Fashion bloggers this week are sharing our â€œviews on fashion, consumption, individuality, and the importance of fashion in our livesâ€ through Black Friday. For more info and background see my initial post. http://clothingcult.com/?p=42
You may think this is the lazy way out of posting today but it’s quite the opposite. I actually had prepared a completely different post for today but decided to postpone it until tomorrow so I could bring you some links to other Black Friday Fashion Blogs today (say that three times fast – hehe.)
Why? Because I practically wrote several full posts within my responses and I think you should be reading some of these other bloggers’ posts as well. 🙂
The format will be link, small excerpt (but please read their full entry) and they my response:
I feel comfortable and capable in my urban uniform. My look becomes more about my face and mannerisms than my clothes. I have lots of different combinations of jeans and black jackets that allow some variety without thinking too hard about it. I think that’s what makes it so chic – it doesn’t require a seconds thought.
I think the key is quality, classic, tailored pieces that really fit YOU well. The “urban uniform” as you call it is a little bit more bland than this. Even with standard pieces you can still call attention to yourself by picking something more tailored.
I read a piece on Miss Couture that exemplifies this concept.
Classic tailored styles exist for both the business look and in jeans even.
I feel better when I look better, and at least where I live the “urban uniform” is a bit too bland and frumpy, on the verge of sloppy sometimes, for me to feel that good (though I do it when I just don’t care or have been sick.) 🙂
final fashion clarified afterwards…
I guess what i’m talking about the how standing out isn’t always the key thing… that’s why it’s a uniform, and you wear it when you don’t want to call attention to yourself. It’s not what I wear when I want to say “I’m terrific look at me”, it’s what I wear when I am living my life. I’m trying to express something here that didn’t quite come across.
I’m not disputing that a nicely tailored suit is a nice thing. I myself would love to have one someday. As for opportunities to wear it appropriately… I know that I won’t have many. I’d be a lot better off investing in new denim. (if I had the money to spend…)
Blasphemous though it may be… it’s not always about “nice” clothes. That’s what I’m trying to talk about. I guess I was exaggerating when I said it was chic. I take that back.
What are we investing in?
If you wear your leather Birkin 250 times per year for 5 years, you can divide the initial $6500 cost and get a CPW of [$6500 / (250 x 5)] = $5.20.
Is it fair to say that the Birkin is a better value, using this simplistic calculation? I say, no.
If it makes you truly happy and wonâ€™t cause you financial ruin, I encourage you to take the plunge and invest in your own happiness. Youâ€™ll be glad you did.
I agree and I disagree slightly with your comments about investment buying. There are clothes that make me happy for a season but then I get tired of them – I wouldn’t consider them investment pieces.
To me the so called investment pieces are the not necessarily the ones that are going to break the bank but the items that are easy to pair with a lot of the other items in my closet and will last from season to season. A pair of dark blue jeans with none of the trendy wiskering, fading or worn effects for example. A great pair of basic dress pants or a simple and versatile white, brown or black purse. Those are the kinds of things I think of when I hear “investment piece.”
Design as the New Frontier for Marketing
In our humble opinion, design helps to elevate products–from portable music devices like the iPod to basic consumer packaged goods like soap–above the masses. Faced with so many choices, consumers (ourselves included) need quick, easy cues to help us make buying decisions. And great product design goes beyond providing those easy visual cues, as it also can make product use easier.
Branding and brand placement comes to mind when I read your post. People define “branding” so many different ways but it’s not just the logo. A logo or name is what helps you identify a product or company but the key here is the brand’s personality that pops into your mind with that name or image. Is it cheap, expensive, durable, a temporary trend item that is durable enough for the season…
A company can establish a brand in a variety of ways; advertisements, celebrity endorsement, customer experience with the product, word of mouth from friends and family (or even reviews on amazon or epinions or another review site), even the way you feel when you look at that product…the list can go on and on.
It’s hard to sum up in a short post but hopefully you get the idea. It’s not new but I think the general populous is becoming more aware of it. I think that part of it is the fact that people are willing to pay a little extra for something like an ipod, a car, a pair of shoes because it’s more glamorous than the average product – that too has been gradual (remember how ugly computers used to be? Now you can easily find a black pc as opposed to the ugly beige that used to be your only choice.)
Anyway, that’s just my quick 2 cents on the subject – I could talk for DAYS about this.
Black Friday Blogging Day Four: The Economics of It All
For a young designer sending their work to be manufactured in China might be just the ticket to get them through the tough times. I am most concerned with fostering an economic culture that encourage entrepreneurship among designers. I donâ€™t believe we have that currently. But what will do that? Are we ready to vote with our dollars? Would in fact having a publicist do just that for young designers? Can we use hype creatively and ethically?
This is a really complex topic. PR, Marketing, Branding, Advertising â€“ the reality is that we donâ€™t control it, we can only guide it, sort of like life. You can do things that have a greater chance of bringing a business more customers but I have seen too many businesses also fail because of growing pains â€“ they had no plan and didnâ€™t handle a growth spurt well and kill their business as a result.
(Business Tangent: Some also fail because they have little business knowledge â€“ the different business personalities are Technician, Entrepreneur [business savvy] & Manager â€“ a lot of people are good technicians but arenâ€™t good with the business or manager side of things [if you realize this, you can hire people to fill out those areas that you arenâ€™t as good at.] And my biggest tip to someone starting a business they are serious about, find a good bookkeeper and a good accountant [often two different people] to work with you if you donâ€™t have an accounting background.)
In the case of a designer, outsourcing their manufacturing to china could be what they need (and whoâ€™s to say that even if the workers are working substandard for our culture that theyâ€™re not living in better conditions in their culture â€“ I havenâ€™t done a ton of research on this so I may be wrong) or outsourcing could go horribly wrong. If what they get back is significantly different from the standards that their clothing was known for (and they decide to sell it anyway because they have orders they need to fill) they could ruin their chances at succeeding in the long run. People donâ€™t react well to over-promising and under-delivering or products not meeting their expectations.
Word of mouth has a great impact but you also have to get that word of mouth started. Sometimes GOOD advertising can do that. PR can help as well â€“ getting the word out to spread in the mainstream media. A good celebrity endorsement can be like gold which is why celebs get so many freebies. The point is that products and businesses need some kick-starting of some sort â€“ they donâ€™t have to be the traditional marketing mix but you have to do something. Build it and they will come doesnâ€™t work.
And example of something less traditional: Iâ€™ve know a couple of local shops that specialize in business attire that have taken the business networking approach â€“ getting a booth at a Chamber of Commerce event to make their target market more aware of them. I donâ€™t think there are any clothing designers locally (and personally the tailors seem to be in hiding here as well) but maybe they just donâ€™t know how to get out there and get enough attention.
A lot of people donâ€™t understand the value or appeal of their product â€“ when meeting new people or presenting the product understanding this, sometimes whatâ€™s considered your 30 second elevator pitch in the business world, can help you catch the initial attention of whomever you are talking to â€¦ If they donâ€™t understand what you do, why they might be interested, they wonâ€™t take that next step, ask more questions, or in the case of clothes, take the time to come in, try on and buy.
A publicity idea for designers: If youâ€™re a designer, wear your clothes! Wear them well! Open yourself up to people with your posture (donâ€™t glare, cross your arms, slouch) â€“ be confident! People will ask you where you bought something if they are interested and youâ€™re approachable. Go places where your target market might go if you donâ€™t go there already (example, if youâ€™re designing for ummmmmâ€¦. people with an interest in equestrian style, seek out horse shows, get to know people, go to other events that they go to, learn about them if you arenâ€™t one of their crowd.) Get your friends and family to wear your clothing if itâ€™s appropriate and looks good on them â€“ they can market for you.
Basically the mainstream media is starting to look like the bad guys in part because thereâ€™s less of a connection with their audience. In part because SOME of it is SO expensive to even get a foot in the door. The focus on advertising is also â€œhow can we make EVERYONE buy thisâ€ not â€œwho does our product appeal to and how do we promote the features that make those people buy because itâ€™s useful to themâ€ and â€œhow do we connect to the average person â€“ how do we not seem so impersonal and self centered.â€
Speaking of ethical markets, ask me about the LOHAS market because itâ€™s typically a more ethical market and there are some big spenders there (itâ€™s a complex topic unto itself which I donâ€™t want to get into right now but wanted to bring up.)
I feel in a way like Iâ€™m spouting too much idealism here in a way because honestly, in my experience as a small business, I have seen people not be that honest or willing to work with their advertising/marketing/pr firm to deliver a message that is beneficial to them ot their potential customers.
Itâ€™s still a really organic process â€“ not a process that you can say â€œthis is THE right way to do this and THAT is wrong.â€
I could REALLY go on and on about this â€“ and let me know if you want me to. Iâ€™m a little concerned that I may have already thrown out too much business jargon that makes perfect sense to me but may need more explanation for the audience here.
And to wrap things up and hopefully lighten the mood, my quick opinion about fast fashion â€“ based on current knowledge is treat it like fast food â€“ in moderation itâ€™s not going to make you fat. 🙂
Other articles of interest to add to your reading list today:
BLACK FRIDAY…Seriously Fashion (fashion vs. style)
Nothing But the Best: Pushing Price Limits For Quality, Distinction