Strictly effect puts a spring in fashion brands’ step

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly

The outfits worn by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly are striking the right note with viewers at home. Photograph: David Oldham/BBC

Covered in sequins and appliqued with feathers, the showstopping costumes worn by the Strictly Come Dancing contestants might have the audience oohing and ahhing, but it is the outfits worn by the TV show’s presenters, Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, that are resonating with viewers at home.

The popularity of their clothes, which include garments from luxury labels such as Galvan and Jimmy Choo, alongside high street options such as Zara and Warehouse, is leading to “the Strictly effect”, with brands reporting upticks in sales and interest off the back of the show.

Rixo is one brand benefiting from Strictly’s reach – Daly has worn its Instagram-popular dresses on a number of occasions. “Strictly’s audience is huge,” says Rixo’s co-founder Orlagh McCloskey, “so it’s of course a great opportunity for brand awareness and sales.” In the week after Daly hosted the show wearing Rixo’s Tyra striped sequin dress, sales of the frock, reminiscent of a disco ball, quadrupled when compared with the week before. A gold daisy Rixo dress, also recently worn by Daly, is expected by the brand to sell fast when it launches exclusively on Net-a-Porter at the start of November.

Daly’s striped sequin Rixo dress (right) proved a hit
 Daly’s striped sequin Rixo dress (right) proved a hit. Photograph: David Oldham/BBC

The Strictly effect does not just benefit brands, but the presenters themselves. This week, Winkleman became the latest celebrity to launch a beauty range with Boots. Winkleman’s trademark fringe and smudgy kohl makeup may have proved oddly divisive, but the look has won many admirers too. Thanks to her new collection, Full Panda, fans will be able to mimic her heavy-duty look with eyeshadow crayons and a double-ended mascara and brow mascara.

Even when the impact of Strictly does not translate directly into sales, it can be felt via social media. Both presenters have worn earrings from the Hoop Station on the show – the brand refers to Winkleman as Claudia Twinkleman – leading to more followers on Instagram and Facebook. “It is such immense exposure,” says the Hoop Station’s owner, Juliet Rowe.

Daly’s stylist, James Yardley, agrees. When he dressed her in a custom ombré chiffon gown by the evening wear brand Suzanne Neville recently, it had, he says, “quite the reaction on social media”. He thought the mint, baby blue and pale pink frock “might be more like marmite … but it seemed to be really well-received”.

Dresses by the brand have been worn by Daly on the show for the last 10 years. A spokesperson for Suzanne Neville said its bridal clients often mention “that they have seen Tess wearing our dresses and how good she looks”.

Daly and Winkleman have joined fellow TV presenter Holly Willoughby as bankable fashion influencers. The blog Fashion You Really Want is dedicated to “the latest outfits worn by Holly Willoughby, and the This Morning girls”, as well as the Strictly presenters. During the four months that Strictly is on air, the blog enjoys an increase of over 200% in the number of visitors, with particularly popular outfits bringing bigger spikes – a Warehouse dress recently worn by Winkleman drove an increase in blog post views of over 500% compared with the average Strictly outfit.

“The effect” is a familiar fashion phenomenon. The “Kardashian effect”, whether leading to sales of cycling shorts, body-con dresses, sandals or bodysuits is well documented. While the “Meghan effect” is so potent that when the Duchess of Sussex wore a coat by the little-known Canadian label Mackage last year, within 24 hours the brand accrued 1.6bn media impressions.

That the Strictly presenters are aged 47 and 50 disproves the idea, still prevalent in the fashion industry, that women are most likely to take style inspiration from younger models and celebrities. Rather, in the opinion of Prof Carolyn Mair, a behavioural psychologist, the Strictly effect is potent because of “the glamour, the warmth, the positivity, the fact we watch the show as a family or with friends”.

It is, she says, a “huge change from the depressing news and current sociopolitical climate. In times of turmoil … we turn to fashion to lift us. The presenters’ clothing is something we can aspire to and their demeanour is something we can (or would like to) identify with.”

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