Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fashion Marketing and Celebrity Influence

My experience with the fashion industry has led me to several theories about fashion and mainstream American consumers. One of my theories is that celebrity and media have a huge influence in the fashion world. Popular fashion starts with high fashion couture for the extremely wealthy American population and eventually trickles down to more affordable chain stores. Young girls flip the pages of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and their favorite celebrity gossip magazines and absorb all of the up and coming trends modeled by the celebrities that they most admire. These young girls are what drive the fashion industry and what the media feeds off of to promote celebrity. Having your clothing line worn by a Lindsay Lohan, a Jessica Simpson, or a Paris Hilton is a marketing jackpot. Being photographed and pictured in one of these magazines is the best advertising you can get.
Celebrities have become full faceted icons for Americans. They carry an almost 'holier than thou' image that many Americans, particularly young women, strive to achieve. Many want to share the celebrity lifestyle, and the haute couture wardrobe that these celebrities sport reflects that lifestyle. Clothing is something to cover our bodies and keep us warm, Fashion is a lifestyle.
Celebrity has become so central to American culture that it is foolish not to use that as a resource to gain exposure and success in the fashion industry. As an aspiring fashion designer and a Los Angeles native, I realize how many resources are within my reach. My marketing strategy for the fashion industry is as follows: use the resources of media and celebrity to make people believe your brand is popular and popular your brand will become. Fashion and marketing is about knowing your consumers, knowing what drives them and what inspires them, and then using media exposure to surround them with your newest trend.
As an eleven year old girl about to enter middle school, I was doing the usual August back to school shopping with my Mom. I remember her showing me a pair of capri pants and saying "Nicki, try these on these are the newest fad!" I looked at the pants and repulsed, replied " Mom, those are the ugliest things I have ever seen in my life!" which I accompanied with a grossed-out face just to emphasize my point. A month later, what did I have to have? Capri pants. So much so that I did not even care about getting an "I told you so" from my Mom. I had read my favorite magazines, which at that point were Teen and Cosmogirl, and probably seen them on some of my friends. That is how the fashion industry works. At this point I go back to my original reaction to the capri pants, but that's beside the point. That is the power of media influence on fashion. The ability to take something someone hates and make them feel like they need to have it. Celebrity is a very powerful marketing tool.

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