Fashion advertising is a branch within the advertising field that focuses on creating promotions for the fashion industry. The fashion industry has a number of unique needs from a promotional perspective, which can make it challenging and exciting to work for as an advertiser, and some of the most famous advertising campaigns in history have been campaigns for major fashion houses. Advertising in this field includes ads for garments, purses, shoes, and similar products of fashion houses, along with high end perfumes.
The goal of fashion advertising is to connect potential customers with the brand, as with other forms of advertising. As with other brands, fashion ads promote a lifestyle just as much as the product, teaching consumers to associate a particular brand with a specific lifestyle and social class. The tone and content of ads may vary, depending on which market the company is trying to target, ranging from very wealthy individuals to people with less disposable income who could still be a valuable customer base.
Print advertising appears in many magazines and some newspapers in major fashion markets like New York City and Paris. Ads can also appear in the form of television commercials, billboards, and so forth, and many fashion houses also rely on the free publicity that comes from seeing their products on celebrities and high profile individuals in the news. A designer who gets his or her garments onto movie starlets walking down the red carpet, for example, will see an uptick in demand from people who see the designer's clothes, shoes, and accessories such as jewelry and purses.
In addition to working with fashion houses such as Gucci and Yves St. Laurent, fashion advertisers also work with retailers who carry clothes and accessories. Stores use advertising to promote themselves and the products they sell. Whether high or low end, department stores want to present consumers with images of a specific lifestyle, using ads which tell a story to appeal to consumers and encourage them to buy the company's products.
Often, fashion advertising is heavily linked with sexuality. Scantily clad women in suggestive poses commonly appear in advertisements, whether they are marketing dresses, perfume, or anything else, and groupings of models may be used in print ads or commercials to create suggestive imagery. Some ad campaigns have crossed the lines in the view of critics, and have generated a great deal of controversy from people who feel that such ads are inappropriate, especially when they can be seen by young children.