In an age where fashion and technology is constantly evolving it is important that we take a step back and take a look at the current happenings in the promotional side of the fashion industry. The fashion show,a key tool to making designers collections accessible to its consumer, will be the main focus of this essay. We shall define fashion promotion before looking at how the catwalk sits under this title. A brief history of the fashion show shall lead us into the present day, where we shall begin the debate of whether some fashion shows need be as extravagant and expensive as they are. We will look at well known designers that have showcased their collections in an artistic and creative way and discuss the success and motive behind each performance. In conclusion we shall discuss whether this promotional tool shall grow to become more extravagant or whether a new form of presenting a brand should develop.
To begin we must look at the meaning of the word, fashion, and how that then sits along the side of promotion. Barnard acknowledges the different senses of the word, 'fashion'. Ranging from, 'the action or the process of making' through to, 'conventional usage in dress' (2002b). The former recognizes,'fashion' as a verb as opposed to the latter which we would understand the word to be a noun. To promote, is defined by Gem as 'to further the progress of,raise a higher rank,status degree'(1990). In other words to take what you have got and develop it in some way. Bugg combines both words to explain that fashion promoters deal with what happens to clothes after they have been made (2007). This confirms both Barnards understanding of 'fashion' as a noun and the definition of the verb, 'to promote' (1990). Once the process of creating the clothing has been fulfilled the ideas and final result must be communicated. These creators or designers are keen to promote their own wares (Breward, 2003). Therefore, designers hold fashion shows as media events to attract attention (Oelhers,2004). These shows can be seen at certain events such as London fashion week, which is organized to promote this £13 billion industry (Alexander,2005).
'The catwalk can be traced back to the turn of the twentieth century. Although fashion shows are hard to identify,documentation exists from 1885,that show four women modeling clothes. However the actual promotion of the clothing from such events did not happen until designers recognized that photographers could in fact benefit their work. Photographers are highly marketable and allowing photographers into shows as well as more people would increase the marketability of the products being displayed'(2006). Here it is important to be aware of how designers attitudes changed from just producing a garment to thinking about the marketability of it, which in turn lead to the consumption of it.
As you can see the main purpose of the show has always been either to connect the viewer with the retail store or to gain publicity for a designers collection (Oelhers 2004).It is a fast way to reach the consumer,explain what the brand is about and to achieve recognition within the industry. Designers want to ensure that when you see an image from their show, you can immediately identify their particular look. It is a fast way of illustrating a brand.(Tungate, 2004,12) Let us remind ourselves of what we are currently seeing in todays show. Bugg describes the catwalk as a stage(2007),it would be fair to say that it not only presents the clothes to its audience but also presents a spectacle that tells a story. Fashion shows have grown from being promotional events into artistic creations in themselves (Bohdanowicz & Clamp, 1994). Yes, a show can range from a very complex, expensive production by a designer to a simple,informal showing in a store (Oelhers,2004). And of...