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RCL Career Resources Graphic and Apparel Arts: Fashion Merchandising

RCL Fashion Merchandising + Choice Titles

As the title implies, Luxury Fashion Branding examines the rarefied world of high-fashion merchandising--a $130 billion global industry. Though some might think her topic frivolous, author Okonkwo (director and cofounder of Paris-based Luxe E.t.c.) contends that "we need luxury goods to fuel the sensations that contribute to our overall appreciation of ourselves and our lives." Presenting her material in a historical context, she cites examples of luxury fashion dating to early civilization, noting the Queen of Sheba's and pharaohs' interests in opulent clothing and accessories. Some well-known (and very bankable) luxury brands of today have lineages going back two centuries: Guerlain (1828), Hermès (1837), Cartier (1847), and Louis Vuitton (1854). In addition to describing the luxury fashion environment, Okonkwo offers advice on how to manage the marketing mix (product, price, promotion, and place) elements; position a luxury product in the consumer's mind; and build and maintain brand loyalty. To succeed, marketers will have to be alert and adept because the luxury sector is rapidly changing; as Okonkwo points out, today's consumers are "knowledgeable, demanding, and restless." Summing Up: Recommended. Fashion and retail marketing collections, graduate, faculty, and practitioner.

--P. G. Kishel, Cypress College

Much fashion history emphasizes a socially based interpretation of what people wear. Producing Fashion grapples with a less glamorous but still fundamental aspect of the topic--business. Editor Blaszczyk (author, Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning, CH, Jul'00, 37-6343) examines fashion marketing in Europe and America from the 19th century to the present. She does not limit the topic to clothes; rather she argues that fashion encompasses anything in the material world subject to shifts in style and taste, so she includes analyses of topics as varied as brush sets in the 1920s and home architecture in the 1980s. Taken as a whole, the chapters demonstrate the impracticality of considering fashion in any of its forms without acknowledging that it is not a spontaneous product of the popular mind. It is at heart a commodity that professional advertisers market and sell. Yet Blaszczyk does not contend that fashion is nothing more than commercial manipulation. The essays she has selected make it clear that consumers possess and exercise choice, both in terms of what they purchase and how they understand the selections they have made. See related, Veronica Manlow's Designing Clothes: Culture and Organization of the Fashion Industry (CH, May'08, 45-5081). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections.

--R. A. Standish, University of Maryland University College