Isabelle Decoopman and Elodie Gentina two Management Science Doctors and associated Professors with Skema business school, took an interest in the “clothes sharing” between mothers and daughters (2012). (1) This marketing phenomenon, revealing the importance of youth in Western society, raises many questions. How can brands benefit from this? What are the limits? Is it just a fleeting trend or it is going to last? The two researchers have precisely analyzed this behavior to create a measurement tool for businesses.
The praise of « youth culture »
« Looking young has become the dominant trend in adult clothing: back in the days, you had to show off honorific signs of your wealth, nowadays, we must look young, forever young, » said the philosopher and sociologist Gilles Lipovetsky in his latest book « The aestheticization of the world. » (2)
The trend « mother-daughter » is part of the logic of trying to keep looking young, principally present in our society where the body has become a capital. Whatever the social life fields: Workplace, relationship, etc., men and women are subject to stiff competition and must capitalize on their appearance. Youth, synonymous with dynamism is particularly valued.
Femininity: a transmission
Beyond the cult of youth, the real underlying issue about “sharing clothes” between mother and daughter is the domination of femininity in the family. When a mother shares clothes with her teenage daughter, she enters a context of shared femininity. The teenager, a privileged target comparison for the mother is an action model that embodies femininity. The motivations are different if we take the point of view of the girl, the girl exchange clothes with her mother essentially for economic reasons (access to clothes at any cost) or because it is useful (enlarging wardrobe). Some girls play the clothing game exchanges with their mothers in order to learn femininity codes of (become a girl or a woman to become, not to be too sexy, not too neglected, etc..).
This is one of the results of the analysis and Elodie Isabelle Decoopman Gentina: « Through the co-shopping and clothing exchange, the mother seeks share of femininity with her teenage daughter, becoming a young woman. »(1)