Automated Rental System of Sam”s Fashion Beauty

In this chapter, the researchers outline the preparations they’d beneath taken as preliminary steps for conducting this examine. Chapter One consists of seven elements: (1) Background and Conceptual Framework of the Study; (2) Statement of the Problem; (3) Overview of the Current System and Related System, (4) Objectives of the Study; (5) Significance of the Study; (6) Definition of Terms; and (7) Delimitation of the Study.

Part One, Background of the Study and Theoretical Framework, discusses the topic of the examine and describes how the proposed system can course of the development of the present system.

Part Two, Statement of the Problem, presents the final and particular issues of the study. Part Three, Overview of the Current System and Related System, describes and likewise discusses the operation of the present manual system being utilized by the enterprise and it supplies certain characteristics which are subjected to the examine.

Part Four, Objectives of the research, presents the goals and effectiveness of the examine to be solved and completed. Part Five, Significance of the Study, specifies the benefits that may be derived from the system designed by the researchers, the benefits it may present to the system users.

Part Six, Definition of Terms, presents the conceptual and operational meanings of the essential phrases used within the study.
Part Seven, Delimitation of the Study, specifies the areas to be included, the scope and the restrictions of this analysis try. This additionally includes particular areas not included on this research.

Background of the Study

Computer has turn into a lifestyle since every thing is straightforward by having just a click away from the problem.

It solely wants two characteristics to make it work, one who know tips on how to use it and one who understands. Though handbook system remains to be used, computer generated continues to be the simplest way and trouble free to work on especially in enterprise transaction. In most rental stores, daily transactions are still carried out manually. Transaction processing system has turn into a aggressive necessity and are at all times extra worthwhile. A rental is a good option for the customers, who need a beautiful gown or formal dresses with out the expensive value. Instead of paying a hundreds of pesos, for a robe, barong any formal clothes attire that you will just wear once, why not think about renting a gown/barong and any formal attire attire?

Choosing rental Products as a substitute of purchasing for one-time-wear gown/formal dresses is decisions that can help the shoppers trim their finances without trimming their big day. Customers will look beautiful in any gown or any formal dresses, it does not matter what they cost or where they are from. In the sphere of business, many institutions use computerized system to course of easy transactions to complex one. That’s the rationale this examine is hereby proposed to be able to simplify the processes and procedures of this enterprise. The researcher used to study the standard issues that occur on this institution.

Statement of the Problem

The primary concern of the proposed system is to solve the problems of the current system of Boutique De Marquee. General Problem: Recording of all rental transactions are done manually. Specific Problem: (1) Slow strategy of recording rental transactions and reports; (2) Sometimes create knowledge redundancy, (3) Conflict in Reservation, (4) Data not secured.

Overview of the Current System and Related Literature

Current System

The current operation of Boutique de Marquee includes the rental of various sorts of Gowns and provides any rental companies which are being requested and ordered of the purchasers. The quality, Designs and Classification of different Packages they provide and some other obtainable kind of Dresses are highly thought of to determine the correct worth to make an order. So the operation begins when the purchasers inquire for info. The customer order the Rental gadgets by way of handbook procedure by both asking the Manager for the rental, reservation, providers, high quality, designs and cost. Sometimes, there is a problem, when the battle of reservation happens and when the rental gadgets returned delayed.

Objectives of the Study

The study aims to automate the current system to design and implement for Boutique de marquee. So, that by way of automation, the rental business may have a fast, reliable and environment friendly processing of rental transaction, reservation and stories. General Objectives: To Automate the Rental System of Sam’s Fashion Beauty and Glamour. Specific Objectives: (1) To provide fast Process of recording rental transactions and reports (2) To avoid data redundancy (3) To avoid Reservation Conflict (4) To secured knowledge.

Significance of the Study

The results of the examine would be of great importance to the following: The Owner and Manager. The computer-based system can give great contribution to the event of the enterprise and will allow them to handle the Rental Business and helps the proprietor in making records of the customer’s data, rental barong and any formal attire. And to ensure that the records are secured. The proposed system will help to simply the process of Rental transaction. The Customer. This system might help the client transact at Boutique de Marque sooner and simpler in selecting their design and choice of cloths/gowns.

The Researchers. This study will present the researchers valuable skills and knowledge in analyzing and encoding the system. This can even help them fulfill their faculty diploma requirements, thus helping them to develop professionally of their chosen career sooner or later.

The Future Researchers. Future researchers shall be benefited as a result of this book will serve as their guide on how to make a good and high quality system. It will serve also as basis of their study that will assist them understand what a system is.

Delimitation of the Study

This study is confined only to the automation of Boutique de Marque by providing the fast process of recording rental transactions and reviews had been important for their enterprise for the longer term functions.

This system will solely focus to the rental transaction which reservation; rent-a-new and ready-to-wear only. Other transactions aren’t concerned on this study.

Definition of Terms

Available. ready to be used or obtained.
(http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/available) In this study, Available refers to the shares whereby in a position to be hire of the customer.
Arrival. act of arriving.
(http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/available)
In this study, Arrival refers to the arriving of Rental stocks from the customer within the period of time. Customer. an individual with whom one has to deal
(Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)
In this research, Customer refers to the one that desires to rent gowns/ barong / formal clothes. Delivery. the motion of delivering letters, packages, or ordered goods (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

In this examine, Delivery refers to rental merchandise or objects delivered on a selected event or place. Description. act of describing or illustration in phrases of the qualities of an individual or a factor. (http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/available) In this research, Description refers to the describing the quality of Rental stocks. (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

Gowns. outer dress of woman.
(http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/available) In this examine, Gowns refers again to the rental stocks/ clothes that boutique supply. Receipt. a written acknowledgement of cash obtain or act receiving (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

In this examine, Receipts refers to a piece of paper/ receipt that the client receive from the manager after the rental transaction done. Rental. an quantity paid or received as hire.
(Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)
In this study, rental refers again to the shares that the shopper wants to hire. Reservation. the motion of reserving one thing or a qualification to an expression of agreement or approval. (http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/available) In this study, Reservation refers to the rental gadgets or stocks whereby the purchasers going to guarantee Type. Model or Person/thing characterize of group or certain high quality. (http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/available) In this study, Type refers to quality of the rental stocks.

Chapter 2

Design of the Study

The researchers current on this chapter the methods and techniques on how they will undertake this examine. This Chapter is divided into Eight Parts: (1) Purpose of the Study, (2) Methods, (3) Procedures, (4) Software Design, (5) Data/Database design, (6) Architectural Design, (7) Procedural Design, and Statistical Treatment of Data. Part One, Purpose of the Study, proves the necessity for a cautious research before implementing an info system and likewise to explain the type of analysis technique employed by the researchers.

Part Two, Methods, elaborates the System of problem fixing researchers will apply to attain the goals and clear up the issues of the research. Part Three, Procedure, proposed system is designed utilizing the system Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Part Four, Software Design, sketches the designs of the proposed pc application that may use by the proposed system. Part Five, Database Design which outlines the info storage structure for the records for the new system. Part Six, Architectural Design which represents the features of the software in hierarchal type. Part Seven, Procedural Design, relates the circulate of the instructions and interaction within the program. Part Eight, Statistical Treatment Data, sums up the attainable effects of the brand new system by way of efficiency.

Purpose of the Study

This study goals to improve the enterprise processes of Boutique De Marque, to automate and provide strategies and techniques on tips on how to simplify the processes of the business. In order to hasten the flow of day by day rental transactions, secured knowledge and information of that mentioned boutique.

Methods

Sources of Information

To conduct the research, we, the researchers, gathered all needed info via interviews, remark and listing of some wanted documents like receipts, price listing and Rental lists and important information to be examined. These things helped in determining the various issues that exist within the present system. And gave hints to us for an answer.

Procedure

The proposed system was developed with the utilization of System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) concept in planning and managing the system improvement process. The SDLC describes actions and capabilities that the researchers perform regardless of which strategy to use to develop Automated Rental System of Boutique De Marque.

The researchers used the 4 steps of System Development Life Cycle Model: (1) System Planning Phase; (2) System Analysis Phase; (3) System Design Phase and (4) System Implementation and Evaluation Phase.

In the primary section, the researchers performed preliminary interviews to investigate and formulate ways to unravel the problems by the current system.
In the second part, the researchers investigated the business processes and doc what the proposed system can do. They carried out investigations and interviews to know the flow of the present system and indentify the issue.

In the third part, the researchers created the person pleasant interface, prepared techniques requirements corresponding to order slips and identify all essential outputs, inputs and processes.
Finally, within the implementation phase, the researchers designed this system that matches to the system. The program might be written, tested and documented.

Software Design

The researchers made use of Microsoft Access to develop the program for the Automated Rental System of Boutique De Marque. It is certainly one of the applications that will adapt in creating database for business and private and use. It additionally makes use of Microsoft Visual Basic 6.zero as its programming language. It is a user-friendly programming language that allows the builders to easily create the system.

Data/Database Design

In designing the proposed software program for the Automated Rental System of Boutique De Marque, the schematic ought to first be outlined. The Researchers used relational database management system the place data stored in a spreadsheet-like diagram referred to as table that contains rows and tables

Chapter 3

Presentation of the Proposed System and Evaluation Results

This chapter contains the next components; (1) Proposed System, (2) Technical Specifications, (3) Implementation, (4) System Inputs and Outputs, (5) Evaluation Results-Juror’s Evaluation and recommendations for enchancment.

Part One, Proposed System, shows the new processes and proposed changes of operation flow of Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marque.
Part Two, Technical Specification, specifies the wanted technicalities to implement the proposed system. It includes software program, hardware and people requirements.
Part Three, Evaluations Results, states the jurors, analysis and suggestions for enchancment of the proposed system.

Proposed System

Using the proposed System the Boutique de Marque will not going to listing all of the transactions manually and scan their Notes to find a way to confirm the customer’s info and transaction to them because the new Automated Rental Transaction of Boutique de Marque will provide them their needed File transactions instantly.

The following data circulate diagram illustrates the brand new Boutique de Marque Rental Transaction procedures to be adopted for the proposed system.

Software Specification

In this proposed system the program was developed by way of the use of Microsoft Windows 7 Starter; Microsoft Visual Basic 6.zero Application Software type with a dimension 0f 1.09 KB (1.a hundred and twenty bytes); and Microsoft entry utility software program kind with a dimension of two.fifty eight KB (2.643 bytes).

Hardware Specification

In this proposed system a single Net guide shall be used for computerized processes of transaction of the business. Intel® Atom™ Processor , 2.00 GB Memory, Mouse, 1 and four GB Flash drive and Printer.

User Specification

User of this proposed system will be educated by an expert data Technologist, for him/her to be more practical in using the computer-based processes.

System Implementation

The implementation of proposed system shall be cover from creating, testing and putting in this system for new system.
We the researchers advocate the right use and selection of hardware, software program and other instructed important instruction and that they should be adopted accordingly as illustrated on this documentation as these are fastidiously studied and designs.

Chapter 4

Summary, Conclusion, Implications and Recommendations

Chapter four consist of 5 components: (1) summary of Proposed System and Research Design, (2) Summary of Findings, (4) Conclusions, (4) Implications, and (5) Recommendation.
Part One, Summary of the Proposed and Research Design, drafts the proposals of the researchers and shows how the whole analysis was designed.
Part Two, Summary of Findings, reflects the vital points of the study and present the findings after the analyzing the information gathered.
Part Three, Conclusions, presents the conclusions drawn from the outcomes of the research.
Part Four, Implications, describes the optimistic results of the model new system or the Rental System.
Part Five, Recommendations, provides sure suggestions in view of the situations given.

Summary of Proposed System and Research Design

The Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marque was created and designed to enhance the services and the operations of Boutique de Marque Rental Business. The present system is undergoing analyzed and given a technological twist whereas revising its procedure so as to be extra efficient via the proposed system.

To achieve this technique, we the researchers utilized the tactic of system evaluation and design. First, we the researchers analyzed the current system, issues and factors enchancment.
Then, we the researchers designed and launched a form of resolution, which after all involved computerization.

Summary of Findings

The study aimed to design and find out the effects of Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marque in the present system of that stated boutique.
Findings revealed from the evaluation of gathered knowledge that through Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marquee offered the Manager/Owner to have an environment friendly servicing to prospects and hasten their rental transactions and stories.

Conclusion

After a radical study about the data gathered, we the proponents conclude the Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marque is in want on this boutique so that it will be more efficient to the manager/owner to hasten the method of their recording rental transactions and reports and to keep away from any battle and to secure data.

Implications

With the model new Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marque we, the researchers hope that this new system would deliver about the technological development to the boutique. Since the proposed system of Boutique de Marquee solved, the problem of current system, this can make transactions and operations definitely are extra accurate and dependable if it is applied correctly.

Recommendation

We the proponents highly suggest that the Automated Rental System of Boutique de Marquee be applied in order that it has more quality to the customers, manager/owner might be made accurate, secured and easy.

Analysis of the Fashion Industry

Fashion is doubtless certainly one of the world’s most necessary creative industries. It has provided economic thought with a canonical example in theorizing about consumption and conformity. Social thinkers have lengthy handled fashion as a window upon social class and social change. Cultural theorists have centered on trend to mirror on symbolic which means and social beliefs. Fashion has also been seen to embody representative characteristics of modernity, and even of culture itself. Everyone wears clothing and inevitably participates in trend to some extent.

However, it would be an understatement to say that trend influences simply clothing; in reality, to be very exact trend influences nearly every facet of our day by day life. More often than not, Fashion tendencies are a mirrored image of the political, social and economic adjustments and developments round us. Fashion is a crucial part of not solely arts however perhaps even more of financial system. At first glance solely the aesthetic side of it’s seen with the sweetness, superb creations and supplies.

But if one seems more rigorously, the whole extremely developed and revenue producing trade lies behind this glitter. The trend industry consists of four levels: the production of uncooked materials, principally textiles , leather-based and fur; the production of fashion goods by designers, producers, contractors, and others; retail gross sales; and various types of advertising and promotion.

These levels encompass many separate but interdependent sectors, all of which are devoted to the goal of satisfying client demand for attire underneath situations that enable individuals in the business to function at a revenue.

Not solely The global trend attire business is doubtless considered one of the most necessary sectors of the economic system in phrases of investment, income, commerce and employment generation all round the world, but also The Business of Fashion is an important day by day resource for style creatives, executives and entrepreneurs. Selling is the final activity of business .In order to survive , the power to sell has an excellent portion of significance amongst different business skills. The trend trade is somewhat a very delicate industry toward modifications within the cultural , social and financial elements .

It is comparatively tougher or more difficult to know why a product of a fashion industry sells whereas others aren’t. Companies carry out varied efforts to reinforce their promoting capabilities. Conducting a advertising analysis, that is, reviewing the strengths of an organization, its weaknesses, alternatives it may possibly capitalize on for max profits, and the threats to attaining its full potential supplies very invaluable information to the organization about the market and understanding the trade, as well. The analysis is used to define each the unfavorable and favorable components and their impacts on objectives of the enterprise.

The style trade, which is very volatile, isn’t an exception, it too has its own share of strengths and alternatives which as soon as utilized by an organization can help it grow substantially and weaknesses and threats which the organization must attempt to reduce to the bottom potential ranges. Fashion marketing is predicated on the identification of market developments that are used to analyze, develop and configure related advertising strategies and promotional activities for style products. Fashion advertising is the application of a spread of strategies and a business philosophy that facilities upon the client and potential customer of clothing and related services and products in order to meet the long run objectives of the organization.The very nature of trend, where change is intrinsic, offers emphasis to marketing activities .

Essentially style advertising consists of components of trend designing and marketing administration that are mixed collectively to develop a complete marketing plan for style merchandise. This advertising strategy and the related plan is composed of different tasks relative to the elements of promotions, promoting, retailing, branding, online marketing, and distribution. In order to achieve success fashion entrepreneurs need to be future oriented with forecast details about the market. The fashion trade demands that so as to have an efficient style advertising technique, firms need to understand and establish their clients, the trends in the style business in addition to how the branding and the marketing of their merchandise results the purchase behavior of the consumers. This data is the principle useful resource out there to style entrepreneurs to develop a marketing technique for their trend based products .

Marketing in the style trade is commonly troublesome because the business may be very volatile with constant changes taking place in its exterior in addition to inside environments. As a result the approaches taken in the path of fashion marketing should be adjusted and revamped in order to successfully target the latest and future trends. A myriad of factors define the fashion retail market, particularly the interactions among fashion corporations and the interaction between trend companies and the patron. The retailers seem to have essentially the most energy in defining the market as they possess the facility to market goods at prices desirable to them.

However, the market value is actually additionally determined by consumers. According to primary economic concept, the worth of an excellent is set by the demand by consumers and provide of the nice by the producers within the economy. Especially for the fashion retail market, style tendencies are forecasted by analysing outcomes of consumer’s feelings in course of the previous development. Hence, consumers do play a vital position in forming the style retail market as well. Consumer culture or consumerism, is “the principle that a progressively larger consumption of products is economically beneficial”. Fashion creates a want for possession. Coupled with mass media and promoting, market makers sell life and customers eat such products and lifestyles in hope for upward mobility in the social hierarchy.

This creates a culture of hedonism through the impression that one should purchase a status and in turn, ‘happiness’. As such, this new shopper culture lays the foundations for consumption, and demand and supply, of style in a society. However, fashion comes and goes and isn’t fixed. But with the ever altering tendencies and style, we see that folks have to continually buy and consume new goods and services to remain in trend. The frequent renewal of fashion in our capitalistic society makes it an effective advertising strategy because the fixed updating of ‘trends’ and the human need to slot in keeps the style industry alive.

The trend trade is a product of the trendy age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothes was customized made. It was handmade for individuals, either as home production or on order from dressmakers and tailors. By the beginning of the twentieth century—with the rise of latest technologies corresponding to the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the event of the factory system of manufacturing, and the proliferation of retail outlets corresponding to division stores—clothing had more and more come to be mass-produced in normal sizes and offered at fixed prices. Although the style trade developed first in Europe and America, right now it’s a global and extremely globalized industry, with clothing usually designed in one country, manufactured in another, and offered world-wide.

For example, an American style firm may supply fabric in China and have the garments manufactured in Vietnam, finished in Italy, and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. The trend business has long been one of the largest employers in the United States, and it remains so in the twenty first century.By any measure, the trade accounts for a major share of world economic output. There is little doubt in the importance of trend as an business branch. The sum of money it produces and the number of folks it employs makes it a really important area on the planet of economics. On the opposite aspect financial scenario and modifications within it additionally go away trace on style industry. Being so closely entwined any detailed evaluation cannot be done without observing both

A Case Analysis on Emerging Markets High Fashion Fights Recession Week

A Case Analysis on Emerging Markets: High Fashion Fights Recession( Week 1 Case Study Assignment, Global Business Strategies)Prepared by:Ritesh KhadkaCollege Roll No. 10Nova International CollegeSubmitted to:Nova International College(California Institue of Management and Technology)Minbhawan, KathmanduKathmandu, Nepal12th April 2019 IntroductionThe case is about how excessive style has fought within the Great Recession in 2009 and the means it has recovered from it and how it has entered new rising markets. The luxurious market was merely touched by the recession however they grew quickly in rising markets after a recession.

The answers are in favor of excessive luxury gadgets as a end result of its customer brand loyalty. Consumers in these segments do not search for pricing and wealthy folks lie on this section so the posh manufacturers survived in the recession without providing a lot discount to the shoppers and with out going to the price war.1. Using the 5 forces framework, how would you characterize the competition in the luxury items industry?According to Peng (2014), “The framework reinforces the important level that not all industries are equal by method of their potential profitability.

” (p. 43) so the competition within the luxury goods industry relies upon upon the model and the quality that is provided to the consumers. The recession has hit this trade in accordance with their goods which might be provided. The depth of rivalry among rivals may be very high because the luxury good trade falls beneath loyal and brand seeking customers. The luxury industry was dominated by mainly three big names LVMH, Gucci Group, and Bur-berry and another number of specialised companies.

The focused groups of this business is rich people who can spend properly on the luxurious objects so if the consumers are not happy with the qualities, designs, and uniqueness, there may be much less chance to change to other brands as a end result of high loyalty to the brand so there is an emotional attachment for the producer to exit.Threats of potential entry are very low since this section includes loyal prospects and there exist prime brands available in the market already. People are less involved to modify to the merchandise. There is tough round for model spanking new entrants on this field. A huge amount of investment is required in order to displace the existing market and in addition to achieve management over the suppliers. Bargaining energy of the supplier relies upon upon the standard of the products they offer and the number of rivals available in the market. Power might be excessive if the supplies are of high qualities, and particular as in case of LVMH. Power might be low for low-grade supplies and a high variety of suppliers.Bargaining power of buyers is pretty low on this part due to excessive model loyalty. The buyers are emotionally attached to the brands and continue to stay to 1 model. The brand is known as status in the luxurious goods segments for the rationale that products are distinctive and customised based on the patrons need. The threat of substitute merchandise is low on this part because of loyalty, sturdy brand, and high quality though there’s a possibility because of other decisions of manufacturers.2. How a lot bargaining energy did customers as patrons have through the Great Recession?The bargaining power of shoppers during the Great Recession was dependent on the merchandise they were using. The center and the user of the low-cost product had higher hand in choosing the products of their decisions while the luxurious model was not caught by the recession since the individuals falling under these categories were wealthy and were not hit by the recession. The merchandise which were global received a selection of buyers as we will see that Chinese individuals consumption has elevated between 20% and 30%, this exhibits the consumption and bargaining power of people have elevated. The silent minimize down within the value and discount provides from a few luxury brands have added up within the energy too. Though the bargaining power of high model quality has remained the identical since there have been no offerings as we are able to see from the instance that LVMH income was increased progressively.3. Why was discounting looked down upon by business peers, all of which have been differentiated or focus competitors?There was not a lot value cut down or low cost choices in luxurious good items in open. Though that they had silently gone for the choices as we can see at Tiffany jewelers knowledgeable their clients via salespeople that there was discount in diamond ring prices, Gucci and Richemont kept their excess products at discounted worth on-line, LVMH by no means gave any discount to their consumers nonetheless elevated their revenues from $24 billion in 2008 to $29 billion in 2011. The value warfare in luxury items will be dangerous to the business since customers are provided differentiated, high quality, and the most its name brand. The discounting and worth war exists in low luxurious gadgets which is at all times dangerous to all of the competitors.four. What would be the doubtless challenges in rising markets for luxury items firms?The challenges in rising markets for luxury items is the value of transportation and the tariff charges since it’s going to increase the price of the products and people may not be prepared to buy excessive priced merchandise. There might be a need for a powerful provide chain and the distribution channel. Brand consciousness and the culture of consumption within the rising market are to be identified. A massive variety of competitor merchandise might be into the same market on the lookout for the share so the competition will be excessive. The biases of worldwide production by the native government with domestic products by imposing excessive taxes in international products. The rules and laws could be completely different in numerous states of the identical nation. ConclusionIn conclusion, we can say that luxurious trend manufacturers grew up extra and penetrated rising markets like China after the recession. Their dilemma to decrease the worth within the recession was done silently as of instance like Tiffany jewelers notifying customers by way of salespeople, and Gucci and Richemont kept the extreme gadgets on discounted worth by way of online without getting involved in the value war. The consumers to the high brand style had been loyal and rich sufficient to not get affected by the recession. The high fashion model had gone via totally different challenges like price involved in transportation, taxes, tradition, model consciousness, the need of sturdy supply and distribution chain, and lots of more to extend the shares within the rising markets. While making up to 2011, a brand like LHMH increased its income to battle back from the recession.ReferencesPeng, Mike W. (2013). Global Strategy. Managing Industry Competition. Retrieved from Strategy High Fashion Fights Recession. (2016, May 15). Retrieved from Ebin. TBS 984 IBS ” Emerging Markets: High Fashion Fights Recession. Retrieved from Retrieved from

1950″s Fashion in Australia

Up until the Fifties fashion had targeted on the grownup market and youngsters had adopted alongside and wore the grownup style. In the 50s teenage fashion developed into its personal big business. Teenagers had been the main inspiration for the 50s fashion. During this era teenagers spent extra money on clothing as their parents have been newly well off, after World War II, may afford to offer their youngsters beneficiant quantities of pocket money. Both sexes grew to become more style conscious, and within the 50s the style became freer, looser, and more casual.

This was a serious transition from the Nineteen Forties, where the fashion was extra restraint, conservative and formal.

The influx of American motion pictures influenced the 50s trend. Jeans, leather boots, and a white t-shirt grew to become an emblem of revolt for teenage boys. Not all of the boys adopted this look. Towards the end of the final decade the tailored, British-influenced Teddy Boy styles grew to become in style. This look included high-waisted, slim ‘drain pipe’ trousers, lengthy jackets, slim ties and huge shiny pointed footwear.

Elvis Presley influenced teenage boys with slicked back ‘duck tail’ hair and lengthy sideburns. Young males began to wear brilliant colors and sharp flashy fits, unfastened unbuttoned shirts with upturned collars additionally became trendy.

Young women’s style was influenced by the rock ‘n’ roll craze. Full skirts in shiny colurs turned popular for dancing in addition to skirts and pants that have been pinched in at the waist the emphasise the waist and bust. Young girls also wore tight-fitting blouses tucked into slim-line calf-length trousers that have been referred to as ‘Capri pants’ or ‘pedal pushers’.

Short ankle socks, cropped cardigans and scarves tied across the neck were in style. Adult mens trend in the 50’s was quiet and conservative. This widened the hole between older men and the younger generation.

Men principally wore plain fabrics in darkish, muted shades similar to blue, brown and grey. Movie stars similar to Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly influenced the clothing fashion of girls within the 1950’s. Tiny waistlines and full skirts, slim pencil-line skirts, and busts were popular. Stiletto heeled footwear emerged in the 1950’s and were obtainable in a extensive range of colors to match any outfit. Synthetic materials such as nylon, acrylic polyester and vinyl had been introduced in the 1950’s. These fabrics have been appealing to women as they were straightforward to scrub, dried quickly and did not crease or require ironing.

Analysis of the Fashion Industry

Fashion is one of the world’s most important creative industries. It has provided economic thought with a canonical example in theorizing about consumption and conformity. Social thinkers have long treated fashion as a window upon social class and social change. Cultural theorists have focused on fashion to reflect on symbolic meaning and social ideals. Fashion has also been seen to embody representative characteristics of modernity, and even of culture itself. Everyone wears clothing and inevitably participates in fashion to some degree.

However, it would be an understatement to say that fashion influences just clothing; in fact, to be very precise fashion influences almost every aspect of our daily life. More often than not, Fashion trends are a reflection of the political, social and economic changes and developments around us. Fashion is an important part of not only arts but maybe even more of economy. At first glance only the aesthetic aspect of it is visible with the beauty, amazing creations and materials. But if one looks more carefully, the whole highly developed and profit producing industry lies behind this glitter. The fashion industry consists of four levels: the production of raw materials, principally textiles , leather and fur; the production of fashion goods by designers, manufacturers, contractors, and others; retail sales; and various forms of advertising and promotion.

These levels consist of many separate but interdependent sectors, all of which are devoted to the goal of satisfying consumer demand for apparel under conditions that enable participants in the industry to operate at a profit. Not only The global fashion apparel industry is one of the most important sectors of the economy in terms of investment, revenue, trade and employment generation all over the world, but also The Business of Fashion is an essential daily resource for fashion creatives, executives and entrepreneurs. Selling is the final activity of business .In order to survive , the ability to sell has a great portion of importance among other business abilities. The fashion industry is rather a very sensitive industry toward changes in the cultural , social and economic factors .

It is relatively harder or more complicated to understand why a product of a fashion industry sells while others are not. Companies perform various efforts to enhance their selling capabilities. Conducting a marketing analysis, that is, reviewing the strengths of an organization, its weaknesses, opportunities it can capitalize on for maximum profits, and the threats to achieving its full potential provides very invaluable information to the organization about the market and understanding the industry, as well. The analysis is used to define both the unfavorable and favorable factors and their impacts on goals of the business.

The fashion industry, which is very volatile, is not an exception, it too has its own share of strengths and opportunities which once utilized by an organization can help it grow substantially and weaknesses and threats which the organization must strive to minimize to the lowest possible levels. Fashion marketing is based on the identification of market trends which are used to analyze, develop and configure related marketing strategies and promotional activities for fashion products. Fashion marketing is the application of a range of techniques and a business philosophy that centers upon the customer and potential customer of clothing and related products and services in order to meet the long term goals of the organization.The very nature of fashion, where change is intrinsic, gives emphasis to marketing activities .

Essentially fashion marketing is composed of elements of fashion designing and marketing management which are combined together to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for fashion products. This marketing strategy and the related plan is composed of different tasks relative to the elements of promotions, advertising, retailing, branding, affiliate marketing, and distribution. In order to be successful fashion marketers have to be future oriented with forecast information about the market. The fashion industry demands that in order to have an effective fashion marketing strategy, companies need to understand and identify their customers, the trends in the fashion industry as well as how the branding and the marketing of their products effects the purchase behavior of the consumers. This knowledge is the main resource available to fashion marketers to develop a marketing strategy for their fashion based products .

Marketing in the fashion industry is often difficult as the industry is very volatile with constant changes taking place in its external as well as internal environments. As a result the approaches taken towards fashion marketing have to be adjusted and revamped in order to effectively target the latest and future trends. A myriad of factors define the fashion retail market, namely the interactions among fashion companies and the interaction between fashion companies and the consumer. The retailers seem to have the most power in defining the market as they possess the power to market goods at prices desirable to them.

However, the market price is in fact also determined by consumers. According to basic economic theory, the price of a good is determined by the demand by consumers and supply of the good by the producers in the economy. Especially for the fashion retail market, fashion trends are forecasted by analysing results of consumer’s emotions towards the previous trend. Hence, consumers do play a vital role in forming the fashion retail market as well. Consumer culture or consumerism, is “the theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial”. Fashion creates a desire for ownership. Coupled with mass media and advertising, market makers sell lifestyles and consumers consume such products and lifestyles in hope for upward mobility in the social hierarchy.

This creates a culture of hedonism through the impression that one can purchase a status and in turn, ‘happiness’. As such, this new consumer culture lays the foundations for consumption, and demand and supply, of fashion in a society. However, fashion comes and goes and is never constant. But with the ever changing trends and fashion, we see that people have to constantly buy and consume new goods and services to stay in fashion. The frequent renewal of fashion in our capitalistic society makes it an effective marketing strategy as the constant updating of ‘trends’ and the human desire to fit in keeps the fashion industry alive.

The fashion industry is a product of the modern age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothing was custom made. It was handmade for individuals, either as home production or on order from dressmakers and tailors. By the beginning of the 20th century—with the rise of new technologies such as the sewing machine, the rise of global capitalism and the development of the factory system of production, and the proliferation of retail outlets such as department stores—clothing had increasingly come to be mass-produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices. Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, today it is an international and highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold world-wide.

For example, an American fashion company might source fabric in China and have the clothes manufactured in Vietnam, finished in Italy, and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. The fashion industry has long been one of the largest employers in the United States, and it remains so in the 21st century.By any measure, the industry accounts for a significant share of world economic output. There is no doubt in the importance of fashion as an industry branch. The amount of money it produces and the number of people it employs makes it a very significant area in the world of economics. On the other side economic situation and changes within it also leave trace on fashion industry. Being so closely entwined any detailed analysis cannot be done without observing both

Literary Review: Philippine Fashion

Introduction:

For this research paper, I decided to dig deeper into my Filipino heritage. The history of the Philippines has been an up and down roller coaster. From being colonized by the Spanish for 300 years in 1565, to being captured by the British in 1762, to being in Japanese hands, to being under the power of the United States, the Philippines eventually established their independence on July 4, 1946. Considering the Philippines is somewhat “new”, their government system hasn’t had nearly enough time to advance and develop like other countries in the world. One third of the Filipino population lives below the poverty line. This lack of independence has had a huge effect on the Filipino economy. Their economy is based solely on their agriculture. The Philippines has a very tropical climate with a long rainy season, and an incredibly mountainous landscape. Important crops include rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, abaca, and tobacco.

The Philippines also have an endless list of tropical and tasty fruits. Although the Philippine islands have been through a more than complicated time, the people inhabiting the land have stayed strong and taken advantage of their land’s newly gained independence . After gathering this general information, that was when I developed my thesis: How has the unstable history of the Philippines affected their overall fashion and textile industry? I chose this topic because not only does it give me a chance to expand my knowledge in textiles and fashion, but it also allows me to further educate myself in my own personal ethnic background.

Methodology:

When I first began my research process, it wasn’t very difficult to get started considering the abundance of resources FIDM provides us with. My first step to developing a stable basis of sources was to sit at the computer in the FIDM library and gather as much material as possible using the help they give us such as EBSCO, the Berg Fashion Library, Culture Grams, and of course books from the shelves themselves. The first source I found that initially helped me develop my thesis was an article

I found using the Berg Fashion Library entitled “‘Ukay-Ukay’ Chic: Tales of Second Hand Clothing Fashion and Trade in the Philippine Cordillera”. This was the source that helped me make the decision to center my paper around Filipino fashion. Not only was this source credible due to the process I used to find it, but it was also extremely beneficial. Once I knew exactly what I would be writing about, I knew that I needed to dig deeper into the history of the Philippines. I initially started by using Culture Grams, which helped me gather some information, but I needed more. That was when I came across the article “Nation Building and the Crafting of a Usable Past in the Philippines” using the EBSCOhost database. This source really came in handy because it gave me an incredibly detailed and dramatic breakdown of everything the Philippines went through, and how being tossed around by other countries for hundreds of years has had an effect on the land today.

Next, I wanted to learn more about the people of the Philippine’s, and their lifestyle and values. I had no luck finding this using the library sources, so that was when I switched to google. I found a website called contriesquest.com. After browsing the information the site gave me, and relating a lot of it to information I had seen before, I decided that it was a credible source to use. The section I used was called “Population, Way of Life”. This brief article really helped me understand how a regular Filipino person lives. It covered everything from the food they eat the the sports they play. The next source I found was more specifically about the history of filipino fashion. I found the article using the Berg Fashion Library.

The was when I came across the amazing article “Snapshot: Revival of Piña Cloth and Dress: Southern Luzon and Central Philippines”. This was one of my favorite articles because I learned about an amazing way that the people of the Philippines used their natural resources to create a beautiful fashion trend. For my last source, I decided to use the most credible source of all, a book. The book I chose is entitled the Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. I flipped to the section entitled Asia, Southeastern Islands and the Pacific: History of Dress. I used this source to get a breakdown of the development of filipino fashion throughout the years.

1. Milgram, B Lynne, “‘Ukay-Ukay’ Chic: Tales of Second Hand Clothing Fashion and Trade in the Philippine Cordillera.”

Summary:

This article focuses on the new and upcoming bargain shopping trend in the Philippines called “Ukay-Ukay”, which when translated means secondhand clothing. The Philippine’s have been receiving exports of used goods and clothing from America, and Europe since the 1990’s. Milgram, the author of this article, talks about how the people of the Philippine’s have brilliantly taken these exported used goods and repurposed them to their own advantage. The article also discusses how this new shopping trend has benefitted the sales women of the Philippines, and has helped modernize their way of consumerism and trade. The article then expands on Ifugao, an area in the Grand Cordillera mountains, the area in which the people of the Philippines decided to set up their “Ukay-Ukay” system.

The author tells us that this setting was chosen due to its economic activity. Considering that agriculture is the main component of the filipino economy, Ifugao is unable to produce many crops due to its climate and landscape. Instead, the people inhabiting this area focus on producing other sorts of goods such as crafts for the tourist market, operating dry goods stores, and now engaging in the sale of second hand clothing. The next section of this article focuses on the process in which the exported clothing is distributed from the hands of clothing brokers, regional suppliers, to the citizens of the Philippines. The last part of the article talks about the people who make a living off of the sales of second hand clothing, and how the market is slowly beginning to get more and more competitive.

Critical Evaluation: This article is an incredible source of information for my essay. The author of the article convinced me that she was very educated in the topic by using personal examples, facts and statistics, pictures, quotations, and citations throughout the article of other sources she collected material from as well. Another thing that really made this article easy to break down was that the author put a notes list at the bottom of the document. This contained a list of words and terms that were mentioned throughout the article that a person that wasn’t well aware with filipino slang could find the english translations. The sole purpose of this article was to break down and educate the reader on an amazing and rapidly growing fashion trend in the Philippines and the world behind it.

2. Hazard, Elizabeth. “Nation Building and the Crafting of a Usable Past in the Philippines”.

Summary:

This article provides me with a detailed breakdown of the history timeline of the Philippines. This paper examines the uses of history in the Philippines over the past century as it was enlisted to serve varying social and political agendas. In the first part of this article, the author discusses the long awaited time when the Philippine’s finally gained their independence. Hazard elaborates on the celebratory ceremonies that took place, and the development of the Centennial Commission. The centennial commission is a group of elected filipino people with one mission-to revive the love of the country, and true appreciation for the filipino identity. The article then continues on to discuss the background of its current weak economic state. The author makes sure that we know that the Philippines took a very hard beating throughout the years.

The author then goes on to breakdown the confusing history of the Philippines before they gained their independence. She covers the 300 years they were under the rule of Spain, the Japanese occupation in 1943, and when the Americans granted autonomy in 1946. The second purpose of this article was to focus on how the history of the Philippine’s is being displayed today. The author focuses on the textbooks that students in the Philippine’s are given, and states that the authors of these textbooks are excluding important details. This article is a good source of information that discusses the brutalities that the Philippines went through, and their eventually gained independence.

Critical Evaluation: I believe that this is a very reliable and educational source to use for informational purposes for this essay. Although I am focusing my essay on fashion, the history behind the Philippines is equally as important. Considering how intense their history is, and the state that their never ending battle left them in, it is safe to say that this has had a direct effect on their fashion industry. This was a very credible source. Not only did I find it using one of the search engines that the school provides us with, but it was actually a conference paper written for the

University of Maine. The author wrote this essay to persuade the listeners and readers to have hope that the Philippine’s can be restored and modernized. The author provides us with lots of statistics and factual information. She also gives us direct quotes from people that she talked to personally, and for those reasons, I decided that this article would help improve my essay.

3. “Population, Way of Life”.

Summary:

This website was full of small paragraphs about every single aspect of the Philippines. I decided that I wanted to gather more information on the daily life of a Filipino person, so I chose this section to use for my paper. This section gives us a straightforward description of their society. The author starts off by mentioning Filipino’s emphasis on on family and building a strong community. Filipino’s are very big on traditions. They use the traditional concept of “utang na loob”, the concept in which voluntary acts of kindness towards others creates an obligation in which the receiver must reciprocate. The article goes on to discuss how the concept of “utang na loob” is what shapes almost all Filipino relationships. The article then continues to talk about important Filipino values such as respect for the elderly, loyalty, and trust. Paragraph two talks about the average Filipino living conditions. In tradition Philippine villages, houses are mainly constructed of bamboo or wood.

Excluding rural areas, most houses are equipped with standard electricity and plumbing. In the more modern parts of the Philippines, it is mentioned that there is a very obvious Western influence. The standard Philippine diet consists of fish, rice, veggies, fruits, and ground corn. They also have a drink called tuba, which is a fermented coconut wine. The next part of the article talks about how most people in the Philippines work as farmers and fishers. Middle class citizens in more urban cities usually work as teachers and small business owners. The last part of the article focuses on certain sports that Filipino people participate in such as arnis (similar to fencing) and (much like volleyball).

Critical Evaluation:

I was unsure about the credibility of this source at first, because I couldn’t find an author or any sort of publishing information to begin with. Then, after I clicked on the “Privacy” link in the bottom corner of the page, I learned that the website was published by

Microsoft as a sort of search database for information on different parts of the world. Knowing that it was developed by such an elite corporation made it much more credible. This website provided me with well-defined information on the Philippine’s and made it very easy to understand. When I went to the homepage of the website, I learned that you could click on any region you want and it would give you a list of sections on that area that you could click on. For these reasons I felt like it was an appropriate source. I was also able to relate a lot of the information I found on this website to prior research I did with other sources.

4. Milgram, Lynn. “ Snapshot: Revival of Piña Cloth and Dress: Southern Luzon and Central Philippines”

Summary:

This article focuses on piña, filipino cloth woven from the fibers of the leaves from a pineapple. It is believed that the pineapple, a very popular fruit found in the Philippines today, was brought over by Spanish settlers in the 16th century. Piña cloth first started producing when the spanish realized that philippine artisans were already skilled at utilizing other local resources, such as the banana, and making into cloth. This was when piña weaving began to spread. The main items of dress tailored from piña cloth include the baro (woman’s blouse), worn with a detachable pañuelo (shawl collar), the saya (skirt), the barong Tagalog (man’s shirt), and handkerchiefs. The next paragraph of this article discusses when piña production reached its peak in the early 19th century when people started realizing that it had a similar appearance to luxury lace.

People then began to realize that there were cheaper garments out there that looked similar to piña, which was very expensive due to its complex weaving process. Pinã began to fade away and become a smaller business again. The next paragraph discusses the labor inducing process of extracting the pineapple fibers and weaving the piña cloth. The next paragraph talks about the development of “piña-seda”, the use of silk yarns in the weft instead of piña in order to meet growing demand. Filipino’s also incorporated piña cloth in religious garments. Critical Evaluation: I found this source using the Berg Fashion Library, so its credibility is easy to prove. Not only did the author use accurate historical information, but she also mentioned popular Philippine designers.

This source educates the reader on such an interesting and beautiful invention developed by the Philippines, and really shows you how resourceful they really are. This author also proved her credibility by citing her sources at the bottom of the page, and including pictures to give you a visual of what a piña garment really looked like. I also noticed that the author Lynne B. Milgram is the author of numerous articles found using the Berg Fashion Library. The author makes this article fun, and educational at the same time by relating the art of piña to the early ages of the Philippines. The article was published in the year 2010, but considering it is about a topic that was developed in the 16th century, I don’t believe that needs to be taken into much consideration.

5. Arthur, Linda. “ Asia, Southeastern Islands and the Pacific: History of Dress”

Summary:

This article focuses on the evolution of fashion garments throughout the years. It starts by mentioning the earliest fashion staple, the bark cloth. The bark cloth was made from the bark of a mulberry tree, and originated before Spanish settlement. As years continued, Philippine dress transformed due to multicultural influences from the portuguese, the dutch, the spanish and more. When the spanish settlers came, they were shocked by the philippine people’s lack of clothing, and helped them develop the modesty they have in their dress today. The article then continues to mention the names of certain garments worn by regular philippine people such as the baro’t saya, an ensemble of a loose, long-sleeved blouse over a wide skirt that fell to the floor. This article mainly focuses on the impact that westernization had on their clothing.

The author mentions that the Spanish also taught filipina women embroidery, cutwork, and threadwork. The use of piña cloth, hand loomed using the fibers of pineapple leaves and jusi cloth, machine made using the fibers of pineapple leaves, were also mentioned as the favorite choice of fabric throughout the 20th century. Critical Evaluation: I found this information in a book called The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Considering all of my other sources were found using credible databases provided by the school, a book found on the library shelves has to be 100% credible, especially since it came from an encyclopedia. The encyclopedia covers almost everything in the fashion world from ancient egypt, to famous runway moments, to the technology behind design, to the worlds most admirable designers today.

Not only does the author of this section, Linda Arthur, provide us with the evolution of traditional dress in the Philippines, but she also mentions the other westernized areas such as the rest of asia, the southeastern islands, and the asian pacific islands. She covers as early as the beginning of the 16th century before the Spanish colonized the Philippines, all the way up to the 20th century and present day traditional dress. This source was a definite contributor to my research because the author provided me with fascinating facts and terms that have helped me further my understanding and knowledge of Filipino fashion. Although this encyclopedia was published in 2005, the time period the text covered was large enough to extract information from.

Conclusion:

Before I began breaking down the information I needed to gather to form my thesis, all I knew was that I wanted to relate this essay to my Filipina heritage in some way. Once I began my literature review research, I began to develop the desire to focus my paper more specifically on the Filipino fashion. When I had the main structure of what I wanted to write my essay on, I thought that I would just travel through the years and discuss the fashion evolution. As my research continued, and the FIDM databases provided me with more and more information, I realized that that the Philippines have been through so much throughout centuries, and have advanced and developed so much, that I had to focus on more than just the fashion itself.

Before the Philippines gained their independence, they were under the rule of multiple different countries. From each and every one of those countries that the people had to abide to, the Philippines adopted small aspects of their cultures, and ways of life. How has the unstable history of the Philippines affected their overall fashion and textile industry? After writing this Literature review, and expanding my knowledge on the aspects behind this topic , I feel as if I am prepared to answer that question.

Works Cited

Arthur, Linda B. “Asia, Southeastern Islands and the Pacific: History of Dress.” Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Ed. Valerie Steele. Vol. 1. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005. 93-97. Print

Hazard, Elizabeth. “Nation Building And The Crafting Of A Usable Past In The Philippines.” International Studies Association. EBSCO, 2004. Web. 3 Aug. 2014.
Milgram, B Lynne “Snapshot: Revival of Piña Cloth and Dress: Southern Luzon and Central Philippines.” The Berg Fashion Library. The Berg Fashion Library, Sept 2010. Web. 3 Aug. 2014.

Milgram, B Lynne, “‘Ukay-Ukay’ Chic: Tales of Second Hand Clothing Fashion
and Trade in the Philippine Cordillera.” The Berg Fashion Library. The Berg Fashion Library, 2004. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

“Population, Way of Life.” Countries Quest. Microsoft Corporation, 2004. Web. 4 Aug. 2014

Zara fashion swot

1. Barriers to entry: HIGH

a. High fixed cost business requires economics of scale for sustained profitability b. High Selling & Administration Expenses which includes advertising, in-store promotions, etc.; up to 3.5% of its revenue, even though for Zara, the company is famous for spending minimum level of advertisements and commercials. However, recently the company announced that it invested €450 million in commercials as well as logistics area (Inditex, Inditex‘s net sales rise 6% to 7.7 billion euros, 2013) c. Concept to store which takes 6 months to a year which refers to long sales cycle. However, in case of Zara, the lead time of clothes first-designed by the designer teams to finished products sold at the store take only about two weeks. d. Brand equity which is valuable to consumers

2. Substitutes: MODERATE

a. Buyer propensity to substitute is high with several competitors to choose from (H&M, Uniqlo, MANGO, and many other fast-fashion brands) b. Low buyer switching costs and easily substitutable where a customer can walk into its neighbouring store instead of Zara c. Zara has gained substantial customer loyalty which has more visits per year than its competitor‘s store d. Copying of styles is quite prevalent in this industry, which can attract the customer who does not mind lower quality but ―similar‖ looking apparel. The example will be counterfeiting of Zara products in Indonesia which is currently trending

3. Buyer Power: MODERATE

a. Trendy fashion wear is appealing to regular consumers and they would not shop lower quality apparel or accessories b. Apparel consumers have lots of choices when it comes to trendy clothing and accessories, but price can be a factor. In the case of Zara, for European, American, and eastern Asian countries, Zara is positioned as the low-end products, however, in emerging markets such as India, China, and Indonesia, Zara is considered as the high-end products.

4. Supplier Power: LOW

a. Contract based cloth production and stitching functions readily available b. Low price of fabric  c. Local cooperatives work without contracts or labour unions

5. Rivalry: HIGH

a. High exit barriers due to high fixed and SG&A costs and excess inventory with lots of cash tied up in out-of-fashion inventory b. High advertising expenses; 3.5% of revenue indicative of intense competition .

6.2 SWOT ANALYSIS ON ZARS

Opportunities

1. Increasing Middle Class in Asia. Not only because Asia is a booming continent in which there are populous countries with growing GDP, but also because people in Asian countries have the taste which Zara offers for its clothing. They like to follow the trends that the western culture currently has and adapt those trends in their country. One of those trends is definitely apparel.

2. Opportunity to Build Distribution Centres in Developing Countries to Lower Costs sounds interesting in order to cut costs of distributing the finished products, but there are problems that may occur, such as infrastructure problems in developing countries which might actually hamper the company‘s superefficient supply and value chain..

3. New Designers for better design this is very important since they are based on fast-fashion which they need to change products every 2 weeks. Therefore, excellent team of designers is crucial in this business.

4. Rising Environmental Issues. They are keen to have a good reputation of being an eco-friendly company, they even set their mission regarding this issue, but too bad that sometimes the consumers do not care about the eco-friendly issue, especially consumers in Asian-emerging markets like India, Indonesia, and China. They simply want exclusive and trendy clothes.

5. International Recognition; undoubtedly this factor is the most important for Zara‘s opportunities because it is the key to successful expansion. In case of Zara, it is widely-known across the globe with good reputation in most of the countries. Therefore, it is a winning point for Zara to have such brand image in the eyes of global consumers.

Threats

1. Fierce Competition; one of the biggest threats because of new and affordable products from different stores such as H&M, Forever 21, and Uniqlo may harm Zara in terms of consumers loyalty.

2. Possible imitation of goods; there is a risk of Zara‘s products being copied, either by their competitor (the designs) or by irresponsible people that practice counterfeiting. However, since Zara is targeting the middle-upper class, therefore, it is not much of concern. Moreover, Zara‘s consumers are popularly known as loyal consumers to the brand.

3. Dilution of Brand Equity; this is also an important threat because it can decrease in its brand value in customer eyes. Therefore, Zara is implementing their best strategies to increase the brand equity. Probably more significantly to their European consumers through the eco-friendly company campaign which is highly noticed and precedence by European consumers.

Strength

1. Global outreach; Inditex, as the head company, expands Zara in a large amount of scale. Currently they have more than 1,700 stores in exactly 86 countries around the world.

2. Strategic Location Zara chooses where to locate their stores carefully because they are aiming for a direct communication strategy to promote their products. They have a unique approach in locating their store in each countries, and even cities. For example in Indonesia, Zara locates their stores in almost every big shopping mall because it has a high traffic everyday and it is the main place for people to go shopping. In France, Zara locates their store in downtown and main streets as the local people usually walk down the street to go shopping.

3. Distribution Strategy in the distribution system, Zara control most of the supply chain and distribution of its products from the headquarters. Zara has their main manufacturing place in three different contingents. 50% of the products are produced in Spain, 26% in the rest of Europe, and the rest 24% percent is outsourced in Asia and Africa. Then the products were transferred to Zara‘s distribution centres located in Spain to be exported to Zara‘s stores around the world. We can see that their distribution strategy is vertically integrated. This requires a high concentration and control form the headquarters in Spain, and that is exactly what Inditex does.

Since the distribution strategy is integrated, combined with their high technology, the products can be distributed globally in just a short amount of time. This is the uniqueness of Zara. They are able to adapt to the latest trend in limited time, using the Hybrid Communication system, then produce those latest trend with available materials to cut production time and cost, and after that the products are immediately transferred to all the stores. We found out that this is strategy has become their strength.

4. Store Image Zara is a trendy yet exclusive fashion store. This is the image of Zara from around the world. A unique concept of fast fashion might become a trendsetter in international fashion industry. A good store image also drives people to consider Zara when they want to purchase fashion items.

5. Fast Changing Collection This factor is one the specialties and uniqueness of Zara. Every 2 weeks Zara published brand new fashion items. This strategy exists to stimulate and refresh consumer‘s curiosity about Zara‘s products. This is also the strategy to strengthen the image of Zara as the designer teams always work to find out what the new designs should be. The aim is to be the trendsetter of fashion business. However, in the apparel industry, it is easy to copy the style of designs.

6. Responsive employees. Employees‘presence is important inside the store to control, rearrange items, and also to give information to the customers. Therefore Zara also concerns about Employees‘responsiveness, especially because they claim to have direct communication as their prominent marketing strategy.

7. Brand Image. We do think that this is the back bone of every player in apparel industry; again, considering the amount of competition in this industry. One of the proofs would be the fact where consumers still buy the product from certain brand even though many claim it uses bad fabrics, or the price is sometimes too high, and so on. Eventually, they would still come back because of the image that they will get when they purchase the product.

Weaknesses

1. Limited Stocks. Even though Zara has a fast fashion concept, which is publishing new items in every 2 weeks, but some of the items are limited. So for some items, they might not be available in every store. Even though this is actually intentional, but for consumers, this can be included as a weakness as some customers will not be satisfied if they did not get the items that they want when they want it and where they want it. Customer‘s dissatisfaction quite have an effect for Zara

2. Price. In its country of origin, Zara is categorized as a low-end product. However, Zara is included in a high-end product in Indonesia and in many other countries. This is one of the weaknesses for Zara as the customer will think twice to purchase if price is a big consideration for them. This problem occurs mostly in developing countries, where the GDP per capita is still relatively low.

3. Brand image closely tagged to competitors as mentioned earlier, the problem in apparel industry is that it is very easy to copy each other‘s designs. This weakness is one of the toughest to deal with. Beside Zara, there are a lot of other brands that reach the international market that also build an exclusive image for them self. Therefore sometimes public cannot differentiate product from Zara and their competitors. In other words, it is going to be easy for them to switch from one brand to another.

Moreover, this will affect people‘s judgment that all the brands that in the same level as Zara is actually the same or similar in term of types and products, or in other words, no clear differentiation between those brands. As a player in this industry, Zara needs to obtain consumer loyalty;

4. Lack of Marketing; Zara is lack of marketing such as promotion and advertisement. It is very rare to see Zara logo and advertisement outside the store and in public area. In fact, Zara in different countries also does not have that much of advertisement. They only depend on the strong brand image that they already have. This can be a tough weakness if the competitors keep on increasing their marketing strategy, especially in emerging countries.

6.3 SWOT MATRIX

Strengths
Weaknesses

Global Outreach
Limited stocks

Strategic location
Price

Distribution strategy
Brand image closely tagged to competitors

Fast changing collection
Lack of marketing

Brand image

Opportunities
SO Strategies
WO Strategies
Increasing middle class in Asia
Open new stores in Asia’s developing countries
Price product at competitive prices in Asian countries
Opportunity to build distribution centre in developing countries to lower costs Build distribution centres in Asia to lower distribution cost for Asian countries Produce a signature collection
Cooperation with new designers
Be the trendsetter
Enhance the current brand image and company’s image
Rising environmental issue
Promote the company’s vision to be an eco-friendly company

International recognition

Threats
ST Strategies
WT Strategies
Fierce competition
Expand in new market and be the first player in the market
Increase spending for marketing activities
Lawsuits related to sweatshops
Produce the new trends with higher turnover
Enhance ZARA’s differentiation through its unique designs

6.4 STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Opening new large stores in China & India – expand in new market and be the first player in the market 2. Restructure its pricing policy in Asians countries to remain competitive 3. Market penetration efforts include enhancing its online-sales expansion in Europe, America, Australia and South Africa. 4. Enhancing the in-store experience to increase the customers’ loyalty 5. Build distribution centres in Asia to lower distribution cost for Asian countries to lower the distribution cost in Asia 6. Produce a signature collection – be a trendsetter with high turnover 7. Increase spending on marketing activities to be at same level with its competitors

Fashion industry

I have always been interested in fashion and the fashion industry. For my Graduation Project I decided that I should do something that falls into that category. In my project I will research how fashion impacts teenagers. I have noticed that many teen fashion magazines have a huge impact on teens, because many teens look up to the girls inside and on the cover of the magazines. I feel as though it relates to me because I am a teenager and I feel as though fashion does have a big effect on us. In my paper I will first research self-expression through fashion. I will research the social/economic status of teenage fashion and identity. I also plan on researching the fashion influences from media on teens. I’m going to look into the career options that go along with this field in research also.

I intend on using videos, magazines, the internet, books, and hopefully interviews with people who are already working in this field. For my action plan, I am going to do a fashion show in my community. I haven’t fully decided on what the theme of my fashion show will be. I also would like to interview different teenagers and ask questions based on my topic. I would like to see what they think about fashion affecting them from their point of view also. Another idea I had for my action plan is to join Pittsburgh Youth Invasion. It is an program at The Andy Warhol Museum that holds fashion workshops to attend. During the workshop you can come up with your own design and learn how to make it. At the end of the workshop there will be a fashion show that will allow you to model your design. I understand the definition and consequences of plagiarism.

Fashion

Fashion cannot survive without the media. Its success as both an art form and a commercial enterprise depends upon attention in the media. The media have played a vital role in shaping fashion into the complex cultural phenomenon it has become. Photography, and later film and television, have medialised fashion. Fashion has become an intrinsic part of today’s visual culture, and vice versa. Fashion magazines, glossies and women’s journals cannot exist without fashion, but fashion also cannot exist without these magazines. This chapter looks at visual culture and the ways in which fashion is ‘fashioned’ by the media. The first half of the chapter gives a theoretical background to understanding contemporary visual culture. The second half of the chapter provides an introduction to the many ways that media theory can be used to analyse and understand fashion. Visual culture

Since the invention of photography, film, television, video, CD-Rom and the Internet, we have rapidly shifted from a written culture to a visual culture: ‘We live in a culture of images, a society of the spectacle, a world of semblances and simulacra’ (Mitchell 1994: 5). Contemporary visual culture is both ubiquitous and complex. The image no longer stands by itself, but is informed by multimedia; it is usually integrated with text and music. A fashion photograph comes with a caption or an accompanying text. A fashion show doesn’t work without music or a choreography of moving bodies. Apart from their multimedia aspect, images also circulate in a global media society in which all kinds of genres and media are mixed. Precisely because this visual culture is so dominant on the one hand and so complex on the other, we need theoretical tools in order to be able to understand images, including images of fashion.

To do justice to the complexity of visual culture, it is necessary to pose questions on the basis of an interdisciplinary framework: questions about significance and ideology; identity and visual pleasure; technology and economy. Theoretical insight creates media literacy. We can thus acquire an attitude towards the media we use every day that has aptly been described by Laura Mulvey as ‘passionate detachment’ (1989: 26). Before supplying a number of analytical instruments in the second half of this chapter, I would first like to place visual culture within the framework of postmodernism. I

Theoretical framework Postmodernity

Although the term ‘postmodernism’ is often described as vague and indeterminate, there are definite ways in which it can be characterised. Here I make a distinction between a) postmodernity, b) postmodern philosophy and c) postmodernism as a movement in art and culture (Van den Braembussche 2000). First of all, postmodernity. Postmodernity refers to the age we are currently living in, particularly the information society that has arisen since the sixties. It is a question, then, of an historical period in which we live. The information society can be characterised as ‘postcolonial’: after the Second World War, the colonies in the Third World achieved independence at a fast rate. This society is also ‘postindustrial’: heavy industry has been replaced by the exchange of services. From the sixties onwards, these services have increasingly been characterised by information technology, set in motion by the advent of the computer. Science and technology are indispensable and give shape to our society. While the industrial society still functioned largely around property (who has control of the means of production?), the information society is mainly about access (‘xs4all’: ‘access for all’) – access to information, that is to say, to knowledge. Postmodernity means a networked society in which everything and everyone is connected with each other via mass media such as television and the Internet. Another characteristic is globalisation.

Globalisation has taken place with the media (you can watch CNN and MTV all over the world) and with capital (you can use cash machines anywhere in the world). And with fashion. Benetton’s multi-racial campaigns show the more benign face of globalisation, but, to be fair, they have also drawn attention to the more dismal effects of globalisation. Applying the characteristics of postmodernity to fashion, we get the following picture. In the past, fashion was dependent on fabrics like silk, cotton and cashmere – as well as inspiration – that the West imported from its colonies. In the seventies the Hippies came alongwith their renewed interest in non-Western clothing. With the deconstructivist fashion of Japanese designers like Yamamoto in the eighties, the first non-Western designers broke open the closed, elitist fashion world. Now they have been succeeded by other designers such as Hussein Chalayan, Xuly Bët and Alexander Herchovitch. With the Fashion Weeks in India and Africa, fashion has become globalised. When we look at the fashion industry, the picture is even clearer.

Whereas the Dutch fashion industry was originally established here in Holland itself- in Enschede for example – it has now largely moved to low-wage countries in Asia or the former East Block. Look at the label in your sweater or trousers and most likely you’ll find ‘Made in Taiwan’ or something similar. Globalisation results in cheap clothing and enormous profits in the West, but also in protests against exploitation, such as against the Nikes made by small children in Pakistan. These abuses signalled the start of the No Logo and anti-globalisation movements. Postmodern philosophy

Secondly, postmodern philosophy. Two notions are important here: ‘the end of the Grand Narratives’ and ‘the death of the traditional subject’. These words suggest that Western culture is going through a crisis. According to the postmodern philosopher Jean-François Lyotard, Western culture is no longer able to tell any ‘Grand Narratives’, by which he is referring to the end of ideology. This implies that ideologies (‘isms’ like Marxism or Feminism, but also religions such as Christianity) can no longer provide modern man with a meaningful frame of reference. Ideology finds itself in a crisis of legitimatisation, no longer able to announce the truth or to proclaim a future utopia. This does not mean, of course, that everyone has given up their beliefs; on the contrary, we are actually seeing a return to ideology and religion. But, Lyotard argues, nobody can impose that belief or that ideology on others as the one and only truth.

People who still try to inflict any kind of truth upon others are called fundamentalists nowadays. The end of the Grand Narratives is not just a negative process. For most people it is liberating to be freed from a one-sided, enforced truth. What’s more, it has led to a blossoming of‘small narratives’ in postmodern culture. Now that there is no one dominant truth, many people have the right and freedom to tell their stories, including those who previously had few opportunities to do so, such as women, workers, blacks, young people. You see the same development in art: there is no longer one dominant movement but a multitude of directions. And we see the same pluralism in fashion. No longer a ‘Grand Narrative’ dictated by a single fashion king, or even by just one city, but a multitude of perspectives coming from many designers, in various cities and different parts of the world. The end of the Grand

Narrative also has consequences for the view of human subjectivity. The traditional notion of the individual is that he (it was almost always a he) represents an autonomous and coherent entity, endowed with reason. It was mainly psychoanalysis that put an end to this notion. According to Freud, the human being is not at all governed by his reason, but rather by his unconscious. And it was Marx who claimed that it is our class that determines who we are. We may think we are individuals, but in fact we are defined by our class, ethnicity, age, sexual preference, religion, nationality and so on – the list is endless. In fact, then, we are not really an autonomous and coherent entity. This is why postmodernism no longer refers to an ‘individual’ but to a ‘subject’. A subject, moreover, that is split, fragmented, splintered. As a piece of graffiti in Paris in the eighties put it, ‘God is dead. Marx is dead. And I don’t feel so good either’. A more positive way of formulating this idea of fragmented subjectivity is by analogy with the network society: the subject, the self, always stands in relation to an other. Instead of being autonomous we are all incorporated in a fabric of complex and mobile relations. Our identity is to be found, as it were, on a node of communication cir

cuits. The postmodern subject is thus characterised by a dynamic and a diversity that were alien to the traditional individual. This change in the position of the human being has had the same effect as the end of the Grand Narratives: many more people can now make a claim to subjectivity who were previously excluded, such as blacks, women and homosexuals. This can also be witnessed by the recognition of art and culture produced by women, people of colour, and artists from the so called ‘Third World’. This development has resulted in a much greater freedom in the formation of human identity. Just look at pop culture, where someone like Madonna assumes a different image with the regularity of a clock. Today you can play with your identity by gender bending, for example. Or by crossings with other ethnic cultures, such as Surinamese or Dutch Muslims who borrow elements from the American black hip-hop subculture. Fashion is an important component of the play with identity. In earlier days it was your gender and your class that determined what you had to wear, and there were strict rules that were not so easy to transgress. These rules now only apply to the Queen. Everyone else stands in front of the wardrobe each morning to determine which clothes match his or her mood: baroque, gothic, sexy, or maybe businesslike today after all? Postmodernism

Thirdly, the term postmodernism as applied to art and culture. A crucial characteristic of postmodernism is the fading distinction between high and low culture. Over the course of the twentieth century the traditional notion of culture has been freed from its connection with elitist art. Scholars nowadays employ a broad notion of culture, based on Raymond Williams’s famous expression ‘culture as a whole way of life’ (1958). Here it concerns a view of culture as a practice within a social and historical context. The rigid distinction between high and low

culture is no longer tenable. In any case, it was always largely based on the controversy between word and image in Western culture, where the word is seen as the expression of the superiority of the mind and the image as expressing emotion and the baser desires of the body. The shift from a textual to a visual culture means the image is no longer viewed in purely negative terms but is valued for all its positive powers and the experiences it evokes. Moreover, ‘high’ culture and ‘low’ culture cannot be unequivocally linked to particular disciplines (read: literature versus television). Every art form has its low cultural expression. Just think of the portraits of the gypsy boy with a tear running down his face or pulp romantic novels. ‘High’ is stepping off its pedestal: haute couture is influenced by street culture. ‘Low’ is upgraded and receives attention in newspaper art supplements or is exhibited in the museum. Advertising photos from Benetton, computer art by Micha Klein and fashion photos by Inez van Lamsweerde have all been shown in Dutch museums.

Démocratisation and commercialisation are also crucial to the discussion of ‘high’ and ‘low’. Increased prosperity and dissemination via the media have brought art and fashion to within almost everyone’s reach. The enormous numbers of visitors to major exhibitions testify to this, as does the ‘festivalisation’ of big cities. Culture is ‘in’ and is eagerly consumed in large quantities. Moreover, commerciality is no longer associated exclusively with low culture; it has penetrated high culture, as can be deduced from the weekly top ten lists for literature, the piles of CDs of music by Bach and Mozart in the local supermarket, Audi’s sponsoring of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, or Karl Lagerfeld’s designs at H&M. Another postmodern feature is inter- textuality, which amounts to the idea that a text always refers to other texts. Every text is a web of quotations, borrowed words and references. This term does not, of course, simply represent a narrow view of text; images likewise ceaselessly refer to each other. Advertising spots refer to videoclips, which borrow from television series, which in their turn quote films, which are themselves based on a novel. And that novel refers again to a play by Shakespeare, and so on and so on. It’s an endless game. Madonna’s video clip ‘Material Girl’ refers for example to Marilyn Monroe’s song ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in the film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. In an advertisement forEstee Lauder perfume, the model walks through a digital field of flowers that is identical to the one Madonna walks through in hervideoclip ‘Love Profusion’. Nicole Kidman, in the commercial for Chanel No. 5, does a perfect repeat of her role in ‘Moulin Rouge’. Some directors, such as Baz Luhr- man or Quentin Tarantino, have made inter- textuality their trademark. A large part of the visual pleasure in contemporary culture is based on recognition: the more references you can place, the more clever you feel as viewer. Some theorists, such as Frederic Jameson, call the postmodern form of intertextuality a ‘pastiche’. A pastiche is a textual or visual quotation which merely repeats; sheer quoting is the name of the game.

The reference has no deeper meaning because all historical connections are abandoned. This can also be found in fashion. If you look at a John Galliano creation you can recognise myriad quotations: from other cultures (ethnic prints), from other times (nineteenth century silhouette), from street culture (‘bag lady’ with shopping cart and plastic bags) and even from the circus (clown-like make-up). Everything is thrown into a big pile while elements are wrenched from their historical time and geographical context. A term often used in this connection is ‘bricolage’, which literally means making do. We’ve become a ‘cut & paste’ culture, where everyone can tinker about and scramble together their clothes and even their identity. Postmodern culture is thus characterised by pastiche and bricolage. It’s not always an easy matter to indicate the significance of this cultural phenomenon, but it does make fashion playful and flexible, without it being compelled into an overruling ‘Grand Narrative’. A final characteristic of postmodernism that I would like to discuss is the transition from representation to simulation. We have already seen that postmodern pastiche – quoting, borrowing and referring – does not necessarily have any deeper meaning. This is because postmodern culture no longer represents, but simulates. This process is dependent upon the role of media technology. 1963 Amsterdam (NED)

In 2003 the magazine American Photo put together a list of the 25 best photographers in the world. That list contained one Dutch name: Inez van Lamsweerde. Both an artist and a fashion photographer, she has ignored the dividing line between art, fashion and commercial work from the very beginning. And successfully. Her work is shown in many glossies such as The Face, Vogue and Arena Homme Plus (editorials and advertising campaigns) as well as in international museums and galleries. Her signature is clearly recognisable in both areas. Inez van Lamsweerde once said in an interview that she was obsessed with beauty. It’s always people she photographs – or recreates, to be precise. Her digitally altered creatures are alienating. Too smooth, too clone-like, too impersonal to be fully human. She often bases her work on ideal female images from the mass media and the body culture in connection with gene technology, surgery and bodybuilding, the manipulation of the body, identity and sex. In the series ‘Final Fantasy’ (1993) three-year-old girls posed coquettishly in satin underwear but with the mouths of adult men superimposed on their faces.

The cloyingly sweet eroticised tot turns out to be a child demon. The series ‘The Forest’ V\995′) shows mWd-manneted passwe men vjWV\ women’s hands, and the women in ‘Thank You Thighmaster’ (1993) are really mutants who resemble mannequins, without body hair and with a neutral skin surface where nipples and genitals are supposed to be. The camera doesn’t lie? You certainly hope it does. Many models in Van Lamsweerde’s fashion photos are hyperstylised, exaggerated stereotypes, perfectly beautiful, without irregularities and without individual features. They move in a hyperrealistic setting in which the whole effect sometimes suggests the work of Guy Bourdin (for example, see the series ‘Invisible Words’ in Blvd 2,1994). But her oeuvre is more versatile than that of the old master, so it is also less likely to be related to a certain time period. Inez van Lamsweerde graduated from Amsterdam’s Rietveld Academy in 1990.

That same year she got her first photography assignment, the results of which appeared in Modus. In 1992 she received the Dutch Photography Prize as well as the European Kodak Prize (gold in the categories Fashion and People/Portraits). Since the early nineties she has been working almost entirely with her husband, Vinoodh Matadin. Today Van Lamsweerde and Matadin live and work chiefly in New York. The most recent developments in their work suggest a preference for less reconstructed photographs. In 2002 they took nine black-and-white photos of the members of the theatre group ‘Mug met de Gouden Tand’ (Mosquito with the Gold Tooth). In 2003 they produced a nude calendar for Vogue. All without digital effects. Literature:

Hainley. Bruce. ‘Inez van Lamsweerde’, Art- Forum, October 2004. Inez van Lamsweerde ‘Photographs’.Deichtor- hallen Hamburg: Schirmer/Mosel. 1999. Jonkers. Gert. ‘Inez en Vinoodh’, Volkskrant Magazine, 22 February 2003. Kauw op het lijf. Rotterdam: Nederlands Foto Instituut. 1998. Schutte, Xandra. ‘Perverse onschuld’, De Groene Amsterdamer, 10 September 1997. Terreehorst. Pauline. Modus: Over mensen mode en het leven. Amsterdam: De Balie. 1990. Illustration:

Inez van Lamsweerde. Devorah and Mienke. 1993

In the old conception of art, with Plato or Kant for example, a work of art refers to something deeper or higher beyond reality. Every work of art is unique and hence irreplaceable. As early as the 1930s Walter Benjamin argued that the role of the work of art was changing because of reproductive technologies. With the invention of photography and film (and later television and the Internet), any image can be reproduced infinitely. A copy of Rembrandt’s ‘The Night- watch’ always remains a copy of a famous, original painting, whereas a copy of Man Ray’s photograph of Kiki as a violin has no original. In the age of mechanical reproduction the distinction between original and copy therefore disappears, and with it what Benjamin calls art’s ‘aura’, namely that which makes a work of art unique and original.

For fashion, reproductive technology initially meant an enormous stimulus, since images of designs could be disseminated via the mediums of magazines and television. But in fashion, too, the copy has now overtaken the original design. A day after the fashion shows in Paris or Milan, the photos are already on the Internet and six weeks later H&M can sell replicas in their shops. In Pop Art, Andy Warhol played with the idea of the copy by producing silk-screened images of cans of Campbell soup or icons like Marilyn Monroe. Another example of the loss of aura is the disappointment all of us may feel when visiting Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ or Vermeer’s ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ in the museum. We’ve already seen so many reproductions in books, films, on mugs, towels, with moustache and beard, or as a doll, that the original is hardly a match for these. Only if you actually succeed in experiencing the painting in the silence of the museum (but can you ever with all those tourists around you?), you may still find the original aura. In the seventies, Jean Baudrillard went a step further than Benjamin by claiming that not only art but also reality is changing under the onslaught of the media. He argues that the ubiquity of the media turns reality into a simulacrum, a copy of a copy. The simulacrum abolishes the difference between ‘being’ and ‘appearing’.

Think of someone pretending to be sick – this person actually starts to display signs of sickness, so that it is no longer clear what is real and what is fake. It’s the same with postmodernism: our culture is so thoroughly ‘medialised’ that our experience is determined by the media. Media do not reflect reality, but construct it. Or to put it differently: media do not represent reality, but simulate it. We all know this phenomenon from our own experience. When we’re on holiday in Greece, for example, we exclaim that the sea is as blue as on the postcard. Our experience is determined by an image, in this case the postcard. If we’re on safari in Kenya, it seems as though we’ve landed in a National Geographic TV programme. And when we say to our beloved ‘I love you’ we can’t help feeling we’re acting in a soap. Umberto Eco therefore says that we are assuming a permanent ironic attitude in postmodern times. We can no longer innocently say ‘I love you’, because we’ve already seen and heard it a hundred thousand times on TV.

The words have lost their meaning as well as their authenticity. But what we can do, according to Eco, is say it with irony: ‘As Ridge in “The Bold and the Beautiful” would say, I love you’. While reality shows on television try to simulate life as much as possible, life itself has become one big reality show, in which being and appearance can no longer be separated. In art and in fashion we can see a longing for authenticity, as a nostalgic reaction to the culture of simulacra. People want something ‘real’ again in a postmodern culture in which the dividing line between real and unreal has become wafer-thin. The question, however, is whether such authenticity is still possible. Such is the power of the simulacrum that the media have created. Now that I have given an outline of postmodernism as a frame within which fashion functions, it is time to look more closely at instruments that can be used to analyse images. These analytical methods all come from poststructuralism, the theory underlying postmodernism. II

Analysis
The semiotic sign

Poststructuralism was informed in the sixties by semiotics, psychoanalysis and Marxism. Poststructuralism is also referred to as ‘the linguistic turn’, since language formed the model for the development of these theories. De Saussure’s writings on semiotics helped to develop a structuralist analysis of the ‘grammar’ of any system, whether a myth, advertisement, film, fashion or novel, as in the work of the anthropologist Lévi-Strauss, the early Barthes or the film semiotician Metz (Sim 1998). The central idea that language is paradigmatic for meaning is followed by virtually all postmodern philosophers. According to the psychoanalytical theories of Lacan, even the unconscious is structured like a language. Although some philosophers pointed out that language and signification are fundamentally unstable, as in the deconstructionism of Derrida, or in Lyotard’s postmodern loss of ‘Grand Narratives’, text remains the central focus in poststructuralism. Everything in fact is interpreted as ‘text’, including image, music or fashion. While semiotics initially concentrated on literature, scholars soon started focussing on the field of popular culture, such as architecture, fashion, music, sport, women’s magazines or the video clip – to mention a few examples at random. Semiotics is the theory of ‘signs’ (from the Greek ‘semeion’, meaning sign). A sign is the smallest element that carries a meaning. Language is the system of signs that we are most familiar with, but traffic signs or, as Barthes has shown, fashion are also sign systems.

A sign consists of a signifier (in French, signifiant), the material carrier of meaning, and the signified (in French, signifié), the content to which reference is made. The letters and sound of the word ‘dress’ form the signifiers, which refer to the content of a concrete dress. Signifier and signified, form and content, together create meaning. The relationship between signifier and signified is almost always arbitrary; there is, after all, no reason why something is called a dress in English, a ‘jurk’ in Dutch, and a ‘japon’ in French. A sign always refers to something in reality. The first meaning of a sign is denotative; it is the meaningyou can look up in the dictionary. But things seldom have just one meaning; most signs have many secondary meanings. These are called connotations. In that case, the denotative sign, the signifier and the signified form a new entity, a new signifier for a new connotative sign, as in the following diagram: SIGNIFIER| SIGNIFIED| CONNOTATION|

SIGNIFIER| SIGNIFIER| DENOTATION|
A well-known example is the red rose. At the denotative level it is simply a flower with leaves and thorns. In order to become a sign of love, the denotative meaning of the flower must become in its turn a signifier. The sign then forms the basis for a connotative, second meaning: love. Why? Because it is agreed upon in our culture that the rose, especially the red rose, symbolises love. An Amnesty International poster adds a third meaning to this well-known symbol by surrounding the thorns with barbed wire and placing the words ‘violence ceases where love begins’ halfway up the stem. The flower thus becomes a symbol of love and non-violence, while the thorns stand for violence. (Please read the table from the bottom up). SIGNIFIER: red rose as love| SIGNIFIED: thorns with barbed wire love| SECOND CONNOTATION: love is the reverse of violence| SIGNIFIER: red rose| SIGNIFIER: red rose| FIRSTCONNOTATION: My love for you| SIGNIFIER:rose| SIGNIFIER: Flower with thorns and leaves| DENOTATION: Flower of the species Rosa| The multimedia image is an extremely complicated sign and can convey meaning in many ways. A still image, such as a fashion or advertising photograph, has the following signifiers: * perspective (camera position: angle, distance)

* framing
* photographic aspects such as exposure, rough grain, colour or black and white * composition or ‘mise-en-scene’ of what is depicted: setting, costume, make-up, attitude and actions of the model, etc. * text: caption or legend

A moving image, such as film, television commercials, video clip or fashion show, has, all of the above aspects, plus even more signifiers: * movement of the models or actors; choreography
* camera movement (pan, tilt, dolly, tracking)
* editing
* sound (dialogue, added sounds like creaking door)
* music

Any analysis requires us to briefly check all these elements, since they influence the meaning. Only then can you determine the denotation and the connotations. A close- up has a different effect than a long shot. Camera movements direct the viewer’s gaze. Quick editing evokes tension. Music creates atmosphere, as does lighting. This type of formal analysis soon reveals that the image is never simply a copy or a reflection of reality, even though what the camera records is real. Yet so many technological and aesthetic choices enter into the registration that reality is always moulded and constructed. The aim of analysis is to make this construction transparent. Digital images

A formal analysis can be deepened even further by using the semiotics of C.S. Peirce, an American who developed his theories at the same time in the early twentieth century as De Saussure in Switzerland, without their being aware of each other. Peirce’s semiotics is used more often for analysing images because he focuses less on text than De Saussure does. Peirce argues that there are three sorts of relationships between the signifier and the signified: iconic, indexical and symbolic. An iconic relationship means that there is a similarity or resemblance between the signifier and the signified. An example of an iconic relationship is the portrait: the image (the signifier) resembles that which is portrayed (the signified). An indexical relationship presumes an actual connection between signifier and
signified. A classic example is smoke as the signifier of fire, or the footprint in the sand as the signifier of the presence of a man on an ‘uninhabited’ island.

The symbolic relationship corresponds to what De Saussure calls the arbitrary relation between signifier and signified: the red rose is a convention, based on an agreement. Yet this remains a moot point, because the rose has an iconic relation to the female sex organ. It is this resemblance that has probably led to the rose becoming a symbol for love. All three relationships apply to the mechanically reproducible image, like the photograph or film. An image is always iconic since that which is depicted shows a resemblance to the signifiers: every photograph is a portrait of a person or an object. Something that is photographed or filmed is also always indexical: there is a facturelationship, since the camera records reality-with the camera you prove that you’ve been somewhere (‘I was here’; the visual proof that tourists bring home as their trophy). Finally, the image, like language, has symbolic meanings, which are created through an interplay of the many audiovisual signifiers mentioned above. Digital technology has put the indexi- cal relation under strain, because we can no longer know with certainty whether an image is analogue, and thus standing in a factual relation to reality, or digital, made in the computer without an existential relation to reality.

Digital images thus create confusion. In semiotic terms: they maintain the iconic relation, for they look just like photographs and display a similarity between signifier and signified. But digital images are no longer indexical. This is what happens in Diesel’s ‘Save Yourself’ photo series. We see tiny models who look like people (iconic relation), but all the same seem unreal. Their skin is too smooth, the postures too rigid, the eyes too glassy. We suspect soon enough that the image has been digitally manipulated, which disturbs the indexical relation – these are not actual shots of real people. The tension between the iconic and the indexical relationship draws attention to the tension between real and unreal. And this creates a symbolic meaning. Together with the text, the photographs comment ironically on our culture’s obsession with remaining foreveryoung. Sometimes the digital manipulation is immediately clear, as in this picture of Kate Moss as a cyborg: a cybernetic organism. Because this is clearly an impossible image of a half human / half machine figure, we don’t get confused about the indexical status of the photograph.

Its symbolic meaning is immediately apparent, which here too represents a comment on the artificial ideal of beauty. It is typical of digital photography to create images of people that are like cyborgs, since many art and fashion photographs in today’s visual culture explore the fluid borders between man, machine and mannequin. Looking and being looked at I: the voyeuristic gaze

Fashion is deeply involved with eroticism and sexuality. To analyse this we can turn to psychoanalysis, which determines how we shape our desires. The most classic model for desire is the Oedipus complex, which regulates how the child focuses its love of the parent onto the other sex and projects feelings of rivalry onto the parent of the same sex. This is more complicated for girls because they at first experience love for the mother and later have to convert this into love for the father, while the boy can continue his love for the mother without interruption.

The Oedipus complex is particularly applicable in stories, in both literature and film, but in the fashion world it actually plays no crucial role, and so I won’t be going into it any further here. More relevant to fashion is the eroticism of looking. According to Freud, any desire or sexuality begins with looking, or what he calls scopophilia (literally the love of looking). The desiring gaze often leads to touch and ultimately to sexual activities. Although it has a rather dirty sound to it, scopophilia is a quite ordinary part of the sexual drive. Film theorists were quick to claim that the medium of cinema is in fact based on scopophilia: in the darkness of the movie theatre we are voyeurs permitted to look at the screen for as long as we like. There is always something erotic in watching films, in contrast to television which does not offer the same voyeuristic conditions since the light is on in the living room, the screen is much smaller and there are all sorts of distractions.

Laura Mulvey (1975) was the first theorist to draw attention to the vital role of gender in visual pleasure. The active and passive side of scopophilia (voyeurism and exhibitionism respectively) are relegated to strict roles of men and women. As John Berger, in his famous book Ways of Seeing, had already argued, ‘men act and women appear’, or rather, men look and women are looked at. According to Mulvey, this works as follows in classical cinema. The male character is watching a woman, with the camera filming what the man sees (a so- called ‘point of view shot’). The spectator in the movie theatre thus looks at the woman through the eyes of the male character. The female body is moreover ‘cut up’ into fragments by framing and editing: a piece of leg, a breast, the buttocks or the face. The female body is thus depicted in a fragmented way. We can therefore say that there’s a threefold gaze that collapses into each other: the male character, the camera and the spectator. Mulvey argues that the film spectator always adopts a structurally male position. It is important to realise that the filmic means, such as camera operation, framing, editing and often music as well, objectify the woman’s body into a spectacle. In Mulvey’s words, the woman is signified as ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’. At the same time the filmic means privilege the male character so that he can actively look, speak and act. Mulvey takes her analysis even further

with the help of psychoanalysis. The voyeuristic gaze upon the female body arouses desire and therefore creates tension for both the male character and the spectator. Moreover, the woman’s body is disturbing because of its intrinsic difference from the male body. Freud would say the female body is ‘castrated’, but we can put it somewhat more neutrally: the female body is ‘different’. In a society dominated by men, women are the sign of sexual difference. In most cultures, it is (still?) the case that the woman-as-other, namely as other than man, endows sexual difference with meaning. Otherness, strangeness, difference always instils fear. The otherness of women incites fear in men at an unconscious level and this fear needs to be exorcised through culture, in film or art.

According to Mulvey, this happens in cinematic stories in two ways. Firstly, through sadism where the female body is controlled and inserted into the social order. Sadism mainly accompanies a story and acquires form in the narrative structure. The erotic gaze frequently results in violence or rape. Nor is it accidental that in the classic Hollywood film the femme fatale is killed off at the end of the movie. No happy end for any woman who is sexually active. Only in the nineties is she allowed to live on at the end, like Catherine Trammell in ‘Basic Instinct’, or in television series like ‘Sex and the City’. The second way of exorcising the fear evoked by the female body is through fetishism. In that case the female star is turned into an image of perfect beauty that diverts attention from her difference, her otherness. The camera fetishises the woman’s body by lingering endlessly on the spectacle of female beauty. At such moments the film narrative comes momentarily to a hold. Although Mulvey’s analysis dates from the seventies, her insights are still of considerable relevance for fashion today. The spectacle of fashion shows is almost totally constructed around looking at fetishised female bodies. Models have taken the place of film stars as the fetishised image of perfected femininity.

Many fashion reportages make use in one way or another of the sexu- alised play of looking and being looked at. However, some things have changed since the time of Mulvey’s analysis. Feminist criticism has indeed counteracted women’s passivity in recent decades, and now we often see a more active and playful role for the female model. Not only is the woman less passive, but both fashion and other popular visual genres such as video clips have turned the male body into the object of the voyeuristic gaze. Now the male body too is being fragmented, objectified and eroticised. This is happening not only in fashion reportages but also on the catwalk. It may be interesting for students of fashion to take a closer look at how the male body is visualised, how passive or active the male model is, and how the gaze is supported by filmic or other means. Ethnicity also plays a role in the game of looking and being looked at. Stuart Hall (1997) and Jan Nederveen Pieterse (1992) have produced an extensive historical analysis of the way that coloured and black people are depicted in Western culture.

Stereotypes are abundant, as in the image of the exotic black woman as Venus or the black man as sexually threatening. There are still very few black models in the fashion world. Again, it may be useful for students of fashion to analyse how ethnicity is visualised because of this long history of stereotyping. Does exoticising the model, for example, emphasise ethnicity? Or does it involve an actual denial of ethnic difference? This happens for example in fashion photos of Naomi Campbell with straight golden hair, or wearing blue contact lenses. Here, the black model has to conform to the white norm of ideal beauty. Looking and being looked at II: the narcissistic gaze So far I have been talking about looking at the other, but psychoanalysis also has something to say about looking at yourself. As a baby you are hardly conscious of yourself, because that self, or in psychoanalytical terminology the ego, still has to be constructed.

A primary moment in ego formation is what Jacques Lacan has called the mirror phase. A second important moment is the aforementioned Oedipus complex in which language plays a major role. The mirror phase, however, precedes language and takes place in the Imaginary, the realm of images. When you’re between six and eighteen months, and so still a baby, you’re usually held in your mother’s arms in front of the mirror. In identifying with its mirror image, the child learns to recognise itself in the mirror and to distinguish itself from the mother. This identification is important for the construction of the child’s own identity. For Lacan, it is crucial that this identification is based on the mirror image. He argues that the mirror image is always an idealisation, because the child projects an ideal image of itself. In the mirror the child sees itself as a unity, while it still experiences its own body as a formless mass with no control over its limbs. The recognition of the self in the mirror image is in fact a ‘misrecognition’. The child is actually identifying with the image of itself as other, namely as a more ideal self that he or she hopes to become in the future. Just check how you look at yourself in the mirror at home: in fact you always look at yourself through the eyes of the other.

According to Lacan, this is in a certain sense man’s tragedy: we build our identity on an ideal image that we can never live up to. In his eyes, then, we are always doomed to failure at an existential level. We can take the mirror very literally (it is striking how often mirrors feature in films, videoclips, advertisements and fashion photos), but we can also interpret the process more metaphorically. For instance, the child sees an ideal image of itself reflected in the eyes of its adoring parents who put him or her on a pedestal: for your parents you’re always the most beautiful child in the world. And rightly so. When we’re older we see that ideal image reflected in the eyes of our beloved. We need that ideal image in order to be able to form and sustain our ego. It’s a healthy narcissistic gaze that is necessary for our identity. That ego is never ‘finished’, however; it has to be nurtured and shaped time and time again. And this is helped by internalising ideal images. The analysis of the mirror phase has been applied to many phenomena within visual culture.

The film hero or heroine functions as the ideal image with which we identify ourselves. In the fashion world it’s the models. In fact you could designate visual culture as a whole in this way: pop stars, models and actors all offer us opportunities for identifying with ideal images. Fan culture is largely based on this narcissistic identification. There’s another side to it, of course. In a culture in which youth, fitness and beauty are becoming more and more important, the ideal image becomes ever more unattainable. Many people are no longer able to recognise themselves in that prescribed ideal image and are extremely dissatisfied with their appearance. That then leads to frustration and drastic measures like plastic surgery, or to ailments like anorexia and bulimia. In that case the narcissistic gaze in the mirror falls short of expectations. Looking and being looked at III: the panoptical gaze

So far we have mainly been concerned with analysing the desiring gaze: the voyeuristic look at the other (the desire to ‘possess’ the other) and the narcissistic look at oneself (the desire to ‘be’ the other). It is also possible to make a more sociological analysis of the play of looks in society. This brings us to the historian Michel Foucault, who has made a thorough analysis of how power works. Instead of seeing power as something that the one has and the other lacks, he argues that in modern culture power circulates in a continual play of negotiation, conflict and confrontation, resistance and contradictions.

Changes regarding power are reflected in language. Whereas you were a victim in earlier days, now you’re an expert of experience. In this way you give yourself a certain power, namely the power of experience, even if that experience is unpleasant. One way of shaping power in our modern culture is by means of surveillance, or what Foucault calls the ‘panoptical’ gaze. He derived this from the architecture of eighteenth-century prisons which had a central tower in a circular building with cells. A central authority, out of sight within the tower, could observe every prisoner in every cell. The prisoners were also unable to see each other.

The panoptical gaze means that a large group of people can be put under constant guard and scrutiny, while they cannot look back. In this way, says Foucault, they are disciplined to behave properly. Today the role of surveillance and monitoring has been taken over by cameras. Everyone knows there are security cameras ‘guarding our and your property’ in the street, in stations and supermarkets, in buses and trams and in museums. The knowledge that we are constantly and everywhere being watched by an anonymous technology perhaps gives us a feeling of security (or the illusion of security). What is more important is that the panoptical gaze disciplines us to be orderly citizens. A large degree of discipline emanates from constant observation. Just as with Lacan’s mirror phase, we can interpret the panoptical gaze more metaphorically. It is not only security cameras that are creating a panopticum, but also the ubiquitousness of media such as television and the Internet. Crime watch programmes show us images from surveillance videos in order to catch ‘villains’, while reality programmes reveal how our fellow citizens commit traffic offences.

Satellites orbiting in space keep a permanent eye on us. Mobile telephones are normally equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) and always know where we are to be found. When I was on holiday in Italy, my mobile phone sent me messages like ‘you are now in Pisa, where you can visit the Leaning Tower’ or ‘you are now in Piazza Signoria in Florence; did you know that Michelangelo’s David…’ and so on. For a moment I was that little girl again who knows that God is always watching over her. But divine omnipresence has now been replaced by an anonymous, panoptical gaze. Our surfing behaviour on the Internet and our purchasing behaviour in the supermarket are registered in the same way. We can bring these three ways of seeing together. With the voyeuristic gaze we discipline the other; we all know that secret look which we use to approve or disapprove of someone at a glance. With the narcissistic gaze we discipline ourselves, through the wish to fulfil an ideal image. By internalising the panoptical gaze we discipline our social behaviour, as well as our bodies.

Fashion plays an important role in this complicated play of gazes. You only have to wander around any school playground or look around you in the street to realise how fashion determines whether someone belongs or not, what the ideal images are, and how groups keep an eye on each other, disciplining each other as to ‘correct’ clothing. Through clothing I can make myself sexually attractive for the voyeuristic gaze of the other. Or I can subject the other to my voyeuristic gaze if I find their body and clothes attractive. I can use clothing to construct my own identity and emanate a particular ideal image. But fashion is more than just clothing. Fashion also dictates a specific ideal of beauty. That beauty myth determines how we discipline our bodies, for example by subjecting them to diets, fitness, beauty treatments such as waxing, depilation, bleaching and even to plastic surgery. In short, fashion ultimately affects the body too. We see an example of that in the digital photo series ‘Electrum corpus’ by Christophe Luxerau, which shows us how fashion is literally engraved on the skin: the logo has become our skin. Bibliography

On postmodernism:
Baudrillard,Jean.5/w«/ai/ow5. New York: Semiotext(e), 1983. Braembussche, A.A. van den. Denken over kunst:Een inleiding in dekunstfilosofie. 3rd, revised ed. Bussum: Coutinho, 2000. Docherty, Thomas, ed .Postmodernism: A reader. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, or the cultural logic of late capitalism. London: Verso, 1991 Lyotard, Jacques. The postmodern condition. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984. Sim, Stuart, ed. The icon critical dictionary of postmodern thought. Cambridge: Icon Books, 1998. Smelik, Anneke. ‘Carrousel der seksen; gender benders in videoclips’, in Een beeid van een vrouw. De visualisering van het vrouwelijke in een postmoderne cultuur, edited by R. Braidotti, 19-49. Kämpen: Kok Agora, 1993. English version can be downloaded fromwww.annekesmelik.nl (>publications > articles). Woods, Tim. Beginning postmodernism. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999. On culture and cultural studies:

Baetens, Jan and Ginette Verstraete, eds. Cultural studies:Een inleiding. Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2002. Cavallaro, Dani. Critical & cultural theory. London: Athlone Press, 2001. During, Simon, ed. The cultural studies reader. London: Routledge, 1993. Grossberg, Lawrence, Cary Nelson, Paula Treichler, eds.

Cultural studies. Routledge: New York, 1992.
Smelik, Anneke. ‘Met de ogen wijd dicht. De visuele wending in de cultuurwetenschap’, in Cultuurwetenschappen in Nederland en Belgie. Een staalkaart voor de toekomst, edited by Sophie Levie and Edwin van Meerkerk. Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2005. Storey, John, ed. What is cultural studies? A reader. London: Arnold, 1996. Williams, Raymond. Culture and society: 1780-1950. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1958. On visual culture:

Benjamin, Walter. ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’, reprinted in Illuminations, 217-251. New York: Schocken Books, 1968 (1935).

Berger, John. Ways of seeing. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972. Foucault, Michel. ‘Panopticism’, in Discipline & punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage Books, 1979 (1975). Hall, Stuart. Representation. London, Sage, 1997. Mirzoeff, Nicholas. The visual culture reader. London: Routledge, 1999. Mitchell, William. Picture theory: Essays on verbal and visual representation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. Mitchell, William. The reconfigured eye: Visual truth in the post photographic era. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001 (1992). Peters, Jan Marie. Het beeid: Bouwstenen voor een algemene iconologie. Antwerpen: Hadewijch, 1996. Smelik, Anneke, with R. Buikema and M. Meijer.

Effectief beeldvormen: Theorie, praktijk en analyse van beeldvormingsprocessen. Assen: van Gorcum, 1999. (out of print: the book can be downloaded from www.annekesmelik.nl (> publications > books) Smelik, Anneke. ‘Zwemmen in het asfalt. Het behagen in de visuele cultuur’, Tijdschrift voor communicatiewetenschap 32, no. 3 (2004): 292-304. The essay can be downloaded from www.annekesmelik.nl (> publications > books > oratie) Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of looking: An introduction to visual culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. On visual culture and gender:

Carson, Diane, Linda Dittmar, and Janice R. Welsch,
eds. Multiple voices in feministfilm criticism. London and Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994- Carson, Fiona and Claire Pajaczkowska.Fem/m’si visual culture. London: Routledge, 2001.

Easthope, Anthony. What a man’s gotta do: The masculine myth in popular culture. London: Paladin, 1986. Mulvey, Laura. ‘Visual pleasure and narrative cinema’, in Visual and other pleasures, 14-26. London: Macmillan, 1989(1975). Neale, Steve. ‘Masculinity as spectacle’, Screen 24, no. 6 (1983): 2-16. Simpson, Mark. Male impersonators: Men performing masculinity. London: Cassell, 1993. Smelik, Anneke. And the mirror cracked:Feminist cinema and film theory. London: Palgrave: 1998 Smelik, Anneke. ‘Feminist film theory’, in The cinema book, 2nd ed., edited by Pam Cook and Mieke Bernink, 353-365. London: British Film Institute Publishing, 1999. The essay can be downloaded from www.annekesmelik.nl (> publications > articles) On visual culture and ethnicity:

Dyer, Richard. White. London: Routledge, 1997.
Gaines, Jane. ‘White privilege and looking relations: race and gender in feminist film theory’, Screen 29, no. 4 (1988): 12-27 hooks, bell. Black looks: Race and representation. Boston: South End Press, 1992.

Nederveen Pieterse,Jan. White on black: Images of blacks and Africa in Western popular culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. Ross, Karen. Black and white media: Black images in popular film and television. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996. Shohat, Ella and Robert Stam. UnthinkingEurocentrism:

Multiculturalism and the media. London: Routledge, 1994. Williams, P. and L. Chrisman, eds. Colonial discourse and post colonial theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. Young, Lola. Fear of the dark. ’Race’, gender and sexuality in the cinema. London: Routledge, 1996. On new media:

Bolter, Jay and Robert Grusin. Remediation: Understanding new media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999. Castells, Manuel. The rise of the network society. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996. Cartwright, Lisa. ‘Film and the digital in visual studies. Film studies in the era of convergence’, Journal of visual culture 1, no. 1 (2002): 7-23. Manovich, Lev. The language of new media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001. Mul, Jos de. Cyberspace odyssee. Kampen: Klement, 2002. Rodowick, David. Reading the figurai, or, philosophy after the new media. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.

Simons, Jan. Interface en cyberspace: Inleiding in de nieuwe media. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2002. On identity:
Freud, Sigmund. Three essays on the theory of sexuality.
New York: Basic Books, 1962 (1905).
Freud, Sigmund. ‘Female sexuality’, in Sexuality and the psychology of love.
New York: Macmillan, 1963 (1931). Lacan, Jacques. ‘The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience’, in Écrits. A selection, 1-7. New York: Norton, 1977 (1949)- Barthes, Roland. Le système de la mode. Paris: Seuil, 1967 R. Barthes & M. Ward, Thefashion system. Berkeley [etc.] (University of California Press) 1990 Bruzzi, Stella and Pamela Church Gibson. Fashion cultures: Theories, explanations, and analysis. London: Routledge, 2000. Klein, Naomi. No logo. London: Flamingo, 2001.

Proposal for Fashion Industry

Age:
The consumer club of Espire company would like to know how customer spend their money every day. Many customers complain that they do not have enough money at the end of the month. The purpose of this questionnaire is to find out the inequity of our customer. It will determine where they go to shopping, How much they spend on items they buy, is the product is affordable and etc. The data will be kept confidential. Please return completed questionnaire to your introduce or put it in the envelope in front of room g15. Indicate your feeling about the following items by ticking ( / ) on the appropriate line.

1. What is your work status?
Student
Working
Self-employed
0thers, please specify __________
2.What is your annual spending on designer and fashion accessories in a year? Less than RM100
RM100-RM400
RM401-RM900
RM901-RM1500
More than RM1500
3.Do you think our products are affordable to buy?
Yes
No
4. How important are the following features of a shopping experience to you? Important Unimportant Price

On-Trend
Brand
Convenient Location
Store Atmosphere
Product Quality

5. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement. Agree Disagree Espire has low prices

Espire has a contemporary image
Espire has a well known brand name
Espire has a convenient location
Espire produces high quality products
Espire is a trendsetter
Thank you for your cooperation

ESPIRE COMPANY QUESTIONNAIRE  Name: Gender: Age:
The consumer club of Espire company would like to know how customer react on usage of real animal fur .Many customers complain that they don’t encourage the usage of real animal fur in our daily life. Meanwhile the others prefer to use real animal fur in our daily life.The purpose of this questionnaire is to find out which type of society is majority in this world. It will determine what type of material they use , what items they buy, is the product is worth it and etc. The data will be kept confidential. Please return completed questionnaire to your introduce or put it in the envelope in front of room g15. Indicate your feeling about the following items by ticking ( / ) on the appropriate line.

Yes No
1. I do not use clothes and accessories
made from real animal fur. 2. I change my clothes made
from real animal fur regularly. 3. Clothes and accessories made from
Real animal fur is popular among
Teenagers and adults.

4. Where do you get information about products made from real animal fur? friend magazine tv/radio the internet newspaper other, please specify _________________

5. Please rank the following criteria you use in materials used in fashion industry (1- Most preferred to 5 –lease preferred)
real animal fur
cotton
pvc
price
brand name

Size Zero: The World of Fashion

Recently there has been a lot of debate about whether or not we should ban size-zero models in the fashion industry. Size-zero is the UK equivalent of a size 4, and constitutes a bust-waist-hips ratio of 32″–22″–33″ which are the measurements equivalent to those of a 12-year-old girl. The secret to the appeal of size-zero is in its name – zero. Today, we are regularly being inundated with the appeal of this figure. We have 0% fat, 0% interest, and now even a clothing size. And while some of the younger models around the ages of 14 and 15 who are used on the catwalk are naturally of this size, other older models are not. It is nonetheless the size represented, expected, and conformed to, as the ideal in the world of high fashion.

This is dangerous because the world of fashion has the power to negatively influence the way we perceive our bodies. It can also seriously damage the health of the models themselves. Following the deaths of catwalk models Ana Carolina, and Luisel and Eliana Ramos, size-zero and the social pressure which arises from such a concept, has become an important and controversial topic. There are those that consider models as having a right to treat their bodies as they will, while others believe that their position in the media spotlight confers upon them a certain amount of responsibility with regard to the promotion of an unhealthy physical ideal.

There are many reasons as to why size-zero models are sought after in the fashion industry. Mainly because there exist designers who believe that their clothes will appear to their best advantage on smaller frames. In 2007, Madrid Fashion Week banned models with a BMI below 18. A healthy BMI is between 18 and 25. Other cities, including New York, London, and Paris, decided not to follow in Madrid’s footsteps, fearing a negative backlash from fashion houses. Indeed, the response of designers is one of the difficulties facing a ban on size-zero models.

The banning of size-zero would involve a health check for models, and the question has been raised as to whether or not this would constitute an invasion of privacy. The British Fashion Council (BFC) rejected compulsory health checks for models as it feared not only the reaction of designers, but also that of top models themselves, anticipating that they would then seek jobs in other countries which do not enforce this rule. However, what the BFC has done is to commission an inquiry into the health of models on London’s catwalks. This includes ensuring the wide-spread dissemination of information about eating disorders and ensuring that those who suffer from them know how to get help if they need it.

Leading the proposition for the upcoming DUS debate is Katie Green, who has modelled for major lingerie bands Wonderbra and Ultimo, and is a strong advocate against size-zero. She has previously argued that “real” women should be represented in fashion campaigns. The 23 year old is passionate about her campaign, as she understands the pressure to be thin from first-hand experience. Green, at 5′10″, and a healthy size 12, was told to lose two stone in order to slim down to a size 8–10. Extreme measures such as banning carbohydrates after 4 pm were imposed. Green admits to starving herself, dropping 8 lbs in a single week in a bid to comply with the stringent requirements set forward by her modelling agency. She is currently making a case for a BMI check for fashion models in order to cut down on the number of underweight and unhealthy girls on the catwalk, who, in the words of former MP Lembit Öpik who is assisting her in the fight against size-zero, risk “permanent health damage”.

Joining Katie is Elini Renton, Director of Leni’s Model Management, which aims to promote a healthy image for women. Renton opposes size-zero because she believes that it can create eating disorders in girls as young as 15, which when continued for a number of years, lead to serious long-term health effects. Instead, she claims that modelling agencies should focus on the importance of correct nutrition and exercise, and provide the resources, such as fitness advice and nutritionists, for its models. This allows the models to maintain their physique through healthy means rather than resorting to starvation in order to gain the size-zero which is considered by some to be the ideal. Renton maintains that there needs to be a body image which is more “attainable and aspirational”.

On the opposition is Ian Marber, also known as the “Food Doctor”, a well-known nutritionist. He is concerned with promoting the health of our bodies as opposed to achieving an aesthetic ideal through unhealthy means. He argues that “we’re a nation obsessed with size”, and that he is often approached by people who aspire to be thin rather than healthy. “If you’re fat you’re seen as unhealthy, and if you’re thin you’re seen as healthy – even though it could be because you have cancer, or you’re malnourished, depressed, stressed or anorexic.” He supports the achievement of a body that does not just appear to be healthy on the outside but is also healthy on the inside.

Joining Marber on the side of the opposition is Susan Ringwood, the director of Beat, a charity which helps people who suffer from eating disorders and their families. She argues against the effect that images of such extreme body types including catwalk models, produces on those with eating disorders. She reasons that, while size-zero models are not a primary cause, the ubiquitous availability of their images lengthens the recovery process of those with eating disorders. Ringwood maintains that eating disorders are not directly caused by fashion models and the size-zero ideal. While she does consider them to be contributing factors, she also argues that there are a number of other causes to consider. These include highly stressful situations such as the loss of a family member, problems at work, at school, or with friends, as well as low self-esteem. Although Susan Ringwood does not stand for the banning of size-zero from the fashion industry altogether, she does make a case for greater diversity in terms of the body types used in the beauty and fashion industry. Ringwood argues that such an increase in the diversity of figures that appear on the catwalk would ensure that regular women are not alienated by seeing images of an unrealistic body type.

The diffusion of images of size-zero models can have a negative impact on a large sector of our society, by persuading women and men that this is the type of body they should, respectively, aim for and desire. On the other hand, it can be argued that models should not be discriminated against due to their figures, and also that a ban on size-zero would be difficult to implement due to the number of designers who prefer their clothes to be seen on this body type. This is an important issue that will be further discussed at the debate on Friday 5th November at 8.30 pm in the Debating Chamber on Palace Green.

Fashion in the 20th century

Fashion is how you present yourself, once said a famous actress. As long as fashion has been in existence, what you wear is literally what you are. High society women wear thousand dollar fashions and one of a kind jewelry designs, while the average Jane wears jeans and a tee shirt. Fashion is a non-verbal communication with the rest of the world, through which you can express your personality, your social status, and your ideas. To choose clothes is to define and describe ourselves. [Lurie , The Language of Clothes, 1981] In all societies clothing is part of the culture. In current western society, pop culture reigns in fashion. All the way from couturiers like the Dior or de la Renta house in expensive boutiques, to designers like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, names we see in department stores like Nordstrom and Meier and Frank.

Clothing has evolved through the ages, and has made most of its artistic leaps in the last century. Women’s fashion has gone from the corset and button up boots to Jennifer Lopez’s infamous and revealing, low-cut Gucci dress. But why has this happened? What brought fashion from where it was in the nineteenth century to where it is now in the twenty-first? Did social changes produce these changes in fashion, or did fashion designers and couturiers change our society’s way of thinking about fashion? This question is almost as unanswerable as, Was it the chicken or the egg? To make a better-educated hypothesis on this question one must understand the history of fashion for the past century and a half. Through that time one must look at the social events and changes occurring and link them to all fashion advances, or retreats.

To begin with, what we now know as couture (literally meaning high quality sewing) has not always been around. Before the mid-19th century all dresses were made by dressmakers, who worked for families as full time staff or in a seamstress shop. They did not have the creative freedom that the couturiers and designers of today take so much for granted. Most of their creations came out of magazine cuttings, or were an idea of the employer. Couture was dull, being shaped to how society expected it to look. Women could not show their ankles, neck, shoulders, etc. By no means did fashion all of a sudden appear in the mid-19th century, in fact there were always trends that were in, but high fashion, like couture, was not put into practice.

This all changed when an English ex-fabric store clerk, named C.F. Worth opened his fashion house in Paris. His ideas of what a fashion house should work like have been the base of what all others that have come after him are like. Worth was the first modern day couturier for one reason; he made things to his liking with an artistic flair. His creations were worn by royalty as well as the rich and famous. By the early 20th century couturiers and designers were no longer thought of as lowly dress makers, but could be someone of high society and have international careers.

As the women’s rights movement was at its peak and women were starting to join the work force, they had less of a need for the occasional dress, which allowed the fashion world much more freedom in women’s fashion. This new freedom led to the flapper dress and other innovations of the first decades in the 20th century. Female couturiers were now appearing more often, like a new comer named Coco Chanel. These women, through out their careers, made clothes that truly gave society’s female population physical and mental freedom. [Milbank, Couture: The great designers, 1985] The thirties, though in turmoil, still produced fashion of creative substance and beauty, even though it was a bit more conservative.

Then, World War Two found couture coming to a screeching halt. Paris, center of the fashion universe was under siege by Nazi Germany.Many couture houses were forced to shut down, and the ones that didn’t have to, were restricted in their creativity by German guidelines. All communications between hostage Paris and the United States were halted. American designers had to make their fashions without the influence of Parisian designs. As well, the U.S. was under wartime restrictions and therefore had to deal with the rationing of cloth, meaning nothing could be overly extravagant. This material rationing, led to fashion that Christian Dior described as what resembled, women soldiers. The war also led to the buying of ready-to-wear products. These garments were not as beautiful as couture, but they were practical and cheaper in wartime. After the war, the new spirit of the people exploded into couture and design as The New Look. The Dior fashion house was known best for this design. Dior explained, We were emerging from a period of war, of uniforms . . . I drew women flowers, soft shoulders,
flowing busts . . . and wide skirts. [Steele, Fifty Years of Fashion, 1997] This fashion thread (no pun intended) continued through the fifties.

Then as the age of the Beatles and hippies was coming into the spotlight, couture began to suffer. What is known as the Youthquake began to envelop popular culture’s views of fashion. The term Youth quake refers to the ideas of wanting to be young looking, and not sophisticated or responsible.The mini skirt became the new fashion craze, and was thought to be the pinnacle of youthful fashions. Before this culture change, teens didn’t really have their own fashion, they just looked like younger versions of their parents, but now that the parents (mostly mothers) wanted to look young, the young looked their age in what they wore.

Then as the hippie movements came along and Vietnam got underway, the mini skirt craze and the young bubble gum look was thought to be too consumer driven. Much of the hippie movement was about anti-United States government, which obviously led to anti-consumerism movements. Many involved in these protests believed that, fashion was a system that Society (sic) imposes on (everyone) restricting our freedom. [Steele,Fifty Years of Fashion, 1997] So, hippies hand made their clothes and many of the popular culture icons and their youth following did the same.

Designers were still in business, but were not as successful as they had been in the previous decades. This occurred because of the at home fashions that took attention away from the consumerism that drove designers money making empires. The designers of the 70s brought about the anti-mini skirt called the midi, which came down past the knee and half way to the ankle. This unflattering design and many of the designs around the beginning of the decade led to an anti-fashion rebellion called Rags which consisted of cheap blue jeans and raggedy shirts. Adding to these rag creations by personally altering them and taking on anti-consumerist hippie ideology [Howell, In Vogue: 75 years of Style, 1991] was making couture and high fashion less and less appealing to the everyday consumer.

Then as fashion entered the eighties, the fashion world began to make clothing to shock all that had come before it. The idea of dress to impress became a pop culture slogan.Businesswomen wanted to dress daringly, so designers and couturiers used striking and bold color, with sharp lines that made the wearer look impressive. The designer drove these fashions with a flourish of shoulder pads, straight lines, and pleated ankle long skirts.

The Nineties brought couture back with a bang. It began to truly flourish again for the simple reason that the famous designers and couturiers names were deeply desired by lovers of high fashion. To own a Prada purse was something to brag about and a Tommy Hilfiger sweater got only better if his name was printed in huge red and blue letters across your chest, screaming TOMMY!

The twenty-first century still has that need of the name but has produced a phenomenon in high fashion, the teenager. Though the high society teenager did occasionally wear couture in the past, they have never been out in such force before. Buying small wardrobes consisting of not only exclusive hand made ball gowns, but hundred dollar pants and blouses as well. High society teenagers and young adults have taken on the sophisticated look of Dior and Chanel. Throughout this turbulent history of the last century, we can see changes in both society and fashion. All of these changes, social and fashion, coincide with each other. For instance, the New Look was a direct effect of World War Two. It came about because of the war, because of the formality of clothing during the war. Another example would be the womens rights movement at the beginning of the century lead to new ideas in freedom, as far as clothing goes. As well, the hippie years were ones of making your own clothing, which was brought about by the non-consumer ideas of the time. The best and best example of this idea was the war time restrictions on cloth and the house arrest that was placed on Paris, brought about the fashion of women soldiers that had to look, work, and act more like men while the men were not at home.

There was however, the idea of the midi in the seventies, which though it didnt do well, was brought about by the designers of the time. Society was totally against the idea of the skirt and clothes like it, showing that the
designer was the only influence in its invention. The designers largely influenced the fashions of the eighties as well.

Modern couture and designer fashion has been a constantly evolving world of length changes, colors, lines, and materials. Each movement moves in and out of regular society and the fashion world. Movements have led to scandalous rising hemlines, which gave way to a depression and war that make dresses into uniforms. The war brought about a New Look with a material wasting falling hemline. Grace and beauty follow, and then the Youthquake shook fashion and society. This eagerness for young fashions brought on resentment for consumerism that led to home made or adjusted clothes. A push for something new, pushed pop culture into Rags and then into a get rich quick, success fashion that was all about consuming. Now the love of the name is what drives high fashion.

So how does one know whether it is fashion or society that changes the other? Honestly, we dont. Culture, especially youth culture, has driven fashion for many years now, or at least it seems that way. In the last few years a type of business called, cool hunting has taken off as the link to a feedback loop that goes from culture and society into fashion and consumer driven businesses. These cool hunters go out into our society and look for what is cool.

They use three main rules in finding these bearers of cool fashion. First rule: The quicker the chase, the quicker the flight. This means that by discovering something cool, cool moves on and something new needs to be found. The second rule says: Cool cannot be manufactured out of thin air. So it must be found somewhere and then put into a mainstream market to be officially cool. And the third rule of cool hunting is: to be cool is to know who is cool. Cool, essentially, only knows cool. (Have I said cool enough?)

But where did these ideas for cool come from? They came directly from designers and couturiers. This may sound like it doesnt make any sense, but if one steps back and takes on a wider view of the situation it becomes
immediately evident. There is an ever-going circle between the world of the fashion consumer and the fashion maker. The fashion maker sees, through cool hunters, who therefore see from society, that a type of fashion is in. The fashion makers make the fashion and market it back to the society who sees it and believe it is cool and then the cool hunters see this in society, and on goes the constant feedback loop. Of course, both society and the designers bring new ideas into fashion all the time, but for the most part these two co-dependent worlds are feeding off each other.

I believe that there is no differentiating between the two, society and fashion, when it comes to which one influenced which. They are constantly changing each other, though there may be some instances where one randomly occurs without the other they are almost always equally changing each other. (PS- I don’t belong to this essay)

The Personality of Luxury Fashion Brands

Charles and Keith is a multinational company that is fashion industry dealing with brand from Singapore. It offers both men’s and women’s fashion collections. Their products include ties, shoes, belts, wallets, sunglasses among others. The company is owned by Charles Wong and his brother Keith Wong. It was founded in 1996 in a place called Amara Shopping Centre in Singapore.

The purpose of this report is to highlight the progress made by Charles and Keith since the day it was founded and its future plans. The report includes analysis of the company, their customers’ profile and the products offered. A comprehensive analysis has been carried out on customers demand using SWOT analysis method. It has revealed strengths such as strong brand name, uniqueness and affordability of the product, weaknesses, and opportunities available to Charles and Keith such as online market and threats. Further, porter’s five forces have also been carried out. Other analysis carried out include STEEPLED and VIRO. It will also provide background information about the company.

Subsequently, the report will mention business strategies of Charles and Keith, its financial planning as well as its management considerations. At the end, the report contains conclusion and recommendations made after carrying out the analysis.

The future of the Charles and Keith looks bright. This is because our estimates highlights that new market will emerge in China whose economy has grown with over 10% in the last five years and Russia. Expenditure on fashion in the word is also expected to increase in the next one year Charles and Keith is a fashionable brand that deals with women’s bags, belts, shoes and sunglasses. It was started in1996 by two brothers; Keith Wong and Charles Wong. The fist store was opened in Amara Shopping centre in Singapore. Charles and Keith is a multinational chain that has more than one hundred and seventy outlets all over the world. The company boast of getting awards like The Enterprise Award for Singapore Business Award in 2008 and Excellent Service Award in 2002.

At a tender age, the two brothers acquired the skills of running business from helping their parents in their shoe store in a place called Ang Mo Kio. Charles opened a shoe store in Amara at the age of twenty two and two years later his brother Keith joined him in 1998. Keith was in charge of designing shoes while brother dealt with sales. To enable them deal with competition, they started buying their stock from China instead of Singapore. They proceeded to open twelve more outlets in major suburban malls and shopping centres in Singapore. It was not until 2000, that they began opening outlets overseas.

Product of Charles and Keith appealed to both local and international customers due to their low prices and uniqueness because they have an in house design. Charles and Keith became a brand for selling women’s and men’s collection in 2007. Their products increased to include bags, ties, wallets, sunglasses and belts for both men and women.

Charles and Keith aims to increase their stores from current 170 to 500 in the next five years. In order to cater for changing taste and preferences of customers, they formed a team of seventy designers. These designers are led by Keith and they come up with new designs and trends every month. Charles and Keith have established themselves as the most preferred brand in fashion industry.

Industry Business Description

           Charles and Keith is in fashion industry. In 2010, the industry was worth over $ 2, 560 trillions. In US alone, over $ 20 billion are spent on fashion every year and it generates revenue of $ 250 billion annually. Men wear is expected to exceed $ 402 billion in 2015 while women wear is expected to exceed $ 621 billion by the same year. Fashion industry continues to grow and new market continues t emerge. An example is China. The economy of China grew by more than 10% in the last five years; this has led to Chinese citizen become interested in luxury goods as symbol of status. This presents a wide market for companies like Charles and Keith.

Charles and Keith produce fashion accessories and footwear. It serves a retain market sector and its three brand names are Charles and Keith, Charles and Keith signature label and Pedro Group Pte Ltd. Two of its products are not sold through wholesale or distribution. Franchisees are used to sell Charles and Keith and Charles and Keith signature label as sales operators all over the world where they have outlets.

Their products are stilettos, exotic pumps, fashionable bags, sunglasses, heels and wallets. The organization of the company is democratic and they have a culture of taking the opinion of all stakeholders on board whenever they make decision. The future plans of Charles and Keith is to expand networks and increase the number of outlets from the current 170 to 500 in five years time.

Conclusion

           From the analysis above, it is clear that the company has a strong name. This gives the company the strength to charge very high prices because their clients put additional value on brand name. The statement “Charles and Keith” has a very positive effect on the success of the company. SWOT analysis shows that Charles and Keith reap high profits because of having cost advantage.

It is observed from the analysis that Charles and Keith has strong management. This helps it unleash its potential and utilize it strength while at the same time eliminating weaknesses. The product of Charles and Keith are unique and as such they are easily distinguished from their competitors. This makes it possible for the company to charge high prices because their products are differentiated.

It is also observed that Charles and Keith lack a scale. This causes the company to have high cost per unit of output. This ends up having a long lasting impact on the company which reduces the value of the company. Lack of scale makes the company have low profit than it should. Five porter’s forces have revealed that the suppliers are less powerful because the company requires a large number of inputs from different suppliers.

It is further discovered that their customers are very powerful they decide the future of the company. Though their products are cherished by many people, the customers’ switching cost is very low which increases their power. Further, Charles and Keith are not threatened by new entrants into the industry because they have unique products and their customers are loyal to them.

Charles and Keith has a good business strategy that helps them penetrate the highly competitive industry. Their strategy involves marching ideal employees to the right job. This gives them an opportunity to realize full potential and to be innovative. It makes them to be highly organized. Their human resources management is competent and hires people from different backgrounds, skills set, ideas and nationality. This makes them have strong job responsibility and serve their customers better.

They also have a strong combination of design and affordability. This means that even in the period of recession the company will continue making huge sales. It has helped the company a great deal by employing multiple strategies in carrying out business. They signed regional distributors and gave franchises licenses. They also signed manufacturing firms. It has young and passionate employees in the teams. Their creativity, passion and their learning spirits make the brand strong.

The companies motivating factor is said to be new business goals that bring change. The company has social responsibility which encourages their staff to have ethical behaviors. The company is backed by DBS, a large bank in Singapore, which give gives the finances to expand their operations. They have an effective finance teams that give them advice on how to carry out their operations in most productive and profitable ways. The management of Charles and Keith has been seen to be democratic. They take views of everyone whenever they are making decisions. When they are developing business, they identify new segments and markets and come up with good strategies to enter while positioning and strengthening their brand.

Recommendations

           Charles and Keith should take full advantage of online markets. They can expand and increase their business at very little expenses. This would bring a positive impact on the company in the long run. It would increase their value and give them a competitive edge over their competitors because online market is defendable easily. The company should continue to support innovation because taste and preferences of their customers keep on changing at a faster rate than the rate at which they bring new products in the market. Innovation and new product would increase their customer base and at the same time increase their business. This brings short term as well as long run positive impact into the company.

With only 170 outlets in the world, Charles and Keith are missing out on large market in the world. They should increase their operations in the international market. This will not only increase revenue but also give them a competitive advantage. This is because once they enter a certain international market before their competitors. They will dominate it and build customer loyalty. They can also use revenue generated in some of their outlets overseas to drive out competitors elsewhere where competition is stiff.

They should also consider transferring their factories to areas where cost of production is low. This can be in terms of cheap labor or cheap raw materials. This will increase their profits and be able to lower prices in order to fight competition. Since they only deal with franchises and distributors, they should form partnerships with other companies. This will create synergy which benefits them. This would also make them enjoy other benefits that they could not have achieved on their own.

The company is facing stiff completion in the industry. I therefore recommend they start acquiring their competitors especially the ones that are in deep financial crises. They can also deal with competition by merging with other companies. Through this Charles and Keith will make huge profits because they will change from being price taker to price setter. Introduction of scales will make the company. The management of Charles and Keith has failed in addressing the issues of availability of threats. This makes the company unable to increase prices because customers will switch to their close substitutes. This is a real threat that if not addressed could bring short term and long term negative effects. This threat can be overcome through aggressive marketing strategies, differentiating products and building strong customer loyalty.

Charles and Keith should have a scale that measures the cost per unit of output. This will enable them to increase the volume of production while at the same time reducing cost. Introducing scale means that the company will start realizing short term positive impacts through value addition otherwise the company will continue operating without maximizing on their resources ad making low profit. The company should increase their advertisement campaign and capitalize on their brand name as we have seen through the above analysis that it is their major strength. Currently the company has three brand names,, it should come up with other brands to tap on other unexploited sectors. This will help them diversify their operations and increase revenue. They should also put their strength in getting new customers since current customers are loyal to their product.

References

Carrara, G. (2009). Exhibition Review: 4 Lines—A Fashion Exhibition + Installation—Diverse Takes On Fashion. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 13(3), 379-386.

González, A. M. (2010). On fashion and fashion discourses. Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, 1(1), 65-85.

Kim, J. E., Kim, H. S., Choi, H. S., & Lee, K. M. (2013). Fashion Market Analysis and Consumer Research for Expansion of Korean Wave Fashion into the Singapore Market. Fashion & Textile Research Journal, 15(5), 797-807.

Melchior, M. R. (2010). “Doing” Danish Fashion: On National Identity and Design Practices of a Small Danish Fashion Company. Fashion Practice The Journal of Design Creative Process & the Fashion Industr, 2(1), 13-40.

Wu, J. (2009). Internationalizing and Industrializing Fashion: Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival (SIFCF) Review. Fashion Practice The Journal of Design Creative Process & the Fashion Industr, 1(2), 259-266.

CHARLES & KEITH Online Store. (n.d.). CHARLES & KEITH Online Store. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.charleskeith.com/SGStore/CK/home

Charles & Keith | Flats | Covered – Ballerina – For Sale Philippines- 13230033. (n.d.). Charles & Keith | Flats | Covered – Ballerina – For Sale Philippines- 13230033. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.sulit.com.ph/index.php/view+classifieds/id/13230033/Charles+%26+Keith+%7C+Flats+%7C+Covered+-+Ballerina

Heine, K. (2010). The Personality of Luxury Fashion Brands. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing , 1(3), 154-163.

Ross, J., & Harradine, R. (2011). Fashion value brands: the relationship between identity and image. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 15(3), 306-325.

Surchi, M. (2011). The temporary store: a new marketing tool for fashion brands. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 15(2), 257-270.

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Study in the path for young fashion designers to achieve a successful online business by creating a good website

Study in the path for young fashion designers to achieve a successful online business by creating a good website

Introduction

            The current competitive business environment calls for organizations and individuals within the fashion industry to adopt and implement realistic communication strategies such as utilization of internet and other internet promotional tools to enhance their success. This study will help to identify prospective customers of the young fashion designers, and what they need to consider when they intend to start up their online business. When these common ingredients been found out, there would be helpful and will be a path for young designers to begin their online business. The intention engaging in internetadvertising is to encourage high numbers of and quicker products and/or services sales within a given period.

Research aim

            Ultimately, the research aim is to investigate the path for young fashion designers to achieve a successful online business by creating a good website. Rather, the aim is to determine how young fashion designers can benefit from a well structure and effective website that constitute all the necessary features. Most important, the research will reach to determine how websites and other social media tools including Facebook are vital to online retailers.

Hypotheses

            Young fashion designers will achieve a successful online business by creating and implementing a good website that incorporate all the necessary features. Rather, there will be increased sales if appropriate internet promotion tools are effectively incorporated in the online business operations.

            The hypotheses here are

1Young fashion designers need to engage with Internet communication to promote their collections and sell their products.

2The advice and guidance offered to the designers needs to be specific for their market.

3This advice can be communicated to these designers through specific guidelines.

Research Questions and Research Objectives

            As evident from above research aim, the primary aim of undertaking this research is to determine the effective path of web designing in improving the success of young fashion designers in the market. Activities that arouse customers to value the products and services within the market are referred to as promotional strategies. These entails use of well structured websites and other internet promotional tools such as email and social media. Organizations and individuals have been for long know to benefit from internet and use of good website due to their potential to reach a wide geographical coverage within a short time hence ensuring convenience to both the business and the customers. Therefore, the primary intention of this research is to discover the impacts of ensuring a good website by the young fashion designers as a way of enhancing customer’s awareness and sales.

Research Objectives

  1. To investigate on the various features that is essential while designing a website and brings to light the implications of such features.
  2. To determine whether a good website have any influence on the on the success of young fashion designers.
  3. To establish the approach in which internet tools of advertising should be executed to ensure successful online business for young fashion designers.

Research questions

  1. What is the importance or significance of a good website for the young fashion designers?
  2. What are the implications of internet and other internet promotional tools in enhancing the success of young fashion designers online business?
  3. What major aspects and features which contribute towards effective website for online business?

Online business and fashion designer background

            Online business refers to the use of information communication technology within business operations. It involves exchange of information, products and services by groups and individuals (Springsteel, 2013). The current growth of the online business presents a good opportunity for fashion designers to utilize in order to attract more global customers and enhance (Granger & Sterling, 2003). This has been identified as a great opportunity especially in the current competitive business environment globally.

            Fashion designer on the other hand is a present strategy in the market that aims to ensure satisfaction of diverse current customer’s tastes and preferences(Granger & Sterling, 2003). For the success of fashion designers especially those entering the market, use of internet and other internet promotional tools have been identified as vital and they ensure greater market share and market penetration(Springsteel, 2013). Websites which are the most common internet tools that are used by young fashion designers should entail various features to make them more influential and realistic.

Research rationale

            Nowadays, it is not likely to access to more audiences or customers without using a varieties of social network facilities, for example: official website, Facebook page or advertisements, instagram, email, or twitter among others. There are a lot of current study of the relationship of fashion and online business and how important it is for fashion designers to go online. For instance, who will be online fashion customers, what main characteristics of the customers who would likely buy online? This is specifically vital for the reason that the business environment is becoming more competitive and therefore need for strategic planning that will ensure reach of a wide range of customers with ease. In this regard, the significance of studying this topic is to examine the viability of young fashion designers using website and other internet tools to ensure their success.

Literature review

Fashion industry overview

            Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing, or furniture. The fashion industry is a product of the modern age. Prior to the mid-19th century, most clothing was custom made. The fashion industry consists of four levels: the production of raw materials, principally fibers and textiles but also leather and fur; the production of fashion goods by designers, manufacturers, contractors, and others; retail sales; and various forms of advertising and promotion. The fashion industry is one of the most valuable industries in the world, the annual revenue of the whole fashion industry of 2013 was $1,200,000,000,000, number of fashion designer jobs held in 2013 was 19300 (OTEXA,D&B,hoovers,ITMF,2013). As a report of www.eMarketer.com showed, in 2010, US online sales of apparel and accessories in 2010 were $28,000,000,000, till 2013 it reached $48,000,000,000, the sales number had grown by 171% in the past three years. They also estimated further growth in the future. It is an evidenced showing that online business’s growth potential is undisputed.

            The current growth of the e-commerce presents a good opportunity for fashion designers to utilize online platforms in order to attract more global customers. The new trends in the fashion industry are promising as many people globally have become aware of what fashion entails. The stakeholders in the fashion industry are devoted to ensure they make and market their brands in all parts all over the world. The demand of fashion cloths have opened business opportunities for Young Fashion Designers as they can take this chance as an advantage to open up more firms or businesses (Polan&Tredre, 2009). The fashion industry is devoted to make high fashion clothes which depict the new trend embraced by many people in the modern society. Compared to the ancient times, people were not much concerned with what they put on but this has gradually changed because the world at large has realized the importance of keen of what an individual wears. Therefore, the word fashion in “fashion industry” is believed to be style or styles of accessories or clothing worn by people at any given time. Polan and Tredre (2009), affirms that the term fashion industry refers to designing, manufacturing or production, retailing, promoting and marketing of all types of design cloths or accessories.

            According to Gogerly (2006), with the various changes taking place in the modern society, people in the fashion industry have not been left aside as they have shifted their attention to production of designer clothing which have a more customers. Basically, fashion designers are able to reach out more global customers with help of many marketing platforms such as use of a good website and social media among others. According to Senker (2012), the word fashion is widely used to refer to a popular practice or style which can be evidenced in clothing, make up, accessories, furniture among others. In clothing sector, the term fashion entails the prevailing of the newest styles in the textile. The work of fashion designers is to costume the available textile in order to redesign it to into new elegant styles (Gogerly, 2006). With the current industrial revolution, the designers are able to tremendously change the fashion of the clothes or rather the textile in order to fit the demand of the people as per the emerging trends.

            Initially, fashion industry was extensively dominated by women, as men did not pay much attention to fashion. However, this is not the case in the modern society as all people including men have paid more attention on their appearance particularly on what they wear. The increased focus on men appearance has forced the fashion designers to take advantage of this by producing clothes and accessories in this demographic (Lynch & Strauss, 2007). People are also able to spend on the luxury brands provided that it best suits their taste and preference. Generally, new markets have emerged all over the world with all fashion designers gambling to have a share in this market. In countries such as United Kingdom, Fashion Industry has played a great role in elevating the economic condition of the country. Many Young Fashion Designers all over the world are focused to showcase their potential and talent as much as innovations in the sector are concerned (Granger, 2012). In general, the increased demand in the Fashion Designers is highly associated with the latest fashion education, fashion media and marketing which have the mandate to entice people to welcome the new emerging fashion trend.

According to Hopkins (2012), online fashion retail is one major platform widely used with the stakeholders in this sector to reach out global potential customers. And the online retail market has seen a rapid growth, a report of MarketLine in 2013 indicated that the United Kingdom online retail sector has reached $52,000,000,000 in 2012, and is estimated to be $75,200,000,000 in 2017, an increase of 43.2 since 2012. This increase could also be spotted worldwide, and online retail could be seen as an important future direction of the industry. In fashion industry, many customers are impressed by what they see or appearance. The current fashion trends demands entrepreneurs to be innovative in order to increase their competitive advantage. Many global entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the various platforms available and social sites to monetize their presence. Use of online platforms and social media is regarded as a dependableways of contact wherebyindividuals can get information of what they requireinternationally (Granger, 2012). Essentially, internet is not only fast but also reliable means for people to communicate despite the distance between their locations. Therefore, if used appropriately used Fashion Designers can be able reach out many international customers. These websites are carefully designed in order to bring out a good appearance view reflecting the kind of products which they offer in their premises.

Through these online platforms, the fashion designers are able to constantly interact with their customers globally. The aspect of good accessibility of these websites helps the customers to have a basic knowhow in the latest fashion and style inspiration which reflects the latest trend the fashion market (Lynch & Strauss, 2007). Companies can make use social media as a strategy to improve their business operation by creating awareness of their existence in both old and new markets. However, this entire process requires proper planning in order to ensure the goal of marketing online is achieved (Hopkins, 2012).

Internet tools of promotion

            Currently, internet is extensively used by many companies and entrepreneurs as a promotion and marketing avenue. The great advancement in the technology has facilitated use of internet as it reliable, cheap and effective communication channels. The high trend use of internet is closely associated with the urge of entrepreneurs and firms to reach out more global customers of their products or services. According to Miller (2008), what constitutes an effective online promotion is the manner at which the entrepreneurs are able to monetize their presence in the social sites. Marketing through internet basically involves creating a new website or using the available social sites to market products or services. Young Fashion Designers have the authority to create their own well detailed website indicating different type of clothing or accessories they offer. Essentially, the website should be easily accessible and well navigated layouts catering for all crucial information concerning the products offered in the firm. The layout or appearance of the website matter a lot such that it is keenly developed to avoid it discouraging possible customers (Dholakia, et. al, 2002).

            The term promotion is important in business context as it refers to the means or avenue which companies or entrepreneurs use to market their product or services. Promotion helps to raise awareness of the existence brand or products in order to attract more customers (Lüsted, 2011). Therefore, it is imperative for young fashion designers to understand the basic tips of promotion in for maximum marketing of their products. The first step to consider when choosing the best promotion plan is to understand the customers which will be targeted with the company. Young fashion entrepreneur’s needs to have an effective marketing platform where it is easier to reach out and engage with the customers (Lüsted, 2011). Use of social media or well built website can be effective promotional avenue for young fashion designers to reach our many global customers. Being new in the market, it is advisable for the fashion designers to use effective promotional means which is less expensive or complicated to handle. The essence of marketing is choosing a perfect media where clients and entrepreneurs can effectively interact with each other (Ryan, 2011).

            It is imperative for Young Fashion Designers to understand how best they can use the many available internet tools to market their products. According toLüsted (2011), social networking platform is one major channel which can be used by fashion designers to reach out volumes of global customers. Notably, Social networking platforms require a lot of calculated management for young entrepreneurs to increase their presence in the online podium. According to Dholakia, et al, (2002), social media has been identified and advertising products and services by companies. In this case, companies can make use of social media to target global customers through creation of pages and websites.Theemergenceof modern technology for instance use of smart phones has made it easier for individuals to access internet easily. In addition, this facilitates effective communication between the customers and the business owners hence improving business operations and service delivery. With these incentives such as cheap, reliability and easily accessible, Young Fashion Designers can greatly take advantage of these numerous online platforms to reach out customers in all parts of the world (Ryan, 2011).

            Besides creation of websites there are other social networking’s sites such as Twitter, You-tube, Face-book and emails among others which can be used as promotional avenues by young fashion designers. Essentially, the idea of using online marketing platform is valid and effective as it facilitates the young entrepreneurs share their thoughts with customers. For monetization purposes the young designers’ should come up with strategies that facilitate capturing client’s attention (Dholakia, et. al, 2002). These strategies should address important aspects such as price, promotions and discounts, quality of their product, their exceptional fashion design, security of the payment method and shipping method in order to attract attention of many customers.

What constitute of a good web design

            According toPsaila et al (2008), the effectiveness of the success of a web design wholly relies on the feature included in the website. Some websites have been regarded to be successful while others barely create income. For Young Fashion Designers to Achieve a Successful Online Business, creation of a well designed website is critical as it ensures provision of major features that ensure customer attraction (Macdonald, 2003).

            However, it is wise to note that fashion online shoppers do not base their activities on the mere attractiveness of a particular website but rather tend to look for the products that they intend to buy therefore making it essential to ensure that the products are strategically placed in such a way that the shoppers can view them with ease (Niederst, 2007). This is also vital as it ensures convenience and minimizes wastage of time. In this regard, the following are the various features that Young Fashion Designers should incorporate while designing their websites in order to achieve a Successful Online Business.

Services and products with descriptions and the set price

            According to McNeil (2010), description and prices of goods and services offered are essential components to be included while designing a website. However, the author affirms that many website owners and designers sometimes overlook this and thus make it hard for the online shoppers to identify products, services and their corresponding prices. Ensuring an easy navigates, read, and finds prices and descriptions of products and services is the most essential component of a good website (Psaila et al, 2008). This implies that for Young Fashion Designers to Achieve a Successful Online Business, incorporation of the above aspects and components is of great significance as eliminates surprises to the shoppers.

Location, name of the store and contact information

            According toNiederst, (2007), most online retailers or fashion design retailers neglect or overlook the provision of the store’s basic information including location, name of the store and the contact information. In addition, the author asserts that most online retailers also fails to include other vital contact information including phone number, email among others. In the current competitive business environment, online retailers are finding it essential to provide detailed information to ensure easy access and convenience at all times.

            This is primarily aim at ensuring customer’s satisfaction which later fosters customer’s loyalty. According toPsaila et al (2008), the overwhelming ethical issues regarding internet such as fraudsters, customers are more conscious about the assurance offered by a particular online retailer and how they are different from others. In this case, online shoppers or customers requireeffective channels of communications that they can use to talk to real persons in case of a problem.

Lookbooks of products and services

            According to McNeil (2010), people are visual and tend to be attracted by images and pictures. For fashion purpose, the industry vividly calls for the combination of images and photos a lookbook. By use of clear images and peoples, navigation within the website by the online shoppers becomes easy and captivating (Niederst, 2006). This brings out the need to incorporate good looking and eye-catching images and pictures of services and products offered. In the same way, Young Fashion Designers should embrace this aspect in order to achieve a successful online business. According to Macdonald (2003), presence of images and pictures on a website makes it easy for the shoppers or the online customers to evaluate what they require on base of quality and package. Therefore, to achieve the purpose of attracting more customers, a pointed lookbook that is showing the best characteristics of services and products is the essential of a website.

Ordering procedure and updated information

            A good website needs to provide for a systematic and correct procedure of making an order by the customers. The simplicity of the procedure is paramount as it ensures that the customers do not waste time due to long procedurals. According to McNeil (2010), an effective website should ensure provision of ordering procedure that is easy to locate and use. More importantly, customers tend to look for up to date information that reflect the current packaging and prices of different products and services. According toPsaila et al (2008), online owners should ensure that the information reflected on their websites is current and in accordance to the seasons and other proceeding including holidays.

Company background, policies and conditions

            An ideal website should provide the company’s background including history terms of service and the main stakeholders. This gives the customers the chance to have a picture and to be aware of the company in detail. According to McNeil (2010), a good website should provide accessible and clear policies and conditions for various transactions offered by the company to the customers. Inaccurate policies and conditions may lead to confusion and inconveniences between the company and the customers (Niederst, 2006). In the same way, for Young Fashion Designers to achieve a Successful Online Business, provision of clear and precise policies and conditions is vital.

Catalog

            According toNiederst (2006), a good website should an online catalog which is easy to access by the online shoppers. The information in the catalog should be precise and clear to ensure that it provide adequate information about certain products and services offered. Notably, provision of the above features to a website is of great importance as it ensures that customers are well informed regarding the proceeding, products and services offered by the company.However, catalogs seem very rarely seen from young fashion designer’s website, not many of them has launched much designs on their website. However, for long term development, well designed catalogs should be considered adding onto their website.

            This brings out the need for Young Fashion Designers to develop and implement a website that consist of the above features as a way of achieving a successful Online Business.

Characteristics of a good and effective website

            The constitutions above just indicated what basic elements a website needs, the following part is to illustrate what characteristics contribute a successful online business website. In business context, a good website is the best avenue to reach out global customers. It is imperative for the website to be fully functional in order to attract many online customers hence increasing the traffic flow in the website. Many customers have more confidence in outstanding websites hence they tend to do their shopping there due to its in built friendly feature. Therefore, it is equally important for the young fashion designers to invest of the good website which is unique in order to win confidence of the clients (WebK&Nasraoui, 2007). To achieve online business success, it is vital to engage customers with a team of experience personnel’s with a capacity of creating a high-producing business website. Basically, design in the most vital aspects which should be catered for during the process of creating the website. In most business websites, the design plays a central role as it must be visually appealing to attract more customers (Lantz, 2009). This cites the reasons why the young fashion designers should be keen to create a well designed website with a good portal to reinforce the quality of brands they are going to offer to their customers. Thus with a good website design, the young entrepreneurs are able to engage with their customers effectively because the website is easy for them to navigate.

            The content is another important feature which should be catered for during the process of creating the website. The content of the website should indicate the most essential tings which should be contained in the webpage. By doing so, the website will be very eye-candy and as a result attracting more and more customers. In business, the only way for the entrepreneurs to beat competition is by remaining unique in their own way (Okonkwo& Palgrave Connect, 2007). Thus, the young fashion designers should focus to ensure that the content of their websites is high rated in order to give customers a new experience of what online marketing entails. It is evident that effective website content contains eye-catching words strategically chosen to create a strong value of the products offered by the young entrepreneurs. Therefore, good and quality content provides clients with vast information on the particulars they are looking for. The content of the website should have right key words as this is the only quickest way for the young entrepreneurs to pay off their investments and also to increase their search engine rankings (Irion, 2009).

            A good website should be easy to navigate such that they can allow customers to move from one page to another easily. This makes it easy for the customers to find right information on the products they would like to purchase from the website. Easy navigation elevates interests of the customers because they are able to click on the links which they like without many difficulties. This aspect also is vital to ease hassle and frustration with might be encountered by the customers in the process of purchasing products through online platform (Irion, 2009). Consequently, it is imperative for the young entrepreneurs to ensure that all navigation buttons are grouped together with clear images attached in each button. More importantly, the website should be comfortably viewed in regardless of the sizes to avoid cases where the customers must have to scroll down to get certain information. In relation to the attached links, the fashion designers should ensure that there is no dead links in the website and on top should ensure all graphics are easy to download (Okonkwo& Palgrave Connect, 2007).

            The conversation path should be professionally built to ensure communication between the fashion designers and their customers is effective and coherent. In order to run the business more professionally, the conversation path should be created keenly as it serves as the backbone of the entire website. This should also reflect the aspect of simplicity as this is another marketing strategy to keep customers glued in the website (Culnan& Carlin, 2009). The webpage should also be easy to load because not many customers like to spend most of their time on slow loading websites. Most importantly, during the process of the website creation, the young fashion entrepreneurs should keep in mind whom their target customers in order to do proper customization in their website to reflect the need of their customers. Notably, the process of creating an effective website should be done keenly taking consideration of the attractiveness and all privacy policies.

Effective websites entails good security and privacy policies

            E-commerce in the modern world has become a popular activity with many people using it to do online shopping. Despite the fact that this platform is efficient and fast, the online business faces many ethical issues like security among others. Online shoppers are worried about security of their private information they give out when purchased items or products. Security particularly on the method of payment and private information is becoming an issue of major concern which many people are worried about (Meenan, 2013). Therefore, this is an indication that the young fashion entrepreneurs should take a lot of caution when creating their website as it is vital to ensure privacy and information security is not compromised. When purchasing product, online shoppers are supposed to discloses some vital information touching on their personal life. The growing concern in how they can trust the security of the information they provide. Online business involves usage of internet which might be hacked thus their personal information might be leaked out to the public. Definitely, this might compromise on their personal security hence bleaching their private right.

            According to Geary & Smith (2000), safety of the payment method is another major ethical issues involving e Business. Many online companies recommend and accept different payment methods. Some methods are favorable to the companies only. Online shoppers are nervous about which safe and secure method to use when purchasing products. Notably, some modes of payment require people to disclose their personal information about their bank statement or debit card information. The ethical issue is how online shopper will be able to trust the companies with their essential information which might result to fraud and robbery (Haggin Geary & Smith, 2000). Online companies require people to fill in many details on their private information in order to prove how genuine they are. Ethical issues arise from the manner which the company will store this information safely without other people will ill intentions accessing it. As a matter of fact any ethical company must protect information of their clients as a way of maintaining their security. This explains why it is essential for the young entrepreneurs to be cautious when creating the website taking consideration of all safety and privacy issues (Soumya, Terence & Kim 2011).

            Ultimately, increased companies activities in regard to online business have resulted to various ethical issues including privacy, hacking, crime, working conditions and viruses. Privacy is one of the most ethical issues that have been of great concern to the companies. The ability of information technology to retrieve and store data has resulted to adverse effects in regard to right to privacy of internet users (Bramstedt, & Dave, 2013). For instance, software privacy has become an issue of great concern to companies due to increased software theft. Computer software are valuable property and thus prone to theft from computer system. Unauthorized copying of computer programs from the internet has become a major ethical issue that companies are facing currently. To ensure software privacy companies are trying to emphasis on the intellectual property rights and user licensing agreement (Schoenfeld, 2013). In that perspective, the young fashion entrepreneurs should cater for all ethical issues in order to ensure security and privacy measures of all the customers is catered for.

            Notably, many people who shop online purchase items without necessarily seeing them. They largely depend on the information available on the online companies’ website. Ethical issues arise on how accurate and genuine the information is. People complain that they are supplied with items different from what they had earlier purchased. Being honest is the basic virtue which the young fashion entrepreneurs should always maintain in order to build trust with their customers. The critics argue that the information available on the website sometimes is distorted of might be outdated. There is a high probability that customers depending on the available information might purchase an item quite different from that on display (Jifeng, Sulin& Han, 2012). More importantly, when this scenario occurs they have no appropriate means where they can do follow in order to fix the issue. There are also ethical concerns on security on goods particularly on how the purchased items are going to reach them. People are worried that they might lose their items through the robbers or other evil means (Snider, 2012). Judging from the above perspective, the young entrepreneurs must always be dedicated to offer their clients with quality products as to what they initially purchased.

Web design mistakes that young fashion designers should avoid when design a good website

            For young fashion designers to achieve a successful online business creating a good website is of great significance to ensure effective branding and marketing efforts. According to O’Byrne &Thorogood (2011), online customers visit websites for specific purpose including checking and comparing prices of products and service and purchasing instead of moving to physical stores. This essentially helps the customers to avoid time wastage and ensure easy comparison of quality and prices of various products offered by different companies (Manzari& Trinidad-Christensen, 2006).

            However, asserts that if web designers get the website design wrong, they might loss considerable amount of dollars and more unfortunate fail to generate targeted revenue if the website would function properly. According toPresseau, (2011), web designers should be in a position to avoid various frequent committed mistakes when designing a website as a way of ensuring effective revenue generation and the success of the company. The following are major mistakes evident when creating a website.

Design being too flashy or busy

            According to Jong et al (2011), web designers should ensure an ideal website by ensuring that the web design is not too busy or flashy. Notably, a company’s website should not only focus on ensuring frequent online customers visit but also ensure they get to the right places once they get the website homepage. As noted earlier, a website is a vital component for a company in regard to marketing. Therefore, ensuring easy navigation by the customers is of great significance as it ensures they get into their preferred places within the website and get the information (O’Byrne &Thorogood, 2011). According toRapoza, (2007), majority of online customers use their wireless devices to visit websites. In addition, the author asserts that busy or rather flashy website do not appear attractive in these wireless devices including tablets and smart phones. This implies that the users are de-motivated to visit such websites therefore decreasing the amount of revenue that particular company gets.

            Essentially, customers or online users visit a particular website with an aim to get specific information, product or service. However, Potts, (2007) affirms that is the user or the customer does not figure out what they require they may be forced to go back to the drawing board and think otherwise. This implies that the company will lose revenue at the expense of busy or rather flashy websites. According to Presseau, (2011), new and small businesses are the most affected by flashy websites are the customers or the users are prospective and if they do not obtain the information, products or services they require with ease due to flashy websites they may be forced to find alternative.

Failure to understand your target market

            Ultimately, understanding your target audience is paramount for the web designers before they commence their work. This is because different target audience has different tastes and preferences. For instance, when targeting old people, creating a website that does not have numerous features or rather that does not have complex features is advisable (Chow, 2012). On the other hand, your people are able to navigate with easy even with complex websites. According to Rich & Entrepreneur Press (2009), identifying your target audience is vital as it helps the web designers to design their websites based on their target and research regarding taste, preferences and capabilities. If a particular website target the young population, the website should be in such a way that it is Smartphone compatible since they are commonly used by the young population (Nicolaou, 2013). When web designers fail to correctly identify target audience, they may fail to incorporate particular features that are essential in regard to marketing (Potts, 2007).

Promotional channels that can be used by young fashion designers

            In business context, the entrepreneurs are expected to use the best promotional channels which are cheap but have capacity to reach out many global customers. The essence of young designers using online platform is to reach out global customers with an aim of increasing their total sales. As earlier noted, the use of online shopping platform is gaining popularity as people have realized how easy and less time consuming it is (Schmid, 2007). Many people are occupied with a lot of work hence they have no time to go for shopping. Therefore, they have turned their attention to online platform as it is less involving in terms of time, cost and reliability. On the other side, online platform is also advantageous to the young entrepreneurs as it is cost effective but has the ability to reach out many people within a span of less period of time (Asadi, 2013).

            Many entrepreneurs have realized the importance of using marketing online channels in order to facilitate their interactions with their customers. According to Schmid (2007), new trends in social networking are good incentive which international business can take advantage in order to improve their overall business success. The young fashion designer is able to use online platform to create awareness on their products and as a result attracting more customers. As matter of fact, emails and fan pages should be created perfectly such that they are able to provide education to users by giving them chance to learn more about products offered in these companies (Asadi, 2013). However, targeting is a major problem faced by the young entrepreneurs hence citing the need to understand how best they are supposed to monetize their presence on social media platform.

SWOT analysis

            SWOT analysis has an imperative role that facilitatesrecognition of both internal and external factors influence business operations. SWOT analysis essentially helps to uncover risks and uncertainty and hence come up with an effective organization structure to eliminate the same. SWOT analysis of online promotional avenues will greatly help to guide the young entrepreneurs which channels they can use effectively to market their products (Sterne &Priore, 2000). This is essential in the process of making decision on which online platform to use in order to achieve their goals hence sustaining growth of the company. Opportunities and threats are regarded to as external while strength and weakness are considered to be internal factors linking to the online avenues.

Email SWOT analysis

            Many entrepreneurs believe that email marketing is reliable because it extensively increases business communication. In relation to young fashion designers entrepreneurs, they can use the email to target specific customers as it is efficiency in time of time and cost effective. In many occasions, email marketing usually occurs when entrepreneurs sends volume of emails to many clients or a group of people (Sterne &Priore, 2000). With help of electronic mail, young entrepreneurs are able to reach our many customers by use of an email will is less involving compared to other forms of advertisement.

            Morel (2003) affirms that with use of electronic mail young entrepreneurs are able to quickly and easily reach out target markets without necessarily using the large volumes of data. In addition, young fashion entrepreneurs can use email marketing software in order to stay connected with their clients while on the other side targeting new potential markets.

Strength of using email marketing

            Evidently, many global young fashion designers are committed to produce extensively unique designs specializing in apparels, footwear, and accessory products in fashion industry. Therefore, it is vital for them to use an effective marketing or promotional means of creating awareness of their products in order to entice many customers to buy them. In reality, it simple to create an email as it does not require much knowledge or time (Pinterits, 2008). The use of mobile phones and personal computers has made email access to be easy.

            People can easily and contentedly access an email at comfort of their homes. It is also simple to use as it is less involving in terms of its description. Notably, many customers check their emails occasionally hence there are high chances that they will get the information. Email marketing also easy to budget as there is no hidden chances and requires a small amount of capital (Morel, 2003). The young entrepreneurs are able to create personalized messages giving a detailed analysis of all products they offer.

Weakness ofemail marketing

            Weaknesses are manly the factors which might derail effectiveness of email marketing. It is vital for young entrepreneurs to understand weaknesses of email marketing in order to identity area which needs to be improvement. Limited resources are one major factor that might have implications on the effectiveness of email marketing. Lack of skills and exposure to the recent technology is also another major weakness (Sterne &Priore, 2000). There is also a high possibility that the young fashion entrepreneurs might lack capacity to compose a tight message with clear details of the kind of products they offer in their firms. Lastly, there might be lack of effective communication between customers and the young entrepreneurs. Ultimately, it is important for the young entrepreneurs to identify these weaknesses in order to recommend suitable means of addressing them (Prussakov, 2011).

Opportunities

            Ultimately, there are many opportunities presented by email marketing. These opportunities if utilized appropriately they can greatly help to improve and increase the total sales made by the young entrepreneurs. Many people are aware with the use of online shops hence they have vast knowledge of how the entire process goes about (Pinterits, 2008). Many people irrespective of their gender are also aware of their appearance thus the demand of fashion clothes is on rise. With the advancement in technology, customers are able to do online payment without much hustles without fear of loss of their money. Email marketing is accessible by all people hence a viable means to reach out many global customers. According to Prussakov (2011), there are opportunities for the young entrepreneurs to use group email software as a way of targeting many customers at a specific period of time.

Threats

            Young fashion entrepreneurs have a likelihood of facing stiff competition for other big companies which have already established their business operation. Major threats might result from other upcoming fashion industries which have the technical knowledge needed to operate email marketing (Morel, 2003). Ranging from different countries, there might be presence of laws which might derail the effectiveness of email marketing campaign.

Social media as a promotional channel for young fashion designers

            Partridge (2011), affirms that social media and social networking areimperative platforms that increased interactions between organizations and individualswith the help of computer. The author also eludes that social media and social networking have shown considerable progress especially in the early 70s and 80s (Partridge, 2011). The increased emergence of modern technology has enabled many people to embrace use of social media.

            Social media or rather social networking has been identified as an essential promotional channels due to it current popularity. The most used social media and social networking avenues entailsbut not limited to face-book, you-tube and You Tube among others. These platforms provide room where organizations and individual’s customers can interact freely without necessarily going to the physical premises of the company (Wankel et al, 2010). They ensure that customers including prospective buyers have all the necessary and current information regarding products and services offered by a particular company. Below is the SWOT analysis for social media as promotional channels for online business.

Instagram

            Instagram is one of the most useful social networking tools in the world where one is able to share, like and comment photos (Dominika Peszko, 2013). Further more, it is the one of the newest social medium for young fashion designers to promote and make debut to their design. Essentially, instagram started as a free way of promotion.

            According to www.businessinsider.com, currently, with the weary of advertisement gimmicks in the world, as for many brands, Instagram is a creative networking tool that houses a lot of possibility since they have a large user base as many as 200 million monthly active users who are posting 60 million photos per day. Instagram has a firm and noteworthy user base. Many brands are seizing the chance to promote themselves through intagram for it is by far a free way to connect with prospective customers. As analyzed by www.alexa.com, instagram ranked 31 globally, and ranked 16 in the United State, daily page views per visitor is 4.85, and daily time spend on side per person is 4:30 minutes. These numbers indicate that instagram’s business value.

            With the use of Instagram, beautifully photographed pictures are able to stimulate followers and showcase designer’s designs in a simple way (Dominika Peszko,2013). To raise some examples in the fashion industry which are relatively active and famous on Instagram, Colette is a buyer shop of fashion items located in Paris and it has been a sacred existence for fashion lovers. From the day Colette became a user of Instagram, it has uploaded almost 6000 pictures on it, and now has a world wide follower number of 3.42 million and has been hashtaged more than 1 million times. Although I do not have the exact statistic to show how intagram improve sales of Colette, I figure such a vivid number indicated the popularity of Colette on instagram while instagram do help Colette to promote in the world wide extend. Instagram has become a very useful tool for Colette to connect with its customers since it keeps posting new items in stocks and what would be available in the future and judging from the reply and comments to Colette’s post, its customers regard instagram as a good platform to interact with Colette.

            The other example I would like to raise is Dior, Dior has even more followers than Colette does, although Dior is not as active as does, while since last it joined instagram last year, it has gained 8.90million followers and hashtaged more than 35 million times let along other relative hashtags.

            One example of young fashion designer uses instagram as a promotion tool—Hood by air, it has been a user of instagram for more than two years, it might have recognize the value of instagram in a rather early time. And now it has a huge follower base of 2.57million, which means every time it posts new items, at least 2.57 million people would have chance to access it.

            All examples above are telling a phenomenon that instagram is becoming an important promotional tool for the fashion industry. Similarly, young fashion designers should ensure use of diverse promotional channels including instagram due to it advantages observed above. Adoption of instagram by young fashion designers means increase customer base and quick means of reaching customers.

Facebook

            As evident from www.alexa.com, facebook now ranks No. 2 globally. The site is estimated that facebook’s popularity comes second among billions of websites in the world. The site also showed that facebook has a daily pageview per vistor of 14.64 pages, and user daily time spending on the facebook is about 28:12 minutes in the past three months. According to www.statisticbrain.com, by July 2014, total number of monthly active facebook users is 1.310 billion, almost 1/5 of the world’s population are a frequent facebook users. The number of smartphone facebook users has reached 0.68 billion.

            According to Lauren Indvik (2011), fashion brands stimulated lager following population than most of the major traditional women’s magazines, fashion retailers have started to embrace and invest more resources into facebook (James Smith & Shih, 2010). All of the young fashion designers that I am going to introduce and research into have their own official facebook page, and most of them have attracted more than 10 thousand followers and likes. Simone Rocha’s facebook page has been following for more than 14 thousand. Some of the young fashion designers care more about their facebook page more than their website by seeing that their facebook pages are built more completely than their personal website (James Smith & Shih, 2010). This phenomenon tells that young fashion designers pay a lot more attention to facebook. Notably, young fashion designers should use facebook as a promotional channel besides creating a website. This is because facebook has a wide coverage and thus can enhance customer base for fashion collections.

Strengths

            From a social media point of view, it is clearly evident that in the last decade, the popularity of social media and social networking is becoming wide spreading with many people and organizations opening accounts that enable them to enjoy vast services from the internet. Social media and social networking is becoming an essential marketing strategy for companies that seek to obtain a large market base and enter new markets (Wankel et al, 2010). Social media has been known to ensure a strong bond, trust and relationship between the customers and companies. On e of the major strength of social media and social networking is the fact that it ensures the presence of customers and other users in diverse popular social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ among others (White, 2011). This in turn gives the users the chances to share and obtain important information regarding goods and services offered by different organizations. More importantly, it ensures that the customers or rather the users have the chance to do comparison of various products and services based on their packaging and prices.

            The other strength of using social networking and social media is the fact that they are able to reach out many individuals globally in a short time and also ensure successful relationships among the customers (Steiner, 2012). The other major strength of public media is that it provides services to a wide range of organizations and individuals and thus ensures a broad customers or audience base (Wankel et al, 2010). This is because various users of social media in most cases tend to become consumers of the major products and services offered by diverse companies. Social media have the ability to boost the human factor aspect and it ensures facilitation of organization activities through building man image thus enhance users interaction levels.

Weaknesses

            Despite having numerous strengths, social media has a number of weaknesses that may demoralize users from using various platforms. To start with, it is hard for new users to make use of various platforms since they require skills to open and operate. This implies that in case of a prospective customer looking for products and services online, one may be challenged during account creation and also access to various organization information regarding the products and services offered. According to Wankel et al (2010), social media in most cases may be of no use to an organization if there is no effective engagement with the users or the customers. This is because the page or the platform has adds no value to the company’s brand. Social media in some cases have the weakness when they fail to establish target audience.

            According to Steiner, (2012), for effective use of social media as an online business promotional channel identifying the target audience or the users is vital as it ensures that information relayed is obtained by the right people and thus has value to the company’s brand. Wankel et al, (2010) asserts that social medial have the tendency of imposing restrictions to some users and thus may hinder the accessibility by some individuals. This in term affects the size of the target audience or users limiting the value of certain information by a given company. Most of the people have the perception that use of social media is time consuming and can cause one a lot since there is no assurance you are getting the right information from the right person or organization. This exposes the users to the challenge of determining which platforms are genuine and which one are not. In addition, some of social media users have ill motives and intentions and tend to post misleading information that eventually decreases the trustworthy of various social media platforms by the users.

Opportunities

            Notably, social media and social networking has numerous opportunities that can be utilized by business organization in the current competitive environment to ensure their success. The fact that social media enable or foster inter connection between different social medial platforms is a viable opportunity that promotes engagement with users from different regions across the world. According to White (2011), social media is become more effective as it ensures the opportunity to address customer’s problems and concerns instantly and thus help to boost customer’s loyalty. The other major opportunity for social media platforms such as you tube is viral content. This implies that these social media platforms help to minimize organization’s costs due to the fact that they replace several employees (Steiner, 2012).

            Essentially, most social media platforms provide room for contests ensure constant customers engagement. These constants aim to ensure introduction of new products and services in the market through providing customers with chances to win goodies and other prizes. This in turn helps to improve their trust towards that particular company and hence increase their customer’s base and market share.

Threats

            Even though social media as a promotional channel has numerous strengths and opportunities, various threats have been identified by many researchers that lower its effectiveness in ensuring marketing of online businesses (Steiner, 2012). Notably, brand impersonalization has become common in social media thus hindering the trustworthy of various platforms by the users (Wankel et al, 2010). In addition, most social media platforms are threatened by presence of negative followers who may leave negative comment or review on a company’s wall. This further creates negative publicity regarding the company hence reducing the customer’s loyalty and market share. The process of using social media marketing is becoming time and financial consuming. According to White (2011), competition is another major threat to social media marketing since most of the companies that use social media platforms are well established.

Methodology

Research approach

            A successful research is the one that give answers to the research questions, accuracy, objectivity, validity, and cost-cutting measure. The study in this case used explanatory or rather descriptive and qualitative investigationformationbased on research questions and objectives. Panneerselvam (2004)affirms that descriptive studies are effective especially when qualitative studies are being carried out. The author also eludes that the studies are apprehensiveof finding out who, what, how and where a phenomenon which is being investigate. The imperative of adopting descriptive research is the fact that it will facilitate investigation of online business and websites as they are evident. In addition, the technique make it possible for the researcher to describe in details what websites are, how they are use, features included and their effects to users and business. Qualitativeinvestigate is also adopted in the research as it facilitate investigation of the social constructivist paradigm regarding social media, online businessand social networking. The technique aims to determine the importance and meaning of a website and how it can help young designers in promoting their business. This is based on experiences and behaviors of different individuals involved in activities regarding to online business and website creation.

            Ultimately, the technique is not originally founded on the available data but rather on views, perceptions and experiences of the participants in regard to online business websites and the role they play in enhancing business operations particularly for young fashion designers. More importantly, the methodology to be adopted in the study aims to establish the significance role that a good website play in ensuring effective online marketing and increased market share.According to Panneerselvam (2004), the qualitative study approach in regard to this particular study supports positivism; this is based on the truth that cannot be altered rather than use and comparison of data. It is either young fashion designer implement the appropriate websites in the required manner in order to ensure customer’s engagement and ensure effective online marketing for their products and services.

Research philosophy

            Deductive research philosophy has been adopted for this study, whereby the reality is that the young entrepreneurs should understand the importance of creating a good website or using the available online avenues to market their products effectively. Through this sales promotion it is possible for them to create customers on the products they offer in their firms. The philosophy of the study is mainly established by the notion that there is a commoncase perceived by all businesses that online platform increase volume of sales. This argument will be based on the general assumption that an effective website enhances the success of young fashion designers in the market.

Target population

            According to, a population is the total collection of elements for a particular study topic from which a researcher make conclusion regarding the whole study population. Essentially, the target people for this researchare successful fashion websites which are already factional. The author affirms that setting a population target is essential as it helps to enhance the accuracy and precision of the study.

Sample selection and sample size

            Essentially, there is no sample size because this method just help to filtered what could be regarded as prospective young fashion designers could be taken as research targets. Literally, this research is targeting young fashion designers according to the selection rules of the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize. LVMH group is known as the biggest luxury group in the world, it shapes and leads the fashion industry, and therefore, its angles and judgments of how talented young fashion designers should be are reliable and authoritative. According to the rules and illustrations on the official website of the prize(http://www.lvmh.com/lvmh-patron-of-the-arts-and-social-solidarity/youth-support-forthcoming-talents/lvmh-young-fashion-designer-prize), this prize is open to designers under 40 years old who have created at least two women’s or men’s ready-to-wear collections.

            When selection prospective target young fashion designers, this research followed most of its runs but toned down a little bit as there are not much designers who have launched two ready-to-wear collections are accessible. In order to have more options, when brainstorming, fashion designers under 40 years old and who have created one or more than one women’s and men’s collections would be considered to have met the demand.According to the rules that stated above in the paragraph, getting in touch with some of the designers that listed as a result as brainstorming by emails and facebook messenger are methods that used to select and get in touch with the young fashion designers.

            Firstly, the list of designers that were contacted including a Chinese talented young women’s wear young fashion designer called Angel Chan, and the other Chinese young fashion designer who had just launched a new collection called Minwu, as well as another one named Cindy Zhang who has designed outfit for Lady Gaga. As all of them are Chinese, figured they would be easier to get in touched with through a friend from London School of Art’s connect whereas they were way too inaccessible, thus they have to be crossed out from the list.

            Secondly, in order to try as many as possible, more designers on the list were try to be connected with, including all finalists of the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Awards. Their names and contact details would be listed later in the research section. However, none of them were willing to accept the interview request, some of them did not even reply for the email with any reasons.

            Finally, the researcher was introduced to a young fashion designer to interview them. A Greece designer Akiko Yoshimoto who just launched her collection during the 2014 Spring Summer London Fashion Week would be put in the interview as a case study. This interview will provide the idea and inner peek of how young fashion designers think about online fashion retail and how much effort they are tempted to put into it, and how to make it a successful business.In addition, the researcher used questionnaires and distributed them in front of Harrods and Selfridges in London where considered customers of these two spots are more likely to be customers of young fashion designers since on one hand they are financially better off and on another hand; they are the inclined to consume designer’s outfits.

            More importantly, only those audiences with designer clothing experience would be considered as valid sample. Audiences without former designer clothing purchase experience are not considered to be effectual since they are not consider having a high relevancy to fashion designer’s websites let along making tangible contribution on helping to regulate a routine for young fashion designers to follow on designing their websites. Because of that, this sample selection that introduced above is a way to ensure validity of the questionnaire.

How the study will guarantee reliability and validity

            Essentially, the aspect of validity in a research aims to determine the consistency of the answer or data obtained if the similar study were conducted in future. According to Kothari, (2005), if similar research questions are used to investigate similar parameters and research topics, similar or rather the same answers should be obtained. The study ensured validity through effective connection of the whole research process including the background, objectives, research questions and the overall research methodology. The linked aims to concentrate of achieving the overall expectations based on hypothesis and research methodology. Selection of the respondents to either interview or questionnaires focuses on the members with knowledge regarding websites. In addition, the validity of the study is based on the willingness of respondents to give the correct information the topic of study. In addition, the researcher recognized the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the researcher and the participants as a way of ensuring and enhancing validity.

Research Ethics

            The researcher ensured that all aspects related to study ethics are carefully addressed throughout the study process. This was initially to ensure acceptability and reliability of the study by its audiences. In this case, the research address various aspects related to ethics including privacy and confidentially of the respondents. The research ensures that the rights of the participants including right to privacy were given first choice. To ensure the participants disclose relevant information out of will, they were convinced that the study had academic purpose only. The use of consent form that was signed by the participants ensured ethics during the research. This also ensured that the respondents provided their views and perception out of will. The researcher also ensured that all aspects of ethics laid in the form were carefully followed.

Conceptual Framework

            The main purpose of this research is to identify how important young fashion designers consider personal website to be and what customers figure as a good fashion website, what elements are regarded as the most significant ones, and both of their expectation against the website of a young fashion designer.

Methods for data collection

Primary research

            Questionnaires, survey, interviews and brainstorming were the common data collection techniques used for primary research in regard to research topic. This primarily aimed to acquireimperative information from the sample websites designers and customers selected. The analysis involved approximate ac considerable number of participants who were tasked to consider a specific website is good or not, will they buy from the website, what would they consider to be attractive, what they consider should change to fit their appetite. The study incorporated survey questionnaires and interview whereby electronic and traditional questionnaires are used to obtain participants views and perceptions. In addition, the research made use of survey due o the fact that it is effectively related with qualitative research approach (Kothari, 2005). Below is a comprehensive explanation of the data collection methods used in the study.

Interview

            The study used interviews to obtain essential information related to what constitute and good website based on participants views. This will help to discover various features that should be incorporated in a website to make it effective for online business. The research was specific in that it used in-depth interview to obtain direct insights from the respondents. This technique is supported by an researcher conducted by Kothari (2005), which indicates that in-depth interviews are essential in ensuring respondents are engaged in a more rigorous way to ensure they provide the required information.

Questionnaires

            Questionnaires can be defined as tools or technique used to collect data based on a set of standardizes questions that aim to collect essential information that relate to the topic of study. According to Jones & Taylor, (2010, p. 36), is most appropriate while used alongside quantitative research whereby the research aims to obtain measurements from a sample population. The technique was used due to the fact that they are more cost effective and helps to eliminate bias hence reliability of the study. In addition, electronic questionnaires were used in the study to facilitate collection of information from participants from London School .As mentioned above, a group of students from London School of Fashion participated in questionnaire filling. Evidently, as filtered by my friend and I previously during the research design, all of them are customers of young fashion designers’ websites, this help to reduce extract work and guarantee validity. Moreover, these samples are all study fashion and relevant subjects, the participants were more willing to share their ideas relate to their study, and their ideas are more professional than any other background.

            Owing to the well-developed technology, online questionnaire is accessible world- wide. With the participation from different individual from different background and different industries in the universe, together form a credible research.

            Questionnaires were helpful for obtaining information concerning the effectiveness and efficiency of the websites, the participants had opportunity to provide their personal opinion regarding the reviewed websites. The main items under questionnaires were the appearance of the websites if they were good or not, will they buy from the website, what they would consider to be attractive, what they consider should change to fit their appetite.

Methods of questionnaire distribution

Traditional random questionnaire collection

            The traditional way of questionnaire collection means to hand out questionnaires in a specific/random spot where one consider at this spot he would be able to collect more valuable data. I choose this method because this would help to collect data from different ages, races and to differentiate data collect from a group of questioners with similar background.

Online survey(survey monkey)

            The study also used online surveys or rather the survey monkey to distribute the questionnaires among the participants. To distribute online questionnaire to a specific group of people help to reduce the time and enhance the efficiency, because different from traditional paper questionnaire, online survey reduce the possibility that one might not be able to fill in the paper questionnaire at that moment, but later on, when they are less packed, they would be willing to participate in. And since I have contact my friend from London School of Fashion, as she said that most of her classmates are customers of young fashion designers’ websites and most of them are willing to participate in my research, in this circumstance, I do not need to cut in their way to ask them to fill in paper questionnaire, instead, electronic questionnaire would be more convenient for them.

Brainstorming

            Brainstorming is technically not a formal method for data collection. However, in order to filter which young fashion designer’s website could be chosen as the target candidates to discuss afterwards in the research, in order to generate what could be sample for other young fashion designers to follow and use as a reference, narrowing down the list of the qualified young fashion designers according to the rules is a necessary course.

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Source document

Study In The Path For Young Fashion Designers To Achieve A Successful Online Business By Creating A Good Website.

Study In The Path For Young Fashion Designers To Achieve A Successful Online Business By Creating A Good Website.

Introduction

        The current competitive business environment calls for organizations and individuals within the fashion industry to adopt and implement realistic communication strategies such as utilization of internet and other internet promotional tools to enhance their success. This study will help to identify prospective customers of the young fashion designers, and what they need to consider when they intend to start up their online business. When these common ingredients been found out, there would be helpful and will be a path for young designers to begin their online business. The intention engaging in internet advertising is to encourage high numbers of and quicker products and/or services sales within a given period.

Research aim

        Ultimately, the research aim is to investigate the path for young fashion designers to achieve a successful online business by creating a good website. Rather, the aim is to determine how young fashion designers can benefit from a well structure and effective website that constitute all the necessary features. Most important, the research will reach to determine how websites and other social media tools including Facebook are vital to online retailers.

Hypotheses

        Young fashion designers will achieve a successful online business by creating and implementing a good website that incorporate all the necessary features. Rather, there will be increased sales if appropriate internet promotion tools are effectively incorporated in the online business operations.

The hypotheses here are

1Young fashion designers need to engage with Internet communication to promote their collections and sell their products.

2The advice and guidance offered to the designers needs to be specific for their market.

3This advice can be communicated to these designers through specific guidelines.

Research Questions and Research Objectives

        As evident from above research aim, the primary aim of undertaking this research is to determine the effective path of web designing in improving the success of young fashion designers in the market. Activities that arouse customers to value the products and services within the market are referred to as promotional strategies. These entails use of well structured websites and other internet promotional tools such as email and social media. Organizations and individuals have been for long know to benefit from internet and use of good website due to their potential to reach a wide geographical coverage within a short time hence ensuring convenience to both the business and the customers. Therefore, the primary intention of this research is to discover the impacts of ensuring a good website by the young fashion designers as a way of enhancing customer’s awareness and sales.

Research Objectives

        To investigate on the various features that is essential while designing a website and brings to light the implications of such features.

To determine whether a good website have any influence on the on the success of young fashion designers.

To establish the approach in which internet tools of advertising should be executed to ensure successful online business for young fashion designers.

Research questions

What is the importance or significance of a good website for the young fashion designers?

What are the implications of internet and other internet promotional tools in enhancing the success of young fashion designers online business?

What major aspects and features which contribute towards effective website for online business?

Online business and fashion designer background

        Online business refers to the use of information communication technology within business operations. It involves exchange of information, products and services by groups and individuals (Springsteel, 2013). The current growth of the online business presents a good opportunity for fashion designers to utilize in order to attract more global customers and enhance (Granger & Sterling, 2003). This has been identified as a great opportunity especially in the current competitive business environment globally.

Fashion designer on the other hand is a present strategy in the market that aims to ensure satisfaction of diverse current customer’s tastes and preferences (Granger & Sterling, 2003). For the success of fashion designers especially those entering the market, use of internet and other internet promotional tools have been identified as vital and they ensure greater market share and market penetration (Springsteel, 2013). Websites which are the most common internet tools that are used by young fashion designers should entail various features to make them more influential and realistic.

Research rationale

        Nowadays, it is not likely to access to more audiences or customers without using a varieties of social network facilities, for example: official website, Facebook page or advertisements, instagram, email, or twitter among others. There are a lot of current study of the relationship of fashion and online business and how important it is for fashion designers to go online. For instance, who will be online fashion customers, what main characteristics of the customers who would likely buy online? This is specifically vital for the reason that the business environment is becoming more competitive and therefore need for strategic planning that will ensure reach of a wide range of customers with ease. In this regard, the significance of studying this topic is to examine the viability of young fashion designers using website and other internet tools to ensure their success.

Literature review

Fashion industry overview

        The current growth of the e-commerce presents a good opportunity for fashion designers to utilize in order to attract more global customers. The new trends in the fashion industry are promising as many people globally have become aware of what fashion entails. The stakeholders in the fashion industry are devoted to ensure they make and market their brands in parts all over the world. The demand of fashion cloths have opened business opportunities for Young Fashion Designers as they can take this chance as an advantage to open up more firms or businesses (Polan & Tredre, 2009). The fashion industry is devoted to make high fashion clothes which depict the new trend embraced by many people in the modern society. Compared to the ancient times, people were not much concerned with what they put on but this has gradually changed because the world at large has realized the importance of keen of what an individual wears. Therefore, the word fashion in “fashion industry” is believed to be style or styles of accessories or clothing worn by people at any given time. Polan and Tredre (2009), affirms that the term fashion industry refers to designing, manufacturing or production, retailing, promoting and marketing of all types of design cloths or accessories.

According to Gogerly (2006), with the various changes taking place in the modern society, people in the fashion industry have not been left aside as they have shifted their attention to production of designer clothes which have a more customers. Basically, fashion designers are able to reach out more global customers with help of many marketing platforms such as use of a good website and social media among others. According to Senker (2012), the word fashion is widely used to refer to a popular practice or style which can be evidenced in the clothing, make up, accessories, furniture among others. In clothing sector, the term fashion entails the prevailing of the newest styles in the textile. The work of fashion designers is to costume the available textile in order to redesign it to into new elegant styles (Gogerly, 2006). With the current industrial revolution, the designers are able to tremendously change the fashion of the clothes or rather the textile in order to fit the demand of the people as per the emerging trends.

Initially, fashion industry was extensively dominated by women as men did not pay much attention to fashion. However, this is not the case in the modern society as all people including men have paid more attention on their appearance particularly on what they wear. The increased focus on men appearance has forced the fashion designers to take advantage of this by producing clothes and accessories in this demographic (Lynch & Strauss, 2007). People are also able to spend on the luxury brands provided that it best suits their taste and preference. Generally, new markets have emerged all over the world with all fashion designers gambling to have a share in this market. In countries such as United Kingdom, Fashion Industry has played a great role in elevating the economic condition of the country. Many Young Fashion Designers all over the world are focused to showcase their potential and talent as much as innovations in the sector are concerned (Granger, 2012). In general, the increased demand in the Fashion Designers is highly associated with the latest fashion education, fashion media and marketing which have the mandate to entice people to welcome the new emerging fashion trend.

According to Hopkins (2012), online fashion retail is one major platform widely used with the stake holders in this sector to reach out global potential customers. In fashion industry, many customers are impressed by what they see or appearance. The current fashion trends demands entrepreneurs to be innovative in order to increase their competitive advantage. Many global entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the various platforms available and social sites to monetize their presence. Use of online platforms and social media is regarded as a dependable ways of contact whereby individuals can get information of what they require internationally (Granger, 2012). Essentially, internet is not only fast but also reliable means for people to communicate despite the distance between their locations. Therefore, if used appropriately used Fashion Designers can be able reach out many international customers. These websites are carefully designed in order to bring out a good appearance view reflecting the kind of products which they offer in their premises.

Through these online platforms, the fashion designers are able to constantly interact with their customers globally. The aspect of good accessibility of these websites helps the customers to have a basic knowhow in the latest fashion and style inspiration which reflects the latest trend the fashion market (Lynch & Strauss, 2007). Companies can make use social media as a strategy to improve their business operation by creating awareness of their existence in both old and new markets. However, this entire process requires proper planning in order to ensure the goal of marketing online is achieved (Hopkins, 2012).

Internet tools of promotion

        Currently, internet is extensively used by many companies and entrepreneurs as a promotion and marketing avenue. The great advancement in the technology has facilitated use of internet as it reliable, cheap and effective communication channels. The high trend use of internet is closely associated with the urge of entrepreneurs and firms to reach out more global customers of their products or services. According to Miller (2008), what constitutes an effective online promotion is the manner at which the entrepreneurs are able to monetize their presence in the social sites. Marketing through internet basically involves creating a new website or using the available social sites to market products or services. Young Fashion Designers have the authority to create their own well detailed website indicating different type of clothing or accessories they offer. Essentially, the website should be easily accessible and well navigated layouts catering for all crucial information concerning the products offered in the firm. The layout or appearance of the website matter a lot such that it is keenly developed to avoid it discouraging possible customers (Dholakia, et. al, 2002).

The term promotion is important in business context as it refers to the means or avenue which companies or entrepreneurs use to market their product or services. Promotion helps to raise awareness of the existence brand or products in order to attract more customers (Lüsted, 2011). Therefore, it is imperative for young fashion designers to understand the basic tips of promotion in for maximum marketing of their products. The first step to consider when choosing the best promotion plan is to understand the customers which will be targeted with the company. Young fashion entrepreneur’s needs to have an effective marketing platform where it is easier to reach out and engage with the customers (Lüsted, 2011). Use of social media or well built website can be effective promotional avenue for young fashion designers to reach our many global customers. Being new in the market, it is advisable for the fashion designers to use effective promotional means which is less expensive or complicated to handle. The essence of marketing is choosing a perfect media where clients and entrepreneurs can effectively interact with each other (Ryan, 2011).

It is imperative for Young Fashion Designers to understand how best they can use the many available internet tools to market their products. According to Lüsted (2011), social networking platform is one major channel which can be used by fashion designers to reach out volumes of global customers. Notably, Social networking platforms require a lot of calculated management for young entrepreneurs to increase their presence in the online podium. According to Dholakia, et. al, (2002), social media has been identified and advertising products and services by companies. In this case, companies can make use of social media to target global customers through creation of pages and websites. The emergence of modern technology for instance use of smart phones has made it easier for individuals to access internet easily. In addition, this facilitates effective communication between the customers and the business owners hence improving business operations and service delivery. With these incentives such as cheap, reliability and easily accessible, Young Fashion Designers can greatly take advantage of these numerous online platforms to reach out customers in all parts of the world (Ryan, 2011).

Besides creation of websites there are other social networking’s sites such as Twitter, You-tube, Face-book and emails among others which can be used as promotional avenues by young fashion designers. Essentially, the idea of using online marketing platform is valid and effective as it facilitates the young entrepreneurs share their thoughts with customers. For monetization purposes the young designers’ should come up with strategies that facilitate capturing client’s attention (Dholakia, et. al, 2002). These strategies should address important aspects such as price, promotions and discounts, quality of their product, their exceptional fashion design, security of the payment method and shipping method in order to attract attention of many customers.

What constitute of a good web design

        According to Psaila et al (2008), the effectiveness of the success of a web design wholly relies on the feature included in the website. Some websites have been regarded to be successful while others barely create income. For Young Fashion Designers to Achieve a Successful Online Business, creation of a well designed website is critical as it ensures provision of major features that ensure customer attraction (Macdonald, 2003).

However, it is wise to note that fashion online shoppers do not base their activities on the mere attractiveness of a particular website but rather tend to look for the products that they intend to buy therefore making it essential to ensure that the products are strategically placed in such a way that the shoppers can view them with ease (Niederst, 2007). This is also vital as it ensures convenience and minimizes wastage of time. In this regard, the following are the various features that Young Fashion Designers should incorporate while designing their websites in order to achieve a Successful Online Business.

Services and products with descriptions and the set price

        According to McNeil (2010), description and prices of goods and services offered are essential components to be included while designing a website. However, the author affirms that many website owners and designers sometimes overlook this and thus make it hard for the online shoppers to identify products, services and their corresponding prices. Ensuring an easy navigates, read, and finds prices and descriptions of products and services is the most essential component of a good website (Psaila et al, 2008). This implies that for Young Fashion Designers to Achieve a Successful Online Business, incorporation of the above aspects and components is of great significance as eliminates surprises to the shoppers.

Location, name of the store and contact information

        According to Niederst, (2007), most online retailers or fashion design retailers neglect or overlook the provision of the store’s basic information including location, name of the store and the contact information. In addition, the author asserts that most online retailers also fails to include other vital contact information including phone number, email among others. In the current competitive business environment, online retailers are finding it essential to provide detailed information to ensure easy access and convenience at all times.

This is primarily aim at ensuring customer’s satisfaction which later fosters customer’s loyalty. According to Psaila et al (2008), the overwhelming ethical issues regarding internet such as fraudsters, customers are more conscious about the assurance offered by a particular online retailer and how they are different from others. In this case, online shoppers or customers require effective channels of communications that they can use to talk to real persons in case of a problem.

Pictures and images of products and services

        According to McNeil (2010), people are visual and tend to be attracted by images and pictures. By use of clear images and peoples, navigation within the website by the online shoppers becomes easy and captivating (Niederst, 2006). This brings out the need to incorporate good looking and eye-catching images and pictures of services and products offered. In the same way, Young Fashion Designers should embrace this aspect in order to achieve a successful online business. According to Macdonald, (2003), presence of images and pictures on a website makes it easy for the shoppers or the online customers to evaluate what they require on base of quality and package.

Ordering procedure and updated information

        A good website needs to provide for a systematic and correct procedure of making an order by the customers. The simplicity of the procedure is paramount as it ensures that the customers do not waste time due to long procedurals. According to McNeil (2010), an effective website should ensure provision of ordering procedure that is easy to locate and use. More importantly, customers tend to look for up to date information that reflect the current packaging and prices of different products and services. According to Psaila et al (2008), online owners should ensure that the information reflected on their websites is current and in accordance to the seasons and other proceeding including holidays.

Company background, policies and conditions

        An ideal website should provide the company’s background including history terms of service and the main stakeholders. This gives the customers the chance to have a picture and to be aware of the company in detail. According to McNeil (2010), a good website should provide accessible and clear policies and conditions for various transactions offered by the company to the customers. Inaccurate policies and conditions may lead to confusion and inconveniences between the company and the customers (Niederst, 2006). In the same way, for Young Fashion Designers to achieve a Successful Online Business, provision of clear and precise policies and conditions is vital.

Catalog

        According to Niederst (2006), a good website should an online catalog which is easy to access by the online shoppers. The information in the catalog should be precise and clear to ensure that it provide adequate information about certain products and services offered. Notably, provision of the above features to a website is of great importance as it ensures that customers are well informed regarding the proceeding, products and services offered by the company. This brings out the need for Young Fashion Designers to develop and implement a website that consist of the above features as a way of achieving a successful Online Business.

Characteristics of a good and effective website

        In business context, a good website is the best avenue to reach out global customers. It is imperative for the website to be fully functional in order to attract many online customers hence increasing the traffic flow in the website. Many customers have more confidence in outstanding websites hence they tend to do their shopping there due to its in built friendly feature. Therefore, it is equally important for the young fashion designers to invest of the good website which is unique in order to win confidence of the clients (WebK & Nasraoui, 2007). To achieve online business success, it is vital to engage customers with a team of experience personnel’s with a capacity of creating a high-producing business website. Basically, design in the most vital aspects which should be catered for during the process of creating the website. In most business websites, the design plays a central role as it must be visually appealing to attract more customers (Lantz, 2009). This cites the reasons why the young fashion designers should be keen to create a well designed website with a good portal to reinforce the quality of brands they are going to offer to their customers. Thus with a good website design, the young entrepreneurs are able to engage with their customers effectively because the website is easy for them to navigate.

The content is another important feature which should be catered for during the process of creating the website. The content of the website should indicate the most essential tings which should be contained in the webpage. By doing so, the website will be very eye-candy and as a result attracting more and more customers. In business, the only way for the entrepreneurs to beat competition is by remaining unique in their own way (Okonkwo & Palgrave Connect, 2007). Thus, the young fashion designers should focus to ensure that the content of their websites is high rated in order to give customers a new experience of what online marketing entails. It is evident that effective website content contains eye-catching words strategically chosen to create a strong value of the products offered by the young entrepreneurs. Therefore, good and quality content provides clients with vast information on the particulars they are looking for. The content of the website should have right key words as this is the only quickest way for the young entrepreneurs to pay off their investments and also to increase their search engine rankings (Irion, 2009).

A good website should be easy to navigate such that they can allow customers to move from one page to another easily. This makes it easy for the customers to find right information on the products they would like to purchase from the website. Easy navigation elevates interests of the customers because they are able to click on the links which they like without many difficulties. This aspect also is vital to ease hassle and frustration with might be encountered by the customers in the process of purchasing products through online platform (Irion, 2009). Consequently, it is imperative for the young entrepreneurs to ensure that all navigation buttons are grouped together with clear images attached in each button. More importantly, the website should be comfortably viewed in regardless of the sizes to avoid cases where the customers must have to scroll down to get certain information. In relation to the attached links, the fashion designers should ensure that there is no dead links in the website and on top should ensure all graphics are easy to download (Okonkwo & Palgrave Connect, 2007).

The conversation path should be professionally built to ensure communication between the fashion designers and their customers is effective and coherent. In order to run the business more professionally, the conversation path should be created keenly as it serves as the backbone of the entire website. This should also reflect the aspect of simplicity as this is another marketing strategy to keep customers glued in the website (Culnan & Carlin, 2009). The webpage should also be easy to load because not many customers like to spend most of their time on slow loading websites. Most importantly, during the process of the website creation, the young fashion entrepreneurs should keep in mind whom their target customers in order to do proper customization in their website to reflect the need of their customers. Notably, the process of creating an effective website should be done keenly taking consideration of the attractiveness and all privacy policies.

Effective websites entails good security and privacy policies

        E-commerce in the modern world has become a popular activity with many people using it to do online shopping. Despite the fact that this platform is efficient and fast, the online business faces many ethical issues like security among others. Online shoppers are worried about security of their private information they give out when purchased items or products. Security particularly on the method of payment and private information is becoming an issue of major concern which many people are worried about (Meenan, 2013). Therefore, this is an indication that the young fashion entrepreneurs should take a lot of caution when creating their website as it is vital to ensure privacy and information security is not compromised. When purchasing product, online shoppers are supposed to discloses some vital information touching on their personal life. The growing concern in how they can trust the security of the information they provide. Online business involves usage of internet which might be hacked thus their personal information might be leaked out to the public. Definitely, this might compromise on their personal security hence bleaching their private right.

According to Geary & Smith (2000), safety of the payment method is another major ethical issues involving e Business. Many online companies recommend and accept different payment methods. Some methods are favorable to the companies only. Online shoppers are nervous about which safe and secure method to use when purchasing products. Notably, some modes of payment require people to disclose their personal information about their bank statement or debit card information. The ethical issue is how online shopper will be able to trust the companies with their essential information which might result to fraud and robbery (Haggin Geary & Smith, 2000). Online companies require people to fill in many details on their private information in order to prove how genuine they are. Ethical issues arise from the manner which the company will store this information safely without other people will ill intentions accessing it. As a matter of fact any ethical company must protect information of their clients as a way of maintaining their security. This explains why it is essential for the young entrepreneurs to be cautious when creating the website taking consideration of all safety and privacy issues (Soumya, Terence & Kim 2011).

Ultimately, increased companies activities in regard to online business have resulted to various ethical issues including privacy, hacking, crime, working conditions and viruses. Privacy is one of the most ethical issues that have been of great concern to the companies. The ability of information technology to retrieve and store data has resulted to adverse effects in regard to right to privacy of internet users (Bramstedt, & Dave, 2013). For instance, software privacy has become an issue of great concern to companies due to increased software theft. Computer software are valuable property and thus prone to theft from computer system. Unauthorized copying of computer programs from the internet has become a major ethical issue that companies are facing currently. To ensure software privacy companies are trying to emphasis on the intellectual property rights and user licensing agreement (Schoenfeld, 2013). In that perspective, the young fashion entrepreneurs should cater for all ethical issues in order to ensure security and privacy measures of all the customers is catered for.

Notably, many people who shop online purchase items without necessarily seeing them. They largely depend on the information available on the online companies’ website. Ethical issues arise on how accurate and genuine the information is. People complain that they are supplied with items different from what they had earlier purchased. Being honest is the basic virtue which the young fashion entrepreneurs should always maintain in order to build trust with their customers. The critics argue that the information available on the website sometimes is distorted of might be outdated. There is a high probability that customers depending on the available information might purchase an item quite different from that on display (Jifeng, Sulin & Han, 2012). More importantly, when this scenario occurs they have no appropriate means where they can do follow in order to fix the issue. There are also ethical concerns on security on goods particularly on how the purchased items are going to reach them. People are worried that they might lose their items through the robbers or other evil means (Snider, 2012). Judging from the above perspective, the young entrepreneurs must always be dedicated to offer their clients with quality products as to what they initially purchased.

Web design mistakes that young fashion designers should avoid when design a good website

        For young fashion designers to achieve a successful online business creating a good website is of great significance to ensure effective branding and marketing efforts. According to O’Byrne & Thorogood (2011), online customers visit websites for specific purpose including checking and comparing prices of products and service and purchasing instead of moving to physical stores. This essentially helps the customers to avoid time wastage and ensure easy comparison of quality and prices of various products offered by different companies (Manzari & Trinidad-Christensen, 2006).

However, asserts that if web designers get the website design wrong, they might loss considerable amount of dollars and more unfortunate fail to generate targeted revenue if the website would function properly. According to Presseau, (2011), web designers should be in a position to avoid various frequent committed mistakes when designing a website as a way of ensuring effective revenue generation and the success of the company. The following are major mistakes evident when creating a website.

Design being too flashy or busy

        According to Jong et al (2011), web designers should ensure an ideal website by ensuring that the web design is not too busy or flashy. Notably, a company’s website should not only focus on ensuring frequent online customers visit but also ensure they get to the right places once they get the website homepage. As noted earlier, a website is a vital component for a company in regard to marketing. Therefore, ensuring easy navigation by the customers is of great significance as it ensures they get into their preferred places within the website and get the information (O’Byrne & Thorogood, 2011). According to Rapoza, (2007), majority of online customers use their wireless devices to visit websites. In addition, the author asserts that busy or rather flashy website do not appear attractive in these wireless devices including tablets and smart phones. This implies that the users are de-motivated to visit such websites therefore decreasing the amount of revenue that particular company gets.

Essentially, customers or online users visit a particular website with an aim to get specific information, product or service. However, Potts, (2007) affirms that is the user or the customer does not figure out what they require they may be forced to go back to the drawing board and think otherwise. This implies that the company will lose revenue at the expense of busy or rather flashy websites. According to Presseau, (2011), new and small businesses are the most affected by flashy websites are the customers or the users are prospective and if they do not obtain the information, products or services they require with ease due to flashy websites they may be forced to find alternative.

Failure to understand your target market

        Ultimately, understanding your target audience is paramount for the web designers before they commence their work. This is because different target audience has different tastes and preferences. For instance, when targeting old people, creating a website that does not have numerous features or rather that does not have complex features is advisable (Chow, 2012). On the other hand, your people are able to navigate with easy even with complex websites. According to Rich & Entrepreneur Press (2009), identifying your target audience is vital as it helps the web designers to design their websites based on their target and research regarding taste, preferences and capabilities. If a particular website target the young population, the website should be in such a way that it is Smartphone compatible since they are commonly used by the young population (Nicolaou, 2013). When web designers fail to correctly identify target audience, they may fail to incorporate particular features that are essential in regard to marketing (Potts, 2007).

Promotional channels that can be used by young fashion designers

        In business context, the entrepreneurs are expected to use the best promotional channels which are cheap but have capacity to reach out many global customers. The essence of young designers using online platform is to reach out global customers with an aim of increasing their total sales. As earlier noted, the use of online shopping platform is gaining popularity as people have realized how easy and less time consuming it is (Schmid, 2007). Many people are occupied with a lot of work hence they have no time to go for shopping. Therefore, they have turned their attention to online platform as it is less involving in terms of time, cost and reliability. On the other side, online platform is also advantageous to the young entrepreneurs as it is cost effective but has the ability to reach out many people within a span of less period of time (Asadi, 2013).

Many entrepreneurs have realized the importance of using marketing online channels in order to facilitate their interactions with their customers. According to Schmid (2007), new trends in social networking are good incentive which international business can take advantage in order to improve their overall business success. The young fashion designer is able to use online platform to create awareness on their products and as a result attracting more customers. As matter of fact, emails and fan pages should be created perfectly such that they are able to provide education to users by giving them chance to learn more about products offered in these companies (Asadi, 2013). However, targeting is a major problem faced by the young entrepreneurs hence citing the need to understand how best they are supposed to monetize their presence on social media platform.

SWOT analysis

        SWOT analysis has an imperative role that facilitates recognition of both internal and external factors influence business operations. SWOT analysis essentially helps to uncover risks and uncertainty and hence come up with an effective organization structure to eliminate the same. SWOT analysis of online promotional avenues will greatly help to guide the young entrepreneurs which channels they can use effectively to market their products (Sterne & Priore, 2000). This is essential in the process of making decision on which online platform to use in order to achieve their goals hence sustaining growth of the company. Opportunities and threats are regarded to as external while strength and weakness are considered to be internal factors linking to the online avenues.

Email SWOT analysis

        Many entrepreneurs believe that email marketing is reliable because it extensively increases business communication. In relation to young fashion designers entrepreneurs, they can use the email to target specific customers as it is efficiency in time of time and cost effective. In many occasions, email marketing usually occurs when entrepreneurs sends volume of emails to many clients or a group of people (Sterne & Priore, 2000). With help of electronic mail, young entrepreneurs are able to reach our many customers by use of an email will is less involving compared to other forms of advertisement.

Morel (2003) affirms that with use of electronic mail young entrepreneurs are able to quickly and easily reach out target markets without necessarily using the large volumes of data. In addition, young fashion entrepreneurs can use email marketing software in order to stay connected with their clients while on the other side targeting new potential markets.

Strength of using email marketing

        Evidently, many global young fashion designers are committed to produce extensively unique designs specializing in apparels, footwear, and accessory products in fashion industry. Therefore, it is vital for them to use an effective marketing or promotional means of creating awareness of their products in order to entice many customers to buy them. In reality, it simple to create an email as it does not require much knowledge or time (Pinterits, 2008). The use of mobile phones and personal computers has made email access to be easy.

People can easily and contentedly access an email at comfort of their homes. It is also simple to use as it is less involving in terms of its description. Notably, many customers check their emails occasionally hence there are high chances that they will get the information. Email marketing also easy to budget as there is no hidden chances and requires a small amount of capital (Morel, 2003). The young entrepreneurs are able to create personalized messages giving a detailed analysis of all products they offer.

Weakness of email marketing

        Weaknesses are manly the factors which might derail effectiveness of email marketing. It is vital for young entrepreneurs to understand weaknesses of email marketing in order to identity area which needs to be improvement. Limited resources are one major factor that might have implications on the effectiveness of email marketing. Lack of skills and exposure to the recent technology is also another major weakness (Sterne & Priore, 2000). There is also a high possibility that the young fashion entrepreneurs might lack capacity to compose a tight message with clear details of the kind of products they offer in their firms. Lastly, there might be lack of effective communication between customers and the young entrepreneurs. Ultimately, it is important for the young entrepreneurs to identify these weaknesses in order to recommend suitable means of addressing them (Prussakov, 2011).

Opportunities

        Ultimately, there are many opportunities presented by email marketing. These opportunities if utilized appropriately they can greatly help to improve and increase the total sales made by the young entrepreneurs. Many people are aware with the use of online shops hence they have vast knowledge of how the entire process goes about (Pinterits, 2008). Many people irrespective of their gender are also aware of their appearance thus the demand of fashion clothes is on rise. With the advancement in technology, customers are able to do online payment without much hustles without fear of loss of their money. Email marketing is accessible by all people hence a viable means to reach out many global customers. According to Prussakov (2011), there are opportunities for the young entrepreneurs to use group email software as a way of targeting many customers at a specific period of time.

Threats

        Young fashion entrepreneurs have a likelihood of facing stiff competition for other big companies which have already established their business operation. Major threats might result from other upcoming fashion industries which have the technical knowledge needed to operate email marketing (Morel, 2003). Ranging from different countries, there might be presence of laws which might derail the effectiveness of email marketing campaign.

Social media as a promotional channel for young fashion designers

        Partridge (2011), affirms that social media and social networking are imperative platforms that increased interactions between organizations and individuals with the help of computer. The author also eludes that social media and social networking have shown considerable progress especially in the early 70s and 80s (Partridge, 2011). The increased emergence of modern technology has enabled many people to embrace use of social media.

Social media or rather social networking has been identified as an essential promotional channels due to it current popularity. The most used social media and social networking avenues entails but not limited to face-book, you-tube and You Tube among others. These platforms provide room where organizations and individual’s customers can interact freely without necessarily going to the physical premises of the company (Wankel et al, 2010). They ensure that customers including prospective buyers have all the necessary and current information regarding products and services offered by a particular company. Below is the SWOT analysis for social media as promotional channels for online business.

Strengths

        From a social media point of view, it is clearly evident that in the last decade, the popularity of social media and social networking is becoming wide spreading with many people and organizations opening accounts that enable them to enjoy vast services from the internet. Social media and social networking is becoming an essential marketing strategy for companies that seek to obtain a large market base and enter new markets (Wankel et al, 2010). Social media has been known to ensure a strong bond, trust and relationship between the customers and companies. On e of the major strength of social media and social networking is the fact that it ensures the presence of customers and other users in diverse popular social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ among others (White, 2011). This in turn gives the users the chances to share and obtain important information regarding goods and services offered by different organizations. More importantly, it ensures that the customers or rather the users have the chance to do comparison of various products and services based on their packaging and prices.

The other strength of using social networking and social media is the fact that they are able to reach out many individuals globally in a short time and also ensure successful relationships among the customers (Steiner, 2012). The other major strength of public media is that it provides services to a wide range of organizations and individuals and thus ensures a broad customers or audience base (Wankel et al, 2010). This is because various users of social media in most cases tend to become consumers of the major products and services offered by diverse companies. Social media have the ability to boost the human factor aspect and it ensures facilitation of organization activities through building man image thus enhance users interaction levels.

Weaknesses

        Despite having numerous strengths, social media has a number of weaknesses that may demoralize users from using various platforms. To start with, it is hard for new users to make use of various platforms since they require skills to open and operate. This implies that in case of a prospective customer looking for products and services online, one may be challenged during account creation and also access to various organization information regarding the products and services offered. According to Wankel et al (2010), social media in most cases may be of no use to an organization if there is no effective engagement with the users or the customers. This is because the page or the platform has adds no value to the company’s brand. Social media in some cases have the weakness when they fail to establish target audience.

According to Steiner, (2012), for effective use of social media as an online business promotional channel identifying the target audience or the users is vital as it ensures that information relayed is obtained by the right people and thus has value to the company’s brand. Wankel et al, (2010) asserts that social medial have the tendency of imposing restrictions to some users and thus may hinder the accessibility by some individuals. This in term affects the size of the target audience or users limiting the value of certain information by a given company. Most of the people have the perception that use of social media is time consuming and can cause one a lot since there is no assurance you are getting the right information from the right person or organization. This exposes the users to the challenge of determining which platforms are genuine and which one are not. In addition, some of social media users have ill motives and intentions and tend to post misleading information that eventually decreases the trustworthy of various social media platforms by the users.

Opportunities

        Notably, social media and social networking has numerous opportunities that can be utilized by business organization in the current competitive environment to ensure their success. The fact that social media enable or foster inter connection between different social medial platforms is a viable opportunity that promotes engagement with users from different regions across the world. According to White (2011), social media is become more effective as it ensures the opportunity to address customer’s problems and concerns instantly and thus help to boost customer’s loyalty. The other major opportunity for social media platforms such as you tube is viral content. This implies that these social media platforms help to minimize organization’s costs due to the fact that they replace several employees (Steiner, 2012).

Essentially, most social media platforms provide room for contests ensure constant customers engagement. These constants aim to ensure introduction of new products and services in the market through providing customers with chances to win goodies and other prizes. This in turn helps to improve their trust towards that particular company and hence increase their customer’s base and market share.

Threats

        Even though social media as a promotional channel has numerous strengths and opportunities, various threats have been identified by many researchers that lower its effectiveness in ensuring marketing of online businesses (Steiner, 2012). Notably, brand impersonalization has become common in social media thus hindering the trustworthy of various platforms by the users (Wankel et al, 2010). In addition, most social media platforms are threatened by presence of negative followers who may leave negative comment or review on a company’s wall. This further creates negative publicity regarding the company hence reducing the customer’s loyalty and market share. The process of using social media marketing is becoming time and financial consuming. According to White (2011), competition is another major threat to social media marketing since most of the companies that use social media platforms are well established.

Methodology

Research approach

        A successful research is the one that give answers to the research questions, accuracy, objectivity, validity, and cost-cutting measure. The study in this case used explanatory or rather descriptive and qualitative investigation formation based on research questions and objectives. Panneerselvam (2004) affirms that descriptive studies are effective especially when qualitative studies are being carried out. The author also eludes that the studies are apprehensive of finding out who, what, how and where a phenomenon which is being investigate. The imperative of adopting descriptive research is the fact that it will facilitate investigation of online business and websites as they are evident. In addition, the technique make it possible for the researcher to describe in details what websites are, how they are use, features included and their effects to users and business. Qualitative investigate is also adopted in the research as it facilitate investigation of the social constructivist paradigm regarding social media, online business and social networking. The technique aims to determine the importance and meaning of a website and how it can help young designers in promoting their business. This is based on experiences and behaviors of different individuals involved in activities regarding to online business and website creation.

Ultimately, the technique is not originally founded on the available data but rather on views, perceptions and experiences of the participants in regard to online business websites and the role they play in enhancing business operations particularly for young fashion designers. More importantly, the methodology to be adopted in the study aims to establish the significance role that a good website play in ensuring effective online marketing and increased market share. According to Panneerselvam (2004), the qualitative study approach in regard to this particular study supports positivism; this is based on the truth that cannot be altered rather than use and comparison of data. It is either young fashion designer implement the appropriate websites in the required manner in order to ensure customer’s engagement and ensure effective online marketing for their products and services.

Research philosophy

        Deductive research philosophy has been adopted for this study, whereby the reality is that the young entrepreneurs should understand the importance of creating a good website or using the available online avenues to market their products effectively. Through this sales promotion it is possible for them to create customers on the products they offer in their firms. The philosophy of the study is mainly established by the notion that there is a common case perceived by all businesses that online platform increase volume of sales. This argument will be based on the general assumption that an effective website enhances the success of young fashion designers in the market.

Target population

        According to, a population is the total collection of elements for a particular study topic from which a researcher make conclusion regarding the whole study population. Essentially, the target people for this research are successful fashion websites which are already factional. The author affirms that setting a population target is essential as it helps to enhance the accuracy and precision of the study.

Sample selection and sample size

        Essentially, there is no sample size because this method just help to filtered what could be regarded as prospective young fashion designers could be taken as research targets. Literally, this research is targeting young fashion designers according to the selection rules of the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize. LVMH group is known as the biggest luxury group in the world, it shapes and leads the fashion industry, and therefore, its angles and judgments of how talented young fashion designers should be are reliable and authoritative. According to the rules and illustrations on the official website of the prize(http://www.lvmh.com/lvmh-patron-of-the-arts-and-social-solidarity/youth-support-forthcoming-talents/lvmh-young-fashion-designer-prize), this prize is open to designers under 40 years old who have created at least two women’s or men’s ready-to-wear collections.

When selection prospective target young fashion designers, this research followed most of its runs but toned down a little bit as there are not much designers who have launched two ready-to-wear collections are accessible. In order to have more options, when brainstorming, fashion designers under 40 years old and who have created one or more than one women’s and men’s collections would be considered to have met the demand. According to the rules that stated above in the paragraph, getting in touch with some of the designers that listed as a result as brainstorming by emails and facebook messenger are methods that used to select and get in touch with the young fashion designers.

Firstly, the list of designers that were contacted including a Chinese talented young women’s wear young fashion designer called Angel Chan, and the other Chinese young fashion designer who had just launched a new collection called Minwu, as well as another one named Cindy Zhang who has designed outfit for Lady Gaga. As all of them are Chinese, figured they would be easier to get in touched with through a friend from London School of Art’s connect whereas they were way too inaccessible, thus they have to be crossed out from the list.

Secondly, in order to try as many as possible, more designers on the list were try to be connected with, including all finalists of the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Awards. Their names and contact details would be listed later in the research section. However, none of them were willing to accept the interview request, some of them did not even reply for the email with any reasons.

Finally, the researcher was introduced to a young fashion designer to interview them. A Greece designer Akiko Yoshimoto who just launched her collection during the 2014 Spring Summer London Fashion Week would be put in the interview as a case study. This interview will provide the idea and inner peek of how young fashion designers think about online fashion retail and how much effort they are tempted to put into it, and how to make it a successful business. In addition, the researcher used questionnaires and distributed them in front of Harrods and Selfridges in London where considered customers of these two spots are more likely to be customers of young fashion designers since on one hand they are financially better off and on another hand; they are the inclined to consume designer’s outfits.

More importantly, only those audiences with designer clothing experience would be considered as valid sample. Audiences without former designer clothing purchase experience are not considered to be effectual since they are not consider having a high relevancy to fashion designer’s websites let along making tangible contribution on helping to regulate a routine for young fashion designers to follow on designing their websites. Because of that, this sample selection that introduced above is a way to ensure validity of the questionnaire.

How the study will guarantee reliability and validity

        Essentially, the aspect of validity in a research aims to determine the consistency of the answer or data obtained if the similar study were conducted in future. According to Kothari, (2005), if similar research questions are used to investigate similar parameters and research topics, similar or rather the same answers should be obtained. The study ensured validity through effective connection of the whole research process including the background, objectives, research questions and the overall research methodology. The linked aims to concentrate of achieving the overall expectations based on hypothesis and research methodology. Selection of the respondents to either interview or questionnaires focuses on the members with knowledge regarding websites. In addition, the validity of the study is based on the willingness of respondents to give the correct information the topic of study. In addition, the researcher recognized the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the researcher and the participants as a way of ensuring and enhancing validity.

Research Ethics

        The researcher ensured that all aspects related to study ethics are carefully addressed throughout the study process. This was initially to ensure acceptability and reliability of the study by its audiences. In this case, the research address various aspects related to ethics including privacy and confidentially of the respondents. The research ensures that the rights of the participants including right to privacy were given first choice. To ensure the participants disclose relevant information out of will, they were convinced that the study had academic purpose only. The use of consent form that was signed by the participants ensured ethics during the research. This also ensured that the respondents provided their views and perception out of will. The researcher also ensured that all aspects of ethics laid in the form were carefully followed.

Conceptual Framework

        The main purpose of this research is to identify how important young fashion designers consider personal website to be and what customers figure as a good fashion website, what elements are regarded as the most significant ones, and both of their expectation against the website of a young fashion designer.

Methods for data collection

Primary research

        Questionnaires, survey, interviews and brainstorming were the common data collection techniques used for primary research in regard to research topic. This primarily aimed to acquire imperative information from the sample websites designers and customers selected. The analysis involved approximate ac considerable number of participants who were tasked to consider a specific website is good or not, will they buy from the website, what would they consider to be attractive, what they consider should change to fit their appetite. The study incorporated survey questionnaires and interview whereby electronic and traditional questionnaires are used to obtain participants views and perceptions. In addition, the research made use of survey due o the fact that it is effectively related with qualitative research approach (Kothari, 2005). Below is a comprehensive explanation of the data collection methods used in the study.

Interview

        The study used interviews to obtain essential information related to what constitute and good website based on participants views. This will help to discover various features that should be incorporated in a website to make it effective for online business. The research was specific in that it used in-depth interview to obtain direct insights from the respondents. This technique is supported by an researcher conducted by Kothari (2005), which indicates that in-depth interviews are essential in ensuring respondents are engaged in a more rigorous way to ensure they provide the required information.

Questionnaires

        Questionnaires can be defined as tools or technique used to collect data based on a set of standardizes questions that aim to collect essential information that relate to the topic of study. According to Jones & Taylor, (2010, p. 36), is most appropriate while used alongside quantitative research whereby the research aims to obtain measurements from a sample population. The technique was used due to the fact that they are more cost effective and helps to eliminate bias hence reliability of the study. In addition, electronic questionnaires were used in the study to facilitate collection of information from participants from London School .As mentioned above, a group of students from London School of Fashion participated in questionnaire filling. Evidently, as filtered by my friend and I previously during the research design, all of them are customers of young fashion designers’ websites, this help to reduce extract work and guarantee validity. Moreover, these samples are all study fashion and relevant subjects, the participants were more willing to share their ideas relate to their study, and their ideas are more professional than any other background.

Owing to the well-developed technology, online questionnaire is accessible world- wide. With the participation from different individual from different background and different industries in the universe, together form a credible research.

Questionnaires were helpful for obtaining information concerning the effectiveness and efficiency of the websites, the participants had opportunity to provide their personal opinion regarding the reviewed websites. The main items under questionnaires were the appearance of the websites if they were good or not, will they buy from the website, what they would consider to be attractive, what they consider should change to fit their appetite.

Methods of questionnaire distribution

Traditional random questionnaire collection

        The traditional way of questionnaire collection means to hand out questionnaires in a specific/random spot where one consider at this spot he would be able to collect more valuable data. I choose this method because this would help to collect data from different ages, races and to differentiate data collect from a group of questioners with similar background.

Online survey(survey monkey)

        The study also used online surveys or rather the survey monkey to distribute the questionnaires among the participants. To distribute online questionnaire to a specific group of people help to reduce the time and enhance the efficiency, because different from traditional paper questionnaire, online survey reduce the possibility that one might not be able to fill in the paper questionnaire at that moment, but later on, when they are less packed, they would be willing to participate in. And since I have contact my friend from London School of Fashion, as she said that most of her classmates are customers of young fashion designers’ websites and most of them are willing to participate in my research, in this circumstance, I do not need to cut in their way to ask them to fill in paper questionnaire, instead, electronic questionnaire would be more convenient for them.

Brainstorming

        Brainstorming is technically not a formal method for data collection. However, in order to filter which young fashion designer’s website could be chosen as the target candidates to discuss afterwards in the research, in order to generate what could be sample for other young fashion designers to follow and use as a reference, narrowing down the list of the qualified young fashion designers according to the rules is a necessary course.

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