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The problem and its setting

This Chapter discusses the content of the research problem namely the present situation of the Fashion industry, the variables to be considered in evaluating the economical, social and psychological factors that determines the overall impact of Consumer Brand sophistication on known fashion brands. The objectives of this work is enumerated and followed by a detailed definition of important terms that are used in this work. Lastly, this work also contains the reason as to why this study is relevant, its long term impact as well as how it benefits people who are directly and indirectly linked to generic and known fashion brands.

INDUSTRY PROFILE The Fashion Industry The Fashion Industry is a very large Industry dealing with an assortment of clothing and accessories that adorns the body. Fashion according to Merriam Webster is “the manner of dressing, behaving, writing, or performing that is favored at any one time or place”. This term refers to a prevailing or preferred manner of dress, adornment, behavior, or way of life. This usually refers to what accords with conventions adopted by polite society or by any culture or subculture.

It is a known fact that clothing is one of the basic necessities for survival and at the present it is seen as one of the “must have” items if the basic requirements of comfort and modesty for humankind is to be had. According to the inquiry led by Kingsmill, the British designer fashion industry was worth 1. 8 billion pounds (2. 6 billion euros, 3. 6 billion dollars) on the year 2004. It was also said that expenses in the U. K connected to fashion generated an estimated amount of 10 billion pounds a year and employs close to around 380,000 people (Mazein, E.

2007). This phenomenon has resulted to a sudden surge in the Fashion industry. As of the moment the “high street” fashion industry in the United Kingdom is worth around the estimated value of 44. 5 billion pounds. Household expenditures gradually increased the portion allotted for the procurement of Clothing accessories. In fact it was found out that on the year 1960 about 10% of the household income would be slated to go to clothing related expenses. This trend changed drastically especially during or between the years of 2001 and 2005.

A lot of factors that includes clothing production outsourcing as well as proliferation of Chinese products in the consumer market lowered the average budget being allotted to clothing expenditures. In fact the expenditure percentage went down from 10% during the 1960’s to 6% between the 2001 and 2005 period. The influx of less expensive products signaled the end of the line for most luxury brand names, but the others still thrived and has managed to remain as competitive as they were when they initially started their operations.

Experts have speculated that the consumer market of fashion products would literally be dominated by retailers. In fact the rise of cheaper fashion items nearly made a total displacement of the U. K Fashion Manufacturing sectors. The said sector, in order to cope up with its near annihilation, has now directed its focus on making products for the affluent living in other countries. This near annihilation of most of the manufacturers of fashion goods made a lot of Manufacturers resort to teaming up with top retailers to sustain its daily operations.

Hence what transpires today in the Fashion world is a merger of the manufacturers with the top retailers, Although there are still some brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok who prefer doing their business the old way and are still making a tidy profit out of it (Barlow G, 2007). As of the moment there are signs that the younger generation of consumers more notably those who live in the higher spectrums are continuously patronizing high-end or luxury products of known fashion brands like Prada, Chloe, Hugo Boss, Burberry and Donna Karan.

Prestige brands are more or less things that are perceived by both regular and elite consumers to exhibit excellence in their quality (Vigneron, F. 1999). The originality of a product’s design, specifically its color and style are extrinsic factors which make people notice the merchandise in the first place. Because of the apparent exclusivity being offered by these “high-class” items, the ordinary person is not able to frequently avail of what these luxury products could offer. Lesser known manufacturers took advantage of this and came up with products which offer an almost similar item or service at a lower cost.

It cannot be helped that Shoppers want cheaper basics but splashing out on luxury items when the mood takes them remains to be a constant trend. The said trend has been labeled as the “Prada Primark phenomenon. ” This phenomena may have arisen because of the fact that the British consumer have a higher level of brand confidence than U. S consumers. British consumers are comfortable wearing Luxury and generic brands such as Prada and Primark together despite their apparent contrast in the values projected.

Hence It is highly probable that consumers in the U. K will continue to source from both aspirational and value brands” (Attwood, K. 2007). It should be noted that there are also other factors that have helped some of the known fashion brands maintain their current status. One of the factors that has helped some luxury brands in maintaining their status in the fashion industry would be the strategies they employ to make a stamp in both the long and short term memory of the prospective clientele.

Known Fashion brands try to catch the attention of the public by attempting to sell a “dream” , this is done by attempting to discern the most common inner desires of the targeted consumer market. Once this is done the brand tries to enlist the services of a highly admired or a highly controversial individual to add effect to the aura or concept being portrayed by the brand. Hiring a celebrity is a venture that a known fashion brand has every capability of doing so (considering that they have financial resources to do so).

Celebrity endorsement of luxury fashion is understood to be of great importance nowadays since when a celebrity is linked to a specific brand, the concept being created is that the product being sold has all that it takes to gain the approval of an icon, hence the image being projected concerning the merchandise is that it is “on a class all on its own” and that it is a means for an ordinary fellow to be somehow “similar” with the celebrity icon he/she looks up to as an idol or role model.

The endorsement of luxury brands by icons is undoubtedly a trump card which could be used, if the said asset is efficiently utilized the resulting outcome almost always results to long term benefits like brand loyalty and brand equity. This phenomenon would in the long run produce a higher profitability and an increased brand value (Ukonkwo, U. 2007). However, it should be remembered that whoever the celebrity endorser is, the verdict of the consumer concerning their decision to buy or not to buy a merchandise would all rest on the quality of the merchandise being sold.

If the merchandise does not have anything that would sustain the initial impression created by the celebrity endorsement, like when the merchandise has poor quality or lacks the concept of genuineness then what would happen is that the clientele would no longer patronize the product. In order for a fashion brand to stay on top it has to be more than a symbol of greatness, it also has to be great if it is to withstand the stiff competition in the market.

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