43. The future of Fashion Advertising

27 Nov

My dream is to combine my love of fashion and love for the media and advertising into one amazing career. I previously studied apparel design and have a deeper love for fashion than simply liking shoes. I like the history and the art of the designs. I love to look at concept boards and sketches. It is interesting to me that the process to create an ad, and a great line of clothing is very similar. First there is a story, that dictates some sort of concept, which translates to trends, patterns, and color schemes. These are then mapped out on a board, then sketches, then rough executions. Much like creating an ad, a designer must consider who it is they are taking to, and how the clothing will interact with their lives.

Just my luck, both the fashion industry and the advertising industry are in the midst of a transition. The fashion industry is also learning how to deal with social media and online platforms. They are also dealing with a difficult economic time that makes $500 pair of shoes seem quite obsolete.

While I know that the ad industry is responding to this change, I wondered how the fashion industry was responding. I feel that they are more afraid of change than many industries because, while fashion changes, it has been brought to consumers in the same way for decades. I came across this PSFK article titled ‘Is the Fashion Industry in Danger of Going the Same Way as the Ad Industry’.

In the article, they discussed this ‘4-D’ fashion show by Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren broadcast a fashion show and a polo match in 4-d technology on the side of a building in London. “We were the first brand to blend ‘merchan-tainment’ so seamlessly,”said David Lauren in NY times.

PSFK, and me both had the same question, did this help Ralph Lauren sell more things or further develop their brand? I don’t know. This is an example, as the article puts it, of tactics masquerading as brand strategy. What was the point of Ralph Lauren doing this? Yes, it is cool. And yes, it is in fact using technology. But does this align with the all-American values that I thought Ralph Lauren represents? I wear Ralph Lauren, I like the brand, and this does absolutely nothing to reaffirm my loyalty to the brand, or make me want to buy more of their products.

“What I’m taking about is a ‘strategic’ idea, an interpretation of a brands attitudinal point of view and role in culture beyond the drapes, asymmetry and geometry.” That is what is great about fashion, you know that people identify with it when they wear it. And a great fashion house, has a great image that is easily identifiable.

Take Chanel or Burberry. Huge brands that even if you are not involved in fashion, you can conjure up some sort of brand identity. With these deep histories behind great fashion brands comes the amazing opportunity to tell a wonderful story. Some brands are those that have been worn by generations.

While I love Ralph Lauren’s enthusiasm for using new technology, it needed to tell a story. Build upon the brand image that is pretty well established. I would have rather seen polo players from the 1950’s wearing Ralph Lauren, juxtaposed with the Ralph Lauren of today than what they portrayed. The fashion industry has such possibility to use the technology to tell the stories that are actually fascinating and compelling.

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