How storytelling images are giving a brand its character
These days, a lot is talked about the future of fashion and how fashion companies can survive. A few months back I had an interesting interview with Prof. Dr. Jochen Strähle, head of the fashion and textile faculty at Reutlingen University. He says:
„80 Million people will always need something to wear and there will always be demand for personal expression. Constant change is the very nature of fashion and creativity is rooted in change. If newness is perceived as a crisis then fashion has been in a crisis for the past hundred years.”
"There will always be demand for personal expression."
What struck me is, that he immediately referred to personal expression. And after all, that`s what fashion is about, and therein lies the opportunity for every designer and every brand.
For example, Michael Kors: Personally, I would rather stuff my things in the pockets of my jacket than using a bag with the MK logo on it. But there are others that are crazy about it. On Black Friday there are queues at the Michael Kors Outlet in Metzingen beginning far outside the store entrance. In fact, Michael Kors usually has the longest queue of all the outlets.
Not Everybody`s Darling
And there`s the trick: It`s polarizing. Some absolutely love it, some totally hate it. So, as much as I don`t like the brand, they`re doing something right: They`re not everybody’s darling. They aren`t trying to please everyone. They´re not trying to be somewhere in the middle, catering for as many as possible, but they stand for something distinct.
When I think of Michael Kors, I immediately have a scene, like a short film, in my mind: a posh girl with a lot of make-up. She parties with other posh people in modern-looking locations where expensive cars are parked outside. When thinking of the brand Patagonia, I imagine a fit-looking girl without makeup and with untidy hair. She`s sitting all smiles outside a wooden cabin in the mountains with her friends enjoying a coffee and a sunrise. If I wanted to live like a very cool, elegant, successful-looking businesswoman, jumping from one important meeting to the next even more important conference, I would be drawn to Hugo Boss.
Personally, I love Vintage, because I associate it with coolness, nonchalance, city-life, and sophisticated style. With going car-boot-sales, free exhibitions, and cheap coffee shops while living on some freelance jobs. Not that I necessarily have all that, but I would like it. And it matches the story I want to tell about myself. Hence I wear it.
Fashion Photography tells a story and it shapes a clear image and feeling about a brand.
Storytelling and Identity
Of course, it`s all stereotypes, and our own real-life story has many more layers than that. But these images are giving the brand its character. It`s something, that people can identify with – or not. Fashion is not just items of clothes, but a way for people to express and distinguish themselves.
It`s all about storytelling. That`s why fashion photography is so important. It tells a story and it shapes a clear image and feeling about a brand. Knowingly or not, we want to tell our story and choose which stories we can match with ours and which dreams we want to be part of.
What kind of fashion or brands do you feel drawn to and why? Have you ever bought an item just because it made you think of a scene or an image or a dream about how you would like to be?