Fashion, social media, innovation, and how it’s all stitched up.

At one time access into the tents for fashion week was like a golden ticket for the fashion world.   For those who did not attend the shows, there was the Vogue September and March issues, which were considered gold to fashion addicts.  It was at this time that the spring and fall, respectively, trends were unveiled with a taste of what is to come.  Now, with the rise in social media the dynamics to fashion week and designer shows are changing, and have been for the past couple of years.
With the help of social media, the increased speed of the internet, and a push from PR professionals, fashionistas no longer have to wait for the March and September issues to know what to expect in six months.  The New York Times covers fashion week and always features slide shows of the events in New York, London, Paris, and Milan.  The New York Mercedes Benz fashion week has a whole website devoted to coverage of the shows posting them as the week progresses. I have to admit though, I often times find that the Mercedes Benz website doesn’t always work properly and I usually just head directly over to the New York Times to take a look at all the fabulous garment creations.  One thing I personally like about going to the New York Times website is that I can zoom in on the garments and really take a look at them.  The site does an excellent job at getting pretty close, able to see the texture on the garment or even the tattoo on the model’s foot.  YouTube, however, has one-uped both the New York Times and the MB Fashion week website by streaming live.  However, not all the designers have agreed to stream their work live, resulting in the unattended needing to wait in antici….pation (sorry guys, had to, it’s Halloween!, even if unrelated) to see their latest creations.  By streaming live, the viewer who was unable to attend can now sit at home in their pajamas and watch at the same time as everyone else.  I must admit though, there is a special feeling about being present at a fashion show, no matter how big or small, that you can’t get from a laptop screen, but when all else fails, live streaming is another great alternative.

As with all fields, there will always be the people who propel ahead and utilize all the new technological tools to their advantage which in turn helps to satisfy consumers wants.  In our book, Think, Public Relations, they discuss in detail the different ways the internet and social media can help organizations and companies alike throughout chapter 11.  There is the feeling of being interactive.  In this case, that you are able to see the shows just like any buyer in the industry, thanks to the PR pro’s helping to advocate the usage of live streaming.  The cost can also be scaled down when a designer decides to show their smaller lines only online. Chapter 11 also outlines social media and all the positive uses that can be achieved through proper use.

One dynamic that I absolutely love about Alexander McQueen‘s facebook page is with the men’s collection.  The designer is able to communicate, the third step as outlined in our book in chapter 7, with the public about the design inspirations.  In this way the public is able to better understand the background of the designs and ultimately give the line more meaning.

Diane Von Furstenberg is a big advocate in the use of social media.  Her facebook page would make all three smile, that is the PR, marketing, and advertising teams.  Her page shows a variety of things that she is involved in with the community, her new items, a wrap of the month, etc. She also shares many pictures and videos, making her fan-base feel a part of her world.  On her twitter page, she is constantly updating where she is at, what she is doing, which helps to create the fact that she is just like anyone else.  On her main website, one can also feel that she is a down to earth person.  This was reinforced by the picture selections, the greeting at the top, “Hello, You”, as well as her tweets that are continually showing at the bottom.  As a PR professional, it is the details that count that help to create the warmth that allows the public to feel comfortable to talk back.

With all of the advances in bringing the fashion shows and designers to you, the magazines are no longer the coveted gold that they used to be.  They too, have had to redesign.  Elle, another big magazine that showcases the different trends has been doing just that. By bringing in technology and gadgets it has helped to set Elle apart from the rest of their competition.

With all of the advances, there is no telling where it will stop, if stopping is even possible.  Some designers may be sticks in the mud, like myself.  But like me, they too will learn the benefits of social media, probably from a nudge, push, or even shove (if need be) from their own PR team.  Who knew all the positive ways PR and social media can really move and advance the world?

Dayna

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38 thoughts on “Fashion, social media, innovation, and how it’s all stitched up.

  1. I totally love this because I can relate to the love of fashion, and how designers are able to pitch their items before they are issued. I think that this blog topic ties into PR so well because designers are able to present themselves and their items on a personal level and how they show relatability and down-to-earth personalities along the way. This way, their audiences are able to see them in another light and have access to their clothing in multiple ways. With the help in social media they are able to increase their revenue and sales, and it also makes it easier for them to show a preview of their products before they come out. Great idea for them, their companies and careers.

    • I totally agree. I’m sure that with the designers being easier to relate to they are able to drive sales and customer loyalty. It makes me think of the Alexander McQueen collection on saw on Facebook and nearly every comment hated the collection. I would suspect that may have an impact on deciding what should be produced.

      Dayna

  2. Draining the exclusivity of these hoity-toity fashion events, I think, actually makes for better business, and good on the folks who’ve taken the steps to give us poor, Internet-using folk chances to see what would regularly cost ridiculous amounts of money to see. At the same time, keeping that stagey event vibe a la awards shows keeps it WORTH scoping out online.
    Social media-based hype for new trends and items is great, too, especially for testing the waters. Throw the notion out there and see how much buzz is garnered and you can decide if it’s actually worth throwing the final product out to the masses for consumption. It’s kind of a win-win to be able to have that near-foresight with your audience; saves your laborers time, saves you money, and saves a buyer’s temporary distaste with having to pass by it on a rack at the store, ha…

    –Laura

  3. I just hope that with the drain of the exclusivity that the designers don’t loose touch with the flare and showmen ship that goes into putting together the show. But, I do agree that it is a great way to “test the waters.” I know when I watch the shows and see the trends they are setting, I am able to tell if I’ll have any desire to go shopping for new clothes. Lately, I have been thankful I hadn’t needed any new clothes since I’m not really interested in this late 80s early 90s/getting closer to mid 90s revival.

      • I don’t think losing flair will be an issue; this is the fashion industry, after all…fun and flair are pretty integral! And showing off is always fun. So needn’t worry on that front.

        Oh come on, don’t you want denim skirts/jackets to come back? With floral print? 😉

      • OH PLEASE NO! or those full denim outfits, denim pants, denim blouse, with a denim vest…oh gees. But you do make a good point, that they are integral and I don;t think a designer would want to give up that form of expression either.

  4. I don’t follow fashion much but nowing you can see the new lines I might check it out! It’s cool how you can communicate with the with designers and talk to them about things you like or maybe even give them ideas, to create things that are more their liking.so that designers can incoperate them into her designs. I think its really innovative. Because everytime I’m in a store I pick up a piece of clothing and think “I wish it was altered a little differently” using social media you can kind of say this to your favorite designer. Designers could also use the Social Media sites to hold contests for upcoming designers to enter their clothing scetches and maybe find the next best thing! Everyday everything in PR continues to evolve and be very technological. I like the fact that is accessable advanced but I hope that they don’t completely stoping doing things tradionaly, I couldn’t emagine the feeling of a designers very first fashion show and I don;t think that its something they should ever lose! So I guess there is positives and negatives about the Social Media aspect of fashion!!
    -Rhonda Farah

    • As with just about everything in life there are pros and cons. I do like how you mentioned that now you know about the shows being more available that it peaks your interest more. By making the collections more available, it will help to generate more fans and possibly more loyalty to that brand which in turn would increase profit for that company. I too hope that the traditional fashion show doesn’t go away and become an all online event. I think it would definitely loose it’s flare and glamour.

  5. Social media is clearly taking over everything. I personally follow certain designers blogs and twitters for the main reasons you talked about above. I’m just a college student so I can’t travel nor afford to see collections first hand how I’d like to. Social media really brings the experience home. You have access to pretty much any and every designer that’s out there. A lot of people are really into fashion and the only way they know about it is through the internet. I used to buy magazines but now there’s really no use. I can Google Marc Jacobs spring 2012 collection and get a ton of sites with information. It’s easy access to pictures, exclusive videos, interviews and everything in between. Designers that haven’t caught on to the social media boat need to do so immediately. Its great for exposure and pretty much free if you use the right sites. Why wouldn’t you utilize the resources available to you??? If new designers and even seasoned designers use things like Twitter and Facebook correctly they can build a strong following and in turn expand their brand. Its a win win situation in my eyes.

    • I also used to buy magazines, but they just don’t compare to seeing the slides in the NY Times or seeing the shows through other sources. Plus, the magazine is usually filled with articles I don’t find much interest in, as awful as that may sound. I guess I prefer more of a trade magazine or look at what I have sewn and how you can do it to! Rather than what this celebrity is doing and what not. I have to admit, I was and still am not much of a social media junkie, but I like the availability of seeing what is going on at all the different design houses. If a new designer were to jump on the social media bandwagon, I think they would be doing themselves a tremendous favor because these sites are free to use, what better way to show off your work and gain customers?

      Dayna

  6. My favorite part was how you expressed Diane Von Furstenberg’s actions to include her loyal following. It is very important to maintain touch with the people who keep you in the position you’re in. The fact that she keeps up the consistent communication with her fans is impressive because I can only imagine how busy a person of her stature must be.

    It’s so hard to comprehend the power in today’s growing social media. Everyone uses it, and I love how involved a lot of people are with Twitter, above most else. I communicated with ESPN analyst Trey Wingo during those storms in the northeast this past week regarding the damage to his home. Greg Jennings, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, tweets everyday, and posts on Facebook, what he’ll be doing everyday in order to #BeGreat off the field.. It just leaves me in awe that it really is this easy to communicate with celebrities, news sources, and everyday people alike.

    -Dan W.

    • I also think it is rather amazing how often she updates her twitter. Now, whether any celebrity page is really being used by them, I’m always skeptical on, but all the same, I still think it is great that there is someone, and maybe even them that is taking the time to keep in touch with the people who show their loyalty and support for what they do, whether it’s making clothes, making music, playing football or basketball, and so on.

      That’s pretty neat though that you were in contact with Trey Wingo (even though I have no idea who that is 😛 ) but it’s the principle and idea behind it, that they are that close with in reach to communicate with.

      Dayna

  7. Dayna,

    I think its interesting how Diane Von Furstenberg has embraced PR. With her Facebook page and her involvement, she seems to have it down. I think that’s a big aspect of PR and making yourself relatable and allowing two-way communication. She seems to be doing an excellent job.

    When it comes to fashion, people get so involved and fascinated with the lavish lifestyles and what is new and in style, the way you described New York Times made me want to check it out…and yes, its pretty sweet. This seems like it is a niche audience, and they have accommodating in their website, as well as, very organized. Great blog and I loved all your examples.

    Taylor

    • Taylor,

      I’m glad you liked the blog, thank you. I agree, I think Diane Von Furstenberg does have it down. In one of the articles I referenced, they discussed another designer, Helmut Lang, that had tried to take advantage of the internet for their fashion shows, but it was too soon, and they did not do well. I checked out their sites too, but I did not find them to be as awesome as I would have thought since they seemed to embrace social media and live streaming before everyone else. I”m glad that while DVF may not have been the first, that she has embraced social media and has done it well.

  8. I kind of have mixed feelings about the streaming fashion shows. I think it’s great they they are using technology, but I also have the concern mentioned above about loss of showmanship. High fashion shows are all about the surreal and the real mixed in a sometimes shocking- but fun to look at- way. Can that really translate as well to the screen? I keep thinking about Project Runway, and Mondo Guerra’s show the season before last. He had the crazy little headpieces and bright, outside the box clothes. True, we were watching it on TV and it still looked amazing, but I can only imagine what it looked like live.

    • Things definitely look different on TV from real life. I can’t really relate to your project runway reference unfortunately, I stopped watching it a few years back when I got tired of the catty-ness. I did however, watch the finale, and his stuff was definitely different, I thought I bit kiddish though, he would be someone with a very definite niche audience. But, all that aside, I do worry that the shows may lose a bit of their pizazz which makes them so special. But, at the same time, I would also like to firmly believe that designers don’t want ever want to give up their showmanship, it’s a part of their flare that sets them apart, the way they set up the show is apart of their clothing expression. Without it, I don’t think the collection would be the same. The exclusivity over time may get lost though, since some of the shows are now being live streamed. But, who knows, maybe not, I hope not anyway.

      • Forgot to add, that with the livestreaming, it does help to give a better sense to the collection and what is occurring than a slide would. A great example is Louis Vuitton’s spring 2012 collection. When I looked at the slides, I was curious about the carousel in the background and watched the video, while I was not that impressed with the video work, I did like the option and I can always exam the clothing closer in the slides. Everything has their perks and their downfalls though.

  9. I actually love the fact that you can be a part of the fashion shows without physically being there. It opens up doors for more consumers to come in and be a part of the bigger picture (those who can’t afford to travel to Fashion week and are ordinary people who might not even get a coveted “golden ticket”). I love all the trends and fashions, and dream about the day I’d actually be able to use sidewalks as my own runways and show off some pricey designs :).
    With your blog, I think you did an excellent job showing just how Social Media has aided in the changes for a specific portion of society and provided excellent examples of it. They reinforced your stance and backed up the facts in my opinion.
    I love the example of Diane Von Furstenberg. Even though I’ve never visited her pages, or even been into her clothing line (my mother can afford it- I just tell her which designers I like lol), it makes me want to take a look at it simply because of what you said- it shows that she is a really just a person and makes you connect to her on a more personal level. I don’t know if that was a marketing technique or a PR one (as it could be a mixture of both, really), but it was a really good idea and I wouldn’t be surprised if more designers used that technique.
    I think social media has become what it is because corporations, companies, big designers, etc. are learning the importance and benefit of including ALL- not just the 2 percent (this is a guess) of people who are millionaires and billionaires.
    -Jaleesa

    • Jaleesa,

      going on that last part you mentioned it made me think of this book I have wanted to read for the past couple of years, and will probably purchase soon because it has so many good reviews, but it’s called Deluxe: How Luxury Lost it’s Luster by Dana Thomas. I think it’d be interesting to read and see how everyone, as you said, is now able to purchase these designer brands. In that change, I think it also helped to bring more of a fashion interest to everyday people, which likely also helped with the social media for fashion to catch on as much as it has, such as livestreaming fashion show events.

      Dayna

      • Do you think it’s a problem that fashion is now made available for anyone who can afford these high priced brands (ordinary people)?. Yes, things of worth maintain a sense of exclusivity, but profit is the driving force behind all the advertising, all the time and energy put into events like Fashion Week and things of that nature. I happen to be one of those “ordinary people”, but I happen to love Manolos and Louboutins, and just took my dad to St. Tropez to get him to buy a shirt. Because I can’t afford it, I shop at the lesser quality places (in my opinion), and maybe throw in Coach when I save. I plan on making enough money to be on my parents’ level. But we’re not super rich; we’re just penny-pinchers and savers and we don’t spend above our means recklessly. Does that mean we can’t enjoy some of the finer things in life? I’m just saying.

        And in taking a look at the review, the book seems like an interesting read. Based off the minimal research I did, it’s not talking about the style/ soclal class of the consumer, it’s really taking into consideration the corporation/production changes, i.e. how these “high-quality” items are being made in the same vicinty as something of a “lesser value” -going through mass production line.
        I’m curious, PR’s that work for the designers for events like fashion week, are they as exclusive? Just asking :). Great topic, it was very interesting.

  10. I dont follow fashon but this really made me interested in fashon, and also it informed me that internet communication is slowing down the progress of anything. The progress of internet have forced everyone to change their views on how to do PR, previously it seemed exclusive, much like PPV TV, but now it’s anyone’s view, moving away from the previous way of PR from before, which is being exclusive. Now the idea of fashon PR is to addapt, much like everyone else. Adapting is the reason these guys are the professionals, once again.

    _Antonio

    • Antonio,

      I’m not really sure what you mean by communication being slowed down due to the internet. If anything, I think communication has increased by, well, a lot. This I find to be worrisome sometimes. With pressure and urgency comes sloppiness and misinformation, so one needs to be careful. As for industries needing to adapt, such as PR, I think that is true for anyone who wants to continue doing business. What I think sets the professionals apart from the amateur’s is the fact they need to be the ones to get the facts right and make sure things are correct the first time around. I understand human error, but as a professional, typically you are granted the “keys” to exclusive tools that the everyday person is unable to obtain, knowing that, as a professional, you should be responsible to disseminate correct information.

      • Absolutly, but what I ment by slowing communication was a lack of better words on my part, I meant exactly what you said, it’s progressing too fast. Before the internet as you said it were like the golden ticket, getting into the september and march issues, but thanks to the internet things are not exclusive anymore and I doubt things will ever be exclusive anymore, but fashon PR is amazing for the job it performs to keep runways alive and to keep runways with the amout of exclusive coverage it continues to have

  11. Dayna, I know Tiffany’s is not clothes fashion, but they do a great job of utilizing all realms of social media to promote their jewelry. In much the same vein you can zoom in on new jewelry and really get a close look. They connect with their audiences and create a bond between their merchandise and the consumer. In their most recent campaign they’ve partnered with celebs to folks just like you and to tell their love story – very neat campaign. Check it out http://www.whatmakeslovetrue.com/splash/

    Gina

    • Gina,

      that is pretty neat. It’s a little cheesy haha, but I suppose everyone needs some cheesiness in their lives. They have definitely created a bond, like you said though. By helping to create the bond where they can talk about their engagement with their Tiffany’s ring, they have just created a life-long client. The jewelry stores are always trying to come up something unique and creative, to help create a stronger client base as with nearly every industry, it will be interesting to see what their competitors decide to do.

      Dayna

  12. Dayna,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. It was very interesting. What I thought about when reading was the fundamental goal of PR was to create relationships with the community. I feel that the designers specifically Diane, have done at great job at doing so. Here is how I can tell. When you write about her in the blog it seemed as if you knew her and have talked with her personally. That tells me that her PR folks have been doing a good job at reaching out to the community and responding to folks who talk to them via social media. That’s a great thing! It is what PR is all about.
    -Orlando

    • Orlando,
      Thank you…her site got me so interested in the company that I thought it’d be neat to work for them. Everything portrayed about it seemed very open and friendly. Their PR staff seems to be doing great.

  13. I agree with orlando! i think that the fashion world may have carried this for lack of better words, “stuck up” stigma. Presenting the new trends via social networks definitely builds that relationship with the fashion lovers and may even increase the profits with the amount of people purchasing things early. I know i like to get my shopping done early and online! lol

    -Porsha

    • Porsha,
      I think that by making things more accessible through the internet and social networking sites not only helps fashion lovers but helps to gain interest from people who may not have such a strong interest in fashion due to it’s inaccessibility.

  14. I am surprised that Mercedes Benz website is not working that well like you mentioned! Although I don’t follow fashion news, I do love fashion and I would probably look at it if it is available like you said with easy access to everyone. It is all about making products reach people faster; by doing so, companies some how grantee that consumers will have plans to buy their products, if not now, at least in the near future. I think the innovation is great and reaching out to consumers through PR is at least equal, if not more, in effectiveness to marketing.

    • Midu,
      I would say PR has one advantage that marketing doesn’t, which is that in PR they are also equally concerned with feedback. So, I think it would be more effective as well, particularly in helping gain brand loyalty, which is what everyone company wants.

  15. Dayna-

    Your blogging voice is great! Well done (: I think how fashion can be incorporated with social media is very interesting. The coverage of fashion week must be a blessing to people like you, who love fashion. I think that the fact you can zoom in on garments is really cool. Using YouTube for live streams and having fashion blogs as well as magazine mentions lets designers use the full scope of media and PR to become more popular and respected. But I must say, I’m pretty sad that Alexander McQueen is no longer alive. He was an amazing designer.

    -Silvana

    • Silvana,

      Agreed on the whole thing. I absolutely saddened that Alexander McQueen is longer here to make his beautiful and unique designs. I am happy that his crew has carried on in a manner that is similar, which is why I’m sure they were hired in the first place. But, all the same, hats off to that. I always look forward to his designs, and Ana Sui’s because she plays so well with patterns.

  16. I watched movies depicting the “Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week” and I must say Ive always been moved to want to attend. The problem being that of course cash and transportation will prevent me from ever being front row- this new expansion of convenient media helps create experiences for people who might not be able to make it as well. Great information of the elite designers who are creating an image through web as well as through their appearances on camera. This extends knowledge of the brand to a greater audience, not only the “whose who of NewYork”.
    Great Blog,
    Ashley Coleman

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