March 12, 2007
Fashion Brands and Branding Style: Looking at Reviews for Mark Tungate's Book

I've pointed out in the past that, whether one is interested in fashion or not, studies of clothing brands can identify some very astute observations about brand meaning and brand communities in general.

That's why I was particularly interested when I saw a review for Mark Tungate's Fashion Brands: Branding Style from Armani to Zara in the October 2006 version of The Journal of Popular Culture. The reviewer, Joseph Hancock from Drexel University, provides some nice details about Tungate's book, which I haven't read.

The book, published in London, focuses particularly on European brands and is written by a former journalist for the World Global Style Network. Hancock writes that the book provides "original insights into the world of trends, haute couture fashion, photography, modeling, and popular culture" (905).

Particularly interesting are the ways in which the book examines lifestyle branding and chapters focusing on "target marketing, strategy, celebrity endorsement, proper media outlets, and product labeling" (906). Stuart Hogue also emphasizes another important point from Tungate's book, that consumers who want to demonstrate their class through expensive brands like Zara "actually buy brands like H&M and Zara to signal their sensibility."

Also, look here for more on the book.

I've written about the fashion world and its intersection with "convergence culture" a few times over the past couple of years, starting with this post based on a Vogue article about finding the "passion factor" in clothing. At the time, I wrote:

As Grant McCracken argues in Culture and Consmption II, pricing is a major way that companies can manage meaning, and a higher price simply means that the product is more valuable in the eyes of the consumer. While this line of thinking apparently won't work for such "commonplace" items as a gaberdine suit (I've always heard that men who wear them are spies), it apparently will work for those products that provide an emotinal response. And the companies that can manage to focus on that experience factor while adjusting pricing to manage their meaning, they will allow that "passion factor" to kick in, a frame of mind where customers will apparently "sell the ranch" to buy their daughters a wedding dress, as Weidig puts it.

I also wrote a post back in December 2005 about Isaac Mizrahi's show on Style and All My Children's Fusion perfume. At the time, I asked how fashion can be interlocked with storytelling.

For another interesting book about fashion marketing, see my post from June about The Rise of Fashion: A Reader.