Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Textiles, Apparel and Merchandising Design

Document Type



After 20 years of industrial practice, consumers now can shop for mass-customized apparel in various channels including websites and smart device applications (apps). Online apparel mass-customization (OAMC), which provides platforms and convenience for customers to communicate with retailers effectively, provides retailers with a growing opportunity in today’s evolving omni-channel environment. Meanwhile, product value and experiential value delivered to consumers will help increase customer satisfaction and lower the return rate. However, little is known about consumers’ beliefs, attitudes, and purchase intentions of mass-customized apparels when using different channels. Two studies were intended to fill the research gap. Study 1 is an exploratory, qualitative study with a focus on analyzing feedback from consumers who have had real experiences of purchasing online mass-customized apparel. Study 2 presents a comprehensive attempt to examine the factors that impact consumers’ attitude toward using OAMC and the willingness to purchase online mass-customized apparel (through an experiment) with the technology acceptance model applied as a theoretical foundation. An online self-administered questionnaire was utilized to collect participants’ responses including OAMC evaluations of usefulness, enjoyment, ease of use, choice variety, risks, attitude, and willingness to purchase after practicing OAMC in the experiment. A total of 388 responses were collected from a southeastern University in the United States. Factor analyses were conducted to test and confirm the measurement model with results showing that the reliability and validities were well achieved. Hypothesized relationships and moderating effects were tested using a structural equation modeling approach. Research results indicated that the proposed hypotheses were partially supported. A positive attitude predicted willingness to purchase. Ease of use, enjoyment, and choice variety significantly influenced customers’ attitude. Usefulness and risks did not influence attitude in this research model. The moderation effects of online mass-customization channels, consumers’ level of fashion involvement, and consumers’ need for uniqueness were tested separately through multi-group comparisons. The results showed that there was no significant difference among consumers with different levels of fashion involvement, or different levels of need for uniqueness, or consumers who shop online mass-customized apparel in different channels. Theoretical and practical implications were provided based on research findings.



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Committee Chair

Liu, Chuanlan