Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Let's Talk About: Categories of Women's Fashion
When a designer works, are they making fashions for themselves? Rarely. More often the business is focused on a specific target customer and what she wants to buy. It is this person that the designer will produce designs for.
Most fashion companies have a specific type of garment that they are best known for. They don't 'jump' around and produce all different kinds of fashions. They will work hard to become well known in a certain category of fashion that is based on style and price. This is will be available at a limited type of store or web site where the target customer will shop.
How the ideal target customer plans their wardrobe, then finds and pays for it influences the design business. The kind of styles that are being made should fall into a category of fashion that relates to price, quality and where it is to be sold. In women's fashion there are several major customer categories where most apparel is found. The most common categories are:
Designer: This is an affluent shopper with little or no budget restraints. They are looking for unique fashions that are often introduced before most trends. They commonly want designer labels that demand a high price and are sold at high end boutiques or exclusive department stores.
Contemporary or Ready-to-Wear Bridge: This is also a higher priced fashion, but it is more available and less expensive than a designer's top label. This is the category where a famous designer's ready-to-wear fashions can be found. Department stores and boutiques will sell this product to a wider range of customers than the high end designer labels. Some of the types of apparel found in this category are: sportswear items such as tops and bottoms, career wear, dresses, lingerie, knits, sportswear, after 5 and special occasion dresses.
Missy : The missy shopper wants styles that are current in fashion, but not too outrageous or unusual. She loves fashion but doesn’t want to experiment with ideas that are unfamiliar, too sexy or dramatic. She may think the styles she buys are the latest designs because she often too busy to keep up with fashion week, runway reports or high fashion magazines. She has a budge so her price range is moderate and the labels she buys may be a well know brand’s more affordable product. The missy customer also looks for apparel that is easy to maintain, clean and wear. Most women’s apparel is available in this category: careerwear, sportswear, dresses, knits, denim, lingerie, special occasion and active wear.
Budget: This customer is looking for current fashion trends at a low price. They are not concerned with fine fabrics, expensive details and construction elements that might require a higher price. They want styles that look like what they see in the media, but are copied to be less expensive. These are the styles that are popular and favored by many people and could be fads that are happening at the time. Fashions in this category may be sold in chain and discount stores. This price bracket usually offers a more limited product selection: sportswear, tops and bottoms, casual dresses, work-out, knits, maternity, active wear, lingerie and sleepwear.
Junior: Although this is an ‘age’ category, it tends to attract a wide range of target customers who are from the early teens through adults in their fifties. The main criteria can sometimes be fit because the junior category usually has a shorter waist, smaller bustline and more narrow hips than the missy customer. The fabrics, colors and styles in this category are usually not classics. Styles are often those trends in high demand for a short time (fads). Because of the short term of use, this type of apparel may not be practical, durable or functional enough for long term wear. Seasonal apparel is most common with juniors who buy tops and bottoms, knits, casual dresses and special occasion during the holiday and prom season.
Finding out more:
Now that you have read this article, what do you already know about the categories of women's fashions explained here? Try expanding on this article by listing brands, stores and websites for each category. It's also interesting to compare similar products. For this, select one type of apparel (white "T" shirt or denim jeans is good) then go online to find fashions for sale in various categories and price ranges (don't use sale items, find them at their full price). After looking at this, what category do you feel you would like to work in? Start making a file on this category with the top brands you see selling there and begin to study their product so you can become very familiar with the styles in it.
This original article on women's fashion categories is part 8 of a series on fashion design that are posted here at Pintucks. The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!
the photo shown here is from the mid-1980's