Fashion Buying Assignment 1
Student No. 00244644
Design Centred Approach V Market Centred Approach
To begin with the difference between a market centred approach and design centred approach must briefly be discussed. A 'design-centred' approach is where the design is produced away from the user and then presented to them. This is the traditional view of fashion design and one in which the designer is given free reign and no contraints on cost or creativity. The choice of fabric for a line and the amount of detail in the design features included will directly influence the cost. Designers in a market led company need to be wary of how many features they can include in order to keep cost within the consumer range whereas a design led company have more focus on the artistic values of a product. A ‘market centred approach’ is rapidly becoming the most popular and the traditional approach to international marketing is a country/market segment centred approach. Statistics and marketing resources are used to split and target the most lucrative groups, and uses these segments with similar needs and wants as the basis for developing highly targeted sales and marketing strategies. This method is said to stifle creativity because the core aspect of it is to make profit- this means designers have work within a certain framework and have to keep to certain costs. Being market lead is too important to be left to the marketing people and requires the total commitment of all levels in the organisation, designers roles have evolved and they are gradually becoming more market centred. Creating, communicating and delivering value to customers requires an integrated organisational approach and customer led culture. Marketing can provide the lead in this respect, but all activities of the organisation need to be re-engineered around customers. The focus on customers allows the concentration of limited marketing resources on the 20 per cent of customers who generate 80 per cent of a firms earnings. However, there can be no doubt that the market centred approach to fashion applied by most high street stores has directly stifled the creativity of designers and UK design. The UK retail market has become extremely saturated and the increase in off shore production and technological advances has allowed firms to compete more fiercely than ever before. In addition the larger firms control the most prevalent parts of the market and they have gradually gained advantages in regard to their control over the manufacturers and the supply chain. The sector is now clearly retail driven and within this designers are forced to work to certain constraints regarding cost, target market, colour forecasts etc. Most importantly they are working to the needs of the final consumer and the information provided from marketing departments and buyers about said consumer. In other words, it is not the garment or the artistic values that is important anymore but the final buyer- they are the ones that the retail strategy is aimed at and although traditionally a buyer will shop for quality and service, price is now the determining factor in the majority of cases. This validates the importance of off shore sourcing and constraining costs in relation to design and is the main factor that has contributed to “blandness” of design on the UK high street because designers aren’t given full control.
Changing roles within the retail sector have also been a factor in the relative blandness of design. Previously a designer would have been given free reign and full creative control over his or her collection but with the emergence of the retail buyer, designers are often dictated to and any creativity is kerbed by purchase managers. Designers may be asked to recreate old favourites with a slight twist or to come up with an original idea to update the line. Most high street retailers such as Zara, Arcadia, New Look etc. are streamlining in-house design teams, preferring to leave...
References: Jones, R. M. (2002) The Apparel Industry, Oxford, Blackwell
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