Branding Beyond Clothes: How Fashion Advertising Shapes Lifestyle

Priyanka Chugh, Founder and Creative Director, Gypsy Moth writes about the role of advertising in fashion, inclusivity and diversity, the Indian identity and more


In an age where self-expression is considered paramount, the role of advertising in fashion has gone from simply informative or transactional to artfully persuasive. It’s no longer about selling clothes or accessories to customers who haven’t made up their minds; it's practically about selling a whole lifestyle package to audiences who know themselves better than ever before.

Now, it's not just about the threads; it's about buying into a vibe—a whole vibe that screams luxury, refinement, uniqueness, or whatever else brands endeavour to reflect in their communication. But what's really cool about the zeitgeist is how fashion ads are more than just carefully composed lifestyle snapshots; they're a powerful force that shapes lifestyle in profound ways.

No longer are we saying, "Hey, buy this dress,” or “Here’s what you should be wearing”. Instead, we say, "Imagine yourself in this outfit, living your best, most authentic, unedited life." Fashion ads of today act as a cultural mirror, reflecting and shaping what's considered cool, desirable, aspirational, or beautiful.

Inclusivity And Diversity Reign Supreme

Today, it's not just about models of a certain size and build that rule the roost; it's about celebrating all body types and ethnicities. Fashion ads are becoming agents of change, challenging the old norms and making room for everyone, reflecting the changing needs of the consumer landscape.

Inclusivity and diversity in marketing is not a trend, it’s a movement that’s here to stay, as attested to by the rise and acceptance of the inclusive and diverse ‘standard’. This, in turn, has led to conversations around body acceptance and positivity, leading to greater societal and self-acceptance.

Embracing The Indian Identity

Unlike the past where Indian fashion mimicked trends in the West, we’re slowly noticing a shift towards creating trends independent of global influence. The resurgence of traditional wear is no surprise considering our country's incredible heritage, and consumers and brands alike are diving into their roots for some serious style inspiration.

Embracing Indian ethnic fashion is not just about clothing; it's a cultural statement. It's about celebrating who we are, and where we come from, and doing it all in style. So, why are brands increasingly focusing on the Indian Identity in everything from their collections, collaborations, and campaigns? Because it's not just a trend—it's a revival, a reconnection, and a nod to the transformation of India’s position on a global stage.

Under The Influence

While mainstream celebrities continue to enjoy the lion’s share when it comes to becoming brand ambassadors and faces of campaigns, influencers of all followerships are just as poised to be brought in on the conversation. And it makes complete sense too, doesn’t it? I mean, you see your favourite person-next-door influencer rocking a particular brand, and suddenly, that brand becomes synonymous with a certain lifestyle, aesthetic, or school of thought.

It's like they're saying, "Hey, if you wear this, you're part of the cool club." And who doesn't want to be in the cool club?

Fashion As Social Currency

Social media is the playground for fashion influencers and brand collaborations. You don't just scroll through pictures; you're practically entering a virtual fashion world. Brands are getting savvy, giving consumers access to virtual try-ons, AR apps—the whole shebang. They're not just selling clothes; they're selling an experience that seamlessly fits into the everyday lives of buyers.

So while many luxury brands chose to stay out of the limelight on digital platforms initially, they simply cannot afford to do anymore. Luxury fashion brands who are not fully integrating digital marketing tools to engage their customers risk being left behind, and they realise it. All of this, in turn, has made luxury more accessible to audience groups that would otherwise be left out of the conversation.

Sustainability And Eco Consciousness

Consumers are all about values now. Sustainability is the cool new kid in town, but understanding the consumer demand for accountability, brands are ensuring that everything from sourcing and manufacturing to packaging and sponsorships is ethical and eco-conscious.

Consequently, the average consumer's focus has shifted from looking good to feeling good because they're making a choice that aligns with their values. The narrative of advertising and marketing communication has shifted to keep up with this shift. Fashion advertising now reflects that ‘You're not just wearing a brand; you're wearing a statement,’ allowing for brands that were once overlooked to transform into aspirational and cultural cornerstones.

Summing It All Up

In the grand scheme of things, fashion advertising is slowly becoming a dynamic force shaping not only wardrobes but aspirations and even personalities. From focusing on what consumers should wear; the focus has shifted to who they are and how they want to be perceived.

As a result, fashion ads are slowly becoming the inspiration for numerous people, irrespective of socio-economic status, to show up as their most authentic selves.

Brands are not just selling us clothes anymore; they're selling us an identity, a vibe, a cultural statement. And in a world where every brand is shouting for attention, the ones that can successfully create narratives that influence and inspire real people are the ones that will stand out and be remembered.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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