Downward Flow Theory In order to be identified as a true fashion, a style must first be adopted by people at the top of the social pryamid. The style then gradually wins acceptance at progressively lower social levels. This theory assumes the existence of a social hierarchy in which lower income people seek identification with more affluent people. At the same time, those at the top, seek disassociation from those they consider socially inferior. The theory suggests that: -Fashions are accepted by lower classes, only if and after, they are accepted by upper classes, and -Upper classes will reject a fashion once it has flowed to a lower social level.
Downward Flow Theory Implications for Merchandising Eager manufacturers quickly mass-produce lower-priced copies that many consumers can afford, and the wealthier consumers seek new styles. Industry Practice -Those who produce wait cautiously for approval of newly introduced styles by affluent consumers. As soon as significant signs of an interesting new style appear, the producers are ready to offer adaptations or even copies to the public.
Horizontal Flow Theory Mass market theory Fashions move horizontally among the groups on similiar social levels. Social environment with rapid mass communications and the promotional efforts of the manufacturers and retailers, exposes new styles to the fashion leaders of all social groups at approximately the same time. Implications for Merchandising