In The Name of Fashion

LFW Front Row Seats for Free

Posted in London Fashion Week, Web by inthenameoffashion on February 3, 2010

British Fashion Week is taking their pursuit of being the top fashion week seriously. Just reported today in WWD, BFW is giving the option to designers at the Somerset House and on-schedule designers to live stream their fashion shows. You can also expect film shorts by Hussein Chalayan, Boudicca, Antoni & Alison, Danielle Scutt and Twenty8Twelve playing in between shows on the website londonfashionweek.co.uk/digitalschedule. They also have created a LFW Blackberry application! Read the press release here.

This is absolutely revolutionary in the democratization of fashion. You no longer have to be an EIC, hold major influence or know someone in the industry to have the best seat and view fashion shows in real time! Bloggers will not have to wait for other people to upload photos or go to company websites to view the shows, it will be all in one website. Without a doubt, this will create a huge buzz for LFW which is slowly taking the lead as the most anticipated fashion week (even if it isn’t just for the designs). It will only be a matter of time before NYFW jumps on this bandwagon, though I can see Paris and Milan taking their time to catch up.

Some fashion houses may not want to participate in this program, as it will take away traffic to their individual websites.  Others may not want to participate because they want to preserve the traditional fashion week protocol. With the allure of free publicity, many of the smaller designers will stream their shows and perhaps with the influence of the British Fashion Council, more prominent designers will agree to the same. On the other hand, this adds a layer of complexity to running fashion week. Not only does PR / production have to plan, organize and successfully pull off fashion shows, but now they have a technological element that may be out of their control. Probably a good idea to have Nick Knight on hand to advise.

Regardless, we all know what this means: a huge lack of productivity Feb 19 to 24.

Vogue: the New Economists

Posted in Economy, Events, Influence, Vogue by inthenameoffashion on January 27, 2010

Oh lala! Vogue’s influence has reached beyond their target audience of all women everywhere, and to an older gentleman who just happens to be the Industry Minister of France, Christian Estrosi. Beyond that, Vogue is going to single-handedly save the French economy from collapse and reinforce their currently waning fashion presence. In between the imaginative couture shows, meeting and greeting designers John Galliano for Dior and Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and trying to avoid Kanye, some of the most influential names in the fashion industry, Anna Wintour (EIC of Vogue), Carine Roitfeld (EIC of Vogue Paris) and Hamish Bowles (Editor of European Vogue) had time to chat with Christian Estrosi about the state of the fashion industry in France. Anna urged the minister to consider supporting emerging designers and other careers in the industry to ensure the future of the trade.

First, it was fashion taking on media and entertainment (including television, artists and web) and now the industry is taking over the world. France has always been the synonymous with top designers, unbelievable couture and the most reputable brands in the industry. This past year the country has taken a huge hit to the trade, which employees about 125,000 Frenchmen and women. This fashion investment could be exactly what France needs to revitalize the industry and regain it’s power as the leading fashion capital of the world. At this rate Vogue may soon become another political party in the American system! They have enough believers, money, power and influence to do so. Anna for President 2012? But then who would run Vogue? Dilemma.

This isn’t the first time that Anna has influenced a retail stimulus.  Little know fact is that Anna Wintour is an honorary chair of Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 2003 she set up to CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund to support emerging designers, and in 2009 she worked with Mayor Bloomberg to create Fashion’s Night Out, another event (which wasn’t completely successful) to lure shoppers to stores and spend.

Retail has always been dependent on the economy, but in the age of Anna, it might just be the other way around.

China’s Going To Take Over The World

Posted in Companies, Influence by inthenameoffashion on January 22, 2010

First Chanel, then Prada and now Hermes?

Designers are going where the  money is – and in this case, it’s China. Bain expects that China’s luxury spending will increase by 12% in 2010, thus spurring new found attention to customers living in China. WWD reports that in addition to being the most populous country, China has also endured and recovered from the recession better than the U.S., Japan and European countries. Surprisingly, China’s GDP also gained 8.7% in 2009, a nice little surprise for their government, who only expected an increase of 8%.

Starting off with Chanel, they recently released a collection debuted in Shanghai with heavy Asian influences. Additionally, Karl directed and produced an imaginative web video called Paris-Shanghai A Fantasy, The Trip Coco Only Made in Her Dream, of Coco Chanel and her China inspiration. But a thumbs down because they used non-Asian actors / models to portray Asian people.

Then off to Prada, who’s First Spring video was produced by Chinese artist Yang Fudong. The video showcased some of Prada’s menswear, while taking place in Shanghai. Despite the fact that there was no actual story to this video, it had actual Chinese people playing Chinese people (can you imagine??), so a thumbs up.

Most recently is Hermes, who has recently supported a new brand in China called Shang Xia (meaning “topsy turvy” – something had to have been lost in translation there). They will sell clothing, accessories, furniture and other lifestyle necessities. The managing and artistic director is Qiong Er Jiang, who has designed for Hermes in the past. Can’t wait to see these products and how the Chinese customer will react to them.

Despite China being a superpower now, there are no local luxury brands that have thrived in the Chinese environment. China’s population mostly looks to the U.S. and Europe to fulfill their luxury fantasies, but will things change now that they are becoming increasingly important in the global arena (look at how they tried to stop Google!)?

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Follow the Checkered Plaid!

Posted in Companies by inthenameoffashion on January 21, 2010

Burberry has been one of the companies making waves in the industry. As a traditional luxury brand with a rich British heritage, the company has broken out of its conservative nature to embrace modernization, kicking off with the Art of the Trench collaboration with Scott Schuman of Sartorialist fame, a website often viewed as the paradigm for brand customer engagement. Breaking traditional coverage of runway shows, Burberry has been one of the first to offer live streams of shows and live commenting (though I’m sure moderated) on their website. A new ad campaign with 19-year-old Emma Watson, most recently joined by her brother, also helped to revitalize and garner more attention to the brand. Lastly, Burberry has also given back to the community, creating a storm with their return to London Fashion Week and contributing to reviving London as a major fashion showcase.

With stellar 3rd quarter results, it was clear that these marketing efforts had paid off. Not only did the company beat analyst expectations, but also outperformed their previous 3rd quarter by 15.5%, in both wholesale and retail (buuut just to put things in perspective, last year around this time the economy was severely depressed). Regardless, in a time where companies are struggling to stay alive, Burberry has handily shown their new powerful position as a leading player in the luxury industry.

Dennis Weber, an analyst from Evolution Securities commented, “The macro environment remains tough and the outlook for the wider luxury environment therefore uncertain. But Burberry’s Pyramid strategy is working well and leads to market share gains in important markets, like the US.” (The Guardian)

And that led me to the point of this post. What exactly is the pyramid strategy?

The pyramid strategy refers to is the distinction across Burberry’s lines and different product offerings. The position correlates with the cost, number produced and desirability of the line. As you move up the pyramid, the product becomes more expensive, fewer items are produced and the desirability of the item increases.

For instance, Burberry has 4 lines:

  1. Burberry Prosrum
  2. Burberry London
  3. Burberry Brit
  4. Burberry Sport

A general fashion line pyramid would have these qualities:



Adjusted for Burberry’s portfolio:

Other important things to consider, which cross over fashion lines, are products and geography. (Burberry’s November Investor Pack, released Dec 2009)

Across 4 products:

  1. Womenswear
  2. Menswear
  3. Children
  4. Non-apparel

Spanning 5 geographies:

  1. Europe
  2. Spain
  3. Americas
  4. Asia Pacific
  5. Rest of World

From their corporate website, they’ve outlined where they will focus efforts for this year:

  • Leveraging the franchise
  • Intensifying the non-apparel development
  • Accelerating retail-led growth
  • Investing in under-penetrated markets
  • Pursuing operational excellence

AND have delivered in most areas. So far, so good non? Burberry to lead us out of the recession (at least the UK)!

*Another good read on Burberry.

Fashion 2.0 Startup Showcase

Posted in Events by inthenameoffashion on January 20, 2010

Last night I was lucky enough to make it out to the Fashion 2.0 Startup Showcase and had a front row seat! I was amazed at the possibilities brought to fashion by way of technology, including:

– CovetedList (www.covetedlist.com) – micro-personalization of shopping by body type, preference, etc. Basically this website tells you all the caveats of every piece of clothing you’re browsing, through a massive content organizational engine.

-Market Publique (www.marketpublique.com) – similar to an eBay for vintage fashion online

– uDorse (www.udorse.com) – picture endorsement game where you can tag your own photo and receive discounts from retailers for “udorsing” their product

But the most brilliant thing I saw (being a nerd myself) was Diana Eng’s integration of technology with fashion (www.fairytalefashion.org). Below is an example of trends and statistics in fashion:

Also encountered a lot of VCs who had some real critiques to the startups. I’ve never seen anything like this (except on reality TV) and it must have been completely terrifying to have an outsider ripping apart your business plan in front of 90 strangers.

This is all apart of any entreprenuer founding their own ideas. Be it a designer, tech guru or non-profit, these are all necessary steps. I am in awe of their ability to persist despite criticism, a quality that will inevitably lead to success.

Good luck to you all!

Alexander Wang – the Cult

Posted in Designers by inthenameoffashion on January 19, 2010

“They want something they can’t find everywhere. They want that discovery. You know, they want to feel like they found something special, they buy it, they wear it, and they’re special when they go out.”
– Alexander Wang, NYTimes video, posted Feb 13, 2009
Alexander Wang is the golden boy of fashion, spurring the “model off duty look”. He has also been knighted by the Queen herself, Anna Wintour. Basically, if you don’t know Alexander Wang, you probably need to get out from under the rock you’ve been living under.

Everyone just wants to feel good and special. If this is something that can be accomplished by wearing a certain brand of clothing, then the designer has done their job.

There is a certain air of exclusivity associated with Alexander Wang. The A. Wang religion is celebrated by his model friends and a gang of celebrity followers, who live and die by his next collection. Women often refer to his designs as their favorite pieces, because it makes them look good and feel great. There is that feeling of joining a special club once you have purchased a piece from his line. Associated with the punk-rock-I-don’t-care-what-you-think-I’m-going-to-do-what-I-want attitude, Alexander Wang has also been about simplicity, great fabrics and cuts. As an owner of one very special tank from his T collection, every time I slip on the tank I feel divine. The fabric is utterly soft against my skin and I can wear it day to night without problem. When wearing it out, I feel as though I have the best kept secret on, where to the common eye is just a tank but to the trained eye this is a celebrated piece from a brilliant designer.

I too subscribe to the Alexander Wang cult, and his cute and innocent personality doesn’t hurt either.

Fashion Blogs – Hype or Future?

Posted in Influence, Web by inthenameoffashion on January 19, 2010

I religiously follow Imran Amed’s Business of Fashion blog and twitter. Imran and his team of writers always have clear foresight into the changing business model of fashion, marketing and branding. BoF also serves as my main resource o all the current events and challenges in the industry, as well as emerging designers and artists.

He and international fashion journalist Suzy Menkes will be at the Premium Fashion Trade Show in Berlin to speak on the topic of fashion blogs. Suzy Menkes has written that “The world changed, when fashion instead of being a monologue, became a conversation. And that’s never going to stop.”

I’d be interested to hear the full discussion, being that it seems that Suzy, the embodiment of traditional media / print, has embraced social media as the new frontier for changing the face of fashion. Imran, on the other hand, has almost led the pack, with his fame as an digital marketing strategist.

The idea of the democratization of fashion and opening up a new channel of feedback to designers, fashion will truly become something for the people, by the people. I’m enjoying this new freedom of creative expression, instead of being stifled by what designers think I should be wearing. It’s thrilling to think that D&G will be actually looking at my input and comments to create their newest line, which will increase my interest and purchasing potential to that brand. People don’t want to be told what to do anymore and the rise of the web has created a new method to create our path. Those who will survive will take advantage of the web. Those who don’t will be left behind. Fashion blogs are a way to bring us back to what fashion should be: FUN. Create, blog, rinse and repeat!

Blogger Panel: http://www.premiumexhibitions.com/news/bloggerpanel/

Amazing PR people at DKNY

Posted in Events by inthenameoffashion on January 18, 2010

If any of you were at the DKNY store on Fashion’s Night Out last September 11,2 009, you would have seen the cutest Coco Rocha and her dance troupe performing a serious Irish Jig.

Coco Rocha and her dance troupe performing an Irish Jig at the DKNY store for FNO, Sept 11 2009

This morning I found DKNY’s new marketing campaign which is a series of videos only released on the web to advertise their Cozy Sweater and the Eldridge handbag.

Ad: DKNY’s Cozy Sweater

(I wish I could embed this video but for some reason wordpress won’t allow me to embed non-youtube or non-google videos? Ridiculous.)

Anyway flashback to FNO – enjoying the Irish Jig, what I didn’t realize that what I had just saw was a COMMERCIAL for DKNY. This was a perfect set up for DKNY to display their Cozy Sweater, which would later be confirmed by the Cozy Sweater ad video! Genius! Bravo to the PR people at DKNY that had seen the perfect opportunity to promote their product. As an innocent viewer, my only comment on Coco’s troupe’s outfit was that it was wonderfully matched and coordinated. Little did I know…

Another note on this topic, DKNY has only released this advertisement on the web. I would love to see the ROI on this campaign. Another stamp to confirm the eruption of web as the new medium for advertisement. Deviating from only traditional print and television ads, the new medium will be focused on the web with supplements from both print and television. The cost savings of new marketing budgets will clearly translate into results, making LVMH a happy camper.

Most Influential Style Blogs

Posted in Influence by inthenameoffashion on January 15, 2010

Signature9* is a company (I don’t know where they came from or how they measured this, but they have good metrics on their website) that has quantified the “99 MOST INFLUENTIAL STYLE BLOGS”. With a couple of the heavy hitters on their list (The Sartorialist, Style Bubble, Fashionista and SHOWStudio) there’s also a lot that I’ve never seen referenced before (High Snobiety, Le Blog de Betty). I wonder if there is anyone out there that knew all of these blogs and check them regularly?

99 MOST INFLUENTIAL STYLE BLOGS from Signature9*: http://www.signature9.com/style-99

There’s a huge influx of media and content on the web now. More connectedness means that we are now flooded with information, some redundant and some gems. Content management tools will be the new essential for market research. It’s all about the content, baby.

*Correction: the company that publishes this list is Signature 9. Thanks to the guys at Signature9 for the clarification! You guys are really on top of your web analytics 🙂

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Age of Simplicity

Posted in Simplicity by inthenameoffashion on January 15, 2010

Reading about retail predictions in 2010, there is a general theme:

Return to Simplicity – Consumers that have money are now looking for value over splurging on trendy clothing and frivolous things. I see a huge shift for designers and retailers to go back to their roots and reinvent clothing that is the core of their brand message. Now slowly emerging from the recession, consumers are cautiously buying again but won’t be willing to pay the full retail value of clothing due to the previous exposure to discounts. What they need now is a brand that is reasonably priced with great quality clothing. I’d bet that basics like J. Crew, Banana Republic and Uniqlo will emerge as leaders in the retail market as their price points and quality jives with what the consumer now wants. As household brand names with some history, the products of these companies are exactly what the consumer is looking for.

“Retail needs a new formula. They must think like consumers, and consumers want new products they can trust”  – Mario Griariotto, Slowear chief executive officer (WWD)

This is the new age of simplicity, one where we don’t need 5 luxury cars, 20 pairs of the same shoes in different colors and the latest Balmain dress. For now, we’re moving more toward learning to live within our means and we realized that we like it. The new formula is that retailers must appeal to this direction and shift accordingly. As this attitude for upcoming six months come and pass us by, who knows what the next six months will bring.