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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Volume 15, Issue 3
Well somebody had to call it that, didn’t they!
In an industry estimated to be worth more than £21 billion (UK sterling) in the UK alone and reaching over $1,700 billion (US dollars) globally there is little wonder that it features so highly in most spheres of life and business. But it is rare that this aspect of the fashion business is discussed within these pages. The impact on the individual, aggregated and described in the UK through the Retail Price Index (RPI)1 and/or (when it suits the incumbent Governing party the Consumer Price Index CPI)2 is perhaps a more important indicator than given credit for. As we may expect from a measure that relies heavily on the contents of a normal families’ shopping basket the influence of the supermarket is highly evident. In the UK this is particularly important as we see these retailers gain increasing hold on the non-food (especially clothing) market segment. Having said that, the main reason the CPI has reduced slightly over the last year is the reduction in sourcing costs for fruit, bread and cereals and – perhaps as a reaction to the economic squeeze in general – cultural spend on such things as recorded media and computer games. The Macroeconomic aspects of trade flows and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) make regular appearances, but it is aspects of consumer behaviour in the fashion retail domain that form the basis of most contributions to this journal, particularly in the last couple of years and exemplified in this particular issue. Increasingly the themes of the papers step into the realm of “happiness economics” – ironically a hotly debated branch of the dismal science. I look forward to seeing this path extend to the point where within these pages we can demonstrate, through our research efforts, trends and developments in the Gross Happiness Index (GHI) of countries active in the global fashion supply chain that contradict current headline statements pointing out that the USA, China and India had a higher Happy Planet Index (HPI) 30 years ago than they do today and the UK comes seventy-fourth out of 143 countries when HPI is ranked, even if it is nice to see that Costa Rica boasts the highest life satisfaction of anywhere in the world3. I suspect the market for happiness index acronyms will stabilise and with the measures of spend and satisfaction being unable to track each other a complimentary descriptor will emerge – let us ensure the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management is influential in this outcome.
I would like to finish by drawing your attention to the intended second Special Issue on Fast Fashion scheduled for the end of 2012. If you or your colleagues are working in this area I encourage you submit research for publication the guest editors, Liz Barnes and Gaynor lea-Greenwood through Manuscript Central and direct to the SI editors.
RPI is the retail prices index – the uses of the RPI and its derivatives include indexation of index-linked gilts. Historically, the RPI has also been used for indexation of pensions and state benefits.
CPI is the Consumer Prices Index. It is the measure adopted by the Government for its UK inflation target. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is required to achieve a target of 2 per cent. In the June 2010 Budget, the Chancellor announced the Government’s intention to also use the CPI for the price indexation of benefits and tax credits from April 2011. Prior to 10 December 2003, the CPI was published in the UK as the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP).
Available at: www.neweconomics.org/projects/happy-planet-index (accessed 9 May 2011).