It is definitely turning toward that winter weather out today. Whether I am in Starbucks getting my signature holiday drink or trying to stay cozy in my bed for that extra minute in the morning, I just can’t seem to get fully warm.
I was thinking about investing in some leather gloves for my trek to and from classes so I decided to do some research. Too bad the first article I discovered discussed leather gloves containing unacceptable chemicals that could permanently damage skin or cause infections.
“In a recent review by German eco-friendly consumer protection magazine OekoTest, only two of seventeen gloves tested passed. Thirteen were rated unsatisfactory, and two as inadequate,” says writer Christine Lepisto.
Those numbers are a little frightening, so I kept reading.
One of the gloves that cleared the test was a glove from one of my favorite stores, H&M. None of the chemicals that were seen as hazardous had any trace in my faithful store’s gloves.
The main reason gloves have these chemicals is due to the tanning processes. In the fashion industry, irregularities in the color indicate poor quality (although that means they are real). Some of the unacceptable chemicals in the tanning process were chromium, Chloroparaffins, lead, and aniline. Some of these have been banned in other countries and all have been tested to cause allergic reactions or worse.
This problem is more than a fashion industry slip-up. It is causing many leather glove customers to stir in their seats and raise questions. The public relations corporations and media have been working to make sure that the gloves will be produced correctly and it will not happen again.
On Saturday, November 12 of this year, General Assembly held a session to discuss the ever-changing blurred line of fashionistas and techanistas.
Among their topics discussed are the future of flash sales, co-creation, rise of subscription commerce, mobile commerce and social media. They explored the ways all of these fit into the fashion industry and ways to improve their personal brand through different means of technology.
This session occurred because while many brands are testing the waters of social media and technological advances to help drive their sales or marketing, not as many have adopted the idea.
I know personally, I have taken advantage of at least one flash sale in the midst of my online retail shopping, but it’s surprising how many companies have not taken advantage of this tactic. The session discussed how to utilize flash sales and draw a larger fan base.
Fashion brands are falling behind the rise of innovative technology simply because fashion has been around for so long and has adapted to techniques that work. With such a high profile industry as fashion, it is crucial for them to maintain that high standard; therefore, they are more likely to stay with tactics that have always worked best for them.
Up until the age of technology, the only way to see what was on sale was to go to the physical store. Now we have apps, emails, evites, and social media platforms to spread the word.
The session’s main goal was to turn the frustration of adopting social media into a full opportunity for success.
Banning fur in Hollywood starting in September 2013? Isn’t that against fashion code? Well it has been made official that Hollywood will be the first city in the country to ban fur apparel. Fur has always been a statement of high fashion and status. Now that fur is being banned for many reasons, some obvious and some not so much, it is causing controversy from all sides of the matter.
“But this city, a popular hangout for celebrities, is also image conscious. And retailers warned that the ban could have a devastating effect on the high fashion industry in West Hollywood, which has only begun to attract big name designers within the last several years,” says writer Ian Lovett.
And he is right. When people think of the glamorous West Hollywood, they think of image and the way it is portrayed to be the high fashion and high profile lifestyle of the rich and famous. He is worried that the banning of fur will cause a negative backlash because it is such a high fashion staple. Retailers who are strongly against the banning of fur believe they can reverse the policy before the enforcement begins in two years.
There are also many people that are for the banning and have had peaceful rallies in downtown West Hollywood to show their support. They do not show hatred for those who own fur already, but rather understand what it means to have it be banned and are extremely supportive.
Although this is just one city that is impacted so far by the banning of fur apparel, it is starting in one of the least likely places. A city that revolves around image is causing a media sensation and a public relations frenzy from both extremes. This has never happened before and it is taking the fashion industry by storm.
It’s just about my favorite time of the year: Fashion Week! But with the recent advancements in social media, this year’s Week is bound to be larger than ever before.
Social media is literally transforming the way people approach Fashion Week and the designers in it. Not only is there more access to play-by-play fashion shows directly from New York, but also in-depth interviews with the designers themselves and a more personal outlook on the behind the scenes work.
Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram are the primary new social media platforms that have sky-rocketed the marketing for Fashion Week simply because of their instant sharing of photos and videos. The fashion industry is about presentation, the interest in creation and inspiration of the designers. With the capabilities to expand to new platforms, the opportunities for promotion and marketing are endless.
I personally think the most interesting aspect of platforms such as Instagram or Twitter is perspective. There could be twenty people all taking pictures of the same fashion show and instantly posting them to their choice social media, but every single one could be different. This is even true from seeing photos in Vogue magazine in comparison to an Instagram photo. Fashion photography is composed and produced; personal photography is raw and real. There is no room for augmentation (besides the occasional black and white photo).
You become the producer of reality.
Before the intelligence of modern technology, the primary way of getting information was through news releases, magazine articles and television interviews. We have officially transformed into the world of instant information.
Within the fashion industry, collaboration with major retailers is the best way to introduce new designers or create a larger following. H&M is one example of a major retailer that has collaborated with many designers to create a wider range of products and to promote their company to different customers.
The first time I walked into the heavenly store of H&M, I was astounded by how many different categories of clothing they had. The newest addition to the company is Marni. This Italian fashion house has taken the inspiration from Marni’s original prints for both men and women.
“I wanted to create a true Marni wardrobe by revisiting all our favorite pieces in signature fabrics and prints. As always, I love juxtaposing prints and colors, mixing modern tribal with Bauhaus graphic adding sporty utilitarian elements,” explained Castiglioni, the label’s founder and creative director.
The name in itself will draw quite the crowd, but the marketing and public relations aspects for the release on March 8, 2012 is what creates the excitement. Until the release of the line, they will be having pre-shows of the clothing and ways to get involved more. Although this may not be the biggest line in 2012, they have gone international and created quite the buzz all over the world.
Ladies, we did it. We survived friends and family members becoming wooly mammoths for the month of Movember. This once a year phenomenon happens all over the world in the month of November to fundraise money and become walking billboards for the sometimes ignored conversation around men’s health, especially prostate cancer. The participant’s main goal is to raise money and sponsors for four main reasons: survivorship, awareness and education, prostate cancer research and influencing change in men’s health.
Many companies have aided this effort and promoted Movember through their own campaigns. One company that stood out to me was TOMS shoes. For each person who signs up on the Movember internet site, TOMS shoes donated one dollar to the foundation. They also created a limited edition pair of TOMS shoes specifically for Movember. Not only did they do their personal donations for each sign up, they also teamed with Virgin America and UrbanDaddy in their hopes of raising enough awareness and money for the continual research of prostate cancer.
On the main TOMS blog, multiple updates on the participants informed blog readers of facts about men’s health, prostate cancer, and surprising statistics. This fashion designer went above and beyond their corporate responsibility and put a lot of effort into the successes of Movember. They also teamed with them last year and it proved to be a success.
The fashion industry does more than make clothing or inspire your next outfit. They have a global impact. One mustache at a time.
It is no surprise that interactive platforms have taken off within the past few years. Whether it is Youtube or Flickr (or any other networks, for that matter), industries have been utilizing all it has to offer to market their brand. Leading fashion brands are among the industries grabbing this tool by the horns.
One example of this take-off is the Kate Spade’s video campaign in 2009: “It wasn’t until Kate Spade’s ecommerce business started to take off that the opportunity to make campaign images “more alive, interesting and interactive … through video” became clear,” says Cecilia Liu, digital marketing manager for Kate Spade. This campaign was called “Live Colorfully” and featured vibrantly colored videos. With this campaign, Kate Spade reached a new marketing potential and continues to utilize videos to brand their company.
There are many reasons why videos go viral and, recently, more and more high-end fashion videos have been appearing on that list. Celebrities and humor are huge factors in creating a viral video. One example of this viral video attraction with the fashion industry is Lanvin’s Fall 2012 campaign. Although this particular campaign did not use celebrities to market their videos, they use lighthearted humor to draw attention… and it did. The Lanvin video was viewed nearly half a million times since its debut in August.
Although this particular video marketing tactic has positively impacted these companies, it really depends on what the company is looking for. Shiny and new tools are always tempting to delve into, but companies that depend so much on consumer reaction tread lightly in contemporary media platforms, with good concern.
A little inside to me, I silence commercials when I have time to watch my favorite television shows. For one, they don’t draw attention and watching the same car commercials just really doesn’t do it for me. As I was watching re-runs of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I was surprised to see a commercial that I really didn’t mind; rather, it held my attention and inspired me to comment on its power. It started out with a close-up of a woman’s face with the words “Pretty… is what you are.” Then, continued to show her occupation as a firefighter with the words “Beauty… is what you do with it.” This is part of a new campaign, “Be A Force of Beauty” from Bare Escentuals. This is its first ever global creative platform and marketing campaign. The thinking behind the campaign is to instigate the idea that beauty is what you do with yourself and to “inspire positivity and activate woman to put beauty to action.”
“Bare Escentuals celebrates and gives emphasis to the influential power of beauty as more than meets the eye. By going beyond the surface visage, Bare Escentuals builds upon its heritage as an unconventional beauty brand, recognizing the opportunity to give women a voice and to champion the individual stories that represent their own ‘force of beauty.’”
This positive campaign started in the United States in September this year and will go international by Spring of 2012. Although only one commercial has been released so far, the entire campaign will feature five total woman who portray “beauty at work” and continue the relationship between confidence and beauty. Although this is a cosmetics brand, they are focusing on the idea that confidence in yourself and what you do is the true definition of beauty.
Personally, I believe this is a strong branding mechanism and will positively draw customers to their brand that may not have considered it before.
I haven’t and I’m sold.
Two days ago, I snagged a Cosmopolitan in line at the grocery store and, as I skimmed through the pages, I shook my head as I looked at more ads than witty articles about celebrities or trending topics. Whether it was an ad featuring a nearly-naked woman with a single bottle of perfume, a jeans ad with the tagline “feeling lucky?”, or a lipstick line called “Just Bitten”, I found myself completely captivated and believing the various enticing ploys.
My daily blog searching led me to an eye-opening article that appeared to be more than a coincidence. “Scratch the Ad and Sniff Out the Parody” explained the recent parody ads in W magazine. Some ads in the magazine were stereotypical fashion ads, like I mentioned I saw in Cosmo, but some of them didn’t seem right. One of them modeled Eden Wood, a child star from Toddlers and Tiaras, for a eyeliner ad called “Pizzazz.” The reader has been punked.
Steven Meisel shot the nine images as phony promotions. ”Our intention was to create an art project that’s in tune with the popular culture,” said Stefano Tonchi, the magazine’s editor in chief. This interesting take on popular culture, in my opinion, took a low hit on the fashion culture and the audiences. I mean, when I am tricked into thinking something and it’s false, disappointment runs through my veins. “They may be fake,” said Lisa Mirchin, an advertising consultant,”but they are so beautifully and hilariously clichéd, they could very well be real.”
The magazine production, specifically in the fashion industry, may get to seem completely formulaic. The cliché ads of perfume or jeans or lipstick seem to be repeated with different taglines or pictures, but convey the same messages every time. When a campaign comes out like this one that plays with the idea of conventional ads, the audience can’t help but sit back and chuckle at the industry making fun of itself.
As I read the fashion news for the week, I came across more and more means of social media. One particular article struck me and made me think. Handbag Designer 101, among one of my go-to sites for some quick handbag trends, partnered with Handbags.com for a one-day workshop. This event was for upcoming handbag designers and invited everyone from CEOs to bloggers, and even business journalists. Not only was the event focused around the idea of expanding brands, but also emphasized the means of technology in an interactive world of marketing.
“The conference topics centered around the Product and the Consumer, which conventionally fits into the model of 4Ps Marketing Mix and the concept of 3Cs,” says writer Nazgul-Kemelbek. The 4Ps Marketing Mix consists of product, pricing, promotion, and placement, and the 3Cs are company, consumer, and competition. All of these components are crucial to the success of marketing a new brand.
The extremely informative article sparked ideas of working with your particular consumer and listening to their every need via social media and other outlets. The best way to market for an audience is to understand exactly what they want from the brand and implement it for them. Handbag Designer 101 understands what their audience wants and made it happen with their workshop. Social media opened up the interactivity between consumer and company, so let’s take advantage of it!