The Intimacy of Fashion

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Now more than ever, it seems difficult to distinguish where fashion begins and intimacy ends, as they have come to be completely intertwined with one another. When I speak of intimate fashion, I’m not specifically talking about chain lingerie retailers like Victoria’s Secret or BDMS e-tailers that sell latex body suits and bondage gear. Intimate fashion can refer to brands that evoke emotional reactions and responses from their consumers. According to MBLM, a leading brand intimacy agency, “brand intimacy (is) a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand.” Having a love for fashion has certainly gained a new meaning.

What I’m about to tell you next may shock you. MBLM’s Brand Intimacy Report of 2017, which is the largest study of brands based on emotion, listed Levi’s as the most intimate brand in U.S., following Nike, H&M, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Lululemon, Under Armour, Adidas, and The North Face. More astonishing was the ranking of many high-end designer brands and luxury labels. Hermes, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Chanel, and Gucci fell below the list of the 100 most intimate brands, with mega-house Louis Vuitton coming in at #161. The lowest ranking of all apparel/fashion brands. Ouch.

Although Chanel, Gucci, and Vuitton are some of the most highly coveted brands in the fashion industry, it seems that their reach is more limited than one might speculate. Creating a yearning for a brand and its product entails more than just producing great products nowadays. It involves a mathematical mélange of creativity, ingenuity, and a snappiness to strike when the iron is hot. So why are these seasoned maisons that have astronomical budgets to convince us to buy, buy, buy, falling short? When did our love for quality fashion end, and our affair with cheap, disposable fashion begin? Who would have ever guessed that $10 could bring more happiness than $1,000? I’ll choose Prada loafers over plastic ones any day, thank you very much.