Monday, 10 January 2011
How Brand Aware Are You?
Up until recently, I have always considered that I am immune to the effect of branding by fashion companies. I assumed that I just bought the clothes that I liked and that was that. A few weeks ago whilst deep in though (and this doesn't happen all that often!) it suddenly occured to me that whilst I don't buy into many of the usual brands eg Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel. I am affected by branding and the messages that companies send out just as much as anyone else. I am not saying I would never buy something by Chanel, I probably would, but hopefully not just because it had a Chanel label or logo on it. I am fairly specific about what I want from the clothes that I buy ( I want something that offers the opportunity for me to create stylish but unique outfits, quality, long lasting and ethical).
Whilst I hope that my final decision on what to buy depends very much on how something looks when I try it on, my first port of call when shopping is most definitely defined by the brand and what they have communicated to me.
For example the brand and message that I get from Oasis is that they sell fairly good quality clothes that last with a good cut and a wearable interpretation of current trends. Marks and Spencers is all about quality and fit and I would never buy my undies anywhere else and People Tree sell very stylish and slightly unsual clothes which are not only produced in an ethical way but the company proactively works to improve peoples lives and is a pioneer in ethical fashion. Actually these are the three main brands that I tend to buy my clothes from along with Urban Outfitters when I want something a little different and ASOS when I need the odd high fashion fix and a few completly random places when I am in the mood.
But I couldn't be one hundred percent sure that I don't buy brands just because of the message they send. I love the idea of what People Tree are doing so so much, do I convince myself that I love their clothes and the way they look? In the past there have probably been times when I might have seen clothes that look nice but I have avoided buying them because I don't like the brand and what it stands for. When it comes to ethical fashion this could be partly a good thing as I do want my fashion to reflect my overall values and ethics as well as looking good but in other ways branding could fool me into buying clothes that aren't quite right for me or spending more than I need to.
When it comes to luxury labels and clothing I know that a significant amount of money is spent on branding, is it possible to ignore this and focus solely on how the clothes look? But then the emotional connection and how the clothes make you feel is perhaps just as important?
I guess it all comes down to authenticity, if the message and branding match the product and the company, then it isn't really a bad thing and allows us to focus on shopping in the places where we are most likely to find the sorts of clothes that we want to wear. For example by buying my leggings from People Tree as opposed to some of the high street shops that I won't mention, From the website picture I couldn't visibly tell the difference and I might pay a little more but I know they won't fall apart after going through the washing machine once.
I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on branding.
Do you ever want a piece of clothing because of it's brand? How do you think branding affects your style? and which fashion brands do you love and what is it that makes you love them?
With warmest wishes