Let’s face it, we are all influenced by fashion, whether we like it or not. We may think that the world of haute couture is a far cry from our mundane everyday life with its simple bearings and pedestrian tastes, but that it is farthest from truth. In this day and age, where the whole world is intricate connected whole, we are influenced by fashion and in the same manner we influence fashion. But what is it about fashion that has made it a cultural mainstay through the times of man? The simple and short answer is that human beings like to adorn their bodies with clothes that identify them as in step with the zeitgeist of the times, and what is fashion but a reflection of the zeitgeist.
Like many other human enterprises fashion is both innovative and circular. Bold and ingenious trends spring up every now and then as seen during New York fashion week, however they are always supplemented by long periods of the retro becoming fashionable once again. This does not mean that there is a dearth of creativity in the fashion world, in fact designers come up with new renditions of the most classic designs that gives them a modern cosmopolitan vibe. There are noticeable examples in recent times of these returns of fads and trendy fashion, like the bomber jacket and grunge styles of Kurt Cobain.
Is Fashion Worth It?
While fashion designers spend a lot of creative capital in the creation of a unique and standout product, critics of high fashion raise their eyebrows at what they perceive are exorbitantly priced products. Designer labels wield immense clout in the fashion industry and because of the artistry and class of their product, which has great aesthetic value in turn sets a fashion status. Breakthroughs in every area of human achievement are lauded and rewarded, so is the case in the world of fashion where the most sought after designers sell their wares for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It may take a few breakthroughs for a label to become a hot commodity in the market and once this happens, the label in itself becomes synonymous with quality design and transcendent achievement in fashion which takes on its own brands lifestyle. A look at the most coveted fashion brands aspiration will confirm this hypothesis.
Brand creation is a long and arduous process. On the part of the designer it requires consistency and flashes of genius not only in the design but also in the presentation. A rule of thumb in all aesthetics is that the worth of the product while mostly dependent on the artistic work wrought, is inextricably tied to the presentation of the product. It is no wonder that brands spend millions of dollars on their marketing campaigns, despite being household names. The longevity of a brand depends on its ability to grasp that the label comes to embody characteristics that the promotion of the brand associates with it, power, panache and status are just some of the traits that are endorsed by the high end fashion brands.
More than a Label
Gianni Versace was a trailblazer in the fashion world, not only was he a creative genius, as all fashion designers who open more than a couple of their own shows are, but a masterful presenter who created one of the most formidable brands of the past half century. Versace distinguished himself in the way he selected his models and the kind of models that he associated with his brand. When choosing models brands portray the kind of sex appeal that they offer to their potential customers. By cultivating a regal image in status and perfection in appearance a nascent brand associates these virtues with their brand. Patronage by top models, and today when there is an absence of the concept of the supermodel as it once was, celebrities from the media have stepped in to fill the void. They provide brands for the aesthetics and sex appeal that a brand wants to show as being intrinsically present in the brand. This is more true for up and coming brands and for established brands delving into uncharted territory.
So is the label the sole possessor of the power of the brand, in a way, yes. The label is the embodiment of all the traits one associates with the brand. Brands can have clear cut selling demographics which they divide in their various lines that cater to people of different interests. Aside from their specialty items, why to fashion labels charge so much for say, a normal pair of jeans or a plain T-shirt? To understand what we perceive as a massive rip off, requires detached deliberation. If you want a plain T-shirt or a plain regular pair of jeans go to a generic clothing manufacturer and stock up on your fill of wardrobe, the reason why people buy products from labels, at much higher prices, is because of many tangibles and intangibles. The packaging and display of the product contribute a lot to make the product feel premium. Even mundane products like a pair of socks or a pair of briefs can become fashion sensation linked to a fashion label, case in point Julian McDonald designed socks and Calvin Klein designed underwear. Sure the products were good, but the genius of the designer was in recognizing their demand and how they should be sold.
The fashion label through the course of its existence has proven itself as a clothing line with quality that you can trust. Their style is that of aesthetic excellence and once you, the customer, acquires that article he will because of the extension of the attributes to the wearer will also now possess aesthetic excellence. These associations enhance people’s self-esteem and at the same time make it easier for them to shop because they start to identify with the brand, and thus begins the period of brand loyalty. When people know that the articles they acquire are durable and stylish, they will not hesitate to return to the same store.
Popular culture plays an important role in the transmittance of what item or what brand is supposed to be hip, if such associations become a cultural phenomenon the label gains incredible prestige and currency among the public. If you feel brands are overrated, start shopping at Target.
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