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7 fashion and apparel brands that nail brand voice

A VOLTAGE round-up of brands who give customers great copy.

When it comes to building an eComm experience that stands out from the pack, copy is the real heavy lifter. When copy informs design, or we start to think of copywriters as designers, real magic happens.

As shoppers, web cruisers and customers ourselves, we appreciate how today’s brands gravitate toward story and pull out all the stops to execute an online experience that leaves as much of an impression as if you had walked in their store.

Nowhere is this more important than in the fashion and apparel space, where excellent copy and creative vision must collide to change a customer’s status from “just looking” to “in a relationship.”

So, prep your peepers for seven standout examples of copy done right in the fashion and apparel industry.

1. Do you.

No branding book we’ve ever read says a brand might as well be boring. Brands are made up of people, and people are inherently interesting, different, and come with their own sense of humor. Capitalize on that by crafting brand copy that flies your brand’s flag.

Despite PACT’s commitment to almost-boring apparel basics, they find something to talk about. And turns out, it’s worth rocking out about. They’re not afraid to give their copy a little swagger, and it adds smiles to the user experience at every turn.

WHAT WORKS:

  • “Even you with the hair,” “Sometimes we have jokes” and “Seriously, why are you still reading?” are unexpected additions to spaces that are usually cut and dry.
  • Their “Fit Happens” Guarantee is absolutely solid when it comes to assuring their customer that they’ll be satisfied when they shop with PACT.
  • Intimate photography on their homepage reinforces PACT’s message that their apparel is for everyone.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • Start a list and write down some ways your brand could make people smile. What are some of your brand’s quirks?
  • Clear off some wallspace and task your team with creating a moodboard to end all moodboards for your brand.
  • Pick a couple places on your website where you could inject a little more of your brand’s unique personality.

2. Be clear.

Clarity first. Please. Always. Even if it takes a lot of copy to do it (yes, long-form copy is making a comeback). If people don’t know what they’re getting into, they’re not going to get into it. This is especially important for brands disrupting the eComm status quo.

Rent the Runway tackles the problem of stale closets needing a makeover without requiring the all-in investment of shopping. Their subscription options aim to make designer apparel and accessories more accessible (and exciting, and eco-friendly) through the concept of renting them.

WHAT WORKS:

  • Rent the Runway clearly and simply explains their offerings, but they keep the core focus on the benefits. Unlimited clothing? Smaller fashion footprint? And I don’t have to do any dry cleaning? It starts to feel like a no-brainer.
  • Copy is very aspirational: “Dream closet” and “Fashion Freedom” really speak to someone whose current closet offerings are all over the floor.
  • The layout really drives home your options and succinctly clarifies the differences between them.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • Start by finding a few areas on your site that feel complicated, then think about ways to totally re-work them. (Even better, grab a designer and work on it together.)
  • Ask your customer service team if they’re getting consistent questions about a part of the user experience that could be made clearer with copy.
  • Take a hard look at the homepage as it is and in <10 words, describe what distills out as the core benefit of your brand or product. Does it feel right? If not, close the tab, grab a fresh sheet of paper, and start from scratch.

3. Stand out for something.

As more and more brands rebel against the transience of fast fashion, a dedication to a bespoke level of quality starts to leak through. We LOVE that. Whether it’s a specialized fit, materials with a story, or a niche you know like no other, own it. Be it. Do it.

Bonobos makes killer clothes for men. They kill it with their copy, too. Bonobos projects rock-solid, gentlemanly confidence, masterfully elevating their users’ profile from mere shopper to esteemed client.

WHAT WORKS:

  • They’ve renamed their stores to “Guideshops” and dubbed their sales associates “Guides,” putting the entire in-store experience in their capable hands.
  • Customer service reps are called “Ninjas” and it’s clear that they’re there for you.
  • “Fit is fact” and “Fit matters” drive home the brand’s emphasis on well-fitting clothes.
  • All together, the copy seems a craft this sense that you could walk into a Guideshop and with the exception of actually dressing yourself, you needn’t lift a finger.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • What does your brand do better than everyone else?
  • Survey some people (new employees, friends and even customers) and ask if the copy on your site sounds more like a sales associate, stylist, concierge, CEO, or anonymous customer service rep (ouch).

4. Roll out the welcome mat.

Even if you don’t have a literal doorway for your customers to step through, you should still be thinking pineapples, welcome mats, high fives and mimosas.

AYR (say “air”) is all-year-round style online and now offers an in-store experience.

WHAT WORKS:

  • Despite their more-luxe-than-not spot on the style spectrum, approachable language and the occasional smiley face help them feel like a friend.
  • Well-placed invitations (like “Come hang” on the homepage) cue the customer to linger and click around a little.
  • Clever button copy (“YAAASSS” and “I want that”), while not terribly accessible, sure is fun.
  • A homepage image you want to step right into doesn’t hurt either.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • Brainstorm some ways you could make your website visitors feel more welcome – as if they were walking into your building and you were rolling out a welcome mat with words.
  • What phrase would your brand use when greeting your customers?
  • If you have a brick-and-mortar location, feature a great image of your space in its full glory.

5. Tell a story.

You’ve heard it before. We’ll say it again. FIND A STORY TO TELL. It could be yours, it could be about the fabric or your artisans, it could be about your colleague who once had to pitch to an investor with a stained shirt. It might even be buried in your office culture.

Taylor Stitch not only has a solid origin story, but each of their products is crafted with a story. Even better, they invite their customers into that story with invitations to crowd-fund garments and lock in lower pricing. Really, the whole dang thing is brilliant.

WHAT WORKS:

  • Masculine word choices like “challenging,” “long haul,” and “heartiest” speak to their target audience and build in a rugged feel.
  • The product description covers the T-shirt’s inspiration (surf and sand, who designed it), production benefits (waterless, 100% recycled fabric), and place in the world (new additions, summer, California).
  • In a genius move, they’ve even worked in a sense of urgency with their callout of limited quantities.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • Get a brainstorm going to uncover bits of your brand’s story. How did you come to be? What need are you trying to meet? Who (actually) buys your stuff? How do you want to change the world?
  • Figure out where you could work in some story elements – the homepage, product copy, blog and About Us pages are good spots to start.

6. Have a little fun.

To be fair, fun isn’t for everyone. If it’s a brand strategy you choose to explore, hold the reins carefully. Overdoing it is easy. Still, light and loose voicing is easy to ease into – an error message here, a CTA there, then moving into product titles and your marketing copy. If going all-in isn’t for you, a well-played line here and there never hurt a brand, either.

Despite being the big name in shaping, skin-level apparel, SPANX doesn’t bother taking itself too seriously when it comes to their copy or their overall aesthetic.

WHAT WORKS:

  • SPANX keeps it light with copy that stays just this side of mom-friendly (makes sense, considering their product).
  • Clear benefits and a female-centric voice combine with handwritten font accents and brushstroke details to lock down approachability and lightheartedness.
  • “Why you need it” copy really gets the customer and goes big on benefits.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • First, assess whether you’re a brand that could benefit from loosening up a little.
  • If all lights are green, you can edge in that direction by injecting some lightheartedness in error messages, product titles, top menu items and CTAs.
  • Get in the headspace of your customer. Come up with some very specific personas. Then talk straight to them.

7. Find a purpose.

Dig deep. No, deeper. There you go. When you pin down your raison d’être, your brand gets a whole lot clearer – and you might uncover a lot more to talk about.

Reebok. While the shoe and activewear brand edges more and more into street style, get past the products and you’ll find that Reebok is hard-core into humans.

WHAT WORKS:

  • Their blog remains rooted in athletics, but also uses the space to promote better sourcing and strategic partnerships.
  • Seriously aspirational fit lifestyle features drive their be-better-beings message home.
  • Their non-negotiable tone finds its strength by focusing on the positives.
  • “We are better together,” “living our purpose” and “embrace our humanness” enforce to the reader that we’re all in this together.

MAKE IT HAPPEN:

  • Book a room for an hour or take the team out of the office for the day to figure out what makes your customers really tick — what motivations and causes really speak the language of their lifestyle.
  • What are some non-negotiables for your brand?

Now, go give your copywriters some love.

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About Julie Overby

Julie Overby

Copywriter. Editor. Mountain gazer. Cookie eater.

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