Fast Company

Using Fashion to Tap Into the Female Consumer

In the midst of New York's Mercedes-Benz (formerly-Olympus) Fashion Week, IMG Fashion announced that it will bring a Mercedes Benz sponsored Fashion Week to Berlin in July for the spring 2008 season.

If you haven't already caught on, Fashion Week means big-time exposure for up-and-coming, as well as, seasoned designers, but also even bigger exposure to brands that hope to capitalize on the throngs of people making their way to the tents. Mercedes-Benz already sponsors Fashion Weeks in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada.

According to Fashion Week Daily, more than 14,000 people per day visited the tents at Bryant Park in February 2005; this doesn't include the number of people who watch the shows from streaming video on the Internet. For an event sponsor, like Olympus or Mercedes Benz, or even a regional sponsor, this means direct access to the movers and shakers of the fashion world -- the celebutants, the designers, the buyers, and the media.

Even AT&T's wireless unit, formerly Cingular Wireless is jumping into the mix with coverage of Fashion Week offered to its customers . . . for a price. Cingular customers can download designer wallpaper sketches from Tracy Reese and Jenni Kayne for $1.99 each and customers who have the Unlimited Media package ($19.99) can watch the shows from the comfort of their cell.

Generally, this is an effort by these major brands to reach the female consumer who boasts 83% of the buying power in the US. Mark McNabb, Mercedes-Benz US VP of sales told MediaPost, "We have been trying to improve our marketing to a female audience over the past sixteen to eighteen months."

So with Fashion Week being the best way for traditionally macho companies like Mercedes-Benz to reach the female consumer and the power of her Louis Vuitton wallet, will other megla-macho companies jump into the mix soon?

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