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Campaigns Retail

H&M Group launches shoppable style advice platform

H&M Group has launched Itsapark, an online platform that lets users seek style-related advice from its consumer community and shop both its group of brands and others.

“Sometimes fashion can be rather confusing and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be,” reads the site’s About page. “Our mission is to create a meeting place where people can exchange ideas and advice around fashion.”

Currently open to public in beta mode, the site allows its users to pose style questions to the community, such as what to wear at a job interview, or how to nail a spring color trend. Questions can then be answered by other members themselves, or become visual guides generated by ‘creators’ enlisted by the brand. Guides are then entirely shoppable and feature a mixture H&M Group brands (such as H&M and Arket) and others.

A screenshot of Itsapark’s “Explore” section

For example, a user question on how to make cycling shorts work inspired community answers and a dedicated guide, which suggests pieces from the likes of H&M Group-owned Weekday, Topshop and River Island.

Other sections on the site focus on discoverability, such as exploring current fashion trends (animal prints, 80s blazers), with content provided by its creators.

By creating Itsapark, the group is attempting to own more channels of conversations that are already happening at established social platforms elsewhere, such as Instagram. A similar strategy was also hinted at by Henry Davis, former COO of Glossier, last year at Cannes. Founder Emily Weiss later explained that this will be part of the company’s Phase Two, and will likely launch in the shape of a ‘social commerce’ platform that leverages its audience’s loyal behavior.

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business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

What you missed: AI for retail, the selfie’s influence on fashion, last mile challenge

AI is not optional for retail
AI is not optional for retail

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past week.


TOP STORIES
  • AI is not optional for retail [VentureBeat]
  • How selfie taking has influenced fashion [Edited]
  • In global e-commerce, the race to solve the ‘last mile’ [BoF]

BUSINESS
  • Avenue32.com confirms closure [The Industry]
  • Matchesfashion in £600m sale talks as buyers circle [RetailWeek]
  • Alibaba uses its shopping leverage [Bloomberg]
  • Amazon’s private label business is booming thanks to device sales, expanded fashion lines [TechCrunch]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • This influencer marketing shop created fake accounts to prove that the industry is full of ad fraud [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • How the sisters behind cult clothing brand Rodarte mastered fashion and film [FastCompany]
  • Sephora is creating the world’s largest beauty forum [The Cut]
  • The all-woman agency team on Nike who ‘Just Do It’ [AdAge]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Nordstrom and Macy’s: A lesson in surviving the retail apocalypse [RetailDive]
  • ‘Retail isn’t dying’: How brands are competing for brick-and-mortar space [Glossy]
  • 4 things American department stores must do to survive [BoF]
  • What if stores charged admission? [BoF]

TECHNOLOGY
  • The virtual revolution of retail [Medium]
  • Do your customers actually want a “smart” version of your product? [HBR]
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All hail the fashion forum! In the social media age, we need them more than ever, says Susie Bubble

fashion forum
The Fashion Spot

The degree of depth and specificity that take place in the discussions on internet fashion forums, not to mention the honesty and critiquing of the industry, make them an incredible valuable resource, argues Susanna Lau, aka Susie Bubble, founder of blog Style Bubble.

“In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, they may seem like antiquated artefacts of the late 1990s or early 2000s. But fashion needs them more than ever,” she writes for The Business of Fashion.

She gives The Fashion Spot as one example, a site containing nearly 10 million posts on it to date, and the one known as a go-to hub for discussion since its launch in 2001. “The grain of the conversation… is often frank, no-holds barred and pointedly critical of the industry. That’s because members aren’t beholden to their IRL identities. In a forum, you can truly be anonymous and express the sort of unfiltered opinions that are sorely lacking in the general discourse in a fashion world still dominated by big brands.”

She says the sort of depth to the conversations, whether it’s about fashion schools, the cut of a Hedi Slimane-era Dior Homme jacket, 1990s-era Prada advertising campaigns, the rivets on a certain designer bag and the friction this causes with clothing, also can’t be found in mainstream media publications or social media platforms.

“Forums will always be a valuable source of information and discussion for people who want to go beyond fashion’s surface, and those people will always exist,” says Eugene Rabkin, founder of StyleZeitgeist, another well-established forum. “The social media cater to the part of us that wants immediate and easy satisfaction. But at some point, a stratum of audience becomes dissatisfied with such superficiality.”

Importantly, Lau explains, the commentary on forums isn’t always music to designers’ ears, but that often makes it something they pay attention to. She cites the likes of Rick Owens, Joseph Altuzarra and Dries van Noten as all turning to them for honest feedback on their work.

In the Spring 2013 print issue of Style.com, then-editor Dirk Standen said: “As one PR exec told me recently, the designers he works with are more interested to hear what the anonymous commenters on TheFashionSpot.com have to say about their collections than the mighty critics.”

“Forum members have nothing to lose; they are certainly not making money from fashion,” Rabkin explains. “Forums are an incredible source for honest criticism. It is true that you have to have a thick skin, because sometimes the criticism is brutal, but in turn the praise is honest and therefore truly deserved.”