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Events such as a royal wedding have a profound effect upon sales and trends in the fashion industry. How can manufacturers take advantage?

Wedding dress

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was watched by an estimated 24 million viewers in the UK and a further 29 million in the US. The guest list included a veritable who’s who of ‘A’ list celebrities from around the world. For viewers, this was the perfect opportunity to see the latest fashions in clothing, footwear and accessories.

Events like this impact heavily on shoppers’ decisions. Following the wedding, designers showcased by celebrities and royalty found their websites inundated with enquiries. Clothes that have been worn by Meghan Markle have sold out almost immediately – known as the ‘Meghan effect’.1

The ‘Meghan Effect’ on the High Street

Meghan Markle’s couture dress is out of the reach of most consumers but its design, and the designs of the page boys and other members of the wedding party, will have a profound effect upon fashion for the next year.

The style choices are directly affecting consumer purchasing choices for brides in 2019. Dresses on offer in 2019 are more sophisticated, with cleaner lines and little sign of appliqué, beads, lace or frills. It is also expected that Meghan’s wearing of Queen Mary’s bandeau tiara will make the tiara a must-have accessory.

The effect can be almost instantaneous. Givenchy’s quintessential Bateau or Sabrina neckline was seen on the high-street almost immediately after the wedding in the offers of various retailers. Similarly, polka dot dresses worn by guests have seen a dramatic increase in sales. The wedding has also affected hemlines and headgear.

It is important for industry to not underestimate the impact of events such as a royal wedding. It is estimated the royal wedding and the ‘Meghan effect’ will generate around GBP 150 million in revenue for clothing and footwear manufacturers in the UK.

Capitalizing on the ‘Meghan Effect’

The ‘Meghan effect’ has an impact not only on wedding attire, but also on everyday wear. The demands of these two sectors will drive designs, fabric choices and, perhaps most importantly from a manufacturer’s perspective, the testing that clothing products must undergo.

To be fit for purpose wedding clothing must be tested to ensure it is able to deal with local climatic conditions. For example, in the UK it rains (even in wedding season) and consumers must be assured that colors will not run. Clothes for this most important of events must be tested for properties including color fastness, tear resistance, seam slippage, seam strength, and strap of fastener strength.

In the formal hire market, which will often supply the outfits worn by a groom and his groomsmen need to be durable. Repeat wear means fabrics must be tested for abrasion resistance, pilling, color fastness and smoothness of appearance or crease recovery. These will all contribute to customer satisfaction and longevity of the item in terms of hiring.

On the high street, every day fashion is a passion for those who want to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. To capitalize on the ‘Meghan effect’ details from clothing worn by celebrities at an event like a royal wedding need to be copied and placed on the high-street quickly. The same quality factors exist as for wedding attire, but turnaround times can be short. This means manufacturers need to work with a fast and efficient testing facility to be certain that the products they send to the high-street are fit for purpose.

SGS Solution

With a global network of more than 40 specialist state-of-the-art laboratories focusing on softline products, SGS is ideally placed to help manufacturers bring clothing, footwear and accessories to market. Our committed, multi-disciplinary team offers a comprehensive range of physical, chemical and functional testing services for components, materials and finished products. We provide cost effective solutions with efficient turnaround times to help you ensure quality, performance and compliance with international, industrial and regulatory standards worldwide. Learn more about SGS’s Softlines Services.

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For more information, please contact:

Tricia Zourmand
UK Softlines Manager, CRS
SGS United Kingdom Limited
t: +44 203 008 7860

1 How Meghan Markle is Impacting the Fashion Industry