Creative marketing and the clothes swapping phenomenon

By Claudia Henninger, Manchester University

Why do we do things the way we do them and what makes us do them in the first instance? Being a researcher allows to address these questions, by exploring different topic areas we have always wondered about. One of my personal areas of interests centres on collaborative fashion consumption, and more specifically the swapping of clothes. Prior to COVID-19 we have seen a lot of pop-up swap shops or even parties, whereby strangers meet and exchange garments. These events are often facilitated by an organiser, who also checks very briefly that garments are ‘ok’ to be swapped, meaning in one piece (no rips) and not soiled.

In one of my recent book chapters, I explore “creative marketing and the clothes swapping phenomenon”. This chapter raises key questions on how creativity in marketing could help to make these events more mainstream and more inclusive. As currently, fashion events are often targeting only a small segment and thus, may exclude others. For example, swap shops are predominately advertised to secondhand consumers, yet, perhaps other consumers might be interested, but may neither know about them (due to the communication channels used) or feel they can go (due to not being directly targeted).

Whilst as academics we often seek to provide solutions to a problem, this chapter raises more questions as opposed to answering them. One of the reasons is quite simply that our environment is changing dramatically, in the UK we had Brexit and now we are looking at COVID-19, (hopefully) soon to be a post-COVID-19 world. How swapping events will be organised in the future and whether they continue to grow is unknown, yet creativity could perhaps help to get more interest.

Publication: Henninger, C.E. (2020) Marketing the clothes swapping phenomenon through creativity, in Pantano, E. (ed) Creativity and Marketing, Emerald Publications, Bingley, UK

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