What African Fashion Can Learn from “Adele’s 25” success?

By now, I am sure that you may have heard the groundbreaking music “Hello” by Adele that has gone viral even with sketches by Saturday Night Life and one or two text message pranks from people you know. If the sales of her record breaking new “25” album are any indication, then it’s also more apt to say that there is no one in music right now quite like Adele. According to Ben Sisario of the New York Times, “while stars are now expected to live their lives in full self-promotion mode online, Adele barely touches her social media accounts. She is also revered by her fans for seeming approachable as well as for her vocal prowess. What’s even more, she is selling more albums, (yes we can still say albums), than anyone in the struggling music business thought was still possible… When official sales numbers are announced by Nielsen this Monday, they are expected to show that Adele’s new album, “25,” which went on sale Nov. 20, will have sold at least 3.2 million copies in the United States in its first week. That smashes an opening-week sales record that has stood since ’N Sync sold 2.4 million copies of “No Strings Attached” in 2000. ” So what then can African Fashion learn from Adele’s success?

For starters, if your brand has value and remains true to itself, people will support you over and over again. I wrote last week about the need to understand your mission for African fashion and the same is true with Adele’s success. She knows her mission starts first and foremost with creating the type of emotional songs that her fans have come to know and lover her for.  “Adele’s “25” —is  filled with confessional torch songs and heart-tugging ballads, and driven by Adele’s powerful and soulful voice.” It took sometime to create this and the reward is great, as so far, she is being celebrated throughout the music world as an artistic and commercial success that has become all too rare. And huge numbers of listeners who otherwise have spent little or no money on music are plunking down $10 or more for the album.”The success of Adele’s “25” is all the more remarkable given how the landscape of music retail has changed since 2000.” No one is buying albums as they used too, but they are doing so with Adele’s album. Adele appears to have activated millions of customers for whom making a purchase is viewed as a sign of devotion and support for the artist they love. “There’s a level of respect by buying the song, rather than just streaming it,” said one fan, Carlos Villa. “I acknowledge the work that you put into this song, and I appreciate you for that.”

In as much as you should know your mission with African fashion, you should also take the time to learn about your customers or the demographic of your brand and create products that will not only tug their soul but also make them open their purse strings. Adele did just that with her latest album. According to the New York Times, “Adele’s success may also be because of her following among a demographic group that the youth-obsessed pop music world does not often focus on. According to Nielsen, which has studied the demographics of the fans of various pop acts, the typical Adele fan is a college-educated woman aged 25 to 44, who watches “Family Guy” on TV and likes to shop at Target, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.”  Adele understood quite clearly who she is trying to market to and it includes women that look like me. I have not bought a CD since I left college in 2011 and I went out to purchase Adele. I love her last album and so I knew in my heart that she would create another masterpiece that would speak volumes to me. I also admire the fact that she is now married and with a child, while still trying to figure out how to be successful in music. Adele looks and feels like me and so I knew that I had to support her. I heard her over on NPR early this week and she noted “that she created this album so as to leave a legacy for her child. She knows that she now has someone to care for and so she chose to create an album that her daughter would be proud for years later.” It’s sentiments like this that tugs my motherly heart, hence my support. If you are going to be successful with African fashion, then make sure you learn about your demographics. It may seem wise to target a broader audience, but Adele’s 25 succes,s suggests that focusing on niche demographics can lead to bigger payouts. Cater to the needs of these few key markets with products that are value-oriented and watch as you transform African fashion, the Adele style of course.

Credit: Ben Sisario for New York Times


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Isioma's Style Report

Isioma's Style Report is an online platform dedicated to providing high end content for African women that includes fashion, beauty, culture, people, news, career, and travel. We aim to take an intelligent approach to cover a broad range of issues African women face in their personal and professional lives.

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