you to the research skills needed to understand human behaviour within the context of fashion and business. This unit will give you the opportunity to work collaboratively to identify an area of fashion business that interests you, and to investigate the links between your chosen topic and psychology.  This will allow you to consolidate the knowledge and skills that you have already acquired, give you the opportunity to conduct research, and develop working relationships that are essential for employability.

Year 2 (level 5)

Cognition in Design and Innovation unit looks at cognitive psychology, which is concerned with how we make sense of the world from sensation, through perception, emotion, creativity, memory, thinking and reasoning, and communication. In this unit you will learn about the influence of cognitive processes on design and innovation using the concept of design thinking, which applies empathy and creativity to generate potential solutions to a given problem. You will gain understanding of how the processes and methods used in design to solve problems can lead to enhanced design practice and improved communication with designers.

The Fashion and Wellbeing unit is concerned with the concepts and theories of psychological wellbeing as applied in the context of fashion. It explores individual, societal and global issues including identity and body image, appearance and judgement, fashion and the environment, and the impact of technology. You will develop a strategy for enhancing your own wellbeing.

The Cultural & Historical Studies Option will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies option of your choice that will broaden and deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.

The Consumer Psychology unit introduces you to concepts of consumer behaviour and psychology through investigation of how and why we buy fashion goods and services. You will investigate how consumer identity is formed, and develop your understanding of fashion psychographics and cross-cultural values and how these may inform fashion marketing practices. You will apply market research methods and evaluate consumer behaviour in different parts of the world.

In the Consultancy Project you will learn how to make effective decisions regarding which research methodologies are most appropriate given a particular research question. You will develop practical analysis skills through designing an investigation, collecting, exploring, analysing and interpreting data appropriately using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), or qualitative methods of analysis and interpretation. You will then carry out and write up a negotiated consultancy project in the context of fashion business.

Year 3 (Level 6)

In Future Thinking unit you will apply the knowledge and skills from Years 1 and 2 to critically appraise current fashion business in the context of product development and marketing, including cost-benefit analysis, affordances and the human/technology interface. You will apply strategic thinking to propose feasible future scenarios for an ethical and sustainable fashion industry.

Social Sustainability and Business Psychology unit explores how human resources need to be sustained and used effectively in the same way as other tangible and intangible organisational resources. You will examine the links between employee psychological wellbeing and motivation, productivity and innovation. You will learn how to prioritise employee wellbeing through workplace initiatives, and how to evaluate their effectiveness. In addition, you will study the role of psychology in the workplace including group and team behaviour, theories of leadership and management, communication and performance management.

The Final Major Project is a major piece of work and the culmination of your degree. It provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired through your work on the course. Although this is an independent piece of work, you will be allocated a supervisor who will support and guide you through tutorials.


What are the minimum requirements for being accepted onto the course?

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • Three A Level Passes at Grade B or above; preferred subjects include: sociology, biology, mathematics, English, philosophy, economics, politics, business studies and psychology (please note, Psychology A level needs to be passed at C or above).
  • or Distinction, Distinction, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma (Preferred subjects) Art & Design;
  • or Distinction Foundation Diploma in Art and Design;
  • or Merit at UAL Extended Diploma;
  • or Access Diploma or ’120 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma;
  • or 120 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 300 old UCAS tariff points) from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification;
  • or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications;
  • or 25 IB points.
  • and Six GCSE passes at grade A*-C Maths and English.

How do you apply? 

As a Home student, you can apply through the UCAS webpage, using the University code U65 and the UCAS course code C800. The initial UCAS deadline is 15th January 2018.  As an International student, you can also apply through UCAS or directly through LCF

aurora-paillart710x354

Dr Aurora Paillard

Dr Aurora Paillard is the Course Leader for BSc Psychology for Fashion. She obtained a Master and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. She is a BPS Chartered member and HEA Senior Fellow. After obtaining her PhD at the University of Grenoble (France), Aurora did two postdoctoral positions (at the Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Switzerland and the University of Manchester) and a Teaching Fellow at the University of Besancon (France). She then became a Course Leader of two Psychology programs at the pen University. She has been working at London College of Fashion since September 2016 as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Course Leader of the BSc (Hons) Psychology of Fashion. She teaches Applied Psychology to Fashion, Cognition Psychology, Social Cognition and Research Methods. Her research interests involve social and cognitive features related to body perception, multisensory integration and consumer psychology.

How often do we think about cultural differences when it comes to choosing your wardrobe? What may be ‘fashion-forward’ in one culture can be nonsensical and even out-right offensive in another. This week, we’ve seen how a political fashion choice got pop-sensation Katy Perry denied entry into China and subsequently booted from performing at the 2017 Victoria Secret fashion show. Whilst freedom of speech and correspondingly freedom of dress is a cornerstone of American politics, in other countries, certain choices can be career-damaging. No matter which side of the political fence you choose to sit, Perry’s outlandish and often times thought provoking dress sense is certainly ‘on-brand’. However, many would argue that adopting a ‘culturally aware’ sense of style is essential in our ever-growing multicultural society.

Colour is a key component in our styling choices and is also one that is drenched in cultural significance. In the 2005 paper ‘Are you selling the right colour? A Cross-Cultural Review of Colour as A Marketing Cue’, Mubeen M. Aslam notes that colour “influences consumer perceptions and preferences, purchase and consumption behaviour, and helps companies (re) position or differentiate from the competition. However, the notion of colour universality is fraught with risk. Sometimes companies fail simply because of inappropriate choice of product or package colours”.

colour psychology orange the psychology of fashion shakaila
Suit: Missguided Top: Levis
Suit: Missguided Top: Levis, Shoes: New Look

In the field of psychology, the modern doctrine of ‘Individual Differences’ discusses the importance of acknowledging both sociological and environmental factors that cause people to respond differently to certain stimuli. This Colour Psychology style edit is all about this seasons IT colour – orange and in conducting my research I was enthralled by the sheer magnitude of differences that exist between cultures and how one hue could be interpreted so broadly.  

For example, in Japanese and Chinese cultures, orange is associated with courage, happiness, love, and good health (Huffington Post). In the Netherlands, orange is the colour of the Dutch Royal family and therefore signifies wealth and prestige (Shutterstock). In Indian cultures, orange is considered to be a lucky, auspicious and sacred colour (Empowered By Colour)

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Jacket: Puffa, Dress & Boots: Missguided
colour psychology orange puffa psychology of fashion shakaila
Jacket: Puffa, Dress & Boots: Missguided

Luckily, orange can be considered as a positive colour in many cultures for varying different reasons. But what if I was to wear this orange suit from Misguided or this orange jacket from Puffa in a country that deemed the colour to be distasteful? Given that our clothes often speak for us before we get a chance to utter a single word, are culturally specific colour interpretations something we should start to take more seriously? Does Individual Differences have a place in styling?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Introducing Orange, the next colour in our Colour Psychology Style series. Hailed as the new ‘Millennial Pink’, ‘Safety Orange’ was seen up and down the catwalks for Spring Summer 18 especially within the New York shows like Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Fenty Puma.

Dress: Missguided Shoes: ALDO

Many Psychologists believe that our emotional responses to colours stem from our learned experiences with them. However, it is also believed that the characteristics of colours evoke physiological responses. As you may know, colours are categorised according to wavelengths. Studies have shown that long wave-length colours like orange induce feelings of high arousal (Goldstein, 1942) which activates the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) in the brain leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, mobility and readiness to respond.

The aptly titled ‘Safety Orange’ most certainly gets its name from the use of the colour orange in uniforms worn by people working in potentially hazardous environments. In a study testing the visibility of safety clothing on the protection of personnel in highway construction, results indicated that participants detected another person significantly faster and from a father distance if they were wearing orange (more specifically red-orange) clothing (Turner, Simmons & Graham, 1997)

Whist it may not be your intention to emulate the style of construction workers, this research suggests that the colour orange literally has the power to stop people in their tracks. It’s a show-stopping hue that you should definitely add to your wardrobe for those moments when you intend on making a splash and want all eyes on you.

In fact, when I was shooting this entire orange edit I did get a host of lovely compliments from passing-by pedestrians that I am sincerely attributing to the attention-grabbing effect of the colour. This burnt-orange Kimono Sleeve Shift Dress from Missguided was one of my favourite pieces to shoot as it is true to size and has a subtle cowl neck front which I appreciate as any lower (which seems to be the norm these days) I felt, would have compromised the overall look. All-round, 10/10.

Do you have many orange pieces in your wardrobe? What are your general impressions of the colour?

 

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