Grassi, Alessia (2019) PROVIDING TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES THROUGH ART FOUNDATIONS: A CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR LUXURY FASHION BRANDS. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

This study aims to investigate art foundations as a potential venue for luxury fashion brands to provide a transformative experience. Providing experiences has become one of the main strategies for fashion brands to engage with their consumers. Yet, because of the proliferation of brand experiences, consumers are starting to perceive brands as not authentic anymore. Transformative experiences are believed to be more authentic
and meaningful, and luxury fashion brands’ image might benefit from offering these kinds of experiences to their customers. Moreover, this is important in the perspective of strengthening the brands’ relationship with their consumers, and increasing loyalty towards the brand.

According to the literature, a transformative experience is a ‘life-changing’ experience; an experience which might lead a person to gain new knowledge, increase self-awareness, perceive a sense of renewal. These kinds of experiences are considered of a more profound impact than other experiences. Hence, they might facilitate the brand in creating a deeper bond with the consumers, and strengthen consumers’ loyalty towards the brand. Art is considered a powerful facilitator in providing transformative experiences; although, in the luxury fashion context, art collaborations and brand experiences permeated with arts have become common. Thus, there are some brands which have decided to further invest in art by establishing art foundations characterised by a philanthropic scope. This study looks at these foundations as potential venue to provide transformative experiences.

Based on rapid ethnography as methodology, data were collected through participant observation, two focus groups, and in-depth interviews, and were analysed utilising Template Analysis.

The findings suggest that through a few implementations and improvements, the art foundation owned by the luxury fashion brand could facilitate the fashion brand in providing transformative experiences. These results have informed the creation of a conceptual framework which luxury fashion brands may implement in their foundations’ strategies to facilitate these kinds of experiences.

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