Fashioning the Global City through Brands in Novels

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


    A brand consists of “any name, design, style, words or symbols... that distinguish one product from another in the eyes of the consumer”. However, brands are more than just names or symbols that identify ownership or origin; they represent consumers’ perceptions and feelings about a product. The geographies of place and space are inescapably intertwined with brands and branding, and the values and meanings that people ascribe to specific brands are entangled in their perceptions of the brand’s spatial associations and connotations. Whilst there is a significant body of research in marketing which deals with country-of-origin effects, many different places, including cities, are capable of generating powerful place-of-origin effects, and a positive reputational connection between a product-category and a place represents the most potent form of origin effect. Fashion is also “a bounded thing, fixed and experienced in space”. Key global cities, including Paris, New York, London and Milan are closely associated with fashion. These metropolitan centres of style, are routinely linked to fashion brands and retail outlets for marketing purposes (eg: DKNY, AX Paris, Rimmel London), building on the place-of-origin effect. Fashion brand names are frequently used in fictional works, where they help to achieve a form of verisimilitude. Bloom suggests that modern popular fiction makes of its language “a form of lifestyle, foregrounding objects and events rather than psychological characterisation”. Furthermore, McNeil et al. argue that the “complex interrelationship between clothes and character forms one of the key narrative devices in fiction”. Breward states that: “Writers...have … long understood the connections to be made between the sense of place ... and the making and wearing of clothing”. However, despite this, there is little or no research which addresses the connection between fashion brand name usage and the geographies of place in novels. This paper explores the association of fashion brand names and world fashion cities through a content analysis of fashion brand names in three city-based ‘chick lit’ novels from Lindsey Kelk’s popular I Heart series: I Heart New York (2009), I Heart Paris (2010) and I Heart London (2012). The extent to which the brand names mentioned in the novels reflect the fashion city setting is discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages34
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2014
    EventFashion in Fiction Conference: Style Stories & Transglobal Narratives - Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, Hong Kong, China
    Duration: 12 Jun 201414 Jun 2014


    ConferenceFashion in Fiction Conference
    CityHong Kong


    • Brands
    • Product Placement
    • Fashion
    • Novels


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