Fashion & Music Research


Prof. Jochen Strähle focuses within his fashion research on the future of the fashion industry. His groundbreaking research on the role of emotions in fashion retail have received broad attention. In 2017, he received the best paper award from the International Foundation of Textile Technology Institute (IFFTI), which represents the 45 leading global fashion institutions.

Best Paper Award IFFTI

In the last years he was involved in two big government funded programs with the focus of sustainabilty in the fashion industry. His contribution lies in the integration of the digital retail revolution into future sustainable business models. This requires a holistic approach and a real out of the box thinking. Having published several articles and books on fashion management, Prof. Strähle has gained lots of reputation in the fashion industry.

Research on Fashion & Music

The Fashion&Music Landscape

Currently his focus lies upon the links between the fashion & music industry. The music and fashion industry are highly related to each other. In the past, music has been a key influencer of fashion trends, by fundamentally shaking traditional clothing and consumption patterns. Iconic looks and styles root in various music genres like Rock’n’Roll, Punk, Hip Hop or Grunge. Learn more about his last book Fashion&Music, which has been published in 2017 from Springer Hong Kong/Singapore.

The digital revolution has altered to foundation of business models in the music industry, as it radically changed the traditional value chain of the business. As for Artists and Labels, new approaches in funding, financing, and simply earning money had and still have to be invented. Music has become a commodity and listening behavior slowly shifts from listening to bands or artists to following playlists. Selling fashion merchandising products on top of the actual music sales has become a relevant source of income for many stakeholders.

The fashion industry itself changed through the raise of vertical players and international fashion chains towards a fast fashion business model has created an enormous offer which fights for a still limited demand on the consumer side. Companies face hyper competition which leads to price and cost pressure. The lack of icons and trends out of the music industry limits the clarity of identifying fashion trends for the mass market. Therefor fashion companies enhanced co-design with individual artists to reach a distinct target group and touch the artists’ fan base.

At the same time, it is visible that the same consumers of a vertical fashion brand have a higher willingness to pay for a fashion product (e.g. Hoodie, T-Shirt), if it is linked to a concert or event-or to put in another way: If there is an emotional bond between artist and consumer/fan. The importance of fit, material quality, and price does play a limited role especially compared to these products offered in retail chains on high-streets.

Fashion merchandising products usually consist of similar product categories, but it seems unclear, how detailed the know-how of fashion retailing is implemented in development, sourcing, and distribution of fashion merchandising products. This seems to be unchartered territory which may open up huge potentials.

Personal Musical Background

Professor Strähle has been a musician for more than 30 years. He started as a drummer and receveived his training through through various courses and master classes from drumming greats such as Dave Weckl, Claus Hessler, Dom Famularo, Mark Schulman, Jim Chapin, Terry Bozzio. Througout his non-music related business career, drumming and music remained a central part in his live. He recently has been featured in the German Drummer Magazin www.drumsundpercussion.de with his research project.

He has been drumming and recording for several bands, as well as writing and publishing his own musical projects in his home-studio including funk music, hip-hop artists, rhythm&blues, and classical (prog) rock. He was voted third place in Germany at the Shure Drum Mastery Contest in 2011.

Relevancy of the Research Project:

  • Fashion Retailers may learn from the emotional bonds and understanding of fashion merchandising buying behavior to boost their brand performance
  • Artist/Musicians or Record Labels may benefit from the know-how of the fashion industry to improve their sales of merchandising products
  • Academics may benefit from newly gained insights on the linkages between the fashion and music industry.

Aim of the Project and Research Questions:

  • What are the reasons consumer/fans buy merchandising products?
  • How does an optimal fashion merchandising collection look like for artists?
  • What are drivers for a successful branding and fashion merchandising concept in the music business?
  • How can artists/musicians/record labels benefit from an improved fashion merchandising concept?
  • How can these criteria be transferred to traditional fashion companies?

Outcome of the Project:

  • Recommendations for musicians/artists/labels about optimal structure, content, and distribution of fashion merchandising products
  • Recommendations for fashion brands on improving classical high-street products sales based on music industry learnings
  • In-depth understanding about role of fashion for consumer’s identity

Methodology and Procedures:

  • Focus of the USA fashion&music industry: Professor Strähle will be in the USA in Spring/Summer 2018 in order to conduct interviews with experts
  • Clinical approach/Observation of the buying behavior of fashion merchandising products at select events/concerts, combined with on-spot surveys
  • Online survey and/or personal interviews with AR-Managers, Fashion Merchandising Managers, Artists about the role of fashion merchandising for their business
  • Analysis of current fashion merchandising collection (Desk Research, Questionnaire)

Other fashion research areas include:

  • Fashion Chain Management und Omni-Channel Management Research
  • International Fashion Management Research
  • Sustainability in the Fashion Industry
  • Strategic Alliances, Mergers & Acquisitons
  • International Marketing Research
  • Restructuring, Turn-Around
  • Spin-offs und Fashion Start-ups
  • Retail Management Research

To learn more about his research publications, click here.