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. To the average consumer, the world of fashion marketing is glamorous, exciting, and global. Fashion marketers may indeed interact with some of the most glamorous products, people, and destinations throughout the world. However, the bottom line is always accomplishing their goal that is, maximizing sales and profits, in an everchanging economy.
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. Fashion marketing is the application of a range of techniques and a business philosophy that centres upon the customer and potential customer of clothing and related products and services in order to meet the long-term goals of the organization. It is a major argument of this book that fashion marketing is different from many other areas of marketing. The very nature of fashion, where change is intrinsic, gives different emphasis to marketing activities. The vast output and profi ts from the fashion industry come not from the designer collections seen on the catwalk but from items sold in high street stores. To put the impact of designers in perspective, one only has to note that the British.
Fashion Awards’ Designer of the Year will often have annual earnings that amount to less than a day’s sales for one large retailer in the Arcadia group. Even so, the designer collections are given extensive coverage in the fashion press where each season more than 250 collections are reviewed within a matter of weeks. Reporting and promotion of these collections are suffused within hyperbole, excitement and genuine enthusiasm by many who attend, the catwalk exhibitions being viewed with a range of perceptions from incredulity to sheer entertainment.
However, few people see the direct link that some less experienced commentators assert exists between the garments on the catwalk and ‘what we will all be wearing next season’. The influence of the designer collections on everyday apparel purchases is complex and will be considered in later chapters on the fashion consumer, product design and fashion promotion. The main concern of fashion marketers is therefore the design and sale of garments to the majority of the public, for that reason, the techniques described in this book will concentrate on high street fashion rather than haute couture. Many people in the fashion industry have aspirations to run their own business.
Indeed, the industry is characterized by many small firms and regrettably many failures. This book embraces the fashion marketing needs of people starting their own business; it does not, however, extend to all the needs of small businesses, particularly the financial and legal aspects of new ventures. The fashion industry is fluid. A popular trend this month or year can be out of date next year. It is more important than ever for fashion marketers to carefully observe where the marketplace is going. Competition in the fashion industry continues to increase. Competition among fashion marketers is increasing due to technology. Slight changes in the marketplace may result in significant financial changes to a company. It is becoming easier to reach consumers via the Internet.
Consumers are becoming more selective, savvy regarding their purchases, and are able to purchase via multiple channels. Watching the marketplace on the surface is not sufficient. Observation of design, elements, colors, hemlengths, materials, and accessories is paramount. To be successful in business, particularly the fashion business, marketers must observe, analyze, and understand why trends are occurring. The environment influences fashions. The symbiotic and powerful relationship of fashion cannot be denied.