Ma Strategic Fashion Marketing Essay

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MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Essay

MA Strategic Fashion Marketing Essay

The times when fashion took its cues from arrogant elite are over. It's what sells, not what shows, that matters these days, the fashion writer Terri Agins tells the former glossy magazine editor Tina Gaudoin (Hines, 2001, 15).

Terri Agins states she is not interested in being given front-row seats at fashion shows: "I'm there mainly to talk to the retailers, not to stare at the other fashionistas.

Agins is not your average fashion hack. For 11 years she has covered the fashion beat for The Wall Street Journal. In her time she has written such classic cover stories as The Death of The Jacket, Cheapskate Chic and The Death of Perfume, all consumed hungrily, one imagines, by Wall Street "suits", who, Agins contends, "are more interested than you think in fashion - but hey, everyone's interested in fashion".

Everyone is certainly interested in Agins's newly published book The End of Fashion, subtitled "the mass marketing of the clothing business", in which she argues that the tyranny of fashion in the Western world is finally over.

While one may be initially tempted to dismiss her theory as a rabid, Naomi Woolf-ish backlash against the fashion industry, in fact she makes a lot of sense. The clarity of her argument, backed by analysis of several case studies, from Armani through Mizrahi to Zoran, is important. Few writers have dared to pick apart the seams of the snobbish, elitist fashion industry and come out with their careers or self-confidence intact (Muran, 2007, 11).

Agins acknowledges that she took a risk. "I only wrote about stuff I could prove so that 'they' (the industry) couldn't say it was right or wrong (Muran, 2007, 11)."

As a former glossy magazine editor with a healthy cynicism about the industry, Agins is deliciously irreverent. In conversation she is much more outspoken than in print. We share the view that prêt-a- porter fashion is, in the main, dismissive of the average consumer: "There are lots of designers who get lots of press due to the symbiotic relationship between editors, designers and retailers. Most of their fashion is not relevant; much of it never reaches the stores."

Her hypothesis is that unless designers can make their mark on all levels of society by offering an image that is both inspirational and aspirational, and clothes that are consistently modern without being subject to the foibles of change every season (see Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger), they will not "cut it" in the new millennium.

She disagrees with the elitist fashion crowd who often claim that the aforementioned "big three" are not really designers, merely outfitters. "If this were the car industry you would be asking who was selling most and who wasn't - that would be the measure of success, not who can do the wildest runway show."

Agins says that in most cases the formal procedure of a show is ridiculous. For a magazine editor, the fashion show is the equivalent of ...
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