Last week I received an email from speciality womenswear cataloguer Petite Affair featuring the omnipresent visage of fashion stylist Gok Wan. "Gok Wan wants you... to take part in his new series!" the email trumpeted. Apparently Wan is looking for petite women to make over for the next series of his programme How to Look Good Naked, and what better way to find them than via a merchant specialising in clothes for those of us less than blessed in stature.
But when I see an email featuring Wan, I immediately think of the Simply Be catalogue, which caters to plus-size women and for which he designs a line of lingerie. N Brown, the parent company of Simply Be, even has a microsite, http://www.simplygokwan.co.uk/, devoted to the range. What's more, last week the Mirror ran an article headlined "TV's Gok Wan boosts mail order firm's profits" referring to how "magic flab-busting knickers designed by TV's Gok Wan pulled in £4 million of sales for mail order firm N Brown last year".
Will the average Petite Affair customer know, or care, that Gok Wan has a deal with a different catalogue brand? What about the average Simply Be customer? Perhaps not. But when a celebrity is affiliated with so many diverse brands, it diminishes his value to any one brand, in my opinion. It makes him seem less sincere, and therefore less credible.
As a fairly small brand, I suspect Petite Affair has more to gain than to lose by hitching a ride with Wan. But I'm surprised that Simply Be didn't insist on some degree of exclusivity in its contract with Wan.
Then again, maybe I just receive too many emails and that's why I have my knickers in a twist.--SC