Saturday, February 6, 2010

Branding Fashion Through Sports

When you ask someone to name some brands in fashion, well established and brands like Versace, Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent are amongst the few names that will come to mind. These brands have a long heritage and have been in the fashion industry for generations. But when you mention “fashion” about 2 decades ago, brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma don’t seem to fall in that category. It is not until the early 1990s that sportswear have been associated with fashion brands.

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Sports fashion today is often associated with lifestyle, attitude and fame. Sportswear makers nowadays make use of the latest in clothing and fabric technology. It therefore makes sense that eventually these technologies are likely to filter down into every day wear. The technology used cost money to develop and investors and companies can gain more profit by offering the technology to a wider group of individuals.

When a celebrity endorses a particular brand, often times it gives the perception to the consumer that the brand is good enough to be worn even by celebrities. Oversized sports clothing like basketball and baseball jerseys are often associated with hip-hop or rap artistes. Music celebrities wear them because they are comfortable, but to the consumer it is often viewed as a fashion statement and lifestyle symbol rather than clothing for sports. Although brands still have collections designed exclusively for athletes and sports enthusiasts.

In recent years, there has been growth in what is known as "luxury sportswear". These “new breed” of sportswear are often times limited edition items which are designed by fashion designers such as Stella McCartney for Adidas; and Philppe Stark and Yasuhiro Mihara for Puma. These lines of clothing are usually special made collections that cost more than the regular sports wear. Consumers will spend on these lines of clothing even though it’s a bit costly as they brand it to be at the same tier as the Armanis, Versaces and YSLs; or that’s what the manufacturers want you to think at least. I for one am guilty of buying limited edition sports wear; simply because it’s “cool” to be seen wearing one and you have bragging rights owning one.

In addition to this, brands are also banking on sports superstars to inspire their line of clothing. Golf celebrity Tiger Woods and basketball legend Michael Jordan did a very good job in building the Nike brand to what it is today. Again, it’s always the consumer’s perception that if someone wears Nike, they will be able to perform as good as both Woods and Jordan.

To sum it up, sportswear has gone through a whole lot of transformation over the years. The perception of sportswear brands became more fashionable, luxurious and marketable in recent years due particularly to the interest in sports personalities and well known celebrity fashion designers used by big brands.


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