“Born to Reign”: The Power of Royalty in Fashion

Princess Diana had a profound effect on fashion and with the upcoming release of the Naomi Watts film, Diana, the fashion world is once again swooning for all things British.  Even more relevant today is the “Kate-effect”.

The so called, “Kate-effect”, describes the power that Kate Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William has over the retail world. Whenever fashion icon, Kate, wears an outfit to a public appearance, the garment will sell out from all retailers across the globe within minutes. This unintentional royal brand endorsement is well documented and was recently seen when photographers snapped her wearing an eye-catching $265 Hobbs brand ‘Dalmatian Coat’ (not made of real Dalmatian puppy pelts, obviously) at a cruise ship naming ceremony. The collarless coat sold out within an hour of the photos being published.

Mom-to-be, Kate, is expected to give birth this July and retail analyst and fashion experts are already chomping at the bit. Joshua Bamfield, the director of the Centre for Retail Research has already projected that the pop culture fever over the royal birth could add almost 240 million pounds ($375,720,000 USD) to the British economy. This baby mania is expected to be a big commercial opportunity with tourists.  The birth of the royal heir will be commemorated with china, toys, books, DVDs and other collectables, which is estimated to generate 156 million pounds ($244,218,000 USD) of commerce.

Although British female royalty has a proven track record of retail power, America is not without its fashion powerhouses. The first lady, Michelle Obama, also has a similar effect on retail and has propelled New York based fashion designer, Jason Wu, to even greater levels of stardom. TV personality and celebrity, Oprah Winfrey, has also had the ability to sell out items in minutes with her famed yearly TV show special “Oprah’s Favorite Things”.  It’s hard to predict the retail future but after an unseasonably cold spring in Europe, many large retailers like Zara & H&M are looking forward to a little boost this summer from the royal baby frenzy. For now, we will just have to wait as Kate Middleton has made her last official royal appearance before the birth of her child.  By the end of this July, we will find out if the royal tot was born to reign the fashion world!

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