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Brand Love or I Want What She’s Wearing

Oh was I a lucky creature last week. I had an excuse to visit London. Fashion capital and crazy goblet of ideas, colourful prints, understated (and overstated) coolness. I was there to follow a short yet intense course on Creative Branding at the London College of Fashion. It resulted being a fantastic experience  as I learnt a lot, got greatly inspired and met some really cool people in the process.

Branding is a lot about getting the brand/image right, communicating efficiently to achieve the ultimate goal: sell. And sell… and sell a little more.

One of questions raised was whether there were any brands that got it right, inspiring us or reflecting a certain lifestyle or message, making us buy into it. A brand we followed. Whilst everyone came up with a name, such as Adidas or Moschino, I failed at deciding what particular brand “did it” for me. My mind scanned the contents of my wardrobe, my latest buys, brands I had blogged about, but no names sprung up as “yes! I love what they’re about and buy their stuff”

I did, however, think about what made me buy a certain pair of stockings last week – a certain It girl. People, not brands, inspire and shape my style. For instance, I love the way Alexa Chung combines boyish or comfortable items with catty heels and edgy skirts. This easily reflects my love of opposites such as comfort and sexiness. Seeing Alexa pull off a look I may simply fantasize about, makes me replicate or give it my own twist.

In Madonna’s music lies much of my philosophy in life, my mantras. It’s no surprise that her different looks heavily inspire my own. Her make up is always flawless and her use of the red lip look is so natural and effortless… I am still to master that one.

That’s how I do it. I browse the shops remembering what Fearne wore (above) how Alexa styled it or how Daisy accessorised it. Maybe I see brands wanting my money too much? Maybe the lifestyle I aspire to is better portrayed on these independent and successful women and not on a certain slogan? One could also argue that my ever-changing style and my love to experiment may slip a specific brand’s image.

Some people are not absolutely convinced by eye-catching logos or effective advertising campaigns. There is a growing number of fashionistas browsing through Facehunter or The Sartorialist in search of a boy or a girl representing what they aspire to look like. And then there are the Jordanistas, but that’s a different kettle of fish.

How does it work for you? can you name a brand that inspires you and faithfully follow?
Update: to read another fashion blogger’s opinion on this matter, visit the lovely Cloud of Secrets here.

Pictures: Official Fearne Cotton, Converse, Glamour UK 

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  • Bunny September 9, 2010, 3:33 am

    I'm with you. People inspire my fashion style and I never even pay attention to brand when I buy clothes.

  • Dolls Factory September 10, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Loved your Links a la Mode on IFB
    Love your blog , lets become fashionable blogger friends , lets follow each other.

    Maybe you'll be interested in the FENDI GIVEAWAY I'm having on my blog.
    http://www.thedollsfactory.com/2010/09/fendi-giveaway.html

  • Prêt à Porter P September 11, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Certain brands are/were very good at creating a total lifestyle. Like Dior Homme under Hedi Slimane or Gucci under Tom Ford, even the allure of the Saint Laurent woman that Helmut Newton and Yves Saint Laurent created. They created this world, and people wanted to buy into that. Now I pay more attention to style than fashion. Some seasons I love Givenchy and others I don't. It all just depends on who is doing what I like.

  • Fashion Limbo September 11, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Thanks for the great comments xxx
    @Bunny – that's just me, I hardly even pay attention to the brand when I pick something up. I'm more about what catches my eye
    @Dolls Factory you have a nice blog too, still havent entered the Fendi giveaway but I'll make sure I don't forget
    @Pret à Porter – the examples you mention are exactly that: a great representation of a fabulous lifestyle. With the ever-changing face of fashion it makes sense that our style varies according to season. Not even one's favourite brands can get it right season after season… or am I missing a great label being successful at that? :)

  • Prêt à Porter P September 11, 2010, 11:55 pm

    RALPH LAUREN definitely.

  • Fashion Limbo September 12, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Ralph Lauren do have a strong identity and I can imagine that followers of that brand stick to it because of the lifestyle/identity it reflects. Although I'm not a fan, I absolutely LOVE the boho/romantic style they have in their present A/W collection, and will be watching the live broadcast on September 17th to see if there is more of it in Spring.
    Really liked your blog, by the way, and now I'm wanting one of those Zara asymmetric coats too.

  • Heather Fonseca September 12, 2010, 7:20 pm

    I'd love to say there's a brand I love and truly follow, but the truth is there really isn't any store or fashion brand out there that always does it for me. It would be easier for me if there was! In the past I've purchased a lot from the Gap, because their clothes are often affordable, flattering, and come in larger sizes. Currently I purchase a lot of my clothes at Target, for the same reason. Like you I'm often more inspired by people than brands, and I'm finding my fellow bloggers very inspirational.

  • Boheme Noir September 12, 2010, 10:37 pm

    The heart-cut-outs are adorable!

  • Fashion Limbo September 12, 2010, 10:46 pm

    Thanks for commenting Heather, I do find fellow bloggers a good source of inspiration, some outfits posts out there are incredible

    @Jenny i'm in love with the leopard converse trainers she's wearing, thanks for reading xxxx

  • Cloud of Secrets September 13, 2010, 11:36 pm

    This is really interesting. I'm going to have trouble explaining myself, but I think I may be the opposite: I have trouble taking extensive inspiration from people, especially celebrities. I guess I feel that they're all individuals making their own intricate webs of personal shopping, styling, and grooming choices, and what sings for them and their lifestyle isn't necessarily appropriate or craveable for me.

    I can think Zooey Deschanel or Karen Elson are lovely to behold, and I can be intrigued by their styles; but their looks are so uniquely *them* that I'm only going to pick up a little detail for myself once in a great while. A deep blue silk top; a darker haircolor; a shorter bang for a couple of weeks; a velvet jacket; that sort of thing. It's not that I'm worried about some copyright they have on their look. It's just that I know they're each so different from me and my life, and I want to find my own mix.

    I *have* felt brand love, however, due to quality materials and craftsmanship, overall aesthetic, styling of pieces in lookbooks, that sort of thing. Anthropologie and J. Crew come to mind. The shapes, colors, textures, and styling suggestions are inspirational as tools rather than as finished products.

    Similarly, if I had to decorate a room, I'd feel confident finding my vision after looking at a beautiful wall of paint chips and textiles and some pretty photographs of furnishings and adornments from around the world, moreso than after viewing gorgeous completed rooms.

    Sorry — I've written an essay! Proves I was intrigued, at least.

  • Fashion Limbo September 14, 2010, 9:37 am

    @Cloud of Secrets – thanks or writing a mini essay as comment :P I'm really glad my post made you want to comment in such a complete way. Thing is, that the way I go about my way of dressing is a lot like you describe. I won't go for a complete outfit seen on a celebrity or in another case, on a mannequin in a window display. It's certain details from one, then others from another which also makes my style so variable.
    I'm loving everyone's comments, because they are different, and because I am picking up on all the brands being mentioned, such as you do with J Crew, that could reflect a inspiring lifestyle which is not just luxury and expensive watches, but something more. xxxx

  • Milana September 14, 2010, 10:24 am

    I love Marc Jacobs, he inspires me… But I'm inspired by lots of weird things like music and movies… It's not that I have to have everything MJ makes (I don't) but he's one designer that really inspires me…

  • Cloud of Secrets September 15, 2010, 5:00 pm

    Thanks for the reply to my reply! I've worked a link to your post and a brief quote into my post here:

    Icon Quest

    Like I say, you got me thinking!

  • Pull Your Socks Up! September 16, 2010, 2:00 pm

    I found your blog via IFB and I'm very impressed – a woman after my own heart indeed! Madonna's mantras? Yes I'm with you there – yes sirree! She's always been one of my major influences – firstly when I was younger I would copy her look. Now, I appreciate her ideas and philosophies – I think it was she that gave me the inspiration to wear what I felt was right and not follow one brand or another. I wear a mix of vintage and modern looks, which is what I'm perfectly comfortable in. As long as I don't look like a cardboard cut-out, I'm happy! I'll be following you, great blog!! xo

  • Fashion Limbo September 16, 2010, 9:59 pm

    Thanks "Socks" :) loved you blog too and your outfits, and thanks for commenting.
    Madonna is a huge inspiration also for me, since I was little.

    Huge hug and I hope I can write other stuff that you will hopefully like, oh, and now I'm following you too :P

  • Fashion Limbo September 16, 2010, 10:01 pm

    Thanks for commenting Milana, Marc Jacobs does produce many of my favourite items lately, love his work

  • Fashion Limbo September 16, 2010, 10:01 pm

    Cloud of Secrets you're a doll!!!! so flattered right now, you made my day!!!!

  • Jessica September 21, 2010, 9:38 pm

    I love this,I am SOOO ready for Fall fashion! I am having a guest blogger series right now while I am moving to NYC and I'd love to have you involved! http://livingembellished.blogspot.com/2010/09/guest-blogger-challenge.html

  • poet September 24, 2010, 11:38 am

    Completely with you! I never pay attention to brand, I care about what an item looks like, feels like, how it fits me and – to the extent that my budget allows it – how ethically it was produced. I have met and reciprocally been annoyed with people who do – whose sole reason for liking a piece of clothing was "it's from Boss!", who said "I don't care how uncomfortable clothing is as long as it looks on-trend". I, too, need to write a longer post about this soon-ish! Thanks for bringing up the topic!

    Cheers,
    poet

  • Fashion Limbo September 24, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Hey Jessica, sent you an e-mail.

    Poet, write away and I'll love to read it :P