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How often do you walk into a fashion mall or apparel retailer because of a discount or deal that you have seen advertised online or in their shop window? In an industry as big as the world of fashion, discounts, deals, vouchers and multi-buy offers are commonplace throughout the year, with many offering everything from loyalty discounts for regular buyers, to one-off sale days, exclusive new product discounts and basic affordable products.
The fashion industry needs no real introduction. No matter how hard you search, it is nigh on impossible to find out exactly how many fashion brands there are in the world right now, and if you did try to count exactly how many brands exist in the global marketplace, there are a whole series of factors to consider which you might not even have thought about when you first read the word “fashion”. You’ve got the big brands, yes. But you’ve also got high street stores, independent boutiques, start-ups, online exclusive fashion brands, limited edition brands… the list is endless.
Encompassing everything from fast fashion to high street style, all the way up to the highly coveted designer labels that grace our nation’s most popular shopping districts, the fashion industry is one of the most influential and powerful in the world, subject to scrutiny from all angles across media and popular culture and one of the most highly advertised sectors across social media and online. Now dominated by famous faces who are paid highly to have their image splashed across the front cover branding of a large number of major fashion brands and stores, the fashion industry is one which is constantly evolving to include new ideas and innovative concepts – whether it be exclusive discounts, memberships and VIP deals, celebrity endorsements or super fun online videos and TikTok stories.
Fashion is a movement which includes everything from clothing garments to accessories, and it seems, in the modern world of social media, as if no celebrity’s repertoire is truly complete without ownership of their own fashion label – think Victoria Beckham, Michelle Keegan, Kylie Jenner, and even the stars of Love Island who now each get offered their own collection on popular e-merchant site Pretty Little Thing. So where does the incredible power of the fashion industry come from, and when did we become so taken with what it means to be fashionable?
They say that fashion is temporary, and style is forever - and it is exactly that which makes fashion such a huge market to be a part of. By definition, fashion is a popular or recent style of clothing, hair, decoration or behaviour, and thus what we regard as ‘fashion’ is constantly changing, meaning that the industry will always be open to new ideas, new looks and new designers. And, returning to the famous faces, the more power that an individual can bring to a fashion brand through their name and their face alone, the better.
Around 75% of the world’s fashion market is delivered from Europe, USA, Japan and China.
The global fashion market is valued at around $3 trillion.
If you look back at any era from the past, you will likely find that much of how we portray and perceive that era and its’ population is built around how they dressed and how they looked. After all, fashion is built from a series of individual factors which including fit and shape, colour, patterning, material and overall finish.
But despite our fashions changing all the time, there is a new trend taking over the fashion world. And that is the recycling of the old, and the fusion of the old with the new.
With online selling and reseller giants such as eBay and Gumtree catering for the market around old and vintage wares, fashion through the ages is fast becoming one of the most searched for trends both online and in-stores, with charity shops also seeing a boom in popularity as more and more young people recognise the style that can come from recycling old fashions and garments.
Alongside the rise in upselling and reselling, there is also a large call in the modern fashion sector for pieces which use traditional cuts and fits, and which take designs from fashions gone by and transform them into pieces for the modern market. These kinds of trends are particularly popular and can be seen across designer labels and high end garments, and are more likely to be found at the top end of the fashion market though the rise in fast fashion means that more and more mass market retailers are taking concepts and inspiration from the designer labels and channelling them into their own collections.
As a sector, the fashion world is extensive. The rise in ecommerce over the last decade has seen brands steadily grow more and more aware of their online presence, with fashion comparison sites taking on an integral role in introducing markets and audiences to the different fashions which may appeal to them. In fact, the rise of ecommerce has been so important that there are now a wide range of brands which sell exclusively online – think Missguided, NotOnTheHighStreet, Jacamo, and PrettyLittleThing – utilising the mere power of social media and online advertising to get their fashion brand out there and to convince people that they don’t need to try garments on in a store as they can simply order and buy them from the comfort of their own home.
A great online user experience is key when it comes to e-merchants and fashion ecommerce, and as well as the boom in e-merchant stores this also shows in the increase of mobile optimised sites, smart device apps, online purchasing and even store stock checking features which are now available for many of the most popular retailers. These elements are what create a seamless experience for the buyer, and which elevate the perception of a fashion brand and helps them appeal to the market.
When it comes to this market, we tend to split the most popular retailers and e-merchants down into their various categories – acknowledging those brands which offer fast fashion, mass market fashion, affordable fashion, high street style, designer and high end labels, and everything in between. These sub-sections are then broken down further into women’s wear, menswear, children’s fashion, and accessories and add-ons. As we said earlier, it’s endless.
In the modern world of social media and online influencers, popularity in fashion is largely a game involving online presence, customer interaction, and innovation. It’s no longer enough to have stores on every high street in the country – in today’s world, being relevant and successful means being versatile and adaptable to our ever-changing needs.
Brands such as Boohoo and ASOS are constantly upping their game with television adverts and targeted campaigns to reach their customer audience, while more high end brands like John Lewis and Marks & Spencer prefer to use influential faces to showcase their fashions to the slightly more mature target market for their products. Another great example of the fashion sector’s versatility is Amazon – a site famed for its extensive growth over the last few years, and while it has steadily expanded its repertoire as an online department store giant to now include some of the best and most popular fashion brands around the world. It is e-merchants such as Amazon which prove our modern desire for ease and user experience, offering a high quality platform which is not only easy to use but which provides everything you could want in one central space.
Other popular and standout brands in the fashion world include:
What do all these have in common? They have a unique selling point, and they know how to reach their target market through marketing and advertising, and great deals.
One of the best ways to get people shopping with you is with gift cards, and in the fashion sector gift cards are huge business. The value of a gift card is the way that it brings new potential customers in store who may not otherwise have decided to shop with you – with lots of fashion brands creating offers and unique deals which are designed to entice new shoppers through the door all the time.
On exploring the various fashion brands and companies which offer gift cards to buyers, the most prominent are those who sit firmly in the middle field of the market – the high street stores and the affordable fashion retailers. Examples include New Look, Primark, Next, Selfridges, Nike, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Zara, Amazon, Topshop, and Miss Selfridge. While designer labels are likely to offer exclusive discounts and sale days to valuable and VIP buyers, these are less frequent and are likely to be held without former notice or marketing – and often without accepting gift cards.
As gift cards have grown in popularity, so too have the options available to buyers, with many fashion brands banding together to offer wider gift cards which can be used across a series of different stores – targeting wider audiences, more business, and more buyers. This kind of offer extends to include discounts and fashion sales, with many of the most popular fashion brands around the world now acknowledging the same sale dates in order to create mass market fashion events which shoppers now know and can plan for. Examples include Black Friday, Boxing Day Sales, Summer Sales, Spring Sales, January Sales and Cyber Monday. It is all of these movements which make the fashion market one of the most successful and renowned in the world.
The most popular products in the Fashion sector are often determined by season and trend, with retailers and fashion brands constantly shifting their stock to ensure that what they are selling remains seasonally relevant to the buyer. As such, the popular products will be changing all the time, though for most retailers it appears that the standard sub sections of fashion include:
When it comes to ensuring popularity, the most successful fashion stores and brands are those which offer the widest selection of items – catering to both men and women, offering children’s fashion where possible, and ensuring that everything they sell is seasonal and on trend. The wider the network of products, the wider the target market, and the more sales you will make.
With such a wide network and plethora of fashion brands available, the options available are truly endless. Comparison and group sites are designed to make the shopping experience easier by compiling and bringing together a range of different retailers in one central hub, but the fact is that if you are looking for a blue dress or a red blouse, you are going to have to sift through hundreds if not thousands of products in order to find the right one for you.
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