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Personal Branding Through Fashion

fashion personal brand personal branding Apr 23, 2024

By Alanna Fairey

Rachel Zoe once said, “Fashion is about saying who you are without having to speak.”  

As someone who has worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years, I couldn’t agree with this statement more. 

In what feels like another lifetime ago, I was a freelance stylist who worked with some very cool high end luxury clients, and some not so great clients, as well. I’ve also been a fashion journalist and editor for much of my career, have been involved in Fashion Week around the globe in a number of different capacities and have been creative director for a number of different photo shoots, ranging from large corporations and magazines, to smaller projects and designers. I also spoke to the UN about proposed policy frameworks within the fashion industry.

To put it simply, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to fashion.

And thanks to all of the opportunities I’ve been so lucky to have by means of Brand of a Leader, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to personal branding. 

In a world where first impressions are often formed in the blink of an eye, the importance of personal branding cannot be overstated. Every choice we make, from the way we articulate ourselves to the way we present ourselves visually, contributes to the overall narrative of our personal brand. 

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of fashion, where clothing serves as a powerful tool for self-expression and the creation of a distinct personal brand.

Fashion as a Visual Language

I have a belief that fashion is a language that speaks volumes, even before a single word ever leaves your mouth. The colours, patterns, and styles we choose to put on our bodies convey messages about our personality, values, and even our aspirations. 

This process is no different from our visual identity package here at Brand of a Leader. 

We begin this process by first getting clients interested in this service to fill out a personal brand brief to get a better sense of their visual identity. We ask clients to share their top three favourite colours, what emotions they want people to feel when they see their visual identity and what visual style reflects their personality. As an extra step, we also ask clients to share what their personal style is: do they lean towards a more classic and vintage style? Are they more bohemian or punk? 

Getting these insights into how they naturally gravitate towards fashion helps our team create their overall visual identity, since it will closely reflect who they truly are. 

Some of our clients become well-known for their visual identity. Take our client, Joe Frost, for example. We created a logo that he has become recognized for, and has received some pretty cool compliments for. When you meet Joe, the first thing you’ll notice about him is his curly hair, which we weaved into his visual identity. 

Understanding this visual language is the first step in harnessing the power of personal branding through fashion choices.

The Authenticity Quotient

Authenticity lies at the heart of effective personal branding, which is a value we stand by here at Brand of a Leader. When it comes to fashion, authenticity means dressing in a way that aligns with your true self. 

Far too often, I have told clients that if they are not comfortable wearing something that I’ve styled them in, I will be able to tell, even if they try to tell me that they love it. How could I always tell they were not being quite honest? Because their body language would speak volumes, such as stiff arms and an awkward stance. If I’m able to tell that something isn’t totally right, then there’s no doubt that even strangers would feel the exact same thing. 

Whether you lean towards classic, avant-garde, bohemian, or a blend of styles, the key is to choose clothing that resonates with your identity. This authenticity not only enhances your personal brand, but also creates a sense of confidence that is palpable to others.

Creating a Signature Style

It’s nearly impossible to think of Steve Jobs, and not associate him with his signature black turtleneck, jeans and sneaker combo. Just as brands have logos and taglines that make them instantly recognizable, individuals can create a signature style through their fashion choices. 

As part of my job, I meet with clients on a daily basis, and I have the privilege of getting to know them –– and their personal style. Some of the clients have really nailed their signature look, to a point where I already know what they will be wearing in our insights meeting. Actually, I have come to expect it now. 

Whether it’s the client who has a penchant for wearing navy suits, or the client who wears black and rocks a bold red lip, I will forever associate them with these looks. And that plays into their personal brand. 

Your signature style is a visual cue that sets you apart and becomes an integral part of your personal brand. It's the sartorial equivalent of leaving your mark on the world.

The Professional Persona

In the professional landscape, personal branding through fashion is a powerful tool for success. The way you present yourself in the workplace is an extension of your personal brand. A well-tailored suit or a polished dress not only reflects professionalism, but also communicates your dedication to your craft. Consistency in your professional appearance builds trust and credibility.

Make no mistake –– you can absolutely add parts of your personal brand to your professional attire. Professional dress doesn’t have to be “stuffy” or “boring” like it used to be. 

A client of ours recently did a photo shoot and she wore a pink scarf that resembled her brand colours with her dress. This inclusion of the scarf softened her professional dress, as it married her corporate identity, and her personal identity without it feeling out of place or contrived. This client was a shining example of choosing the right pieces to incorporate into her professional persona, and it ended up being some of her best photos to date.  

Fashion’s Emotional Resonance

Beyond aesthetics, fashion has a profound emotional impact. Certain pieces of clothing can evoke memories, convey emotions, or even serve as a form of self-care. 

Our co-founder, Marina Byezhanova, is a fantastic example of this. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to be in the same room as Marina, you’ve probably seen her wearing a kickass all-black ensemble and a bold makeup look. In the few times that I have seen Marina wear colours, they have been carefully and meaningfully selected. When I see her wearing a red bomber jacket, to me, it feels like a subconscious nod to our brand colours here at Brand of a Leader. Or when I see her in blue and yellow, there’s no doubt that she is paying homage to her Ukrainian identity and standing in solidarity with her home country as the war rages on. And, of course, when she’s wearing her all pink suit, this is her quiet act of rebellion against the Barbie movie that came out last summer (seriously, ask her for her thoughts on the movie!). 

Recognizing the emotional resonance of your fashion choices allows you to infuse your personal brand with sentiment and depth.

Personal branding through fashion choices is a no-brainer. Clothing is not just a practical necessity; it’s a canvas for self-expression. By understanding the language of fashion, embracing authenticity, and crafting a signature style, our clients can wield fashion as their secret weapon in the ongoing creation of their personal brand. 

So, the next time you stand in front of your wardrobe, remember that each piece you choose contributes to the narrative of the powerful, unique brand that is you.

Or, if you want to chat about taking your personal style to the next level, my inbox is always open! 


Alanna Fairey is a Client Engagement Specialist at Brand of a Leader. She has a diverse background in fashion communications, branding, and writing. Connect with Alanna here.

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