I know, sounds like a parent admonishing a child. Well, in my case the “child” was a fashion magazine.
Kara Jesella's informed and insightful look at fashion and feminism and Tavi Gevinson's new online magazine, Rookie, are well worth the read.
Fast Company's cover story in the September issue is a must-read for any marketer, no matter the industry.
Haute couture brands recently have been in the headlines for promoting an unhealthy body image, mourning the loss of one of fashion's brightest stars and, in general, dealing with a full-blown identity crisis. Meanwhile, an increasing number of mainstream brands have turned their attention explicitly to the end consumer: she now plays a central role in how we view and buy fashion. This reinvention and democratization of fashion has its origin in the mainstream, unlike most trends, which work their way in from the fringe. Moreover, it's a global phenomenon with brands from Japan to Germany embracing the everyday woman's new role.
Last September, right around spring/winter Fashion Week, an unexpected group of people gathered for a round table discussion at the main offices of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in New York City. Present was Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO, a few higher-ups from Intel and a handful of CFDA members who also happen to be big names in fashion and accessory design. Intel had called the meeting to discuss the idea of starting a collaboration between the company and the fashion industry at large, with the ultimate goal of figuring out a way turn their decidedly unwearable technology into something people—fashionable people—might actually want to put on their bodies.
If there's one reason to hope for an Apple iWatch, it's so that the wearable technology market has some small glimmer of hope of learning what looks good.
Initial reactions to Apple hiring Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve have focused on the iWatch.
To a certain extent—in this age of marketing ourselves, finding our niches and explaining how our distinctive personal backstories make for unique selling propositions—all our names are brand names. But some have gone above and way beyond.
What can we expect from Lacoste, the traditionally ‘preppy’ brand that arguably hit its stride in the 1980s?
Ralph Lauren, Armani, Victoria's Secret, and Major League Sports Brands Among the 2012 Fashion Brand
For those of you out there who think brand and fashion have broken up and don’t even go to the same parties anymore, think again.
It was Giorgio Armani's obsession with health that led to his brush with death. For 10 days in May 2009, Armani, one of the most influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs of our time, lay in a hospital bed with what he describes as "a very serious" case of hepatitis. The cause of his illness wasn't the stress that comes from juggling a global empire of clothes, accessories, furniture, cosmetics and real estate. It was the supplements. Even though Giorgio Armani single-handedly built a billion-dollar brand his own way, where does his empire go from here?
Noting that arthritis and MS sufferers can experience difficulties with standard designs, Xeni Collection is now offering fashionable attire that is designed to be easier to put on.
When members of the Confederate Army declared "the South will rise again," they weren't talking about New York Fashion Week. Yet this February, a gaggle of celebrities and fashion icons filled Lincoln Center to view Chris Benz's new Savannah (Ga.)-inspired collection. The show, which Benz referred to as "Spooky Savannah," featured models in floppy hats and tiered ruffles walking the runway as if they were in a reenactment of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil directed by John Waters.
Iconic brands can either remain iconic — or become obsolete. For a brand like Keds, creator of the original sneaker in 1916, the challenge is significant, given today's ultra-competitive athletic footwear environment. The Keds strategy to maintain relevance centers around college kids. From mid-March through early May, Keds will go on a road trip to nine college campuses in nine cities, pitching its brand in an integrated marketing campaign called "How Do You Do?"
Mark Zuckerberg says social dynamics of the kind Facebook pioneered will one day be a core part of every industry. In the first installment of our new series, we take a look at some companies that are "baking in" social right from the start.
Anna Dello Russo lives in a glass house — the virtual kind — her subtlest gesture or sartorial quirk scrutinized by her legions of fans. Pecking at their keyboards, those online viewers wax effusive. “She is like Coco Chanel to me,” one admirer exclaimed on The Sartorialist, the popular blog. “Isn’t she fabulous ... so jolie laide,” gushed another on The Fashion Spot; a third posting on Ms. Dello Russo’s blog, to her: “I love when you wear pink.” “They want to choose my outfit, to dress me like a doll,” said Ms. Dello Russo, the elastic-limbed editor at large for Vogue Japan. “I’m thinking I’m a Barbie of the Internet.”
Two of the biggest names in New York fashion are on the move, as Barneys busts a move to Brooklyn today and Ralph Lauren expands its Upper East Side flagship in Manhattan. Barneys' new Brooklyn flagship is tied to the CO-OP brand's 25th anniversary, crossing the East River in a major endorsement for the borough as a fashion destination.
Following the first panel on sustainability in the fashion business at the PSFK Salon: Innovation In Fashion, the second panel touched on technology that is affecting marketing in retail spaces. The panelists shared some of their insights around mobile apps and their influence on purchase decisions.
For her debut as Gucci's women's designer five years ago, Frida Giannini picked sweet floral prints from the Italian house's archives as her starting point. Ms. Giannini's early designs—a repudiation of her predecessor Tom Ford's raw sexiness—earned her low grades from fashion critics. Women's Wear Daily said of Ms. Giannini's runway in 2006: "Trends do not start here." Critics be damned. They were a commercial success. Old fashion is hot again, and Gucci is banking on its heritage.
It used to be that designers showed clothes at Fashion Week to court the influential few, mainly the buyers and fashion editors who determined what styles would be hot in retail stores a season away. But now they are starting to sidestep the middleman. Web technology, and a desire to entice luxury shoppers who are suddenly spending again, are spurring designers to fling open the tent flaps to their runway shows and appeal directly to shoppers. Call it public-access high fashion.
Vacation is over, and everyone is looking to return to work trim and healthy, aglow with the radiance of the summer sun. Everybody wants to look their best heading into fall, naturally, or with the aid of beauty products. And according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, retail giants are tired of losing cosmetics sales to the likes of Sephora while simultaneously losing inventory to consumers who are insistent on the "try-before-buy" experience, biting their way through consumer-resistant packaging.
Even before selling its first T-shirt over the Internet, Zara has become an online phenomenon, with more Facebook fans and more application downloads on iTunes than any other fashion retailer. But the real test begins next Thursday, when the flagship brand of Inditex SA opens its first store online.
Apparel will be a big focus for Kmart this back-to-school season. The retailer, a division of Sears Holdings Corp., is rolling out new collections such as Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez, Bongo and Rebecca Bonbon. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation found that teens and tweens will shell out more of their own money for school apparel this year—a timely trend for retailers like Kmart. Still, consumers continue to focus on value, which is why Kmart is also offering layaway and its "Shop Your Way Rewards" program, said CMO Mark Snyder.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot seem to find the right fit when it comes to selling clothing. By quietly ousting its U.S. division apparel chief last week, the world's largest retailer acknowledged that its clothing strategy has been a dud. Again. Over the past decade, Wal-Mart has veered from one approach to clothing to another. The discount giant has even tried to emulate rival Target Corp. by stocking its own lines of trendy outfits. At other times the Bentonville, Ark., retailer has placed its bets on bulk packs of everyday wear, like tube socks and T-shirts. "Wal-Mart has suffered from not knowing who they want to be," said Allen Questrom, the former chief executive of J.C. Penney Co. who recently left Wal-Mart's board. "They're either trying to be too fashionable or too basic."
Simply put, brand identity, especially for fashion labels, often hinges on a few key signifiers. Media practitioner Charlotte Gaspard of C.Spot Design seeks to open source fashion brand identity by treating these signifiers as code, which include logos as much as fabric choices. Seeking to create new fashion objects out of the code, Gaspard holds workshops that operate as practical research with very clear mission.
eBay is on a mission to make itself an online destination for fashion-conscious shoppers, first with the launch of fashion.ebay.com in April, and furthered today by the launch of its eBay Fashion iPhone app. As one would expect, the app gives users access to eBay’s listings in the fashion category, as well as the “Fashion Vault,” eBay’s version of Gilt Groupe, a site that offers a mix of designer luxury goods for up to 70% off retail prices beginning at noon ET every weekday (incidentally, one of Gilt Groupe’s founders was a former eBay employee).
Come August, we will be living in a material world once again. Madonna and her 13-year-old daughter, Lourdes, are introducing a line at Macy’s that recalls the leather-and-lace days of the 1980s. Called, of course, Material Girl, the line is starting with clothing, shoes, jewelry and handbags, and Macy’s plans to add other categories like fragrance next year. Meant for teenagers on a budget, the items are less than $40, on average.
The push by retailers into social media continues, with some even bringing out Version 2.0 or 2.5 of their presences on Web sites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Case in point, Target, which has introduced an application on its Facebook page for its Merona line of clothing. The app is called the Merona My Look Maker and is aimed at women ages 35 and up. The goal is to give them a chance to virtually try on, and try out, Merona fashions. A twist is that the merchandise that can be played with on the app is changed constantly to reflect the Merona merchandise that is in Target stores. The looks can be shared with Facebook friends and computer users can also be connected to the Target Web site (target.com) with a “shop it now” feature if they like the looks enough to consider buying the merchandise.
Neiman Marcus will be completely mobile by fall as part of its multichannel contact strategy to drive long-term growth, according to the company’s top executive who keynoted the Luxury Interactive 2010 Conference. During a keynote at the Luxury Branding Conference, the company addressed three key parts of its multichannel integration. The mobile site will let consumers by designer products via their handsets.
Burberry has launched what is being billed as the first interactive extension of a luxury brand. By launching the Autumn-Winter 2010 collection as a fully interactive, motion-responsive experience, users are able to click, drag and control how they view each item of merchandise featured on the ad and seasonal collection – including merchandise, products and models.
To use the Web to turn luxury retailer Neiman Marcus into an authority and an educator on fashion. "We have a very robust online business, but convincing luxury houses to join us on the Web site has involved a lot of groveling," says Karen Katz, 53, who currently runs Neiman Marcus's department stores and will take over as CEO of the entire corporation in October. The next step is to better exploit social media. "People ask me, 'What keeps you up at night?' It's delivering a personal experience to every Neiman Marcus customer. It's the hardest thing we do. We have to use the digital domain to reach even more people and be a resource to get educated on fashion and luxury. We're a retailer -- and a really good retailer -- but how can we take this voice we have about fashion and luxury and extend the reach?"
Although luxury brands remained surprisingly isolated from the downturn in 2007 and 2008, 2009 was tough on all sectors, including haute couture. Even the acclaimed Christian Lacroix was driven out of business. Naturally, when circumstances call for bold actions, it's tempting to expand your market to enhance your bottom line. But is it possible without compromising the luxury nature of your brand?
Western fashion brands are looking to expand in mainland China, with Vivienne Westwood planning an additional 20 boutiques throughout the mainland, Burberry slated to add a whopping 66 new stores, Coach opening another 20 locations and Ferragamo planning 10 new stores, according to Alisa Gould-Simon at The Guardian.
Over the past few years, we've seen nearly every major clothing brand—from the Gap to Louis Vuitton—set up one or more pop-up stores, drawing attention to their product lines and to their regular retail outlets. In contrast, a Munich-based brand isn't attempting to supplement its fixed-store bread and butter; Clemens en August's only offline sales are through temporary outlets, twice a year. Avoiding the pop-up moniker, the brand describes itself as being 'on tour'.
With words like "value" and "50% off" dominating so much of apparel marketing in the last two years, there's refreshing news from Brand Keys 10th Annual Fashion Index: Brands, topped by companies like Ralph Lauren, Armani and Banana Republic, matter more to consumers than they have since the 1960s.
In the wake of a recession that caused consumers to question the value of $198 jeans, Levi Strauss & Co. is reintroducing consumers to its $198 jeans. The 157-year-old company is trying to reinvent itself as not just a purveyor of basics but as an edgier brand suitable for the fashion cognoscenti. By opening lavish boutiques, like one in London, renaming its high-end labels, and hiring executives from competing designer brands like Ralph Lauren and 7 for All Mankind, the company is seeking to improve its fashion street cred, a move that it hopes will reignite sales, which have stabilized at around $4 billion annually after peaking at $7.1 billion 1996.
Hennes & Mauritz raised hopes of recovery in the European retail sector on Thursday with a better-than-expected 45 per cent rise in first-quarter net profits. The Swedish fashion retailer said the strong results came in spite of continued economic weakness during the December-February period but it reported signs of improvement in the market at the start of the second quarter.
Microsoft-owned MSN is going after traditional brand dollars with a new magazine-like content site called Glo, a women's lifestyle venue produced in conjunction with Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S and BermanBraun. The site, which focuses on beauty, style, relationships and other classic women's magazine topics, takes a page from the previous MSN/BermanBraun's collaboration Wonderwall, which is heavy on celebrity photography and employs a vertical navigation interface.
For years I've heard stories from Boomer women about their dissatisfaction with clothes shopping. They can't find stores that understand their taste; they seek more privacy than many stores offer; and they are sick and tired of being ignored by salespeople who don't understand how much money they have to spend. The Internet, which lets this Boomer woman overcome so many other obstacles the marketplace presents her, now clearly answers her clothing needs as well.
Retailers have always been drawn to celebrities as vehicles for luring in teens and fashion minded consumers through their doors. This week Kmart announced a new line with Selena Gomez and Macy's release plans for a fashion line with Madonna and her teen daughter Lourdes. But most of the mass retailers have been slow to pick up and embrace the new breed of micro-celebrities and tech-savvy fashionistas. From teen fashion bloggers to YouTube "haul" stars to girls taking camera phone pics of outfits from the dressing rooms and sending to friends, technology is playing a huge role in fashion, and retailers need to start tuning in.
While many high end lines have been launching their own web-video campaigns, one site is taking it upon themselves to curate some of its favorite people, designers, and trends in one place. FASHIONAIR (which is still in beta form) celebrates fashion in all its forms, and is inspired as much by personal style, as what we see on the runways. The site includes, styling advice, interviews with industry insiders like Margherita Missoni, as well as daily fashion advice, gossip, and styling tips. The page also features a Personal Style section, where visitors can browse buys by body shape or style, upload your own media, or make digital magazine clippings of their favorite looks.
To attract price-conscious customers who crave designer labels, the site will rely on "flash" sales lasting from 48 to 72 hours. Rather than bid for the clothes in a typical eBay auction, interested shoppers will use the Buy Now option. Shipping is thrown in for free. eBay said it assures that all the items in the Fashion Vault come from sellers authorized by designers. So buyers apparently won't have to worry about the potential for counterfeit goods.
Here’s a nice foil for Philly’s recent spat of violent flash mobs: A bunch of adorable children spontaneously breaking out into a sick dance routine in San Francisco’s Union Square. Yeah, they’re basically shilling for H&M — but the dance is rather impressive and deserves a look.
EBay Inc. will launch "flash sales" of high-end fashion brands Monday in its latest bid to revive its giant online marketplace. On a portion of its Web site dubbed Fashion Vault, the company will offer discounts starting at 50% off retail for a limited time, beginning with offerings from French Connection Group PLC. The business model, which follows a trial in the fall featuring Hugo Boss, DKNY and Max Mara, takes a page from such Web sites as Gilt Groupe Inc. and GSI Commerce Inc.'s Rue La La. Those sites have carved out a fast-growing niche in e-commerce by offering the online equivalent of one-off sample sales. The move is a departure for eBay, which has generally billed itself as a neutral third-party marketplace that anyone can join.
Social shopping is something we've been seeing more and more of lately, including sites like Blippy and Estonian WhosRich.me. The latest spotting? Justbought.it, which adds geolocation and an augmented reality twist. Users of Canadian Justbought.it can take photos of their purchases, share them with their friends through Facebook and Twitter, and comment on the purchases others have made. Google Maps integration allows users to find local friends and deals, while a point system recognizes those who contribute most to the site. A free iPhone app is already available, with versions for Android and Blackberry coming soon. Perhaps most interesting of all, in fact, is that the Android version will include an augmented reality app that lets users walk into a store and see what others on the site have already purchased, the company says. Ultimately, Justbought.it hopes to forge partnerships with online retailers to enable tweets on the site whenever consumers buy something, according to a report on Mashable.
Newspaper columnists, television pundits and so-called style commentators are usually credited with identifying the zeitgeist. Not this time. Step forward the number-crunchers from the Office for National Statistics. The ONS’s snapshot of what we put in our shopping baskets is intended to calculate the cost of living but has the interesting side-effect of illuminating changing habits and fashions. This is how we learnt yesterday that the reign of lipstick as the mainstay of women’s handbags was over, having dropped, as it were, out of the basket, and that lip gloss had taken over.
We’ve got to hand it to Ralph Lauren, they’ve certainly been keeping their game fresh. While other fashion houses languish behind in the new media world, Lauren have been pioneers. There have been “Make Your Own” designs, QR code exploration, and many other ventures which have made simply designing an iPhone app seem pedestrian. That’s why it came as no surprise when it was brought to PSFK’s attention that Lauren by Ralph Lauren would be hosting their first ever online fashion show on their site today. On the runway, models will be sporting the Spring 2010 collection while viewers at home can literally “shop” by selecting and purchasing the styles directly as the models walk the runway.
The Tommy Hilfiger name has been acquired by the Philips Van Heusen Corporation (PVH) for $3.38 billion after the current owners failed to get it listed. Tommy Hilfiger may seem to be a true American brand but in fact two thirds of the company's business is in Europe. Philips Van Heusen also owns Calvin Klein, Izod, and Arrow, and the plan is to launch the name into Asia, making Hilfiger a truly global brand name. This is also the biggest deal ever in terms of dollars spent to acquire a clothing brand and makes Philips Van Heusen the world's fourth largest apparel company.
Everything you've been hearing about teen girls living on Facebook, friending their favorite brands and influencing hundreds of future purchases with the single click of the "like" button? A new report from Euro RSCG suggests it's all wrong, and that teen girls share shopping secrets the way they always have -- with only their closest friends, and even then, not online. "Facebook and MySpace are very public," Karina Meckel, director of strategic planning, tells Marketing Daily. "But while 8 out of 10 girls use social media, we've found that teen girls don't like to talk about shopping there. When they find a good deal, they're interested in tipping off a few close friends, not broadcasting it. These girls aren't moving and shopping in flocks, as many marketers believe. They closely select very small, intimate groups -- it's a sisterhood."
Bates College students swarmed Willy Beans coffee shop last week as 19-year-old freshman Charlie Carey, clad in a slim Hunter’s bright navy plaid shirt and brown moc hand-sewn shoes, preached the preppy gospel of the new Signature collection L.L. Bean is launching today. The campus sneak preview was no marketing coup covertly engineered by a clever merchant. Carey, of Lincoln, had organized Wednesday’s event after approaching the outdoorsy Maine merchant and asking to promote the new modern collection among the campus crowd. Teenagers soliciting retailers to hawk their goods, particularly for brands that normally have little appeal among their peers, is a rare event, to say the least. It was an offer L.L. Bean — whose boxy, loose-fitting offerings sometimes turned off even the preppiest of teens — knew it couldn’t refuse.
In addition to creating a digital extension to Diesel's national "Be Stupid" campaign, which broke earlier this year, the AOR will be responsible for a number of social media aspects for Diesel, including a mix of blogger relations. Iced Media will monitor Diesel's social media programs daily using IcedMetrix, a proprietary measurement tool that enables clients to track social media referred sales.
Renzo Rosso, the tattooed, Ducati-driving founder of denim giant Diesel, owns some of fashion's most cutting-edge labels. In addition to the popular jeans-maker, Mr. Rosso's holding company, Only the Brave, includes celebrated European fashion houses Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela. But Mr. Margiela is gone, as is the designer of Diesel, which Mr. Rosso founded in 1978. Mr. Rosso has replaced them with unknown teams that rank lower in the brands' hierarchy than business executives. The new creative director at Diesel is a magazine editor, not a clothing designer. Mr. Rosso believes his brands need trend-spotters more than someone who can craft a hemline.
Buyers Saturday will get their first glimpse of Bottega Veneta's winter handbags at Fashion Week here. But the Italian fashion house has already bet on what it thinks the hottest bags will be. As Bottega pursues its strategy to grow from a niche player into a global brand, it has been conducting a major overhaul to its business, starting from the production line. As part of that, it now decides well before its catwalks what—and how much—to manufacture and send to stores. It is a significant switch for the Italian fashion house.
HauteLook, Gilt Groupe, Rue La La and Ideeli are just a few of the members-only sales sites introduced in recent years with offerings of deeply discounted designer apparel and accessories. Now, to the delight of beauty enthusiasts, they have added beauty products and services. With millions of members, growing friend by friend, day by day, the sites offer everything from Botox treatments at a dermatologist to detoxification at a spa. Some industry watchers predict these sites will change the way we shop, but others wonder whether online flash sales are a flash in the pan.
Women are starting to buy clothes for themselves again, an encouraging sign for retailers as spring approaches. A new report suggests that women, middle-income ones in particular, finally are feeling good enough about the economy that they will splurge on a piece of clothing. The women's apparel market slowed its decline to 3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago, better than the 5.1 percent drop in total U.S. apparel sales, according to NPD Group.
Luxury retailer Saks Inc. is betting that it can grab market share, improve profits and stand out from rivals by adding more exclusive lines. Merchandise that can't be found anywhere else makes up less than 10% of the assortment at Saks Fifth Avenue stores. But the New York-based retailer said Wednesday it will announce several new product lines in 2010 and will make exclusive brands about 20% of its offerings over the next several years.
The wave rolls in every day at noon Manhattan time. It gathers invisibly, out in the digital netherscape. A few minutes before the hour, the online retailer Gilt Groupe blasts out an e-mail, and a hush falls over many a workplace, as phone calls are cut short and spreadsheets minimized. Gilt Groupe is in the business of selling high fashion at deep discounts, and as you might deduce from the company’s name, with its Frenchified “e,” it presents itself as an exclusive club. In reality, that’s just artifice—Gilt is a viral-marketing phenomenon. During the hour after its weekday sales kick off, between noon and 1 p.m., the company claims, its site is visited by an average of roughly 100,000 shoppers. For that time, it might as well be the most crowded store in New York.
Last night New York-based advertising agency Lume Creative hosted an industry only seminar on social media in fashion featuring two of the biggest names currently in the field: Scott Schuman of TheSartorialist.com and Garance Dore of GaranceDore.fr. This is the first time the two have spoken together in a public forum about their work, success, and vision.
Fashion designer Carolina Herrera says she was "shocked" a few months ago when she noticed her $7,990 gray sequined tulle gowns were "selling like hotcakes," relatively speaking. During the downturn, she has had to walk a fine line, trying to cater to frugal consumers without damaging quality or image. But in December, she also opened an elaborate high-end boutique in Las Vegas that sells what she's known for: $3,000 cocktail frocks, $10,000-plus ball gowns and $1,800 skirts. Women who used to buy three dresses at a time and had cut down to one or none have started to spend again, she says.
With every new day, the phrase "I'm just not the target demographic" seems to be more relevant for me. Earlier this week I saw a couple of striking posters that caught my eye. They were bold, typographic and used hot colors. That was the good part. Then I read the message: SMART LISTENS TO THE HEAD. STUPID LISTENS TO THE HEART. BE STUPID. This is a new ad campaign from Diesel fashions. Their pitch is that smart is cold, intellectual, and cautious, and has only one good idea. Stupid is exciting, hot, emotional full of possibility, and has "balls." The logic seemed pretty weak.
Not everyone thought it was adorable in September when a 13-year-old wunderkind blogger named Tavi was given a front-row seat at the fashion shows of Marc Jacobs, Rodarte and others. Oh now, don’t misunderstand. She was totally adorable. You could have gobbled her up, with her goofy spark plug style — a Peggy Guggenheim for the Tweeting tween set. Rather, it was what the arrival of Ms. Gevinson, as a blogger, represented that ruffled feathers among the fashion elite.
It is not often that the Grand Palais, one of the historic monuments of Paris, is host to a giant Ferris wheel, a spinning swing, a shimmering mini Eiffel Tower and a parade of scantily clad models showing lingerie on a catwalk resembling the Champs-Élysées.
Zappos.com, the formidable online brand recently acquired by Amazon, is moving into the print magazine category. That’s right: print. The e-shop plans to mail 750,000 copies of its printed catalog named “Zappos Life” directly to consumers, and the publication is scheduled to arrive in time for the holiday shopping blitz. The catalog will have a fashion and design focus, highlighting products such as handbags, jewelry, clothing, and fragrances in addition to Zappos’ most notable product: footwear. Among the featured brands are Cole Haan, Guess, Calvin Klein, Lucky, Stila, True Religion, and Stuart Weitzman.
A company that could be the model for Internet retailing success is peddling goods by paper as well as by pixels. Zappos.com, the online seller of shoes and other merchandise that was recently acquired by Amazon, is mailing 750,000 copies of a printed catalog to consumers. The catalog, timed for holiday shopping, bears the title Zappos Life and has a fashion and designer focus, offering products like handbags, jewelry, clothing and fragrances in addition to the Zappos.com mainstay, footwear.
The luxury goods industry, struggling through a recession that has threatened some well-known names with extinction, is trying to use technology to its advantage. Many in the fashion business remain wary of the Internet, partly because of continuing legal battles over online sales of counterfeit goods and concerns about diluting carefully honed brand images. Many companies also have failed to execute online storefronts successfully. But executives say that attitudes are softening as brands realize that the Web provides one of the last untapped sources of potential growth.
Image is everything to luxury fashion companies. Preserving prestige is what sets brands such as Gucci and Hermes apart from Gap and H&M. But that same elitism is keeping certain luxury brands from engaging in social media, one of the most powerful forms of marketing at the moment. Luxury fashion companies are known for setting trends when it comes to their products, but their media preferences are surprisingly dated. Most prefer to simply buy ad space in publications where they can present--and control--their image in glossy two-page spreads. While traditional media will remain an important advertising vehicle for high-end fashion companies, social media needs to be part of the marketing mix too.
What is design? It's art and commerce, fashion and environment. It's industrial and digital, graphic and experiential. What is design? It begins with ideas--ideas based in purpose. It requires a plan or a process. It yields innovation, invention or creation. It is successful if it elicits response--attention, desire, interaction or purchase. Design is as much a process as it is an end product. The process should be simple.
Polo Ralph Lauren has long been out in front of its luxury and fashion peers when it comes to technology. The brand was among the first to embrace e-commerce, and, in more recent history, it has been aggressive in its use of mobile marketing. Last year alone, the company went live with a mobile commerce platform, began using QR Codes and launched its first iPhone app (this month it launched its second app around its Rugby brand). The "Make Your Own Rugby" iPhone app allows users to personalize rugby and polo shirts, as well as upload their photos to virtually try on the shirt.
Now that fall fashion marketing is here and the industry is working on what’s next, what should fashion brands do differently to make up for a terrible fiscal 2009? Everyone’s a brand strategist these days, including people in the fashion industry whose core business is to produce fashion shows, generate publicity and create ad campaigns. In which case you’d expect fashion brands to be more distinct from each other, wouldn’t you? Considering fashion is all about change, the fashion-marketing model is really old fashioned. It took a recession for people to accept that the selling cycle doesn’t work, and although advertising isn’t as effective as it used to be, brands still invest heavily in formulaic print ads, along with the same old sponsorships, trunk shows, pop-up shops, collaborations and now blogs, videos and social networking.
My wife looked at me. 'I don't know why you have a long face,' she said. 'Do some kind of analysis or something.' With that she was back inside the changing room and I was left on my own again in fashion purgatory. Bitter experience had taught me that, had I wandered off, it would have been at the precise moment that I was summoned to provide an opinion or a different size. So I stood and sulked. Then I saw him. The epitome of teenage angst. Pierced, pointy and filled with the unmissable insolence that only erupts in the final stage of adolescence. As he passed I noticed, with an odd flash of recognition, what he was about to try on. As unmistakable as they were unlikely, my youthful friend was carrying a pair of Levi's 501s.
The British say “Mind the gap,” but in this country it has been a while since shoppers minded what Gap was selling. The Gap division of Gap Inc. was struggling even before the recession, which has persuaded consumers to cut back significantly on clothing purchases.
How big is the obese fashion consumer marketplace? Huge. Greater than 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, according to the journal Obesity. That makes skinny fashion the new niche, and plus-size apparel mainstream. Yet Lane Bryant, the biggest name in large-sized women's clothing retailing, has set up "Inside Curve," a social networking community "just" for the plus-sized gal. In an attempt to freshen up the brand image, the company is promising an interactive experience on the site for its members, with greater engagement based on fashion appeal versus its long-standing position: large sizes.
Passersby along New York’s Fifth Avenue will soon see a change at Saks Fifth Avenue: Rather than a designer collection, a corner window will announce the department store’s own new line of menswear. While the store doesn’t go so far as using the term “house brand,” which sounds too lowbrow, it is emphasizing value with its new venture.
The fashion magazines Vogue, InStyle and Lucky may rule the newsstand racks. But online, they are also-rans, overlooked by the fashion-conscious in favor of Polyvore, an upstart Web site far from Fifth Avenue.
Teens create their identities by defining and redefining who they are -- a constant creative and collaborative process by seeking friends' input and, ultimately, their endorsements. Fashion is one of the key outlets teens have for self expression as well as assimilation. How teens dress signifies many things, from what peer group they associate with to how they want the world to perceive them.
There are elegant, streamlined clothes that began life on the sketchpad of designer Michael Kors. Then there are short, gymslip-style black jersey dresses by Gwen Stefani, the frontwoman of the punk-ska band No Doubt and creator of the clothing line L.A.M.B. So far, so fashion. But neither Kors’ nor Stefani’s designs are on the catwalk or in a shoot; rather, they are uniforms for staff of the trendy W Hotels chain. This summer, what you see while lounging around a resort could be as chic as anything you see in a store.
Online retail startups that specialize in "private sales" of discount designer apparel are gaining traction in the U.S. and, armed with fresh venture capital, plan to branch into new businesses. The companies, including Gilt Groupe, RueLaLa and HauteLook, have built a following with virally marketed, daily "members only" sales of limited merchandise. Short, intense sales -- often just 36 hours -- along with constant updates on which items are out of stock create a sense of urgency and excitement to buy.
The bad economy and a fundamental shift in the market for luxury goods are forcing an industry that reveres names like Chanel and Versace to embrace a different icon: Mother Nature.
Target has its bull's-eye on a new venture: online media. On Tuesday, the retailer plans to formally announce a partnership with DailyCandy.com, the email newsletter and Web site owned by cable operator Comcast that covers fashion and culture for a mostly female audience.
Crowdsourced creations already form the foundation of sneaker brand Ryz, which sells high-tops featuring graphic designs created and voted into production by consumers. Now, a similar concept is being used to create Exuve, a new line of clothing "where the designer and the consumer are one and the same."
Luxury goods consumers in China rank third in the world behind the Americans and Japanese, spending an average of US$ 6.5 billion a year. While the financial crisis has convinced many in the US and Japan that they can do without that Fendi bag, similar decreases in consumption of luxury goods in China have yet to appear.
Crocs auditor questions whether plastic shoe maker can survive.
Buyer for luxury retailer prefers plastic to crystals; searching for 'value' to sway full-price sales.
Some of us are lowering our expectations when it comes to appearance. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.
AT Liz Claiborne , the apparel company that is struggling to endure a shutdown in consumer spending, executives have their own stimulus plan. Call it Isaac Mizrahi . Mr. Mizrahi — whose fashions for Target were so popular he helped the discount chain become synonymous with chic design — was poached by Liz Claiborne last year to overhaul its aging brand.