InWear’s quest for legitimacy in the Danish fashion field

Anita Ustrup & Lise Refslund

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis has been constructed on the basis of finding legitimisation processes in relation to InWear’s agency in the Danish fashion industry. The case of InWear was found particularly interesting, as the company has had a long-standing and changeable existence in Danish fashion. In 2008, yet another attempt to reposition InWear was initiated, which at this point has not reached the desired outcome. Institutional theory was employed in order to investigate patterns of events within the Danish fashion industry and InWear. In order to determine field dynamics in the Danish fashion industry, the analysis of the field is divided into the three periods. The process of legitimisation was sought through field construction of classification hierarchies, which stem from opposing logics. From this, a classification of agents in the field and in relation to various positions in the field was found. It was established that legitimacy can be gained both in relation to a central position through conformity to popular business practices and in a peripheral position through innovative design. It was found that the logics art and commerce were the principles that pattern the practices in the fashion field in Denmark. It was found that the manner in which legitimacy is gained is context specific. In the first period of analysis, it was establish that InWear gained legitimate by employing outsourcing practices in combination with a design focus. In the second period, InWear attained legitimacy by conforming to the following practices: conducting a long standing campaign, increased level of outsourcing and higher formalisation in organising outsourcing. InWear non-actions in the third period in terms of failure to conform to artistic pressures lead them to reposition the brand. Thus, InWear tries to conform by adopting a higher design focus. This conformity was not fully recognised and therefore, InWear did not gain the desired level of legitimacy needed. For InWear to be successful in their repositioning, they need obtain a higher level of legitimacy and construct optimal distinctiveness, the following was recommended:  Change in structure at IC Companys by moving InWear into the ‘new brands’ category  Find optimal distinctiveness in the field through conformity and differentiation  Optimise communications in terms of articles in trade magazines, direct mail campaigns and storytelling  Conduct a fashion show

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2008
Number of pages404