Where do you go to buy the clothes you like to wear? What brands, influencers, and/or storylines have you fallen in love with and allowed to shape your style? When looking at the fashion world, the world of fashion, the fashion industry, whatever you want to call it, there are certain things about certain brands that capture your interest. Each of us has an aesthetic we like to follow and when the tastes and style of said aesthetic are met we become an avid consumer of the products from the brand that matches us. It’s interesting though because this aesthetic doesn’t need to necessarily be met through the products of such clothing brands. Because of the internet and the enormous amount of online influencers throughout social media we can also identify with a single person who is relatable to us and adopt their unique aesthetic as our own. We either see a part of them in who we are or strive to become like them in some form, hence why such online personalities have millions of adoring fans. We relate to them and literally follow their lives daily through our phones, often purchasing the products they promote.
In this article I want to take a look into the fashion world and dissect what it is that makes someone purchase a product from a brand. The question I’m looking to answer for myself and future readers of this post is simply; What is the catalyst that ultimately results in the purchase of a piece of clothing from a brand? For myself as a clothing brand owner it is something that must be answered because the entirety of my success lies within this question. On the flip side of things, the consumer view, this question is important because it can help you navigate through the ocean of different designers, influencers, and marketing ploys. If you know why you’re buying you can much more easily identify which companies you do and do not purchase from. It will be that much easier to know where to look and who to follow in order to find the pieces you want to wear.
The question that must first be answered is what’s your aesthetic? I discuss this a lot in other articles because within the fashion world individual aesthetics are what the entire industry is built upon. One single person’s unique view on the world, people, clothing, etc was what ultimately built a clothing brand and produced the pieces that you wear every day. For some companies tens of thousands of different people who also share the same views and tastes find their brand’s aesthetic and push it into the limelight through purchases and word of mouth. In terms of your fashion aesthetic there are three main drivers that I want to discuss that result in your sense of style; Appearance, stories, and influencers.
When I say appearance I actually mean a few different things. There wasn’t a word I could think of that fully encompassed the points I wanted to make, but appearance was the best thing I could come up with. What I mean by appearance is how the pieces of clothing look/ make you look. This is how the pieces fit, feel, what colors are present, the graphics, lettering, really anything that has to do with the actual physical pieces of clothing themselves. When browsing online or in a retail store you know when you see something that speaks to you. Without any context, without knowing what the brand is or represents, without knowing a single other person who wears it you see a piece and its appearance is what sells you.
Speaking for myself and my taste, I know that I like the color black. I know that I like unique graphics with aesthetic placement and shoes that match the contrasting color in my tops or bottoms that isn’t the color black. I also know that I don’t like wearing things that are uncomfortable or pieces that are ridiculously priced. So with this knowledge of my own personal taste in the appearance of my clothing I know what to and what not to look for when shopping. (Looking in my closet) A black Supreme t-shirt with red and white graphics, black Nike shorts, and Jordan 1 Retro High Bred Toe shoes makes the perfect outfit for me. When I was shopping for these pieces I had in my minds eye exactly what it is that I like, my taste/ aesthetic, and because of that was able to make good decisions on the pieces purchased.
On the other side of things, as a brand owner, my taste in the appearance of clothing is the exact same. I like black, great graphics, contrasting secondary colors, and comfy clothing that’s reasonably priced. If you look at the pieces we release for Dead in LA collections you can see this exact taste in appearance matched. The pieces are not forced, they’re organic to myself and my aesthetic, and in being true to what it is that I like and creating within that framework other people will find our clothing and love their appearance because it matches their style.
In the world of fashion, both as a consumer and as a creator, finding the appearance of clothing that you like is extremely vital to developing any sort of style. Find what it is about certain pieces that speak to you and run with them. Your shopping, selling, or dressing will be much easier when you do and bring a confidence throughout because you’re being true to yourself and the aesthetic you enjoy.
In the fashion world stories are an enormous decider in the purchasing of different clothing. Stories can be the origin of the brand, what they stand for, the culture they represent, the causes they fight for, and the narrative they are trying to tell. What comes to mind most often when talking about the story a brand tells is the kind of marketing campaigns they deliver. These are often in the form of short film narratives that showcase the brand’s products in a desirable fashion. These types of stories are meant to elicit emotion and show the meaning behind the brand while showing to the world the pieces they have created. These types of stories are extremely important for a brand to tell because it gives the viewers an opportunity to relate to the brand and it’s creators. Some marketing campaigns can be so powerful that without ever hearing about the company before you instantly become a loyal follower and one that consumes the products they create. When looking at why this is it really boils down to what a consumer’s values are and the types of emotions they are prone to feeling and relating to. When a brand is able to boil certain emotions a person often feels to the surface, they can successfully capture their heart and attention, resulting in a new customer.
Another kind of storytelling is the culture of the brand and what it stands for, the “mission” that the brand represents and is bringing awareness to. This kind of story is often the very foundation to the company and is what the entire culture of the brand is built upon. Values such as hard work, overcoming obstacles, kindness, a cleaner Earth, etc are all well represented in a plethora of different brands across the world. The ethos of a clothing brand usually ties into the campaigns the create because the emotions they are trying to elicit fall in line with the culture they represent. If a company has been built upon hard work and determination the story they’re going to tell will follow such a narrative and provide the inspiring message to capture your heart.
Throughout the fashion world and really any industry the stories that brands tell are an enormous driving force in the determining of whether or not someone purchases from a brand. We are no longer in a time where nameless, faceless brands are able to sell. Speaking for myself, I get bombarded with advertisements from countless different clothing companies trying to sell me their products. Never have I purchased from a brand that I knew nothing about or couldn’t learn more about by listening to their story (Pictures, videos, etc). We want to buy from brands that steal the show and stand for something meaningful.
Really, when discussing influencers within the fashion world, they’re an extension of the stories that a brand tells. Influencers are the people who a company works through to bring awareness to their brand by placing them within the story they’re telling. This can be through using them and their platform within ad campaigns, social media posts, product pictures, etc. Influencers can have small, medium, or large followings but what makes them different from normal people (and in turn, so influential) is that they too have a story that they personally tell as if they themselves are a brand.
In the past these influencers came in the form of actors and actresses, athletes, and other prominent famous people around the world. Today, in the age of the internet and social media, influencers are anyone who has a social media following that is invested into them and their life and personal brand. The story that an influencer can tell really has no limits because each person has a unique take on the world around them and the way they navigate through it. Much like an actual brand, influencers tell stories as well. They tell the story of their day to day lives and the various interests they have. People are able to watch and engage in the content they share and become avid followers of the lives they live.
Influencers hold an enormous amount of persuading power over their following because their followers are invested in them and their lives, not the products they are trying to sell like a traditional brand. As an example lets use someone who has a ridiculously large following like Alexis Ren who has 13 million followers. Throughout these 13 million followers we can assume that the majority are interested in her for the life she lives; travel, luxury, experiences, etc and then also her looks, personality, and the way she portrays herself to be. Each of these things I just listed out is an individual story that she is able to tell through the content she posts to her social media.
If you are interested in Alexis and what she likes then that absolutely includes the clothing that she wears. Within the fashion world brands are able to partner with her and have her wear the clothing products they create. Through doing this her personal brand’s story becomes intertwined with the brand’s story and produces a very large wave of different thoughts, visuals, and emotions that people can relate to. If you already liked Alexis and she partners with a bikini company you’re probably going to like that company because she does. If the appearance of that brand’s products and the story they are telling is in line with your individual values, tastes, aesthetic, etc then you will most likely also become a consumer of that brand’s products as well.
These three deciding factors; appearance, stories, and influencers all end up working together in determining purchases from a brand. Each one comes back full circle to the other and the most successful brands in the fashion world utilizes them to their advantage. On the consumer side of things you can now see the different things that go into the decisions you make about the brand you buy from. When you understand what it is that you’re looking for and which stories and influencers are most intriguing to you, you’re better able to sort through the endless selection of product out there and make the best clothing purchases you can.