July 28th 2022

PA.114 | FINANCE AND FASHION- Session Proposal 2nd Call

Parallel Sessions
FINANCE AND FASHION Session proposed for WEHC 2022, Paris Session organizers Orsi HUSZ (Uppsala University). Susana MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ. (University of Murcia-Spain). Commentator(s): TBD Abstract Finance and fashion appear as worlds apart. However, ethnographic studies of the financial world, in settings such as banks, the stock exchange or trading rooms (McDowell 1997, 2010; Ho 2009; Abolafia 1996), have pointed out that finance in fact has its particular aesthetics and style, which conveys – embodies – a social message (such as stability and trust or self-confidence, success and competitiveness). Furthermore, the fact that clothing and style are instrumental in creating identity or signalling belonging is also valid for the field of finance and banking. The world of finance has historically been (and still is) clearly gendered. The style of finance is typically a masculine style either as in the traditional images of city gents in bowler hats, charcoal suits and pinstriped tailoring, or as in the figure of the more aggressively masculine trader of the 1980s, wearing tie-clips, suspenders, and slicked-back hair. Women have for long been out of place except as discretely dressed bank tellers and secretaries fading into the background. Women pioneering in professional careers in finance in the 1960s and onwards had to adapt in intricate ways to this masculine power dressing (Fisher 2012, 84, see also Czarniawska 2005).  The contributions of this session seek to explore the interconnections of finance and fashion in the twentieth century in different parts of the world: How did the turn to consumer banking, popular investing or digitization change the style of finance? And how did fashion contribute to creating and changing the social image of finance? In what ways was fashion instrumental in gendering finance and banking? How was “financial fashion” reshaped when women begun to enter the world of finance as consumers and as bankers, traders, financial professionals. And how did banks and financial organizations use fashion as a means of public relation, or corporate identity creation? Were there any international trends or national differences in these connections between finance and fashion?
G - Financial Economics
Martinez-Rodriguez Susana - Universidad de Murcia
Orsi HUSZ - Uppsala Universitet [Uppsala]
Bernardo BATIZ-LAZO - Northumbria University
Martinez-Rodriguez Susana - Universidad de Murcia
Women and the Post Office Savings Bank in Britain, 1930-1945.
Mark J. CROWLEY - David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah
This paper focuses primarily on how the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), created in the nineteenth century, proved instrumental in the shaping attitudes among Britons towards savings during the interwar years and the Second World War. While masculine images of artillery were used in Post Office posters to publicise the work of the POSB in wartime, the main message was directed towards women. It emphasized to women that the ability to save, and to place these savings in a government-backed savings scheme (i.e. the POSB) would strengthen the nation in the fight against the enemy. War placed the working-class at the centre of the savings movement. Advertising became central to the Post Office’s core message of enforcing the inextricable connection between savings and national strength. In this respect, the appeal of the POSB to women was twofold. First, more women needed to be recruited to meet the growing demand placed on the POSB services. The growth in the Post Office female workforce led to a call for the provision of female uniforms to reflect women’s fashion preferences. This was ultimately successful. Second, the POSB targeted its appeal towards women in the government-backed effort to increase participation in the savings movement. In retaining the perspective that women were still the ‘homemakers’ and men were the ‘breadwinners’, the Post Office appealed to women to save. Drawing on a range of archival material from the Postal Museum (UK), the National Archives (Public Records Office) and the Mass Observation Archive (Sussex), this paper provides insight into both the government and public perceptions of the Post Office Savings Bank as an institution for encouraging saving and communicating the government’s wartime propaganda.
The financial emancipation of French Women through banks advertising at the turn of 1968's: from the elegant housewife to the working woman
Sabine Effosse - Nanterre University
How did French banks address women at the turn of the 1968's? To what extent did the modernization of the economy and society influence the discourse and banking advertising aimed at women? Indeed, since the law of July 13, 1965, married women in France have been able to work and open a bank account without their husband's authorization. Compared to the storming of the Bastille Day, this "revolution" constitutes a key step in the expansion of the female banking clientele. Based on the archives of the major French banks, this paper aims to show the evolution of both the discourse and the representations, particularly in terms of clothing, of women in bank advertising (posters and videos). From the bourgeois wife with classic elegance (dress, pearl necklace) who has the signature of her "good husband" to cover domestic expenses, to the independent woman who works and knows how to "run her boat" (personal finance), dressed in pants, bank advertisements reflect not only the emancipation of French women in post-1968 society, but also the banks' desire to promote new products (means of payment such as checks or credit cards, savings books, etc.) among this new clientele in order to increase their profits and market share.
Design, functionality and message. Branches of the National Bank of México (Banco Nacional de México) during the expansion period (1932-1990).
Gustavo DEL ANGEL - CIDE-Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas
Victor FLORES - Citibanamex
Trust is one of the most important elements in offering banking services. Without trust, financial intermediation could hardly be accomplished. The image projected by bank branches and their employees is an essential element in building trust. However, the image of the branches (mainly architecture) and of the employees also responded to geographical issues, such as the climate of the region, as well as the degree of development of the city they were located. These aspects varied across the regions of Mexico. This article analyzes the image projected by the branches and workers of the National Bank of Mexico at a time of expansion of the Mexican banking system, between 1930 and 1970. For this purpose, we use photographs from the bank's historical collection. We analyze the different types of premises, the ways of dressing of the staff and the gender participation in the personnel in relationship with the geographical characteristics of the region/city they were located. This considering the aim of the bank to inspire trust among its clients.
The Devil Wears a Diversified Portfolio
Johanna GAUTIER-MOIN - Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies IHEID
In 1987, the French Compagnie Financière de Suez was about to be privatized. The Ministry of Finance funded a broad campaign to encourage small saviors to invest in the company. The actress Catherine Deneuve appeared on television as the bank’s ambassador to promote the asset management expertise of the “people of Suez.” She was famous worldwide as the ambassador of the perfume Chanel No.5 since 1975, and famous in France as the “demoiselle insoumise” who publically called for the legalization of abortion and free access to contraception. Thus beyond stardom attractiveness, there was substantial gender leverage in this advertisement. In France, women could not open a bank account without the authorization of their husbands until 1965. The investment incentive Deneuve promoted was a clever publicity stunt meant to persuade female investors to empower their finances. This presentation will explore the use of fashion and cultural appropriation (mainly from Japanese fashion) in banking campaigns meant to popularize finance and attract new investors in stock market activities in the U.S., the U.K., and France during the 1970s and 1980s. We will focus on efforts to attract women and Black investors based on qualitative and quantitative data analysis.
Fashioning Finance: Gendered bank marketing in post-war Sweden
Orsi HUSZ - Uppsala Universitet [Uppsala]
The paper explores how, and aims to explain why fashion was used for popularization and domestication of finance, banking and stock investments in Sweden beginning from the 1950s. Study courses about stock investments and financial services for women were combined with runway shows in the 1950s and 1960s, the clothing of bank clerks became a topic of some importance for the banking press from the 1960s and a decade into the millennium “fashionistas” and influencers combined advice about style with opinions about investment strategies thus becoming “economistas”. By looking at the role of fashion in financial contexts I analyse: 1) How finance was “fashioned” –represented, conceptualized- and even shaped; 2) by which actor, (banks, the stock exchange, interest organisations, public savings campaign or others?) and 3) for whom, that is for which public and for what types of “financial subjects”? Fashion was a powerful marker of the gendering of finance, but also a means to create a popular financial culture.
Concern about Women”. A new fashion trend for the Spanish Private Banks (1960-1970)
Martinez-Rodriguez Susana - Universidad de Murcia
In Spain, the law of May 1975 on married women's legal situation allowed married women to open a checking account without their husbands' authorization. However, private banking has been recruiting female clients for more than a decade. At the same time that women became more visible in the labor market, commercial banks targeted women as clients. Banks' marketing departments saw the convenience of lecturing women on the advantages of the new products (flexible loans, cards, savings products, cheks and other services). The previous reveals an interesting work of financial dissemination and informal education in which fashion, beauty, and culture were part of the selling narrative. In the late 1960s, banking marketing was enriched and modernized with the use of new media and communication techniques. Women begin to be a specific target for bank advertising. A more sophisticated graphics and a "feminine" narrative were developed and directed to this new market niche. The archival sources to carry out this research are the documentation preserved by private banks in the Archive of the Bank of Spain, and the particular information from the Historical Archives of Banco Santander and BBVA. The contents of DIANA (1969-1978 / 82), a fashion magazine published by one of the leading private banks in Spain, Banco Bilbao, will receive particular attention. DIANA created a new advertising style for selling financial products. The journal combined the features of the women's magazine (closeness and complicity with the reader; light tone; bright images) with a strong pedagogy in financial products that explained the advantages of those products for women. The discussion shows that advertising focused on female audience achieved a more significant benefit than the one anticipated by the promoters: a contribution to Spanish women's financial literacy. This research's value and originality lie in demonstrating, with a historical case study, strategies to overcome the gender gap in access to financial products, a social challenge for developing countries.
The Change in Public's Clothing During the Republican Period in Turkey and the Impact of Sumerbank in this Transformation Process
Ayse Feyza SAHINKUSU - Yozgat Bozok University
Mehtap OZDEGER - Istambul University
Turkey has experienced many changes and transformations in economic and social life during years of foundation. Sumerbank was established in 1933 for banking transactions, to open loans to industrial organizations, to manage the factories within and to establish new industrial facilities. During this period as a result of public regulations made for the Turkish people to wear clothes that keep pace with the modern world, the need for an institution to produce these fabrics was born and Sumerbank responded to this need. In 1973, Sumerbank, a state economic enterprise, had 19 weaving industry enterprises, and 22 bank branches for banking activities. In particular, the bank has especially done deposit banking and encouraged the public to save money. Sumerbank also sold all manner of products in its own stores. In 1973 Sumerbank had a total of 228 stores and served almost at every region of the country. The products sold in these stores were the most popular textile products among the Turkish people. The effect of the fabrics produced by the Sumerbank on Turkish fashion was the main theme of the exhibition "Dressing a Nation- Sumerbank Patterns between 1956-2000" held at Ankara in 2018. Until the privatization of Sumerbank, this study set out to determine the contribution it made to the fashion phenomenon and its development, which was established from scratch in newly established Turkey. The documents of the Republic Archives of the State Archives, the documents found in various libraries and the newspapers of the period will shed light on the research.
The Case of Banking Advertisement Aimed at the Hispanic American Market Segment in the USA (2000-2020)
Nicole SANTIAGO - EAE Business School Madrid
Thomas Baumert - EAE Business School Madrid
Maria Fernanda Nuñez Estrada - EAE Business School Madrid
Alicia Beatriz Calderon Santana - EAE Business School Madrid
The fashion industry keeps evolving, and so does its impact on financial institutions. The rise of Hispanic Americans in the United States has led to the US Hispanic market being a driving force of the economy. Current advertisements in the US banking sector are merely aimed at the Hispanic public. To effectively attract this population, technological advancements in financial institutions allow them to engage in their native language and visually illustrate executional fashion characteristics of their native heritage. As of this year, 65.3 million Hispanics live in the US. This increase in numbers has caught the attention of many financial institutions interested in cashing in on the market power possessed by this group and has created a need for ethnically targeted advertisements in this market. Given the purchasing power of this ethnic group and its buying habits, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the glittery fashion world has fallen in love once more with Latin Americans. Indisputably, there are also other aspects that have brought this change in the fashion world. Change is rarely comfortable, but as market evolution in the United States illustrates, the forces of change are inevitable. Banks are better served getting ahead of and defining the trend rather than waging a battle to repel it. Driven by the fact that women run the show in Hispanic origin, the powerful influence this ethnic group style brings to the financial industry is of elegance and empowerment. Entities operating in the financial industry, like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, are embracing innovation considering business models that go beyond geographic boundaries, absorbing foreign cultures, and harmoniously blending it with its own. Our paper studies the evolution of advertisement on TV and social media, where fashion in the financial sector is centered around Hispanic Americans in the USA over the last two decades (2000-2020).