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Sir John Hegarty on why M&S fashion will ‘constantly fail’

Since its heyday in the 90’s when its clothing graced the cover of Vogue, Marks and Spencer’s fashion sales have steadily declined, with the retailer failing to win over consumer with its ranges, including Per Una and Autograph, something Sir John Hegarty claims is down to a lack of “philosophy” behind the brand.

The creative director and founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty said that in order for fashion brands to succeed they need to constantly be “in fashion” but maintain a point of difference.

“The reason Marks and Spencer’s [will constantly fail] is because there is no driving force of philosophy behind what they do,” he said, speaking at the Decoded Fashion Summit in London today (18 May).

“I’m not aware of it, I’m not aware of what they believe in…How do you sustain from one season to another but still stay obviously fashionable? How do you do more than just come up with a really good season? And that is what fashion brands have to be aware of. We talk about being relevant and irreverence and creating a debate, all of those things capture what a brand can do to make itself different as it presents itself.”

Hegarty also claimed that the fashion industry “doesn’t understand brands” and is being led by those that don’t understand what it means to be a brand either.

“The fashion industry really doesn’t understand brands, it is being driven by people who don’t understand what a brand is. It is a collection of ideas and thoughts that create a difference and how do you create that in a market where you have to be the same and stand out? That is the great conundrum.”