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From the archive: Digital do’s and don’ts for fashion weeks

cara__BurberrySS16

Fashion weeks may be undergoing a period of significant change at present, but for now, the same fundamental rules for marketers during New York, London, Milan and Paris, exist. How do you showcase your new collection to a digital audience in a way that stands out from the noise and resonates with relevant customers at the same time? And how do you keep their interest long enough that one day, they might actually go out and buy what they see?

Here then, is a look back at a piece that first appeared from us in Campaign US a year ago: a list of 11 do’s and don’ts to help you:

Don’t post weak visuals. This is rule No. 1 for fashion week, a time when Instagram and Twitter are overwhelmed with blurry photos and videos of models as they walk past the front row. No one cares about mere proof that you were there; but they do care about Fashion Week more broadly, so give them something they can’t otherwise see. If you want engagement, think more like Dolce & Gabbana instead: a brand that consistently delivers beautiful still and motion imagery, real time or otherwise. With today’s devices, there’s no excuse for anything but. The more candid, docu-style assets belong (and work) on SnapChat, so put them there.

dolcegabbana_aw13

Do think beyond the “like.” What are you actually trying to achieve during Fashion Week? This is one of the noisiest times of the year in this industry, so be prepared to put the legwork in to be able to get the sort of numbers you want out. Your first challenge, therefore, is figuring out exactly what your objectives are, and accepting the fact they may be different from what you usually push for. Are you looking to build awareness? Drive traffic? Increase brand affinity? Or actually influence conversions? Apply your answer to the channels you use.

Do determine the channels most suited to your brand. Just because it’s a noisy time of year, don’t feel like you have to jump on every channel because you can, and whatever you do don’t just blind spray the same content across them all. Facebook needs to be different from Pinterest, which needs to be different from Instagram, and as already mentioned, really different again from Snapchat. And you’ll need to consider video, too. If resources are limited, use them wisely by prioritising which of the big platforms are right for your consumers. Who are you trying to reach, and where are they? It’s worth remembering much of the online Fashion Week crowd won’t be your current customers, but they could be your future ones; targeting them could be quite a different move, so think through how best to capture their attention.

Don’t be scared to experiment. As much as it’s sensible to have a strong base strategy going into Fashion Week, it’s also a time ripe for experimentation. Take risks by trying out new channels and thinking about what you could do on some of the more niche ones. In the past, Fashion Week has seen some great campaign work on the likes of Spotify by Zac Posen, Skype by Victoria Beckham, and WeChat by Burberry. Expect Snapchat to continue as the platform making the greatest splash this season. But if something just doesn’t work for you, step away from it. The beauty of digital is being forgiven and forgotten very quickly — so cut your losses and refocus your efforts elsewhere.

VictoriaBeckham_skype

Do think about what will stand out. Snapchat will of course only get you so far. If brand awareness is your goal, then press coverage is key. If you’ve got the resources, go big by considering true innovation. Sometimes it might be seen as a gimmick, but it works. Fendi is a strong example. In February 2014 it introduced drones flying above its Milan Fashion Week show, recording the models as they walked out and beaming that footage back in real time to fans watching at home. The quality was terrible, but every major press outlet reported on it.

Do take advantage of organic content about your brand. If you’re directly involved with Fashion Week, it’s quite likely a lot of content will be generated on your behalf. Use it! Chanel has frequently been one of the most hashtagged fashion brands on Instagram, which helped it generate an enormous 2.4 million followers via @chanelofficial before it even posted any of its of its own content on there. (It finally did for the first time in October 2014.) Retweet or regram your influencers, integrate their posts into your own digital assets, and strive to push that advocacy further.

Don’t forget to interact with your fans. Social media is not a one-way channel, but it’s still very much considered so by many designer brands. Fashion Week is an ideal time to break that code and interact more regularly with existing and aspiring consumers. Rebecca Minkoff is a great brand to look at for inspiration. It took the idea of direct engagement a step further in 2014 by involving Instagram fans in a critical decision related to the show: which of two looks would walk the runway. It was an incredibly simple post featuring two shots side by side with the opportunity for followers to vote. It worked.

RebeccaMinkoff_vote

Do partner with influencers. Beyond the reposts and the interactions, think about setting up more strategic relationships with influencers in the space. They don’t have to be bloggers; perhaps they’re Instagram artists or Pinterest stars. Tommy Hilfiger in September 2014 introduced what it referred to as its “First Timers” campaign, giving access to a group of digital influencers from outside the fashion industry. Experts from the worlds of music, art, floristry, travel and architecture were all invited. This season, it’s introduing an “Instapit” for Instagram users. Tumblr also runs a scheme every season that sees up-and-coming artists and photographers on its channel, taken on tour throughout Fashion Week; they hit some of the big shows, meet the designers and enhance their own networks. Open up your space to influential outsiders.

Do back all of this with budget. Free only goes so far these days. Partnerships take money. Content takes money. Most important: If you really want to target specific sets of customers, boosting your presence with real media spend is what makes all the difference. Think about doing so in real time, reacting to what is working and getting behind it to push it further.

Do think beyond the moment. It’s easy to get carried away during Fashion Week in a bid to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The amount of incredible visual assets at your disposal certainly helps, but don’t forget about what that means for your digital profile the rest of the year. Brands that enjoy the best engagement are the ones that maintain the quality, volume and velocity of Fashion Week long after the live stream. Look to Victoria’s Secret for inspiration: Its annual show has become an entertainment property in its own right, and the content it surrounds it with is equally commendable.

Or maybe… Don’t bother. If you’re not already an integral part of Fashion Week — set up with a scheduled slot for your show or presentation — consider how necessary it is to bid for relevance. Yes, there are opportunities for digital engagement, but it’s even easier to just get lost in the noise entirely. If you have something to launch, truly consider a different time of year before you use up valuable resource — not only might your consumers pay more attention, but so will others in the industry.

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2015: a designer meets digital year in review

AppleWatch_Hermes

It’s been another big year for the fashion industry and its integration with technology: from the release of the (Hermès) Apple Watch, to Natalie Massenet’s departure from Net-a-Porter as it merged with Yoox, not to mention the ongoing and evolving discussions around fashion weeks becoming consumer-facing events.

There’s also been a broadening discussion on the role smart fabrics play in the wearables space, virtual reality is increasingly on our radar for its relevance to retail, and we’re obsessed with how the industry is slowly adapting to a new aesthetic thanks to apps like Snapchat.

Here then, are 10 of the posts you loved the most on Fashion & Mash this year. It’s a collection nodding to many of the aforementioned subjects we continue to track, as well as the likes of personalisation, data, instant messaging, emojis and more. A veritable feast of trends we’re watching across the digital landscape as we head into the New Year…

Thank you for reading and see you in 2016. Wishing you a very happy holidays from everyone here at the (growing!) Fashion & Mash team.

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Digital snippets: Nike on 3D printing, HM x Balmain’s selfies, Diesel advertises on Tinder

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

nike

  • Nike’s COO thinks we could soon 3D print Nike sneakers at home [Quartz]
  • H&M x Balmain:  wants to see your selfies [Vogue]
  • Tinder ads tease Diesel fashion models as possible ‘matches’ [Mashable]
  • Louis Vuitton’s spring 2016 show dives into Oculus Rift and virtual gaming [Fashionista]
  • Most fashion houses are baffled by social media. Here’s why old-school Chanel does it best [Washington Post]
  • London-based online fashion startup, Lyst, abandoned a $25 million business — and became huge anyway [Business Insider]
  • Diane von Furstenberg is tapping into millennial tastes to secure her brand’s legacy [AdWeek]
  • Why Burberry’s Snapchat Testino campaign is the best piece of marketing in 2015 [Marketing Magazine]
  • Sears shows how it uses data to build relationships [MediaPost]
  • Can Everlane really become the next J.Crew? [Racked]
  • WME-IMG debuts all-fashion network for Apple TV [BoF]
  • How Diesel talks to its mobile customers through 400 programmatic ads [Digiday]
  • Target’s Kristi Argyilan on what ‘in-house programmatic’ really means [AdAge]
  • China’s Alibaba readies for Singles Day online shopping festival on 11/11/15 [BrandChannel]
  • How Flipkart hopes to shut out rivals by going app-only in India [Tech in Asia]
  • Facebook to test ‘shopping’ section [WWD]
  • ‘In China you have to use it’: How WeChat is powering a mobile commerce boom [Digiday]
  • Why is Silicon Valley pouring millions of dollars into old clothes? [Bloomberg]
  • How (and why) ‘Who What Wear’ bet on commerce [Digiday]
  • The rise of drones [Not Just a Label]
  • A retail geek’s take on modern high-street shopping [The Future of Commerce]
  • What role do fashion runways play in the internet age? [The Globe and Mail]
  • We have not yet reached peak wearable [Re/code]
  • Say it with an emoji: 10 text-free phrases to describe spring 2016 [Vogue]
  • Can content really drive commerce? [Forrester]
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Comment Editor's pick social media

Why are autumn campaigns already releasing? The fashion industry needs a rethink

When did ad campaigns for autumn/winter start launching in May? I returned to my desk today after a couple of weeks travelling to see notifications about ads released from Marc Jacobs, BOSS by Hugo Boss, Roberto Cavalli, Isabel Marant and Mango, to name a few. That’s far earlier than normal. Late June used to be the first release, and it would tend to be from Burberry.

Ciara-Roberto-Cavalli-Fall-Winter-2015
Ciara for Roberto Cavalli A/W 15/16

In some instances, those already out seemed to have been leaked, but in others, these have been legitimate announcements. Perhaps it’s indicative of a certain number of designers trying to beat the rest of the industry to the punch – after all, there comes a time each season when yet another campaign story across blogs and social media is incredibly tiresome. (Mind you, do read this great post from Lou Stoppard of SHOWstudio last season).

But as a larger issue, this is emblematic of a fundamental problem with the fashion industry, its complicated seasons and their even more confusing timelines.

It is now just June (and may I add the sun has finally started to shine). Spring collections are in-store but heavily on sale, and pre-fall is waiting in the wings, if not already on the shop floor.

Cher-Marc-Jacobs-Fall-2015-Ad-Campaign
Cher for Marc Jacobs A/W 15/16

It goes without saying the majority of consumers are not yet in the mindset for buying winter-wear. Cher in a full-length black embellished skirt and gloves for Marc Jacobs (as above) might turn heads, but unlikely directly impact a sale. Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t yet – that product is not available.

And that’s the point. If fashion weeks are so far off store deliveries as we know (resort collections are coming out thick and fast at present just to confuse matters even more), shouldn’t we be trying to utilise the hype our marketing can also generate to actually lead to conversions. The power of social media would be far better leveraged if the items on show could be clicked and bought – that’s not possible from the catwalk in the majority of cases, but it is from ads. For once we might actually be able to make sense of the lines and when they’re released if so.

At the very least, let’s take these high profile campaigns, their celebrity signings and big production values, and team them up directly with current stock. That would be significantly better than just wistfully hoping a release might drive traffic by association.

Edie-Campbell-Hugo-Boss-Fall-2015-Campaign
Edie Campbell for BOSS by Hugo Boss A/W 15/16

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

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Editor's pick social media

Calzedonia opts for #TweetCam and Periscope to push swimwear show

CLZ_Calzedonia

Swimwear brand Calzedonia is following in Burberry’s footsteps and introducing the #TweetCam to its summer 2015 catwalk show.

The Italian company has partnered with Twitter to allow fans to gain access to the show via their own personalised shots of it. A series of cameras along the catwalk will capture unique images in real-time to users who tweet using the hashtag and @tweetcalzedonia, sending them back to them with their Twitter handles and a time stamp overlaid.

Calzedonia will also make use of Twitter’s new live-streaming app, Periscope, to capture the scene backstage.

The shows take place twice a day on April 14 and 15, and will also see the launch of the new #CLZ capsule bikini collection, which is aimed at a “young and digital-addicted target”.

A campaign accompanies the line, shot by Mariano Vivanco in London and featuring Instagram and Twitter star Sara Sampaio.

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Editor's pick film technology

Virtual reality hits #LFW, River Island shoppers given access next

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

RiverIsland_virtualreality

Something innovative tied to fashion week was, for once, truly applicable to the everyday consumer at Somerset House yesterday.

River Island unveiled a virtual reality film created with designer Jean-Pierre Braganza using Google Cardboard. This makeshift headset (created out of, you guessed it, cardboard) can essentially be built by anyone. All it then needs is a smartphone slotted into the front of it and an app downloaded to showcase the content.

For River Island shoppers from tomorrow, however, any item purchased from the Design Forum Jean-Pierre Braganza collaboration collection, will also arrive with a flat-packed version of Google Cardboard included, ready to build themselves.

As Mary McClenahan, marketing manager at the retailer told us during the press launch: “This was about making technology accessible to a wider market. It’s a bit of fun really, and fashion should be fun.”

She said the aim was to test the boundaries of technology, but do so in a way that made sense for the “tech-savvy younger generation”. Downloading an app is no longer a barrier to content for consumers, making this sort of experience all the more relevant to them, she explained.

The content in question, sees the user able to direct a Kingfisher into a futuristic mechanical structure where a model wearing the new collection is to be found. Once she’s located, an augmented reality experience is also offered; providing a fluttering image of the Kingfisher atop of the user’s existing, real-world surroundings. They’re encouraged to snap an image (the Kingfisher hovering on a shoulder or over a glass, in our case) and then share it with their social following.

A Google representative said this was a very early version of what virtual reality is likely to become. The almost ‘analogue’ nature of Cardboard is, after all, a relatively primitive, albeit accessible, way to experience it. Over the next 12 months we’ll see significant inroads made into much more immersive and interactive experiences, he said, with the open-source setup of the technology making experimentation all the more possible.

VR in general is trending at fashion weeks so far this season, with Rebecca Minkoff and Tommy Hilfiger both having captured their A/W 15/16 shows in 360-degrees, ready for future release. With experiential marketing as the focus, there’s enormous opportunity for brands to make serious inroads with VR as a consumer engagement ploy up ahead.

Check out some of our pictures and a video from the Jean-Pierre Braganza experience below.

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photo 1

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Editor's pick technology

Virtual reality’s quiet presence at #NYFW

VR_samsunggear2

The promise of virtual reality seems to have hit New York Fashion Week, albeit it in a very quiet, non-obtrusive way.

Placed subtly at the end of a story in WWD today, Rebecca Minkoff CEO, Uri Minkoff, revealed the brand filmed its show on Friday fit for a future VR experience. It reportedly employed two cameras with three-dozen separate lenses to create footage that will be released in a few months’ time.

It did so with Jaunt, a company that has worked with the likes of Paul McCartney on immersive virtual reality experiences thanks to its 360-degree, stereoscopic 3-D cameras and 3-D sound-field microphones. The result will see the Rebecca Minkoff show available to watch through Jaunt’s app on Google Play (for Android phones), on Samsung’s Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and on the Google Cardboard platform for iOS, later this spring.

Minkoff said virtual reality as a buzzword is still six to 12 months out, but he believes this method of filming will “extend the show experience and depict the runway in a manner that a traditional live stream never could”.

wemakeVR

Today, similar plans also seemed to be underway at Tommy Hilfiger. At the end of its show at the Park Avenue Armory, my colleague and I stumbled across a 360-degree camera being placed in the centre of the football stadium-themed set (as pictured just above).

The company behind it was WeMakeVR, an Amsterdam-based business that, put simply, does indeed make photorealistic VR experiences for headsets such as the Oculus Rift. They had been filming throughout the show too of course. They also had a prototype Samsung Gear VR headset on hand to try, as I am pictured wearing (and enjoying) at the top of this post.

Though no one from Tommy was available for comment, it is understood an immersive catwalk experience will be released “very soon”.

[By the way, if you’re a WGSN subscriber, we just published a great piece on the opportunity for fashion brands and retailers with virtual reality. It’s worth checking out]

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New York vs London: a fashion week infographic

Did you know the 3460 miles between New York and London is about the equivalent of three million times the length of supermodel Karlie Kloss?

That’s just one style-related stat from a new infographic released in time for fashion week season by online fashion marketplace Lyst. The focus otherwise is on pitting the two cities against each other from a trend perspective – given I’m a Brit in the Big Apple, this one is a winner for me.

New Yorkers are favoring the Isabel Marant Samuel sweater, while Londoners are after a particular Miu Miu pink number, it suggests for instance. It also shows little black dresses are trending in both cities ahead of Valentine’s Day, with key styles by Acne Studios, Maje and Etoile standing out.

Lyst tracks over one million items, from more than 9,000 global fashion designers and retail stores, on its site. It also generates $100m in annual sales. That leads to a reported 100,000 fashion data changes every hour.

Part of the infographic is below, but read more about it and see the rest via Forbes.com.

Style and The City by Lyst TOP

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New York Fashion Week (and beyond): Digital do’s and don’ts

This story first appeared on Campaign US

fendi_drone

New York Fashion Week kicks off Wednesday, with hundreds of designers showcasing their latest collections in back-to-back runway shows and presentations. What is fundamentally a trade event — an occasion for press and buyers to see next season’s looks and plan accordingly — has become increasingly consumer facing.

Last season, a reported 1.2 million tweets and 330,000 Instagram posts mentioned #NYFW or related terms. Those weren’t just from brands. Fans and followers around the world (not to mention influencers on site) are tuning in to experience as much of Fashion Week as possible through digital means, soaking up streams of content across multiple channels, then post their own content alongside

Pressure for the brands has never been greater, as teams must consider how to showcase their products as quickly as possible to a huge digital audience. Standing out from the noise has become the greatest challenge no matter the size of the organization. Here are 11 do’s and don’ts for fashion’s big show.

Don’t post weak visuals. This is rule No. 1 for fashion week, a time when Instagram and Twitter are overwhelmed with blurry photos and videos of models as they walk past the front row. No one cares about mere proof that you were there; but they do care about Fashion Week more broadly, so give them something they can’t otherwise see. If you want engagement, think more like Dolce & Gabbana instead: a brand that consistently delivers beautiful still and motion imagery, real time or otherwise. With today’s devices, there’s no excuse for anything but.

dolcegabbana_aw13

Do think beyond the “like.” What are you actually trying to achieve during Fashion Week? This is one of the noisiest times of the year in this industry, so be prepared to put the legwork in to be able to get the sort of numbers you want out. Your first challenge, therefore, is figuring out exactly what your objectives are, and accepting the fact they may be different from what you usually push for. Are you looking to build awareness? Drive traffic? Increase brand affinity? Or actually influence conversions? Apply your answer to the channels you use.

Do determine the channels most suited to your brand. Just because it’s a noisy time of year, don’t feel like you have to jump on every channel because you can, and whatever you do don’t just blind spray the same content across them all. Facebook needs to be different from Pinterest, which needs to be different from Instagram. And you’ll need to consider video, too. If resources are limited, use them wisely by prioritizing which of the big platforms are right for your consumers. Who are you trying to reach, and where are they? It’s worth remembering much of the online Fashion Week crowd won’t be your current customers, but they could be your future ones; targeting them could be quite a different move, so think through how best to capture their attention.

Don’t be scared to experiment. As much as it’s sensible to have a strong base strategy going into Fashion Week, it’s also a time ripe for experimentation. Take risks by trying out new channels and thinking about what you could do on some of the more niche ones. In the past, Fashion Week has seen some great campaign work on the likes of Spotify by Zac Posen, Skype by Victoria Beckham, and WeChat by Burberry. Expect Snapchat to be another platform to make a splash this season. And if something just doesn’t work for you, step away from it. The beauty of digital is being forgiven and forgotten very quickly — so cut your losses and refocus your efforts elsewhere.

VictoriaBeckham_skype

Do think about what will stand out. Snapchat will of course only get you so far. If brand awareness is your goal, then press coverage is key. If you’ve got the resources, go big by considering true innovation. Sometimes it might be seen as a gimmick, but it works. Fendi is a strong example. In February 2014 it introduced drones flying above its Milan Fashion Week show, recording the models as they walked out and beaming that footage back in real time to fans watching at home. The quality was terrible, but every major press outlet reported on it.

Do take advantage of organic content about your brand. If you’re directly involved with Fashion Week, it’s quite likely a lot of content will be generated on your behalf. Use it! Chanel has frequently been one of the most hashtagged fashion brands on Instagram, which helped it generate an enormous 2.4 million followers via @chanelofficial before it even posted any of its of its own content on there. (It finally did for the first time in October 2014.) Retweet or regram your influencers, integrate their posts into your own digital assets, and strive to push that advocacy further.

Don’t forget to interact with your fans. Social media is not a one-way channel, but it’s still very much considered so by many designer brands. Fashion Week is an ideal time to break that code and interact more regularly with existing and aspiring consumers. Rebecca Minkoff is a great brand to look at for inspiration. It took the idea of direct engagement a step further last season by involving Instagram fans in a critical decision related to the show: which of two looks would walk the runway. It was an incredibly simple post featuring two shots side by side with the opportunity for followers to vote. It worked.

RebeccaMinkoff_vote

Do partner with influencers. Beyond the reposts and the interactions, think about setting up more strategic relationships with influencers in the space. They don’t have to be bloggers; perhaps they’re Instagram artists or Pinterest stars. Tommy Hilfiger in September 2014 introduced what it referred to as its “First Timers” campaign, giving access to a group of digital influencers from outside the fashion industry. Experts from the worlds of music, art, floristry, travel and architecture were all invited. Tumblr also runs a scheme every season that sees up-and-coming artists and photographers on its channel, taken on tour throughout Fashion Week; they hit some of the big shows, meet the designers and enhance their own networks. Open up your space to influential outsiders.

Do back all of this with budget. Free only goes so far these days. Partnerships take money. Content takes money. Most important: If you really want to target specific sets of customers, boosting your presence with real media spend is what makes all the difference. Think about doing so in real time, reacting to what is working and getting behind it to push it further.

Do think beyond the moment. It’s easy to get carried away during Fashion Week in a bid to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The amount of incredible visual assets at your disposal certainly helps, but don’t forget about what that means for your digital profile the rest of the year. Brands that enjoy the best engagement are the ones that maintain the quality, volume and velocity of Fashion Week long after the live stream. Look to Victoria’s Secret for inspiration: Its annual show has become an entertainment property in its own right, and the content it surrounds it with is equally commendable.

Or maybe … Don’t bother. If you’re not already an integral part of Fashion Week — set up with a scheduled slot for your show or presentation — consider how necessary it is to bid for relevance. Yes, there are opportunities for digital engagement, but it’s even easier to just get lost in the noise entirely. If you have something to launch, truly consider a different time of year before you use up valuable resource — not only might your consumers pay more attention, but so will others in the industry. This is, after all, a trade event at its very heart.

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Blocks Comment social media technology

Topshop and the BFC talk digital innovation with WGSN during #LFW

The latest in a longstanding series of Google Hangouts hosted by my team at WGSN, saw Topshop CMO Sheena Sauvaire, the British Fashion Council’s head of marketing Clara Mercer, and myself talking about the role of digital and fashion week.

Held on the final day of London’s spring/summer 2015 shows, this was an exploration of innovation versus sales, the importance of extending a campaign beyond the 10 minutes of the show and into the six months ahead, and the role that social commerce and shoppable runways are playing this season for designers.

We also explore some tips and tricks for emerging talent in approaching their digital strategy, and the need to carefully balance the role of innovation with what feels authentic to your brand.

Do watch it back below…