Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Importance of Naming Clothing

Trippen Happy boots? Pretty happy to me.

Many, if not most, clothing and shoe brands name their items. At All Saints you can find the Dissolve Dress, at Fluevog shoes come in families based off their soles, like the Earl of Warwicks, while further naming the individual shoes inside the families. Some shoes and bags are referred to by numbers, like Louis Vuitton's Speedy 30 or Jeffrey Campbell's 99. Even department or mega discount chain stores have begun to slowly filter in on the naming of items. Check the end of your shoe box while shopping next time, and almost certainly you'll see a name and color on the end.

Why this is important to you as a consumer: Names can create an emotional response. A sandal that may be cute basic brown heel at first glance, may take on different connotations if you realize the design is called the "Lucifer." And while the sandals may not have a single demonic, religious or otherwise satanic slant to their design, someone out there is going to have an emotional response to that name, good or bad. This can be double-edged for retailers in terms of making a sale.

This brings up the concept of corporate culture and who brands are trying to appeal to. If you click that link to Jeffrey Campbell's design, you'll also find other shoes with names like "Omg" or "4 Evz" which appeal to the younger demographic the brand is trying to market towards.

Naming can also be helpful in terms of finding the right fit. I remember when LOFT first started using their Kate, Julie, and Marisa pants fit. This differed from the "curvy", "straight", and "classic" cuts that various stores had been using as terminology. This can help and hinder. Some people may not identify with "Marisa" or feel like a "Julie." There may be a Kate in your past who isn't your favorite person.This isn't limited to fits, but any item name.

However this can be beneficial to you as a shopper. Knowing your "fit" or size in a certain shoe shape can give you a jumping point for the insane world of sizing we live in.

Consider falling in love with a pair of elusive shoes that are no longer for sale in a retail store. Still gotta have it? Know its name? To eBay! By having a name or number strongly identifying with an item you can easily track down that lusted after piece. This can also help add to the brand fandom. A friend made note while browsing eBay's Fluevog wares that these are shoes that can go up in price as the shoe ages. Being able to identify shoes based on name and family allows this community to more easily work backwards in terms of age and rarity, thus giving a starting point for reselling.

Do you think item names have a sway in your purchasing? Were you aware of these trends? Does this influx of terminology help or hinder you in your shopping?


  1. I think it's a great marketing strategy as well... you know, how if i were to say I want a pair if "Lita"s or "Dany"s, everyone knows what I'm talking about as opposed to "you know that pair of JC's?"

  2. Not being religious, I'd have no qualms about buying anything named Lucifer. I might even be more interested in buying it. That being said, I'm not turned off by Fluevog's Christian messages because JF is very inclusive and doesn't discriminate against groups of people like some brands do (aka Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters).

  3. These boots are MAJOR---like totally MAJORLY hOT HOT HOTTTTT! I love how naughty and western and cool!
    xoThe Beckerman Girls

  4. It's an interesting topic for sure - I myself don't really buy things based on brand or what "name" they're given - especially as a thrifter. Though I agree that the marketing strategy of naming the type of style helps sometimes, such as with LOFT's named pants. It makes it easy to remember what fit worked best for you, you can say "I'm a Kate" or whatever the case may be. For the most part though, I buy what fits good and what I feel looks good and don't think too much about the name!

  5. What a great post. Yes, of course names affect us. I'm never surprised at the extent to which retailers will go to persuade us to buy their wares.

  6. I used to work in a shoe store when I was in high school. The shoes all had names, and it made it a lot easier for me to find a specific pair in the store room instead of having to memorize a number. I wear Victoria's Secret "Christie" pants, but I don't particularly like the name.

  7. Great post.
    I have seen this done in women¡s clothing/items but i am not sure it is done for menswear.
    Answering your question, i my case, i am attracted to items that evoke an image or a feel or a place, style or look.
    One example was a few years back when Liz Claiborne came out with styles named Jackie or Audrey... i never try on Liz Claiborne but when I read the labels I wanted to try the items on, maybe i could get their style or look :)

  8. I probably know all of the names of every single pair of Nine West shoes I own - but that harkens back to when I worked in a store when I was in high school (we'd search for shoes by the name on the box!). I think it's helpful. I wouldn't *not* buy an item of clothing that I really loved just because it was named something (or someone) I didn't like.

    Seeing Lorena's post above, it reminded me of my beloved Jackie cardigan from J Crew. Now there was an ingenious ploy right there, to name that classic 3/4-sleeve cardi the "Jackie," because of COURSE you're going to think of Jackie O when you see it!


Thanks for reading. Got something to say? I'd love to hear it!