Wigley, Stephen M. (2016) Fashioning the Brand – a creative and commercial interpretation of the role of the brand in fashion. In: Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities. Creative and Print Service, Loughborough. ISBN 978-1911217084

Within the fashion industry, the brand is regarded as critically important irrespective of the identity of the practitioner; creative practitioners (designers) and commercial practitioners (marketers, retailers) both regarded the brand as an inspiration point and an anchor in shifting tides of trend and consumer demand. Designers regard the brand as a key reference in developing new products and maintaining a lineage and relationship between seasonal ranges and collections; while marketers regard the brand and its promotion as a crucial means of motivating consumer purchase and maintaining loyalty. Notwithstanding the evident significance of the brand in fashion, definitions of it within the industry are vague and occasionally contradictory, and the specific applications and roles of the brand are poorly quantified.
This paper seeks to explore the concept of the brand in fashion by considering the attitudes of fashion practitioners (both creative and commercial) toward it, and their experiences of it. Focusing on the mid- to upper-levels of the UK fashion market, the role of the brand in informing creative and commercial decisions will be explored in order to provide insight to the scope and specific nature of the brand’s influence in fashion. Understanding of the brand concept among creative and commercial fashion practitioners will be assessed with a view to establishing a definitive interpretation of the brand as it applies within the fashion industry. Finally, a conceptual interpretation of the brand and the functions it performs in context of the fashion market will be provided. Cumulatively, these objectives will provide a clearer understanding of the brand in fashion, its role in the industry, and its ability to contribute to creative and commercial development in the sector.
The paper is informed by primary research collected from a variety of sources including interviews with senior creative and commercial practitioners working with brands representing a broad cross-section of the industry. It is anticipated that the paper will enhance academic understanding of the nature and practice of branding within fashion, while offering insight to practitioners (creative or commercial) seeking to harness the power of the brand in pursuing their industry objectives.

Key words:
Branding; Fashion; Marketing; Design

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