Newswise — Hispanics tend to be fashion leaders and enjoy shopping more than their Caucasian peers, according to research conducted by SUNY Buffalo State assistant professor of fashion and textile technology Arlesa Shephard.

In 2010, Shephard, the lead researcher who was then teaching at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and two colleagues from the University of North Texas surveyed more than 450 students in South Texas about shopping behavior and how they prioritized fashion. They discovered that both male and female Hispanic consumers are generally fashion conscious and spend a greater portion of their income on clothes than other races.

“Although Hispanics tend to be collectivists who are family-oriented and embrace their heritage, they also want to assimilate into the U.S. culture,” Shephard said. “Displaying the newest fashions is a way for Hispanics to show that they belong in the U.S.”

Since coming to Buffalo State in 2012, Shephard has presented her findings at three conferences. She also has published her research in the international academic journal The Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

Shephard said she was inspired to conduct the study after the 2010 Census revealed the incredible growth within the Hispanic population throughout the country.

“We realized they represent a viable consumer market that hadn’t received much attention before,” she said. “We often referred to our country as a melting pot. Now we have evidence of the diversity that is affecting all aspects of our culture.”