What is the role of fashion promotion within the fashion industry, and how will it develop over the next 5 years?
Fashion promotion is the glue that holds together everything fashion related. It's all very well
having a great designer who can create stunning garments out of fabulous materials, but fashion
promotion is what advertises those garments, and sells them, and puts them out there for the world
to see. If there weren't photographers and buyers and journalists and stylists (who are all a part
fashion promotion) we wouldn't have ever seen a catwalk show, or brought a Fendi bag, or picked
up a copy of VOGUE. If it wasn't for fashion promotion we could all be walking down the street in
an oversized second hand sweater with socks and sandals and nobody would know any different.
Fashion Promotion is comprised of many different subjects, such as photography, styling,
illustration, graphic design, public relations, advertising and marketing. Even if at times we don't
realise it fashion promotion effects our lives almost everyday. Fashion-era.com states 'In England
you are never more than twenty or thirty minutes from a town with shops...And if you are
immobile, shopping TV will probably solve your need for a shopping fix.' In pre-World War Two
Britain, garments were made from rich and luxurious materials in which only the wealthy could
afford. However, fashion has come along way since then, and high-street brands such as Topshop
and H&M have made fashion accessible to everyone. High-street brands have promoted and
advertised their stores in a variety of different forms from magazines and television ads to
billboards and the back ends of buses in order to attract buyers. It's all about advertising new ideas
in which will benefit and interest consumers.
Fashion Promotion not only effects the way we dress, but also the way we think and feel about
ourselves. 'For you can indulge yourself with shopping, and you can show the world who you are
by the stores you shop at and the products (brands) you buy.' (Retail Branding, 2003:17). If we look
back in history we can see how fashion promotion has grown
extravagantly with time.
VOGUE magazine launched it's first issue in 1916, proudly
adorning it's illustrated cover (figure 1). The first issue was introduced by designers stating 'the time has come... to talk of many things - of shoes and furs and
lingerie, and if one flares or clings, and where the waist-line ought to be, and whether hats have
wings.' (Vogue.com). Although VOGUE's motive has stayed much the same, the hand drawn covers
were soon replaced by photography in the 1920's, and to this day
VOGUE rarely uses illustration; instead it is the photographs of
celebrities and models we see on it's covers. The magazine itself
promotes fashion designers, clothing stores and fashion trends, as
well as books and make up, models and celebrities. Therefore this
simple replacement of illustration with photography indicates a
change in the way fashion is promoted. By focusing on fashion
photography and how it has developed over time we can begin to
visualise the future of fashion promotion and how it will continue Figure 1 to develop
Fashion photography first began to appear in magazines in the early 1900's when half-tone printing
had been modernised. Baron Adolf de Meyer is considered to be the first fashion photographer.
Ewing (1986:91) states 'There is no question that the man who Cecil Beaton once called 'The
Debussy of photographers' made a spectacular contribution' [to fashion photography]. In figure 2 it
is noticeable that de Meyer uses strong vertical composition to give a sense of authority.
Photographer Hoyningen Huene...
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