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Choosing a Name For Your Fashion Business

Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014

By Susan Purcell

There are so many well-known names in the fashion world, that making an impact as a new business can be an uphill struggle. One way of standing out is through your name -- make it catchy and original and you will attract the public's attention.

Sources of ideas

Finding the right name for your business takes time. First you need to make a long list of possible words you can include in your name. Start by thinking of a few words that relate to fashion, such as trend, clothes, style, designer and the word fashion itself and look them up in a thesaurus. Jot down any synonyms or related words that appeal to you (vogue, mode, elegance, taste, elegance, dapper, snazzy etc). A Roget-type thesaurus is best for this task as words are grouped by theme rather than in alphabetical order, which means that there are more cross-references for you to follow up.

Research the names of rival fashion businesses, whether they be online sites or high-street stores -- not to copy the names, but to identify any words and phrases that you like, as well as words that appear too often (it will be best to avoid these words in your name, otherwise your business will be seen as unoriginal and lacking in creativity).

Look beyond the fashion world for ideas. You'll find plenty of suitable words to add to your list from reference books relating to other fields. Try books on these subjects:

Music (pop music if you're targeting young people, or classical music if you sell classic clothes)





Health and fitness (particularly if you will be specializing in sportswear)

Now look up the words you've written down in a dictionary and a book of idioms to find related expressions and phrases. Phrases and idioms relating to 'dress', for instance, include dressed to kill, dressed to the nines, dress rehearsal, all dressed up, dress sense, fancy dress, dress circle, dressing room, window dressing and French dressing. Most obvious phrases will already have been taken by another fashion business, but you can play with these phrases, using rhyme, different forms of the verb, changing word order or combining words to find a unique phrase eg Dressed to Thrill, Dress Room, Dressing Vroom, Dressing Window. I am not suggesting that these are good names, but they do show just how much you can do with your list of words.

Points to bear in mind

Now go through the list and eliminate anything unsuitable, remembering what it is you are selling. Having Elegance in your name will not appeal to trendy youngsters, and calling yourself Celtic Myth will appeal to hippies, so is inappropriate if you're selling business suits. Words evoke different responses in people and conjure up different images. Which words conjure up the image you are aiming at? 'Hot' and 'covetable' both mean 'highly desirable' but people will respond to each word very differently, depending on their age, sex and interests.

Upmarket fashion houses are very particular about who they will allow to stock their ranges. They do not want their brands to be associated with a store with the wrong image. Names based on slang, abbreviations or numbers, such as Roxy's Rags or Fashion-4-U, sound downmarket and more suited to a market stall, and are unlikely to impress the likes of Hackett or Brooks Brothers.

When you've got a shortlist of possibilities ask as many people as possible for feedback. Changing a name if you decide later you don't like it is a time-consuming and expensive business; it makes sense to spend plenty of time thinking up a good one to start with.

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