The principle of rarity on vintage clothing
: consumers’ preferences and self-expression

  • Camilla Busso (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Rarity is a widely discussed topic in consumer behaviour as perceptions of scarcity suggest a higher value and preference for the product or service considered. Within the fashion realm the rarity principle is often highlighted in luxury to grant exclusivity. However, the role of rarity should be also considered in vintage fashion, as vintage clothing is usually perceived to be unique, different and one of a kind. Since rarity entails exclusivity and vintage clothing is believed to be non-conforming to the fashion norm, this research experimentally tests both the effects of rarity on preferences for vintage clothing and consumers’ expression of identity through vintage. An online survey was led in which participants were exposed to two conditions of product type (vintage, new collection) paired to two conditions of availability cues (rare, abundant). In general terms, no preference for rarity over abundancy was found, but results indicated a significant interaction with product type. Vintage was preferred over new collection clothing when rarity cues were presented and was valued significantly more in the rare over abundant condition. Moreover, a main effect of rarity cues was found on levels of self-expression through the product shown; this effect was larger if it was vintage compared to new collection. Overall, findings suggests that only vintage benefits from rarity cues – while being damaged by abundancy cues – and that rarity and vintage together have the power of turning consumers in their authentic selves, as perceived self-expression is enhanced when wearing a rare vintage piece.
Date of Award5 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorJoão Niza Braga (Supervisor)


  • Vintage
  • Rarity
  • Fashion
  • Resale market
  • Preference
  • Self-expression
  • Consumer behaviour


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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