How Fashion Eludes Advertising

Published on 31st July 2007

With minimal or no advertising, fashion, which is a style of dressing or self presentation that is acceptable to given individuals seems to thrive.Today; we are more exposed to commercial ads than in the past. Surprisingly, the bulk of advertisements have very little to do with fashion.

I do not need a print or an electronic commercial depicting a new trend in the market for me to acquire it. Somehow, I just buy the product. What amazes me is the rate at which a new trend takes root in the market. It sweeps everyone on board like wild fire. People seem to outdo each other in embracing new styles.

Fashion items that are advertised do not get everyone’s attention as such. A case where a TV presenter’s wardrobe is provided by a given fashion store earns an acknowledgement, but this does not pull crowds as few viewers would want to go for that particular item.A total contrast occurs when a news anchor or actor in a soap opera adorns a purple tie or scarf. It creates so much ado that within a few days everyone on the streets has the same item. Advertising firms appear to have been sidelined in this game.

Since fashion houses reach out to media houses for presenter dressing services, they would rather have their outfits used by news anchors for a day or two to be noticed, than contract an advertising firm for ad shooting. In the long run, the new item will have its way to high sales having paid no advertising costs at all. Is it a fair game?

In highly competitive markets, advertising determines demand. A successful campaign will increase the demand of a particular product while at the same time decrease the demand for competing products. Fashion items however seem to sell themselves to consumers. Consumers have different tastes and preferences; the youth would want to emulate their favorite pop stars, men will try to dress like their hero CEO’s while ladies will reach out to their most appealing lady achievers’ style. Such responses result into groupings of like minded members within a society. It is at this level that we need to the role that fashion plays in bringing diversity.

Human beings are social beings. They naturally seek to belong. They want to be associated with their peers in every way, dressing style notwithstanding. Photographers can easily be spotted in waist length sleeveless jackets, better known as camera coats. In as much as the coat may be of functional use with its numerous pockets, it actually is a declaration to belong. They want to be seen as leading while others follow. In the long run, they embrace new fashion trends and push up sales for fashion merchandisers.

Matters get even juicy when everyone else has purchased that particular product. This is one of the sweetest moments in a fashion designer’s career because their creations are selling like hot cake. This sends them back to the drawing board –literally- to come up with a new trend that will be bought by the few icons in the public. Once the icons have it, it flows down automatically. While the elite in the society want to be unique by purchasing new outlooks, the middle and lower classes want to be like the elite. This cycle keeps rolling and fashion sells itself!

Advertising has little powers to sell fashion. Fashion is extremely dynamic: the few who understand it smile as the drama unfolds. The other few who do not appreciate it end up grumbling as usual. However, one bigger lot that embraces fashion in the quest to belong might forever be victims in a war that designers and merchandisers are winners.

Should advertising firms cry foul ? They ought to get swift marketers to help them convince fashion houses that their outfits can be used as costumes for the models while advertising other products.  This will not only help reach out to the wider viewer market but also earn the firms a dollar or two.


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