Jessica Catherine Waters
Political Dressing: “Dress style that challenges — or is perceived as challenging, or offering an alternative to the status quo” (The Conversation, 2018).
Ba (hons) Fashion Business & Promotion graduate with aspirations to build a career within the buying or marketing sectors.Whilst studying buying and merchandising in first year, an immediate attraction was apparent. During the module software skills were gained in Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Excel. Alongside this, valuable knowledge into the operational processes of garment production, budgeting and costing, critical paths and phasing into stores was gained. Throughout the duration of the course key modules such as, trend forecasting and international retailing have strengthened commercial awareness and analytical thinking.
A highlight of second year was collaborating with Selfridges Birmingham on their live brief ‘Radical Luxury’, where a 6 month VM strategy was formed – Brutiful Reborn.
The concept challenged the modern perceptions of luxury and explored how the notion of luxury differs among us.
Taking inspiration from Birmingham's city landscape and rich history of brutalist architecture, the theme celebrated unconventional forms of luxury. Three local artists, each with their own signature look were given an exhibition space and concrete blocks. By collaborating with designer brand Ivanka Concrete, each artist created a bespoke piece of art - a clutch bag made from concrete. Their work and the bag were then showcased in the VM space as an exhibition, embodying the ultimate luxury - uniqueness.
Curiosity into the influence of politics and cultural values within the fashion sector sparked during the trends forecasting module in first year. The dissertation offered an opportunity to delve deeper into what is driving social movements and the effect this has on buying behaviour within the retail sector. After intensive primary and secondary research and analysis of trend reports, similarities between Generation Z and Generation X consumers were emerging. This posed the question, could these consumers be targeted based on their shared cultural and political views by retailers? And will this shape the future of marketing to families?
After cross-examining both generations, research exposed deep communicative, familial relationships. Both Gen Z parents and their Gen X offspring demonstrate an alarming distrust in government, and are actively seeking ways to create positive change within society. Research concluded that brands who target consumers based on values, rather than age will win traction. This will offer a new approach to family marketing, in opposition of traditional forms, based on the outdated perception that, all families embody the stereotype associated with the nuclear family.