Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 66–78 | Cite as

To sell or not to sell: Overweight users’ effect on fashion assortments

  • Ulf AagerupEmail author
Original Article


Overweight people claim to be mistreated by the fashion industry. Fashion companies disagree. Despite the controversy, actual research has been scarce. This study compares the sizes of clothes that the four leading mass-marketing fashion retailers in Sweden offer to the body sizes of the population. Although branding theory would support the idea of rejecting fat consumers to improve user imagery for fashion brands, such practices were not evident. The main contribution of this article is that it provides the first quantified empirical evidence on the theory of typical user imagery. In the discussion, it is posited that, although mass-market fashion brands should be susceptible to negative user imagery related to overweight and obese users, the companies avoid such problems by making garments that are not directly attributable to a specific brand, thus mitigating the negative effect of overweight and obese user imagery.


brands assortments fashion product and brand management 



I would like to thank Inger Larsson for her invaluable help. Her anthropometric data gave me the connection I needed between the population and the clothing sizes. I also owe a debt of gratitude to YYY and ZZZ, who helped me acquire the garment size data without which this study would have been impossible.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingSchool of Business, Economics, and Law, Göteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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