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business digital snippets product Retail social media sustainability technology

Amazon 10 years ahead of UN Paris agreement, Nike’s first hijab ambassador, Facebook’s AI styling

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

Top Stories
  • Amazon plans to meet UN Paris agreement 10 years early (CNBC)
  • First Nike hijab ambassador on breaking barriers for women in fitness (Evening Standard)
  • Facebook experiments with AI-powered styling program (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Google and Jennifer Lopez reinvent the Versace dress that created Google Images (The Verge)
  • L’Oreal’s Color&Co adds AR hair color try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • The quiet robot revolution that can unlock a trillion dollars in retail efficiencies (Forbes)
  • Starbuck taps Alibaba’s Tmall Genie for voice ordering (The Drum)
  • Facebook teams up with Ray-Ban on smart glasses (Mobile Marketer)
  • Google opens a new AI research centre in India (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Moncler tops Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Drapers)
  • Waste2Wear presents world’s first collection of ocean plastics verified with Blockchain (Fashion United)
  • Ikea invests in solar farms (Fast Company)
  • Nike opens distribution center fully powered by renewable energy (Highsnobiety)
  • Toast launches clothes-swap scheme (Drapers)
  • Salesforce is building an app to gauge a company’s sustainability progress (Tech Crunch)
  • Green money: AmEx joins fight against plastic waste (Stylus)
  • Avery Dennison teams up with plastic bank to further the circular economy (Sourcing Journal)
Retail & E-commerce
  • Body Shop opens refillable concept store (The Guardian)
  • Sandro opens first US flagship store in New York (Fashion United)
  • Psyche launches standalone childrenswear site (Drapers)
  • Quinn Harper opens first store on the King’s Road (TheIndustry)
  • Pandora unveils new store concept in Birmingham (Fashion United)
Business
  • Ocado and M&S’ new joint venture enjoys double digit growth (Charged Retail)
  • H&M to test selling external brands in strategy shift (BoF)
  • Thomas Cook collapse leaves thousands stranded as bailout fails (Bloomberg)
  • Burberry appoints non-executive director (Drapers)
  • In London, fashion takes a break from Brexit (BoF)
  • Toby Bateman steps down from Mr Porter (Retail Gazette)
  • Bluemercury founders depart Macy’s (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • The danger for luxury brands that fail at story telling (Jing Daily)
  • Urban Decay dishes out makeup samples to Bumble app users (Mobile Marketer)
  • As Gucci trips up on social media, sales fall (WSJ)
  • Louis Vuitton launces LVTV (Fashion United)
Product
  • Caspar jumps on the CBD bandwagon with sleep gummies (Retail Dive)
  • HP debut first computer made with ocean-bound plastics (Adweek)
  • Victoria Beckham launches beauty line at LFW (Fashion United)
  • Italy’s Opera Campi to launch stretch hemp apparel (Sourcing Journal)
Culture
  • Instagram adds new restrictions on weight-loss products and cosmetic procedures (Adweek)
  • Banana Republic looks to skin tone and size inclusivity for turnaround (BoF)
  • Refinery29 and Eloquii team up to create a crowdsourced plus-size collection (Adweek)
  • Gucci faces backlash for straightjackets at Milan show (BoF)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: The tech-driven age of the sneaker drop, Adidas’ Airdrop campaign, the weight of holiday returns

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

TOP STORIES
  • The new, tech-driven age of the sneaker drop [Engadget]
  • Adidas pushes new Ultraboost 19 shoe via guerrilla Airdrop campaign [NY Times]
  • Amazon returns video draws 11 million views [WWD]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Samsung patents phone display that projects Star Wars-like holograms [Tom’s Guide]
  • As Facebook raised a privacy wall, it carved an opening for tech giants [NY Times]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • 8 things Patagonia says fashion can do to get greener [WWD]
  • 5 years after pay pledge, H&M still isn’t paying laborers a “living wage” [TheFashionLaw]
  • Consumers are ready for full sustainability, brands aren’t [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • How Bonobos is growing up under Walmart’s wing [RetailDive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, Amazon lead social media mentions for holiday gift shopping, study says [Mobile Marketer]
BUSINESS
  • Victoria Beckham firm’s losses deepen [BBC]
  • Raf Simons Is out at Calvin Klein [GQ]
  • Burberry turnaround? Analysts aren’t buying it [Bloomberg]
CULTURE
  • Why everyone wants a piece of the K-beauty pie [SCMP]
  • Young luxury shoppers explain why they’re willing to pay $500 for sneakers [QZ]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns Events technology

Victoria Beckham to livestream LFW show on Piccadilly Circus screens

Victoria Beckham will be livestreaming on Piccadilly Circus
Victoria Beckham will be livestreaming on Piccadilly Circus

Victoria Beckham is set to livestream her A/W 2018 London Fashion Week show on Piccadilly Circus’s iconic digital screens as part of the label’s 10-year anniversary celebration.

This occasion also marks the first time that the Piccadilly Circus 4K advertising screens, known as Piccadilly Lights, will be streaming live content.

This Sunday (September 16) at exactly 9:25am, the screens will light up with a video celebrating Victoria Beckham’s 10-year tenure in fashion, after which at 9:32am the show will be broadcasted live from its location at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in London.

For the past week, the brand has been teasing Piccadilly Circus pedestrians with a rotation of three images showing Beckham inside a shopping bag, paying homage to a 2008 Marc Jacobs ad where she did the same. The images are all part of the brand’s upcoming advertising campaign.

Beckham’s intention behind the live show is to connect with her audience in a whole new way. That is also why she will be spending quality time with customers on a one-to-one basis at her Dover Street flagship after the fashion show.

A selection of this season’s accessories, jewelry and shoes will be exclusively available for purchase on Saturday, one day ahead the show, on VictoriaBeckham.com as well as at the Dover Street and Hong Kong stores. Customers will also be able to purchase a t-shirt featuring a campaign visual.

Are you thinking innovatively enough? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Events technology

NYFW roundup: #MeToo conversations, immersive runways and supersized robots

Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show
Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show

It was a quieter New York Fashion Week season than usual, as big-name designers including Altuzarra and Tommy Hilfiger chose to decamp to other cities – Paris and Milan, respectively – to host their much buzzed-about runway shows. Even fashion week parties, which in the past provided magazine fodder for weeks to come, have also been scaled down, with the industry seemingly more subdued in general.

That didn’t stop various buzzworthy moments however, including subtle nods to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, various more immersive runway presentations, and a dash of the futuristic with Google TiltBrush and an oversized robot.

Here we highlight some of the most interesting conversations that took place, and where there was still room left for improvement…

Cultural statements

There was little direct acknowledgement of the powerful conversation around the #MeToo movement, but shows attempted to create a stage for female empowerment. For Tom Ford, the approach was literal and included models strutting down the runway donning shoulder pads and a “Pussy Power” handbag. For Prabal Gurung, which The Washington Post has previously described as the “most woke man in fashion”, it was a nod to the #TimesUp conversation as models closed the show as a group, carrying white roses.

Tom Ford AW18
Tom Ford AW18

Also alluding to the message of empowerment, designer Jonathan Simkhai presented a Suffragette-inspired collection, while Kesha’s song on speaking out on harassment, “Praying”, greeted guests.

Following the second yearly Woman’s March, which took place globally on January 20, Brother Vellies teamed up with a roster of labels, such as Clare V. and Rachel Comey, to design a capsule collection benefitting the march and Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile designer Rebecca Minkoff, who was due to give birth to her third child during the week, forwent a formal presentation, instead opting to showcase her see-now-buy-now on 20 powerful women online. That cast includes members of the Women’s March committee, as well as actress Zosia Mamet and fashion presenter Zanna Roberts Rassi. The designer also teamed up with networking app Bumble Bizz to host a speaker night titled “Trailblazers: Women who have started their own company or have forged their own way within their industry”.

The topic of diversity was ever-present during NYFW too, though perhaps rather positively it was less buzzed about as more designers included a variation of ethnicities and sizes on their runway. Designers such as Christian Siriano and one of this season’s favourites, Eckhaus Latta, enlisted models at each end of the spectrum. Meanwhile model Kendall Jenner hosted an Adidas Originals presentation that featured a colourful cast and the showcase of the brand’s first hijab.

Alternative runways

In addition to the designers whose presence was missed in New York this season, many others moved away from formal runway shows to explore new ways to engage with a new, savvier audience.

Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18
Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18

Adidas teamed up with trendy New York label and lifestyle store VFiles to host a multimedia photoshoot at the Terminal 5 venue in Hell’s Kitchen, for instance. As music played for partygoers, models stood on stage posing against white backdrops, thus partaking in a live photoshoot. The immersive event aimed to respond to a community who wants to participate, rather than watch from the sidelines, said Julie Anne Quay, founder of VFiles.

Online, Zac Posen launched his collection via a photoshoot starring actress and friend Katie Holmes. Similarly the Rodarte sisters published the “Women that Inspire Us” lookbook, which features a pregnant Kirsten Dunst and young R&B duo Chloe x Halle, among others.

Perhaps cleverly steering clear from live presentations, which have in the past not received the best of reviews, Kanye West leveraged his online fandom by releasing his Yeezy Season Six collection online, in a lookbook starring women such as Paris Hilton and actress Sarah Snyder dressed up as Kim Kardashian look-a-likes, as well as the woman herself.

The future is here?

In a week primed for entertainment and participation to take place, designers were surprisingly timid when experimenting with technology this season.

Irina Shayk and robot companion at Philipp Plein AW18

As previously reported, Rebecca Taylor teamed up with Google’s Tilt Brush to create an immersive in-store environment for customers to enjoy her collection in, while Badgley Mischka harnessed technology to better receive their immediate audience’s feedback.

Meanwhile, Nicole Miller teamed up with AI and image recognition company RevelGlam to pilot their software on her runway show. The software analyses insights from fashion shows as well as celebrity sightings and influencer activities in order to predict trends.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, it was German designer Philipp Plein who became a major topic of conversation however; giving the week a much-needed injection of futuristic tech. In a display of extravagance he has become known for, model Irina Shayk entered the runway from a spaceship and strutted alongside a giant bot with the designer’s logo plastered all over it.

In a week where most designers arguably played safe on many fronts – from not taking a truly clear stand on serious conversations to engaging with new technologies – Plein’s stunt may have trumped the collection being shown, but it simultaneously provided an irreverent and timely take on the future.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce social media sustainability technology

What you missed: A new textiles economy, competing with Amazon, Patagonia vs Trump

Stella McCartney and Dame Ellen Macarthur
Stella McCartney and Dame Ellen Macarthur

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


TOP STORIES
  • Stella McCartney and Ellen Macarthur team up to tackle waste in fashion [The Industry]
  • A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future [Ellen Macarthur Foundation]
  • The future of retail in the age of Amazon [Fast Company]
  • Patagonia is suing the Trump administration [GQ]
  • 2017: the year of Gucci (and logos, slogans & sleeves), according to Lyst data [The Industry]

BUSINESS
  • Europe’s biggest mall owner buys Westfield for $25bn [Guardian]
  • Victoria Beckham raises $40 million in private equity investment [NY Times]
  • Amidst new optimism, emerging markets to overtake west in 2018 [BoF]
  • With Aday investment, H&M hopes to ‘leave stigma of fast fashion behind’ [Glossy]
  • Eileen Fisher makes strides towards circularity with ‘tiny factory’ [BoF]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Unwrapping Barneys’ holiday social media strategy [Glossy]
  • These retailers are #crushingit on social this holiday season [RetailDive]
  • Facebook is testing a way for brands to send mass messages via Messenger [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Luxury brands embrace experiential marketing to stay relevant [Skift]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • eBay now lets you start shopping with a Google Assistant smart speaker and finish on your phone [VentureBeat]
  • Death of retail? 2017 was all about the empire of luxury e-tail [NY Times]
  • Céline enters e-commerce with release of French site [WWD]
  • Everlane is opening its first stores, after years of swearing it wouldn’t [Washington Post]
  • Fruit of the Loom tries on subscription underwear [Bloomberg]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Online e-commerce giants get personal [BoF]
  • Rebecca Minkoff uses VR for planning stores [Glossy]
  • The new Reformation store is a real-life Clueless closet [TheCut]
  • BoF and Google partner on artificial intelligence experiment [BoF]
  • Facial recognition is tracking customers as they shop in stores, tech company says [CNBC]

PRODUCT
  • These were 2017’s wildest innovations in clothing technology [HighSnobiety]
  • Trending: algae, ocean plastics pave the way for more sustainable consumer products [Sustainable Brands]
  • This natural liquid silk is starting to replace oil-based plastic [Fast Company]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce product social media technology

What you missed: See-now-buy-now, Nicopanda x Amazon, Kering tops sustainability index

Nicopanda spring 2018 will see one-hour delivery from Amazon
Nicopanda spring 2018 will see one-hour delivery from Amazon

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
  • Three seasons in, see-now-buy-now is going nowhere [Glossy]
  • Amazon tests one-hour catwalk-to-doorstep deliveries at Nicopanda show [Reuters]
  • Kering tops the Dow Jones Sustainability Index once more [FashionUnited]
  • British Fashion Council launches climate change initiative with Vivienne Westwood [BoF]

BUSINESS
  • The trouble with Topshop [BoF]
  • Hermès hits record first-half profit [FT]
  • BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund announces JD.com partnership [The Industry]
  • Giorgio Armani on London fashion week: ‘It’s the only true city where you see the creative turmoil’ [The Guardian]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Victoria Beckham takes top spot in digital engagement during NYFW [WWD]
  • How Mario Testino found a new lens through Instagram [Campaign]

MARKETING
  • Mick Rock shoots Rome residents for Gucci campaign [Dazed]
  • Inside Dior’s first micro-influencer campaign [Glossy]
  • Puma signs long-term partnership with Selena Gomez [FashionUnited]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Liu Qiangdong, the ‘Jeff Bezos of China’, on making billions with JD.com [FT]
  • eBay moves into luxury with fashion start-up Spring [Racked]

TECHNOLOGY
  • All the tech plans for Tommy Hilfiger’s LFW show [Forbes]

PRODUCT
  • Stone Island’s thermo-sensitive ice knitwear collection changes colour in cold weather [Design Boom]
  • Nike introduces Flyleather, its latest ‘super material’ [BoF]
  • Nike unveils ‘connected’ jersey for NBA partnership [BoF]

START-UPS
  • Fashion start-up wants customers to be able to customise every item they buy [PSFK]
  • Natalie Massenet joins seed funding for hosiery start-up Heist [BoF]
Categories
social media

Who won NYFW’s social media war?

social media Michael Kors
Michael Kors had the highest social media engagement this NYFW, according to ListenFirst

It used to be that coming out on top during fashion week meant getting the best review from the doyennes of international fashion journalism. Not so much when digital engagements from millions of users are the new measure of success.

So who won the social media war during NYFW? Michael Kors, it seems. The designer’s 9.6m digital engagements (according to ListenFirst) between September 7 and 15, were all about the presence of the social supermodels in his show.

ListenFirst’s Digital Engagement Ratings measured customer engagement with runway fashion labels across Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia, and the company said that star names really helped.

“Kors’ #AllAccessKors campaign, launched September 11, dominated social all week and the women’s collection, shown September 14, was widely praised by consumers and the press. Having Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid in the show also helped boost engagement,” it said.

So who was next on the list? Step forward Victoria Beckham. Now of course, this particular fashion designer has an in-built advantage given her personal celebrity status, her husband and her kids and so doesn’t need to rely on anyone surnamed Jenner or Hadid to get attention. She garnered 4.3m engagements.

Surprisingly, evening wear label Sherri Hill came third with 3.2m engagements and managed to beat Tommy Hilfiger into fourth place with ‘only’ 2.4m engagements, despite Gigi Hadid being Hilfiger’s trump card. Hilfiger got a lot of attention on the day of his show – becoming number one fashion label for engagements on September 9 with a 36% year-on-year rise to 411,000.

Banana Republic was joint fourth with 2.4m too, perhaps a surprise given how much owner Gap is struggling to encourage interest in actually buying the brand’s products these days.

Marc Jacobs, Carolinna Herrera, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren came next, hovering between 1m and 1.5m, with Desigual bringing up the rear in the top 10 with just shy of 1m.

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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business e-commerce Editor's pick

Victoria Beckham CEO on relevancy, openness and why he’s against the see-now, buy-now model

ZachDuane_VB
Zach Duane, CEO of Victoria Beckham, in conversation with Katie Baron of Stylus

Zach Duane, CEO of Victoria Beckham sat down at Decoded Fashion in London yesterday to share insights on how he believes the brand has managed to gain credibility in the tough celebrity designer space, how VB is viewed in China, and exactly why he thinks the whole see-now, buy-now model can’t work for everyone.

Here’s a recap of the highlights…


On openness

“There was obviously huge cynicism around Victoria in the fashion world to begin with. We wanted her to be taken seriously as a designer, so we tried to learn our craft and convince through the collection and the value of the product. From day one every media outlet was following our steps, so it was a very public journey from the beginning. It therefore worked to be very open. Victoria is very like that anyway; she’s prolific on Instagram. But it’s not contrived. The content we share is very natural and real even though the concept behind it is a strategy we have – it’s always carefully considered.”


On relevancy

“We know it’s not ok to film a highly produced and polished video and push it out three months later and assume that’s going to be a relevant story. You have to be a bit raw these days. It’s not that it’s dumbing it down, it’s just that people are so used to seeing stuff so constantly on social that it’s fine to post iPhone photos, or mash a collage together. It’s the idea that has to be right – as long as it’s relevant to your brand. The world has moved in that direction in my view. There are some things we do that are much higher production value – like our look books or our show – and it’s fine to have a mixture like that. We’re not, and we don’t pretend to be, a heritage brand. If you’ve got a history of crafting leather goods, or a designer that founded the house in the 50s, then maybe you have to take a certain approach. But for us, in the lifespan of fashion, we’re a new thing, and we’re not shackled by the rules of the past. We’re doing what’s relevant now.”


On a welcoming store environment

“From day one Victoria had a global audience. Spice Girls were a global phenomenon and everyone was interested in her. So we now try to cater to everyone – our current customers, future customers or people just interested in us and what we’re doing. In our first store on Dover Street we really made sure that everyone who came in would feel very welcome. And I really mean that. We headhunted and Victoria and I personally interviewed every single person for it. Our store manager Lin [Aima Hellem], got the job because when asked what she would do if 200 Spice Girls fans come in, she said she would give them the best tour of the store possible. It shouldn’t be a closed space – a student who wants to come in and understand Victoria’s vision should be as relevant as someone spending £10,000.”


On perception in China

“We don’t ship to Asia which is a slight anomaly, but we do trunk shows there; e-commerce pop-ups basically. What we’ve learnt from China is that our shopper is much younger, and she didn’t know Spice Girls at all. She knew Victoria was famous, but she thinks it’s because she’s a designer. So the way we treat them is so different to someone who has lived and breathed that journey with Victoria. Those insights are so important for merchandising, for comms direction and more. With China we don’t have to focus on the credibility part. It’s about immersing [consumers] in the collection, getting them to understand the theme of the season. It’s much more of a fashion-focused educational process. If we’re talking about new clients in other markets like America however, then it’s about going back to basics a little bit. We have to tackle the fact they may think of Victoria as a Spice Girl first; so it’s about credibility and then about getting them into fashion later.”


On the see-now, buy-now movement

“The media is always looking for headline problems for headline solutions. But whether we’re showing in February and shipping in August is a basic issue – there are much bigger problems around things like international shipping and so forth. What Burberry is doing makes total sense for them – it’s a retail business, they sell predominantly through their own stores. If you’re going to spend millions of pounds on amazing shows, you may as well do it when collections are in store so you convert those consumers. But for emerging brands, it’s just impossible. Your business is predominantly a wholesale business. Your show is a trade show; it’s to buyers and editors. They’re coming to have a view and see what resonates with them, and if it does then they come and place their orders. In terms of what the consumer accesses – the answer is not ‘one size fits all’. Our ready-to-wear line needs to be reviewed; it needs that industry perspective and buy-in, that’s the nature of it. But with our Victoria Victoria Beckham line, then it’s different. We’ve done a show in Korea for instance, we’ve partnered with an artist, we’ve done events in London as it hits the store – so we’re constantly connecting with the consumer with it; it’s just a different rhythm. You have to be specific about who you’re trying to talk to, why you’re trying to talk to them and what the message is.”


On never standing still

“We were very humble at the beginning. Victoria really felt, and she still does to this day, that she had to earn her place in fashion. She’s always challenging herself. From a creative standpoint, that is a constant in our business – never stand still, constantly push yourself. We’re always questioning whether the business model we’ve got is innovative enough too. Could we be doing more? It’s that push to prove ourselves that has kept us driving forward.”

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social media

Who won the #NYFW social media war?

yeezy

There’s a lot of data emerging to help us answer the question “who won the NYFW social media war?” Some of it’s a bit contradictory at the moment but it’s also fascinating. So what’s the answer?

Well, so far it looks like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Coach were all winners, as well as music superstars Kanye West with his Yeezy line and Rihanna with her Fenty collab with Puma. At least that’s according to figures from marketing technology company, Amobee Brand Intelligence.

Kors managed to garner nearly 71,000 Tweets and Lauren nearly 47,000 during NYFW.

And according to data that social media search company Ground Signal gave Reuters, both Kors and Lauren were also among the big winners on other social media channels – both appearing in the top five mentioned brands on Instagram.

Yet despite such brands getting major social media traffic, interest in them was dwarfed by interest in Kanye and Rihanna’s respective fashion endeavours. They garnered 800,000 and 140,000 Tweets, respectively, Amobee said.

However, according to data from ListenFirst media, Victoria Beckham “won” New York Fashion Week. She got the most ‘engagement’ online with her show on February 14. Her digital engagement rating was 1,337,169. Michael Kors was second with a rating of 864,913, Kanye was third, and Calvin Klein fourth. Tommy Hilfiger was only seventh by this measure, although it must be said that his Instagram Pit and his use of Gigi Hadid certainly meant that his Insta-engagement was high quality, even if it wasn’t the biggest on volume.

Does any of this really matter? It certainly does. Interestingly, Ground Signal also said that a third of those posting on Instagram around NYFW were aged below 25 and it’s that key youth market that brands want to reach, even brands whose products sell at prices most young people can’t afford (remember, for every $1,000 jacket there’s a $100 diffusion line handbag or a $50 perfume).

The fact is that social media ‘likes’ now count for as much as the more wordy thumbs-ups from legit fashion critics. As Lisa Pomerantz, a Michael Kors spokeswoman, told Reuters: “We know we need to be where our customer is, and today she is on all of these platforms consuming more content more quickly than ever before.”

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 social media technology Uncategorized

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.

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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.