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Fashion and Media, Essay Example

Pages: 8

Words: 2106

Essay

The media is constantly inundated with the latest and greatest in the fashion world.  This doesn’t happen by chance; designers have to utilize resources as a means of survival.  With many top name brands, making a distinguished name is not an easy feat.  Gap Inc. has been fighting to make their mark in the fashion industry.  They have utilized all six essential communicators of the fashion designer, the retailer, the consumer, the critics, the celebrities, and the culture.  All six of the listed communicators use fashion and the language of fashion to create an image of themselves and authorizes that image before some audience.  Virtually every culture communicates through fashion.  Gap Inc. knows that fashion is a language with an almost limitless number of ways in which a message may be produced.

The first communicator is the fashion designer.  The fashion designer plays the role of the artist.  They are responsible for the designs that we wear. Gap Inc. realizes that their designers can make or break them.  Gap entered the market strong in 90’s with the khaki culture.  The designers used their art and creativity to make Gap the “must have” wear.  Fashion is meant to be a form of artistic expression; it’s the designer’s way to present their “art”.  Gap Inc. has had their challenges over the last decade, but they have surfaced again as a fashion expert, setting an expression of what they believe the consumers will purchase. Mr. Murphy stated about his designers, “It’s in the company’s and my best interest to allow the creative team to do what they think is right. “ (Clifford p1) Finding the best way to enter and captivate the desired market is a large part of the creative process.

Gap Inc.’s target audience includes the consumer, purchaser, celebrities, and critics.  The consumer purchases the end product.  The purchasers buy for their retail and outlet stores.  This will broaden their market and bring the authority of the retailer to their product.  For example, Gap Inc. brings a much different value ascription than Sears can.  Determining which retail location will best suit the style and value of their product is vital.  Celebrities add value to the designer’s product simply by wearing it.  As soon as celebrities represent a product, it becomes a must have.  Critics can also add value to the product by designating the haute couture, high culture, fashionable, and cutting edge.

The primary goal of Gap Inc. is to sell as much product as possible.  It is important to gain recognition and legitimacy as a fashion designer, or an artist.  There are several communication channels that designers can use to promote their products.  Media have numerous outlets for designers to utilize.  Gap Inc. utilizes TV, radio, internet, magazines, and newspapers just to name a few.   Serious designers usually always utilize a website and seek as much media exposure as possible.  Gap.com brings in millions of dollars in sales.  The Gap Inc. designers make personal appearances to promote themselves and their products.  Designers find celebrities to wear their product; this is one of the best forms of advertising.   Lastly, putting the product on the streets, having “civilians” wear their product.  Ideally it is best to utilize fashionable civilians to promote the must have latest and greatest.

The second communicator is retailers.  The retailer’s role is to be the mediator between the artist or the designer, and the ones who purchase the art, which is the public.  The Gap designers create their work of art, but without the retail stores it are highly unlikely that it will get the attention that it deserves.  “In 2010, Gap Inc. ranked 7th among specialty retailers in the list of World’s Most Admired Companies.” (Our Brand p 1)  That is not an award won by chance.  The retailer plays an important role in the pricing and market factors.  They determine which location, city, and other important factors as well.

It is important to determine the target audience or audiences.  The designer wants the consumer to purchase as much of the end product as possible.  The audiences of critics, fashion readers, and anyone else who is interested in fashion.  The goal of Gap Inc. is to gain the halo effect of selling the designer label that brings a much different value ascription to their store’s product more than low-end products.  This will reflect on the value of additional product that the designer has.  It is important to know that much of this audience targeting is negative.  A high-end retailer does not want to be seen as selling low end products.  It is more important to avoid that than to not sell a particular brand that may be hot.  This is an important factor the Gap Inc. designers need to consider when placing their product.

The goal of Gap Inc. is to sell as much of the product as possible, with as high of a price point as possible as well.   To reinforce the image of their retail business, the product must fit within that image.  Utilizing communication channels is important for designers as well.  A communication channel is anything that the designers advertising dollars can afford.   This is media outlets like TV, radio, websites, blogs, and flyers to name a few.  Gap Inc. commercials and advertisements are distinctive; they set a name for themselves.  Stores can also be a successful communication channel.  The placement and layout of stores is used to enhance sales of their products.  Gap Inc. works closely with their designers to ensure the right product is placed in the right spots.

The third communicator is the consumer.  Their role is to purchase and wear the designer’s products. According to Scott Key Business Development for Gap Inc. “increasingly customers are willing to trade down in the category, and price transparency is a reality. Add to this issues surrounding media fragmentation, and it’s clear that retailers need to find new ways to differentiate themselves and reach customers.” (Gap Inc’s Top 10 Rules p1)  Customers may not always be able to afford high end, so designers need to consider that as well.

There are target audiences for the consumers.  This includes friends and members of their “in-group”.  They consider the group or community with which the consumer wants to identify with.  Gap Inc. has been associated with the “cool kids” so others want to wear the same product to be a “cool kid” as well.  Another target audience is the fashionable.  This is anyone with sufficient knowledge as to know that what they wear is fashionable.  Gap Inc. knows that the target audience is important in fashion; the wrong audience could have a negative effect on the designer if utilized incorrectly.

There are several goals for the consumer.  One is to create an image of themselves; this image is how they want others to see them.   They also want to appear “fashionable”.  To be identified as someone who knows what to wear and is identified with tasteful clothing.   They also have communication channels that they utilize.  The most useful is their own bodies.   How and what they wear promotes not only design but themselves.  Gap Inc hears their customers through blogs, message boards, and other means by which they may find common interests, a community, with others and express their tastes.

The fourth communicator is the critics.  The role of the critic is to identify what is fashionable, trendy, tasteful, and high culture. Gap Inc. has had their fair share of negative publicity from the critics. Marka Hansen, the President of Gap said in a Huffington Post blog post “Our brand and our clothes are changing and rethinking our logo is part of aligning with that.” (Stanley p1) In the designers attempt to meet the changing demand, they were met with excessive negative feedback.  The critic can have a very detrimental effect on a designer’s product.  The goal is to have a positive review aiding in their value to the market.

The target audience of the critic is the reader, designer, and retailer.  The readers without an audience that defers to their authority, their statements are meaningless.  The designers of Gap Inc. must both judge and demonstrate authority.  The critic must show that they understand the Gap Inc.’s target audience’s interest and needs, what trends will sell and which ones will not.  If they fail too often at representing current taste, they run the risk of losing their authority and no longer are referred to as dictating taste.  The critics have the same goals towards the retailers as the designers.

The critics have several goals to consider as well.  They first of all want to be recognized as the authority on fashion and taste.  They want to sell the product, and have their opinion aid in this process.  Finally, the critic wants to create an audience for their product.  This is simply done by drawing on the public’s interest in fashion.  The communication channel is similar to the other communicators.  Gap Inc.’s own product is important to show up in the media.  They also utilize other media sources such as interviews with editors, writers, and other similar venues.

The fifth communicator is celebrities.   The role of the celebrities is to wear the designer’s labels and give them the authority that only celebrities can.  Nothing promotes a designer or their product like the presence of a celebrity. Gap Inc. has utilized great names like Usher, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Madonna to name a few.  If the people who are idolized by the media like the Gap Inc. design, than it instantaneously becomes a must have for consumers.  Utilizing celebrities is one of the best tools any designer has.

The target audience of celebrities is the public, designers, and retailers.  For the public, celebrities may use designer’s clothes to cultivate a public image that reinforces their celebrity.  The great social critic and historian Daniel Boorstin wrote that a celebrity is someone who is well known for his or hers well-knowness. Designers and retailers are a possible source for accrediting their celebrity by using them as spokespeople or wearers of the design.

The celebrities also have their goals. The most important is to remain a celebrity above all other consideration.  This is important when they are choosing or agreeing to promote a product.  The next goal is to sell the products simply by being a celebrity.  The communication channel that celebrities utilize is simple.  They use whatever media they can exploit to build and hold onto their popularity as a celebrity.

The sixth and final communicator is the culture.  The role of culture is to establish the cultural norms for what is acceptable in fashion and dress.  “Our philosophy is pretty simple: customers, creativity, doing what’s right and delivering results. Together, we call it ‘Wear your passion.’ And it’s the perfect match for the kind of people we attract — as both employees and customers.” (Culture p 1)  Choosing the right culture norm is essential for the Gap Inc. designer.

The target audience for culture is all various communicators.  The goals of the Gap Inc. culture are to authorize the communication of fashion.  Another goal is to establish the language and meaning of fashion.  They want to identify social classes by fashion.  Some critics will assert to set power relationships, and control the public with fashion.   The communication channels are the culture that has all communication channels available to them.  This can include all forms of media.

Gap Inc. knows that fashion is a language with an almost limitless number of ways in which a message may be produced.  The six communicators are essential to be utilized by the designer and the media.  The Gap Inc. fashion designer is the artists.  The Gap Inc. retailer is the mediator between the artist or the designer, and the public who purchase the art.  The consumer purchases and wears the product.  The critics identify what is fashionable, trendy, tasteful, and high culture. The Gap Inc. celebrities wear the designer’s labels and give them the authority that only celebrities can. And lastly the culture is to establish the cultural norms for what is acceptable in fashion and dress.  When the Gap Inc. designer utilizes all six avenues of communicators, they will have a much better change of entering and captivating their desired market.  Fashion is essentially an artist expression of its designer.

References:            

Clifford, Stephanie. THIS can’t be a Gap: the mannequins look kind of happy. New York Times.  28, Apr. 2012.  Print.

Our Brand. Gap Inc.com.  28 Oct 2012. Web.

Gap Inc’s Top 10 Rules to Create a Successful Customer Loyalty Program. Marketing Sherpa. 2005. Web.

Stanley, Jeremy.  Gap, Inc. Criticized Online For New Logo Design, Keeps Original. The Informer. 14 Oct 2010. Web.  Culture. Gap Inc.com.  28 Oct 2012.  Web.

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