Dearest gentle reader, I write this as I scroll through my Instagram feed and the latest post from Primark pops up: it’s Bridgerton. Bang on cue, a day before the launch of the third season, Primark launches a pyjama range in collaboration with the hit Netflix show, complete with the floral print, stripes and the B monogram.

Well played, I think to myself, wondering how quickly I can get to my nearest store and get my hands on that dressing robe with an aim to binge-watch the series in a single weekend.

And with it being the sixth most watched Netflix show globally of all time, I imagine I’m not alone.

According to wethrift Google searches for “regencycore” fashion were up 8000% ahead of the launch of season 3.

It’s a smart move from Primark, one I’m keen to say panders to a demand for personalisation. One might define this as apparel that represents a consumer’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Brands have been known to tap into social media pages and e-commerce websites that are packed with data on what consumers want and how they feel; a goldmine for designers to anticipate the right times to launch a design.

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But the dawn of streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have opened up yet another opportunity for fashion brands. By affiliating with popular shows and offering merchandise, brands are giving consumers a chance to immerse themselves more fully in the experience.

Primark has done this on several occasions – previously it launched a Stranger Things range and collaborated with Netflix on a licensed range from the global phenomenon that was the Spanish high-octane drama, Money Heist.

It’s not just Primark that has seized the opportunity. Inditex’s Pull & Bear offered a range of Squid Games wearable merch, on witnessing how popular the Korean show had become among its consumer base. To consumers, this is assurance that the brands are meeting them at their level – to some degree, creating greater loyalty.

Primark is one brand that has firmly understood the need to pull in aspects of popular culture to create a sense of community and belonging among its consumers. It capitalised on the Barbiecore trend with the launch of merchandise ahead of the blockbuster launch. It hailed the success of its license ranges and paid special mention to the Barbie collection with Mattel which contributed to an overall 15% jump in annual revenues for the division in 2023. And it has expanded beyond Hollywood into the gaming space with the launch of Playstation and Minecraft collections, demonstrating its awareness of the ever-expanding gaming culture.

But it’s not enough to launch any old clothing item with a show’s logo on it. Both Inditex and ABF’s Primark have demonstrated through these launches that they clearly understand their consumer base and the need they seek to satisfy through consuming those shows.

Primark’s Barbiecore range came complete with the cycle shorts and cropped tees while its season 2 Bridgerton range comprised bold floral corsets and dresses. Pull & Bear’s Squid games range tapped into the casual, athleisure, sweatpants and hoodie trend.

Again, it comes down to knowing your consumer intimately; understanding what they are consuming from their surroundings and how that influences their fashion choices, making that journey personal to them and the communities they affiliate with.

It’s a clever move. And one more brands could do with getting on board with. According to a report from Swift ERM, more than nine out of 10 companies saw a three times return on investment and increased profitability after implementing personalisation.

It added: “Brands that keep showing e-commerce store visitors products they’re not interested in will inevitably lose customers. In contrast, brands that tailor the shopping experience to every single visitor will gain customers — at a fraction of the cost.”

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