Savage x Fenty: Why sex still sells in women’s fashion

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Modern fashion has taught us that the road between the empowerment and the objectification of ladies is a hard one for manufacturers to tread.

With PrettyLittleThing coming beneath fireplace from the Advertising Standards Authority for his or her overly sexualised promoting, shoppers are extra mindful than ever of businesses who use sex attraction to promote to younger ladies.

So how profitable is it to marketplace women’s clothes the use of sex in a post-#MeToo generation?

When carried out proper, extremely.

Take the net store TechStyle Fashion Group, as an example. Its annual income crowned $750m (£574m) closing yr after including Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty label to its vary.

The singer’s clothes trade has made waves in the fashion international by means of calling for inclusivity, variety and taking fashion into the streaming age by means of placing a maintain Amazon Prime.

And the important thing to its luck has been how it places feminine need at the leading edge, says Olga Mitterfellner, fashion advertising and control lecturer at The London College of Fashion.

It’s about making ladies glance just right in their very own eyes, no longer the eyes of anyone else – particularly, males.

“Everything that the brand is doing is actually old school, but sold really well to young people and at the right time,” she says. “The female gaze is as old as Delilah, Cleopatra, Agnès Sorel [sometimes called the first official royal mistress] and Madame de Pompadour. But it is great to remind the next generation that they have choices, power and control over who they are and want to be.”

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There has been a motion in fashion towards feminine empowerment and inclusivity, enabled by means of social media, she believes.

“The open exchange between individual consumers through social networks has given them a channel to let brands know what they really think and want,” she says.

“I would say that people have always wanted inclusivity, but only now have brands found a way to make it financially lucrative on a large scale,” she says.

“As with most products out there, fashion brands are selling hope and dreams, which is now the hope of empowerment and inclusivity. But that doesn’t mean the customer actually will be empowered, fulfilled and feel included.”

She offers two examples to provide an explanation for how the other approaches paintings.

“Fenty is marketing underwear with the idea that the woman is in control of her body, her love life and her choices,” she says.

“Victoria’s Secret as an example is advertising undies with the concept she will be able to get a person to regulate her frame, her love lifestyles and the one selection she has is to appear thin and seductive or else she has no likelihood in lifestyles.

“Both manufacturers promise energy via undies, although, however one is old-fashioned.”

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Victoria’s Secret’s proprietor, L Brands, has noticed its proportion value droop as its famously sexualised promoting seemed an increasing number of dated in the trendy generation. They rebounded sharply in January at the information that its boss (Mr) Leslie Wexner was once in talks to step down – elevating hopes of a recent method.

While the American logo as soon as favoured amongst younger ladies has notoriously refused to conform to a brand new generation of feminine shoppers, manufacturers like Savage x Fenty, PrettyLittleThing and Missguided had been a lot more a hit.

The key to their luck has been easy: being attentive to shoppers, says 21-year-old Nottingham Trent University fashion graduate Lucy Legret.

And that does not imply shunning sexualised promoting altogether (although many, no longer simply from older generations, may well be glad to peer much less of it).

“I believe the more youthful era are desensitised to overly sexual promoting, it is all we have now ever identified,” she says.

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“I believe the most efficient factor a logo can do is to remember that feeling ‘attractive’ is other for each lady. Not each lady feels their maximum attractive in heels and a good get dressed, it is old-fashioned,” she says.

“Whatever makes us assured could make us really feel attractive.”

This sentiment is echoed by means of Emily, a 21-year-old who works for a fashion mag. She says that manufacturers can still promote provocative clothes to ladies – in the event that they do it in the fitting means.

“I believe ladies indubitably worth variety, and need to see themselves mirrored in the promoting of fashion manufacturers they’re purchasing from,” she says.

“We need clothes that makes us really feel empowered, with a focal point on what makes us really feel just right – somewhat than simply taking a look just right for other folks.”

Emily cites OhPolly as a logo which treads the road in moderation between empowering ladies to really feel attractive in themselves, and selling a selected superb model of ladies which they are able to’t ever meet.

“I’ve shopped at OhPolly a couple of occasions in your standard £10 evening out bodycon get dressed, however I want to buy at different manufacturers like Topshop, Boohoo or PrettyLittleThing since the clothes possible choices are much more various.

“If you look at their Instagram, even though the models are varied in terms of race, they do all look athletic and skinny which doesn’t represent all women,” she says.

But OhPolly additionally presentations how exhausting it may be to get it proper. It used to have a separate Instagram account for its photos of plus-size fashions – a coverage it ditched after a major client backlash.

“Some aspects of their advertisement for their Valentine’s collection does feel like a late-night adult advert rather than fashion, but I think that if sexuality is framed as something empowering for women, and not just for the gratification of men, then it can still be used effectively to sell clothing,” says Emily.

“I don’t think brands should shy away from using sexuality to promote clothing. It doesn’t have to appear as though it is objectifying women as long as it is marketed in the right way.”

About the author

Sharan Stone

Sharan Stone

Sharan Stone has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade and has contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and the Oakland Tribune. As a founder and journalist for Market Research News, Sharon covers national and international developments.You can contact her at

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