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Trendspotting: Brands appeal to your patriotic side

Trendspotting: Brands appeal to your patriotic side

In a bid to keep innovating, fashion houses are creating products specifically catering to nationalist and cultural pride. Precious de Leon looks at where this trend might lead.

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October 17, 2011 3:44 by



This is the age of celebrating individuality. It’s all about who you are and broadcasting that to the world. Being loud and proud of what makes you ‘you’ is encouraged, from your religious beliefs to your career choice, your brand associations and the pages you like on Facebook. And of course one of the easiest ways to tell people who you are is the way you put yourself together when you step out of your home.

After all, you are what you wear, right? But with so many clothing choices out there, how do brands make sure you choose them? By appealing to your nationalistic and cultural pride of course!

Premium fashion labels are paying homage to (cashing in on) heritage and cultural symbolism to grab customers attention.
What’s interesting is that this trend is happening at the premium level where brands are less than subtly targets (pandering is a word that comes to mind right here) demographics by using elements of these particular high-net worth consumers’ cultural/national attachments.

Right about now, you’ll say well this isn’t a new thing. Ralph Lauren launched custom-made flag shirts, sporting flags from USA, Jamaica, Nigeria, Turkey and the UAE.
But one could argue (as I will here) that these flag shirts weere just a prototype trend—it’s really not more than a couple of more expensive hemlines away from football jerseys. These days, this cultural bandwagon has put a stronger attention to the creation and design of products, for a specific market.

Methinks this snowballed with the ongoing ‘Oud Aromania’ that has spilled all over the global fragrance industry. The most recent bandwagon jumper is Estee Lauder, which today launched Wood Mystique, a new fragrance brand that has strong notes of oud and is unabashed in its Middle Eastern homage.

Before this there were a number of Middle Eastern-inspired fragrances like the Guerlain Oud Sensuel, Tom Ford Oud Wood and Juliette has a Gun’s Midnight Oud—apparently this trend works like search engine optimization, oud-loving customers won’t find you if your brand doesn’t have the word ‘oud’ on it.

From perfumes, other premium brands started to take notice. Yesterday, Kipp told wrote about the John Lobb Dubai shoe, which was designed by a team based in Dubai and is supposed to depict the spirit of the city. (Click this link to check out the Dubai shoe photo.)
And last week, Hermes launched a limited edition sari line to tap into the Indian market.

“Hermés admires India and has a lot to learn from India,” says Hermés International chief executive Patrick Thomas, as quoted in the Telegraph. A quick run through our Kipp’s deglazing translator rereads this quote to mean a kind of ‘Show me the money’ statement: “Hermés is on to you, India. Cough up the cash.”

The French fashion house, unsurprisingly, puts a $6,100 to $8,200 price tag on the collection.

Of course, Hermés is no stranger to pulling at your nationalist heartstrings. The company’s latest addition to its Carré collection is the “Under the Cedars of Lebanon” scarf, launched this…

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