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EMAC 2023 Annual

Plus-size luxury fashion advertising: Benefits and pitfalls

Published: May 24, 2023


Kacy Kim, Bryant University; Sharmin Attaran, Bryant University; Teresa McCarthy Byrne, Bryant University; Sukki Yoon, Bryant University


This research contrasts consumer reactions to luxury versus nonluxury fashion advertisements that employ plus-size versus slim-size models. Counterintuitively, three experimental studies show that consumers form more positive attitudes toward ads and brands when luxury (nonluxury) fashion brands employ plus-size (slim-size) models. The effects are robust for ads that feature model silhouettes (Study 1), both silhouettes and photos (Study 2), and photos alone (Study 3). Moderated mediation analyses reveal that stereotypicality is a mechanism underlying the effect. The findings indicate that luxury fashion brand advertisers should proactively embrace plus-size models for practical reasons regarding reactions to stereotyping and for ethical reasons regarding diversity and inclusion.