Fashion in Advertising - Evolution or Mediocracy?

Fashion in Advertising

Advertising has played a pivotal and key influential role in the fashion industry for decades. The use of models first stemmed from the simple insight that people needed to see a person in the clothes that were advertised. It's a no brainer. Models played a significant part in presenting such articles that best represented the product and the brand. However, one can question the models itself. The perception of beauty has always been questionable with many advertisements (print at that time) showing a particular type of woman, man or child.

This, I coin the "personable" aspect of advertising. Using a person to symbolise the epitome of your perceived status. Blondes with curves in the right places, pretty fair skin, dolled up did the trick for most women. Men with chiseled features and a square jawline set the path for manliness, and kids... Well kids were kids - they just needed to look happy.

Brands and advertisers were sending out subliminal messages portraying the ideal woman or the mass media's perception of true beauty, so that consumers could strive to attain it. Ads basically shouted - buy this and you could be them (models) too.

But then new brands started to emerge and more advertisements came about, so the next best thing was to change the copy of each Ad to play a crucial influence in the way people perceived the advertisement. The rise of creatives and especially Copywriters formed a strategic alliance with art directors to create compelling and memorable advertisements to capture the attention of the masses. No longer was the brand, price and promotion good enough - it was time to relate to the customer itself. Instead of a push strategy incorporating a "buy me now" theme, brands started connecting with people based on their thoughts and feelings to create an aspirational type of change or behaviour. This brought about the typical AIDA model of whether an advert caught someone's attention, made them interested to find out more, created a desire and led to the action of them purchasing the item.

However compelling the art direction and copy, advertisers knew the importance and pivotal role that a model always played. Who could best represent the brand and campaign best.

Evolution or Mediocracy?

Circa modern times, where we see a shift in the utilisation of models from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and ethnicity - showing a more diverse media base yet strategically positioned brand proposition. Even now, brands still use professional models (from reputable modelling agencies) because the industry hasn't changed. There is still a demand for perceived beauty. The media has come a long way in informing the public what is right and what is wrong, differentiating beauty from the perceived norm.

Is this right or is this wrong? It's neither, just a matter of perceived value in which we allow ourselves to inadvertently make a choice based on our individual upbringings.

Fashion has long played a key role in advertising, even to this day and age, but there is a new rise to power thanks to the emergence of social media and technology, allowing for consumers to connect, reach out, share and engage with the models and brands at any given time from any smart enabled internet connected device. The rise of this media avenue allows for a direct connection with people who "follow" these influencers of people and brands because they simple "LIKE" something about them and want to feel and be a part of their brand journey.

What's Next?

Look out for my next article on the rise and fall of Social Media Influencers or Brand Influencers, where I will seek to explore this avenue and what it means to brands, and more importantly, to consumers.

Kind regards,

Daniel-Jacob Santhou

Twitter: @djsanthou
Instagram: @thecreativestrategist

Melbourne, Australia 


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