When I was younger, going to WalMart on Saturdays was always the highlight of the week. While my mom was shopping groceries, I was spending my time in the clothing section. Since everything was so amazingly cheap I would always get a new sweater or jeans. But as the years passed by, I did not want to come with my mom any longer. My style and my expectation of a piece of clothing worth buying changed tremendously. No matter how carefully I looked at everything, I could not find one single “garment” that pleased me.
My mom used to complain about this change in taste. After all, she had to spend a lot more money on my clothing! Contrary to her, I am very happy about the way I developed! Today, I would not be seen in WalMart even if I was paid for it!!!
Design versus Marketing
Again, fashion marketing is the reason for this attitude. The approaches a fashion distributor may take towards the market are very different. Some focus on design and others on marketing. In general, there are three different types of interrelations between marketing and fashion: marketing centered, design centered and the fashion marketing concept.
In the case of WalMart and many other retail stores such as Takko design is not as important as it should be in my opinion. Marketing plays the dominant part and it regards the designer as someone who must respond to the specifications of customer requirements as established by conducted marketing research. The designer is presented with detailed cost constraints and sample garments. Ultimately, merchandisers and selectors exert considerable control over the designer. Of course, many experts complain about the resulting blandness in the design contents that are directed towards profitability.
Only a very few designers are able to do it exactly the other way round. According to design centered theory the design is the striving force and marketers should merely help to sell ideas to the public. Translated into practice this means that a brand does not have its own marketing department but has all marketing activity carried out by either public relations or advertising agencies. Potential customers are simply seen to be inspired by creative styling that is favorably promoted. Although this approach depends highly on the intuition and skill of the designer in consistently meeting genuine customer needs for earning profit many successful businesses run based on this assumption.
Since both ways come along with some disadvantages a new one has evolved- the so-called fashion marketing concept. It attempts to embrace the positive aspects for high concern for design, customers and profit by recognizing the interdependence of marketing and design. Only if designers understand how marketing can enhance the creative process and marketing personnel appreciate that within the fashion industry design can lead as well as respond to customer requirements, progress can be made. In order to achieve this, many major retailers such as Inga’s beloved Zara have developed information systems bringing designers, manufacturing teams and retail sales staff together.
Three Ways, but only One for the Future!
Nowadays, the fashion marketing concept has been adapted by the majority of businesses.
In a time of rising competition and difficult customer groups it is the most secure way to become a stable factor in the fashion industry. A new designer can no longer rely on his designs only as there are a million other ones out there. And a retailer cannot depend upon marketing research to create designs because the target group attracted is too small. Therefore, in the long run, I would say that it is best for each brand to develop a fashion marketing concept.