Why Print is Still Important in the Fashion Industry

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Today we want to answer a few question about why print is still important in the fashion industry. It is easy to believe that print is not important anymore. Many newspapers have headed online. Famous magazines such as NME are no more. It is also understandable why this has happened. You wake up in the morning and want to see the headlines. All you need to do is roll over and pick up your phone. Much simpler and quicker than walking to a newspaper stand.

But, is print really dead? The fashion industry has a long and happy relationship with print and there are many reasons why it is still important and indeed vital today. 

Fashion magazines

print is still important in the fashion industry

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Arguably the biggest area of the printed product in the fashion world. While all the main titles have online presences and there are thousands of internet-only fashion forums the printed form is something special.

An online user doesn’t have the same connection with a magazine as someone who is physically holding a glossy printed copy. Although, indeed, printed editions of all manner of comics, newspapers, and magazines are falling it isn’t simply that print is unwanted. In the UK, Cosmopolitan took a 32% drop in circulation during 2019. However, it is to be noted that the magazine also increased the cover price at the same time by 25% which would have affected. 

The biggest selling magazine

Worldwide, fashion magazines still sell with Elle being the biggest globally. The magazine is in its mid-70s now and shows no sign of disappearing. The magazine has 46 international editions that are sold in 60 different countries. The website is spread across 33 international versions and is said to attract 25 million visitors a month. The printed version is the biggest selling fashion magazine in the world with around 6.6 million copies sold each month. In the US Cosmopolitan is the biggest and still sells over 3 million there alone. 

The importance of hang tags in fashion

print is still important in the fashion industry

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Hang tags might not be something that you think about very often but they play a very important role in the fashion industry. When you purchase a garment you will see that there are one or two labels inside. These are there because of US labeling law. They will show how to look after your new dress or coat and they will also display information such as the manufacturer and where the materials were imported from. However there is limited room and anyway, how much notice do shoppers take of these little labels?

A hang tag is different. This is the rectangular tag that is tied and pinned onto a sleeve or tied to a shoe and has some valuable uses. The fashion industry uses hang tags to help advertise their items. If you walk into a shop and see the logo of your favorite designer on a hangtag you might make a beeline towards it. They also help show other information such as the company mission and environmentally friendly credentials. Without print, these tags would be impossible to make. 

Printing on materials

Back in the 1980s, it was very popular to wear t-shirts with big slogans. Obviously, these were printed and while they may have gone out of fashion, printing on materials hasn’t.

If a manufacturer didn’t want to fix a permanent label inside their clothing then they can remain compliant by printing the necessary information inside the garment. Of course, a care tag wouldn’t look very cool being printed in large lettering on your clothes so that is why they are made small. However, printed logos and designs remain popular.

Home fashion enthusiasts can use print

While on the subject of printed clothing and other uses for print, many designers started their careers with a homegrown interest in fashion. While many designers will sketch their ideas on a pad, more students these days use software like Adobe Illustrator or Wild Ginger Cameo for creating patterns. When someone wants to view their ideas, guess what they do? They print them. Also, if someone wants to make custom printed clothing easily then this is possible to do from home with the right equipment. 


print is still important in the fashion industry

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Digital marketing is huge and you see it everywhere from those adverts on Facebook to videos on your smartphone when you access your favorite apps. Fashion advertising still employs print as well. There is no substitute for a large, glossy print of a model wearing designer clothing. A small JPEG on a website will not have the same effect and this is why print still works well in the fashion industry.

When you walk down the high street you will see examples of print advertising everywhere and if you were in a prime shopping area, such as Oxford Street in London then the most obvious adverts will be for fashion. Of course, the fashion industry uses Instagram and online marketing to boost sales but the majority of advertising budgets still go into print. On average a marketing budget will see 55% of the cash going towards printed advertising. 

Other uses for printing in fashion

It isn’t just magazines and advertising that require print. The beauty of print is that it can be used for many solutions. You can print on any material at all including satin and sateen and that means being able to use this for packaging and more.

When you buy something from a shop you will receive a bag. These days, plastic bags are frowned upon and most consumers would prefer something recyclable of course. However, if you spent a large sum of money in an upmarket clothes store you would still expect a bag of some type.

Print is needed to be able to put designer’s logos and other details onto a whole variety of packaging from bags to shoe boxes, tags, and labels too.

Point of sales displays need to be printed, as do simple sales reduction posters. Without print, none of these things would be possible. 

Environmental concerns of print

One other area to consider is the environment. The print industry has been accused of not being eco-friendly but there is evidence to suggest this is not quite so simple. The internet at present is not particularly environmentally friendly whereas the print industry has made a lot of changes to its processes and of course, you can recycle printed products. Once you have viewed something on the internet the energy has been used and there is no way to get anything back from it. Far from being an archaic dinosaur it may be that print is more in touch with current trends than the internet is. 


The fashion world sets styles and trends and they believe print is still on point so who is anyone else to argue? A big fashion shoot just doesn’t translate to a website in the same way it does to a glossy, printed magazine. People like tangible products and something they can feel.

While it is true that most people download or stream music these days there is a resurgence in people buying vinyl as there is a tactile element to it. This is the same with print. You can of course go online and view Elle on your smartphone but it won’t feel the same as picking up that thick, glossy, fashion bible will.

Read more fashion articles at Cliché
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