When Brands Become “Woke”

The industry is in a bit of Renaissance. More and more brands are becoming more inclusive and more consumer driven. We see brands making decisions based on what will appeal the most to the consumer. Are these brands all of a sudden “woke” or are they trying to just appease the consumer to make a quick buck or do they genuinely believe in the practices they are implementing in their companies? Probably not the latter.

Gucci has been in the minds of fashion connoisseurs for almost a century (the brand was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci in Florence). However, the brand has been at a new height of popularity since the appointment of Alessandro Michele as creative director his design choices. Despite the popularity of the Gucci fur slides, Michele made the executive decision to discontinue the use of fur in any future collection as a way to appeal to the conscious  consumer who opposes the production of fur garments. While this might be appealing to the masses now, how long will it last? Will Gucci start to produce fur garments again if  there’s demand? Probably.

The same thing goes for the spokespeople that brands appoint. L’Oréal attempted to appeal to the millennial masses by adding black trans model Munroe Bergdorf as spokesperson, but the second she made a comment about race and upset some customers, she was fired on the spot. Is the attempt to seem progressive worth it if we shut down those progressive voices once they speak? Let’s watch L’Oréal’s sales over the next quarter. This also applies to all the queer men that other makeup brands have appointed to front their campaigns; these men appeal to the queer community, but are they allowed to be themselves under these companies?

Time will tell if what brands like Gucci and L’Oréal are doing are actually effective marketing tactics or just a quick scheme to boost sales for the season. Let’s hope they are using the right motives and stick to their moral values as we progress with the times. Especially in today’s society and social climate.

 

Author: Vince Calvi

MBA Candidate, Global Fashion Media at IFA Paris

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