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e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Shoppable content rules fashion week season, with Apple, Instagram and more as partners

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The fashion industry is undergoing significant structural change; from the way it delivers its collections, to how it promotes them to both the industry and its consumers. Where traditionally there are big time lags between fashion week shows and the products then hitting the shop floor, increasingly there’s a race to get items into the hands of shoppers as fast as possible in order to capitalize on the hype the digital era has generated.

The whole debate is an intensely complex one, from the very nature of luxury down to how it affects multi-brand retailers, traditional buyers and more. From a logistical perspective it means big changes on the back-end in terms of manufacturing and supply chain timelines. While on the front end, it also means facilitating the purchases themselves in numerous new ways.

This consumer-facing part of the debate has so far been the one most explored. As brands including Burberry through to Rebecca Minkoff have announced their intentions to move to a real-time model, meaning you can see the collection in fashion week and buy it immediately (#seebuywear), they have introduced interesting tech-enabled initiatives to facilitate it. This is about more than just e-commerce pages made live in the moment after the show, or capsule collections hitting flagship stores (even if that does include newbies like Prada), and rather some valid digital partnerships that enhance the shopping experience.

The key thing here is the shift from designers putting budget into technology for the sake of it at fashion weeks, to rather spending on something that is going to impact the business from an ROI point of view. It’s about entertainment to drive conversions; not just engagement, likes and new followers.

There’s a lot for the industry to figure out in terms of making this a viable move across the board from the operational standpoint (and as yet little clarity as to how those who have said they’re doing it are structurally making that happen), but for now, there’s at least a willingness to experiment with what it looks like for consumers.

Head over to Forbes for an outline of those moves from the likes of Burberry, Rebecca Minkoff, Misha Nonoo and Temperley London.

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business e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Misha Nonoo marks consumer-driven fashion week move with shoppable Instagram campaign

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New York designer Misha Nonoo is continuing with her alternative approach to fashion week and launching a shoppable Instagram campaign for the current spring/summer 2016 season.

The images (launching Sunday) will star Nonoo herself, along with Amber Venz-Box, president and co-founder of blogger monetization network, rewardStyle, in a focus on female entrepreneurship.

More importantly however, Venz-Box’s participation is also about using rewardStyle’s LIKEtoKNOW.it mobile platform to actually make the items shown shoppable. For Instagram users signed up to the LIKEtoKNOW.it scheme (just a matter of linking your Instagram account and email address), all they have to do is “like” an item in order to receive an email with links to the relevant e-commerce pages to buy.

The hope for Nonoo of course, is that it encourages her followers to actually purchase rather than just state intention for something that used to be six months away from launch. Traditionally, she would now be showing fall 2016 instead.

This ability to click and buy in real-time, is part of a new shift we’re seeing around fashion weeks at large in a bid for designers to more closely align with consumer demand. Head over to Forbes to read the full story, plus interviews with Nonoo and Venz-Box about what they’re doing, and why this in-season consumer move makes sense for the market.

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Comment Editor's pick social media technology Uncategorized

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Editor's pick social media technology

Final Fantasy computer game character fronts SS16 Louis Vuitton campaign

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Louis Vuitton creative supremo Nicolas Ghesquière may have said back in October that his SS16 collection was all about a dark virtual reality, but we didn’t take him seriously.

Now he’s taken that idea a step further with the brand’s Series 4 ad campaign. The star of it? A video game ‘virtual’ face. Yep, step forward Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning, the kick-ass heroine of the game series owned by Square Enix and created by video game design star Tetsuya Nomura.

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“Lightning is the perfect avatar for a global, heroic woman and for a world where social networks and communications are now seamlessly woven into our life,” Ghesquière told WWD.

Ghesquière has been releasing teaser photos and video on his Instagram account and the weirdest thing about them is how very normal they look. It just shows how far we’ve come in accepting the blurring of tech and reality.

A video posted by (@nicolasghesquiere) on

He’s not the first to use Final Fantasy characters to promote fashion – Prada did that in Japan three years ago when it used male characters in a show for its men’s line. But it’s certainly the most interesting ad campaign so far for SS16. And it really highlights the need to create ever-higher-profile news around seasonal ad campaigns.

The Louis Vuitton Series 4 campaign also features teen rapper and actor Jaden Smith in a skirt, shot by Bruce Weber, and Korean actress Doona Bae, shot by Juergen Teller.

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This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Comment Editor's pick mobile social media

Burberry’s live Snapchat campaign pushes boundaries, but polished view leaves something to be desired

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Burberry took to Snapchat once again yesterday – this time to reveal its spring/summer 2016 ad campaign being shot by Mario Testino, live as it took place in London.

As per the usual Snapchat brief, those images will live on the platform for 24-hours only. The campaign captures models Hayett Belarbi McCarthy, Misha Hart, Ruth Bell, May Bell, Eliza Fairbanks, Liam Gardner and Louie Johnson.

Christopher Bailey, chief creative and chief executive officer at Burberry, said: “We wanted to play with the traditional format of an advertising campaign to make it much more immediate and accessible just as we did with our runway show last month. Creatively this is incredibly exciting as we are totally focused on capturing the energy and the rawness of the shoot and sharing it the moment it happens.”

James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile at ad agency Leo Burnett, writing on behalf of Marketing Magazine, highlighted numerous factors set to make this campaign superb – that it proves social media can be premium, that it plays on the desire for urgency from this audience, and that it successfully puts mobile first.

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“The transient nature of the platform means you have to be in it to win it. Miss it, miss out. FOMO is rife, and exclusive Testino shot fashion ranges that last 24 hours are as good a reason as any to be there in the right place at the right time,” he writes.

But while all of that is true, the result left me wishing for a little bit more. Snapchat is the opportunity to truly go behind-the-scenes, offer up a raw view of life behind a brand, and Burberry eschews that altogether by opting for this really polished persona. That worked in its storytelling for fashion week, but it leaves a little to be desired with an ad campaign that ultimately offers not much more than flicking through a look book (albeit an early view of it).

There are no shots of the shoot actually taking place (the image shown above was not on Snapchat); just the finished product. And even then, we’re talking largely stills, alongside a handful of videos that don’t offer any sound. It’s beautifully done, of course, but for the eager Snapchat audience, it feels as though an opportunity has been missed to capture that little bit more.

In fact the most authentic part of it, is the sincere looks of glee shown on the faces of Testino and Bailey in the shot below, taken together at the end. If only we could hear from them about what they’re creating. Kudos to Burberry for breaking the mould once again, but a more candid view is what will have made it a true winner for the season ahead.

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e-commerce Editor's pick technology

It might seem like a gimmick, but here’s why Henry Holland’s NFC payment ring matters

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House of Holland’s London Fashion Week show this season saw NFC-enabled rings used to purchase straight from the runway.

Launched in partnership with Visa Europe Collab, a new innovation lab within Visa, the initiative went above and beyond that of a gimmick by bringing together trends including shoppable collections, wearable technology and the future of payments.

Read the full story on why that’s important, over at Forbes.

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Editor's pick social media technology

The best of tech coming up at #LFW

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London Fashion Week kicked off yesterday, and while there might not be quite as much buzz around tech or digital ideas at the shows as there was in New York this season, there are still a handful of things worth knowing about.

Head over to Forbes for a highlight of the best, including Burberry’s early Snapchat reveal, Hunter’s mobile gigs on Periscope, Topshop’s Pinterest Palettes, Henry Holland’s NFC-enabled wearables, Fyodor Golan’s Transformers (as pictured) and a look ahead at Intel as a patron of the British Fashion Council.

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Blocks data e-commerce Editor's pick social media technology

Topshop teams with Pinterest for colour-themed fashion week campaign

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Topshop’s tech focus at fashion week this season lands on Pinterest, and its theme of choice: colour.

The British retailer has partnered with the virtual scrapbooking platform to launch “Pinterest Palettes”, a tool that scans and identifies the dominant colour in any given set of Pins, enabling users to discover their personal colour DNA as well as upcoming trends for spring/summer 2016 based on what’s being seen on the streets of New York, London, Milan and Paris.

The results will also come with shoppable recommendations, linking back to the entire catalogue of Topshop.com. According to the team, a potential 16.8m colour combinations will be possible, providing unique results for every user.

Sheena Sauvaire, global marketing and communications director at Topshop, said:?“We recognise that the power of colour on our customer is huge; it has the ability to inspire, excite and drive purchases, so we’re delighted that our partnership with Pinterest has enabled us to explore the impact of colour, whilst engaging our customers in the excitement of London Fashion Week.”

Adele Cooper, UK country manager at Pinterest, added:?“With more than 24 million fashion ideas Pinned globally each day, Pinterest has become a destination for personal style inspiration. By launching Pinterest Palettes, Topshop is enabling people to engage with the ideas they have saved in a new way, discover something personal about their colour preferences, and take action with a fun, individualised shopping experience.”

For those in London, Topshop will also host a pop-up on the lower ground floor of its Oxford Circus flagship that will offer shoppers the ability to explore Topshop’s spring/summer 2016 Pinterest boards on iPads, and print out their our Pinterest Palettes colour inspiration cards to take away with them. The personal shopping team will also offer colour advice tailored to customers’ individual colour spectrums.