Digital Marketing

An Introduction to Fashion Marketing

Introduction

The company with the largest market share of this vast market is Christian Dior and, despite this great success, the company has approximately 1% of the global market. Global fashion remains one of the largest sectors of world trade that is truly competitive: 1.14 million people were employed in apparel manufacture in the European Union (EU) in 2004 and nearly one-third of all imported clothing bought in the EU in 2007 was manufactured in China.

The UK fashion industry is estimated to be worth approximately £22 billion in retail sales value in 2008. Apparel manufacturing industry in the UK employed around 83 000 people in 2006, down from over 200 000 a decade earlier. The above statistics reveal that fashion is a large global business sector going through a period of great change. It is the application of marketing that plays a crucial role in managing this growth and change.

This book shows how marketing can be applied to fashion products and services. This introduction looks at both fashion and marketing and how design and marketing work together in practice. An overview of the fashion marketing process covers the role of marketing in the fashion industry and the ethical issues raised by marketing in this context, with some practical examples of the work of fashion marketers.

Fashion is to do with change

Fashion essentially involves change, defi ned as a succession of shortterm trends or fads. From this standpoint there can be fashions in The competitive ethos of the fashion industry revolves around seasonality. The industry has a vested interest in developing new products for the customer at the expense of existing items: this process is known as planned obsolescence.

Planned obsolescence is not confi ned to the fashion industry, it occurs in several other manufacturing sectors such as the electronics or automobile industries. While the concept of planned obsolescence can be criticized from several perspectives, many customers appreciate the continual change in fashion products and services. Unfortunately, the rate and direction Figure

Fashion products and services. Related fashion services Advice on garment co-ordination Cosmetic surgery Tattoos Image consultancy Hairdressing Hair transplants Sun tanning Garment cleaning services Clothing alterations/repairs Clothing Underwear Formal Bespoke Natural Outerwear Informal Ready made Men-made Usage situations Work/school Leisure Domestic Related fashion products Shoes Hats Hosiery Jewellery Belts Bags Scarves Cosmetics Fragrances Cleaning products Haberdashery Wigs An Introduction to Fashion Marketing 5 of change are usually slower and less predictable than the fashion industry would like.

Fashion is about creating

In order for the change which is intrinsic to fashion to take place, the industry must continually create new products. Used in another sense, the term fashion means to construct, mould or make. Fashion, therefore, also involves a strong creative and design component. Design skill is essential and can be seen in all products from the made-tomeasure suit to the elaborate embroidery on a cardigan.

The level of design can vary considerably from a basic item such as a T-shirt to the artistic creations of Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent or, in more recent times, Stella McCartney. To some the design of fashion garments can be viewed as an art in its own right, though this is a notion supported more in countries such as France and Italy than in Britain. The majority of garments sold do not come into this category, but the inspiration for the design of many of those garments may have come from works of art

Fashion and marketing

The continual change, i.e. fashion, involves the exercise of creative design skills which result in products that range from the basic to the rare and elaborate. The creative design personnel provide part of the mechanism by which the industry responds to the need for change. At the same time the ability to identify products that the customer needs and will buy is also essential to the industry. Marketing can help to provide this additional knowledge and the skills needed to ensure that the creative component is used to best advantage, allowing businesses to succeed and grow

What is marketing?

Marketing is a business philosophy or way of thinking about the fi rm from the perspective of the customer or the potential customer. Such a view has much merit as it focuses on the acid test for all business – if we do not meet the needs of our customers we will not survive, let alone thrive.

Fashion fi rms depend upon customers making repeat purchases and the key to such loyalty is the satisfaction of customers’ needs with garments which are stylish, durable, easy to care for, comfortable, perceived value for money and all the other criteria deemed Fashion Marketing 6 relevant by the buyer. For this reason, fashion design personnel should readily appreciate the need to understand the customer’s perspective

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