Fashion Brands Buying into the Local Age

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Millard “Mickey” Drexler, the 14-year CEO of J. Crew is stepping down. While Mr. Drexler had a great run, dressing many inspiring interns while heading up The Gap for 18 years, and dressing cubicle warriors via J. Crew through the 2000s, he underestimated the importance of online sales and marketing, and the ever-present clearance sale of fast fashion.

While the news of Drexler’s departure requires a moment of reflection in the fashion world, it is short-lived, for taking Drexler’s place is James Brett, famously of West Elm. Brett has been something of a revolutionary in advertising and marketing, giving local West Elm managers control over their store’s displays and even giving stores buying power for merchandise made by local artists. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, local is where it’s at, and this is just the start of a new Local Age.

But don’t take my word for it, not when I can quote a speaker at at AWAsia just last week:

“The ‘global consumer’ does not really exist.” – Luca Lindner, Global President, McCann Worldwide Group

Even the illustrious Luca Lindner advises finding local agencies for global brands, and instructs global agencies to leverage local agency talent.

The world is changing, and while the global mega-brands of the world seem to be scaling up, consumers are looking for the local reason to not purchase online or from a faceless conglomerate. Agencies have all the proof around them, from West Elm to Farmer’s Markets, that adding in local connections in advertising is continuing to work.

Welcome to the Local Age.

For more on this topic, watch the AWAsia keynote with Luca Lindner.

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