Fashion and the Marketing Environment

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Chapter Two The Fashion Market and the Marketing Environment

2.1 Introduction
A market is a place for buying and selling, for exchanging goods and services, usually for money. The fashion market is unusual because until early in the twentieth century it was almost solely the domain of kings, queens, aristocrats and other important people. As will be seen, great changes, mainly due to technology and increasing globalization, mean that we now have a fashion marketplace open to everyone. Fashion can be a reflection of the time, from the utilitarian clothing of the war years to the yuppie look of the buoyant 1980s. Fashion also can be a reflection of individuals. Clothes are often chosen to reflect among other factors our age, gender, lifestyle and personality. Because fashion is both a reflective and yet creative discipline, it is necessary for fashion marketers to be aware of the factors surrounding the market and develop a broad understanding of the issues that can affect the garments that are seen in any high street store.

2.2 The development of the fashion market
2.2.1 Origins of the modern fashion market
Until relatively recently, fashion had always been élitist and was used by its adopters to show that they were above the common people. Even the inventions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the spinning jenny, the water frame and the sewing machine have not had as great an effect on the market as have cultural changes and the explosion of the media during the twentieth century.

The end of World War I, in 1918, really marked the start of mass fashion. Style began to be influenced by the fashion designers of Paris, Milan, New York and London. In the 1930s film personalities and later pop stars all played their part in spreading or even starting fashion trends. Some fashion styles are more easily explained than others. World War II forced hemlines up because of a shortage of material. In the 1950s newer freer styles made corsets less and less necessary. However, other fashions are less easily explained and are regarded by some as merely a whim or the market just looking for a change. Technology played its part in advancing mass production methods, so that from the 1930s onwards ordinary people could buy copies of designer fashions from high street stores within weeks of the big fashion shows. The media started to become an important influence in the late 1970s. People became more selective in what suited them, and magazines and books advised them on creating their own style. Designers could no longer dictate the styles as they had up to the 1960s. ‘Street fashion’ styles, developed by young people themselves in towns and cities, also affected designer clothes. London was at the forefront of the fashion scene in the 1960s and early 1970s. Mary Quant was in her heyday and her clothing was famous the world over. It was the time of Carnaby Street, and Biba made famous by Barbara Hulanicki. The influence of royalty on fashion made a comeback with the Princess of Wales in the 1980s as many women copied the lace and ruffles which she wore. While not the first to introduce lifestyle segmentation to the market, George Davies, then chief executive of the Next chain, is undoubtedly the best known. His retailing phenomenon, targeting a particular age and lifestyle group, exploded onto the marketplace and had many other high street retailers following suit. Changes towards a healthier lifestyle advocated by the medical profession and the increase in leisure time have encouraged people to take up more sport, particularly jogging and aerobics. Membership of health clubs and gyms has increased in recent years. So the clothing from this and other activities has moved into everyday wear. The future for the fashion industry is mapped out, perhaps more than at any time in its history. Influences from the demographic structure, concern for the environment and further adoption of new technologies are all inevitable. These factors...
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