Tips for Developing a Strong Brand in the Fashion Industry

Created: Thursday, September 5, 2019, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Clare Hall-Taylor, Edmund Hillary Brands

Although it may surprise you to hear that the retail market is actually growing, you may be less surprised to hear that fast fashion is in decline while premium fashion is on the rise. Customers are becoming more aware of the damaging effects fast, disposable, fashion has on the planet and are opting to spend their money on longer-lasting, premium brands instead.

Fashion consumers are also asking for products that reflect their personalities and say something about who they are. If brands get it right, they can capitalize on the growth in premium fashion, creating a strong brand that stands the test of time.

Edmund Hillary

Having rapidly established our brand presence we have some experience. Here are our top tips…

Tell Your Story

All the strongest brands have a good story. Big fashion brands spend millions to form links with iconic sports personalities. If you already have a link to something iconic or can capitalize on something connected to your clothing, you will start with this story already integrated into the fabric of your brand, making it particularly strong from the outset.

For example, we benefit from our connection with Sir Edmund Hillary through his family. And since it is Sir Edmund’s 100th birthday this year, we also have an event to celebrate.

Not every brand has links to something iconic, but every brand has a story. Tell customers why you created your brand, what you set out to achieve, what values you hold. This will help develop the personality of your brand and provide the conversation starter that modern shoppers are looking for.

Identify Your Market

Research your market to uncover trends and discover areas which are under-saturated ‒ that’s where you’ll find the sweet spot between under-served and appealing. This sweet spot may be hidden or obscured so it can be useful to think on multiple levels at once ‒ an overlap of activities and experiences the market enjoy, for example, or of an iconic figure and a hobby.

In the current climate, it’s also important to connect with your market’s values. As I said earlier, people want clothing that reflects their own personality. Start by defining your own values and creating a vision and mission for your brand. The aim is to take people with you on that journey, so you need to base all your branding and marketing decisions around those values. By taking the lead on your chosen values, customers will forgive areas where you’re less than perfect, appreciating the areas where you place your focus.

We defined our values around the personality of Sir Edmund himself: humility, endeavor, philanthropy. We refer to these three core values on an almost daily basis to help our decision-making process.

Choose Your Materials Carefully

Sustainability is imperative when considering the materials you use to make your clothing. Good quality materials make clothing last longer. Sustainable materials help establish your brand as one that cares about your customers and the planet.

There’s also a big trend towards natural fibers, as people are discovering the damaging effects of synthetics.

At the very top end of the market, you have higher quality, heritage materials. Using these materials in your clothing will establish your brand as a premium one that shows incredible attention to detail ‒ key points of differentiation when developing a strong brand.

The Human Factor

Not only is sustainability important, the human factor is also very important. Does your company do good for the people involved? Awareness of exploitative sweatshops has been growing for years and tragedies like the Bangladesh factory collapse highlight real ethical issues at the bottom of the supply chain.

There’s also been a rise in social enterprises over the past decade. These businesses either have a social mission of their own or support a particular charity. In doing so, they highlight their values and demonstrate how they are taking real, practical, measurable steps to help that charity or cause.

These acts show that the brand is socially-conscious and actively wants to improve the world around them.

Durability and Longevity

The current big trend across all of retail, and fashion in particular, is toward longer-lasting products. People are much more aware of sustainability issues and want to contribute to environmental protection through every purchase possible.

People are also simply looking for quality in their purchases. They understand the false economy of buying cheap products that fall apart after a year. If you’re designing for outdoor and active-wear, it’s even more important to be hard-wearing and repairable.

My advice is to design for your market and their needs today, as well as into the future. Strong brands have longevity ‒ if your clothing is falling apart after just a few years, people won’t repurchase and your brand visibility (not to mention sales) will dry up. If you design your clothes to last, however, people will still be wearing them in 10 years’ time and you will grow a brand synonymous with quality and longevity.

If you use these tips to form the basis of your exploration, define your values to help make key decisions, and focus on being a premium fashion brand with a conscience, you’ll be on the right path to success. Best of luck!

Clare Hall-Taylor

Clare Hall-Taylor is from Edmund Hillary Brands. The Edmund Hillary clothing range is season-less and durable and made from natural materials – often heritage fabrics. A percentage of every sale is donated to causes close to Hillary’s heart – supporting Himalayan communities and also outdoor education in the UK and further afield.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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