Wigley, Stephen M. (2016) The function of the brand in fashion: corporate and creative perspectives. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Historically, research into the role of the brand in fashion has been influenced by general marketing management interpretations, focused mainly on the brand’s commercial function as related to market performance and as a promotional tool. Some established research, informed by design and fashion-specific interpretations of the brand, has explored the relationship between fashion branding and fashion design. However, a review of the fashion branding literature demonstrates that the entire scope of the brand in fashion and its diversity of roles for a fashion company has not been fully explored or applied within an industry-specific context. This commentary explores the scope and roles of the fashion brand within the parameters of a selection of the author’s past publications and provides a new critical and holistic account of the brand, incorporating the corporate and creative functions it plays within fashion businesses. In turn, the commentary informs the emergence of branding as a dedicated sub-set of fashion studies research.

Various qualitative methods are employed within this investigation, including the use of focus groups, interviews and observational and action-based research. A consideration of alternative means of branding research in context of the wider study of fashion provides an additional critical perspective to the work. The findings confirm the significance of the brand within fashion practice and theory and could arguably serve to inform the corporate and creative aspects of fashion branding practice. In terms of contributing to academic understanding, the commentary proposes a new and more holistic account of the fashion brand incorporating its creative and corporate functions, and identifies opportunities for the further study of the fashion brand.

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