Today, designers not only have the challenge of creating seasonal designs that create buzz and demand, but they now also need to stay on top of understanding the way fashionistas communicate and how they truly shop (hint: it’s not just about going to the mall any more).
I am far from a fashionista, but I do know that when it comes to social and mobile communications, the fashion industry has come a very long way. I joined my very first social networks (although we didn’t call it social networking back then) dedicated to a design house—Hermès—back in 2004. There were thousands of women (and men) spending hours of time discussing their passion for Hermès. Everything from scarves to jewelry to perfume to leather goods (like the famous Birkin, originally called Haut à Courroies) to ready-to-wear consumed the daily conversation. We could tell you what year was the ‘Year of the River’ (2005, by the way), what scarf colorways and designs were the most popular for any given year, and the year of each of Jean-Claude Ellena’s perfume releases. Our passion gave us the advantage of knowing more about Hermès than most sales associates.
Back then, brands didn’t communicate online. In fact, I’d bet my last $10 that they were completely unaware of all of the social connections and discussions taking place. But times have changed and by not staying on top of new media and communication trends (like forums, Foursquare, Facebook, etc.) designers run the risk of losing opportune moments to engage. As they say on Project Runway “in fashion, one day you’re in and the next you are out!”
Fortunately, for most brands today have a better understanding of how consumers have taken control of the market.
Fresh Networks: Four Luxury Brands that Lead the Pack in Social Media Innovation
“ The report shows how luxury brands have really pushed their use of social media in 2010, realizing that the benefits for them come from not just having a social media presence but also from engaging people in social media and online communities.”
Brands at the top of the list include: Coach, Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta and Jimmy Choo.
Internet Retailer: Bluefly launches a Facebook shopping page
“We’ve seen that more and more, users are spending increased time with brands on Facebook and prefer not to migrate outside the walls for a shopping experience. By launching our own proprietary boutique we are offering mobility and flexibility to our customers that they have never had before.”
Fashionably Marketing: Fashism Lauches A Stylish iPhone App
Fashism.com helps users with style dilemmas by connecting them with other users who are willing to offer feedback. Once a user uploads a photo of the outfit, piece of clothing or accessory in question, community members can offer feedback by voting whether they love it, hate it, or which looks best. Additionally, members can leave comments, which can offer additional assistance to the member experiencing a style emergency.
Julian Cole/Adspace Pioneers: 15 Fashion Brands using Social Media in their Marketing Mix
[A great collection of mixes between Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, etc.]
“With the rise of mobile, the mixing of the web with the physical world seems only like the natural evolution of things. Mobile apps that combine location, real-time and social characteristics are in high demand by brands that want to promote their sales, and most of all, give to their physical stores a touch of the social ‘glitter’ of the web…”