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What Makes Social Media the Hottest Trend in the Fashion Industry? Despite having arrived only recently onto social media scene, the fashion industry is definitely making its presence felt. Big brands like Burberry, Urban Outfitters, Louis Vuitton etc, are shedding their ��exclusive' tags and are becoming more accessible to the general public via social networking. Billboards are being replaced with blogs and marketing activities are centered on social advertising. Moreover, brands and retailers are not only using social media to communicate with their customers, but are also listening to them. According to stats from a GSI Commerce survey, 45% of consumers prefer shopping for clothes online.Prior to making a purchase, 64% consult a retailer's website, the survey states.Websites are being used as virtual shop windows, with customers ��checking-out' a brand online before visiting the actual store.The Cotton Incorporated 2014 Lifestyle Monitor survey shows that 73% women and 60% men browsed the internet for apparel in 2014, while 70% women and 59% men did the same in 2014.The initial reaction by luxury brands, to the general public's interest in apparel shopping via websites and social media channels, was apprehension. However, brands soon understood that social media is where the revenue was, with some of their biggest customers thronging popular networking sites. Time and geographical constraints, which had so far prevented fashion-conscious customers from adding popular brands to their wardrobes, were obliterated with the emergence of social media as an e-commerce platform. Not wanting to be left behind, fashion brands extended their digital presence beyond company websites to networking channels like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. A recent study by Hitwise (the data for 12 weeks ending 18th June 2014) shows that fashion brands are making the most of Facebook. According to the study, each ��top' retailer on the site can expect an average of 62,000 visits a month, even if they have no fans.Fashionably Late? Here's What You Should DoWhile the likes of Oscar De La Renta, JCPenny and Chanel have quite successfully created a presence across several networking sites, some brands prefer arriving ��fashionably late' to the social media scene. The biggest challenge for these brands lies in the creation of a well-thought-out social media marketing strategy. Simply jumping onto every networking site out there may not always guarantee the expected results. As a fashion retailer looking to nail it in social media, here's what you need to do:Anticipate Fashion Behaviors:Promoting stilettos when the trend points towards pumps and wedges may not exactly send the sales charts soaring. In order to avoid this fashion gaffe, it is important that brands understand what's ��in' that season by listening to their customers and monitoring conversations online. Social media monitoring tools like Brand Monitor help identify relevant, industry-related conversations by sifting through the ��noise' and identifying the actionable posts. For the late-entrants into the world of online marketing, this not only saves time by giving an idea of the latest fashion trends, but also helps forecast the possible future trends. When it comes to the fashion industry, knowing the trends is a crucial first step.Create a Fashion Blog:Creating a fashion blog in the best way to gain exposure for your brand. Before creating a Facebook page or a Twitter profile, it is important for fashion industry professionals to start blogging. A fashion blog a) reflects the objectives of your brand and b) gives prospective customers an idea of the kind of apparel, accessories, shoes etc you will be marketing online. That said, enlisting the services of famous fashion bloggers is also a good way of gaining visibility for your designer label. The Karen Millar blog, for instance, is a shining example of what a fashion blog should look like and what it should feature. What makes this blog a winner is a) the ��About Us' section that includes everything you need to know about the brand b) the ��recent posts' section on the right side of the page, which links to the older blogs c) the Twitter timeline and d) featuring of the product details and the other necessary information.Finding the Right Channel:Choosing the right social media platform is vital for positioning your brand in the online space. Selection of the right channel largely depends of where the fashion-conscious target market is hanging out. Once again, it is social media monitoring to the rescue. Instead of unthinkingly choosing a particular platform simply because your competitor is on it, it would be wise to find out where your audience is and create a marketing strategy accordingly. Apparel brands like Benetton and Van Heusen are using Facebook and Twitter as design centers, with the end-user playing co-creators.Leveraging the Power of Social AdvertisingThe last six months have witnessed an upsurge in social advertising and promotional activities by fashion brands. In addition to reaching customers and engaging with them, fashion gurus have been leveraging the power of social media to promote new designs, and stand out in an otherwise crowded digital space. Whether it is DKNY's PR Girl campaign on Twitter and Tumblr or Dolce & Gabbana's hugely successful Facebook page, when it comes to social advertising, there is no looking back. We studied a few famous campaigns to understand how these brands nailed social advertising. This is what our findings revealed:Generating Buzz the Burberry Way: Burberry's ��Tweetwalk', which was staged just minutes before the actual event went live, treated the brand's followers to an exclusive glimpse of the designs, generating exponential online buzz. What worked for Burberry was the fact that the brand brought its runway collection to its largest online audience via social media. Their interest piqued, curious fans were eager to see the collection sported by models when they hit the runway. Also, instead of posting updates after the show, as the norm goes, the fashion brand gave its followers the feeling of being involved and made them feel special. Not surprisingly, Burberry's ingenious social media strategy saw a massive spike in brand-related conversations a few minutes after the show started; so much so, that it occupied the number two position on global trending charts, breaking its own personal-mentions minute record.People Love Backstage:According to Simone Oliver, a senior fashion producer at The New York Times, people are particularly hungry for backstage coverage. Most of the professionals in today's fashion world couldn't agree more. While live streaming is one way of promoting a brand online, letting people behind the curtain is a marketing strategy that has worked for many fashion brands. As Oliver says, "Even if it's just a 20-second video of some new technique for putting on eye makeup, people will retweet it. [Readers] want what they can't get."The Impact of User-Generated Content:Fashion brands these days are driving sales online with user-generated content. Besides being a low-cost strategy of promoting a label in the digital space, this is also an effective method of driving traffic and increasing revenue. Having understood the impact of user-generated content, more and more fashion companies are encouraging contributions from fans and allowing exchange of opinions across various networking sites. After all, it is no secret that customers are inclined to trust the voice and recommendations from their peers. The CEO of Polyvore, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, revealed that 69% of the company's users recommend products to friends at least once a week. "We believe the best source of influence for a brand is to harness the power of our passionate user community," he added.The Need to Tweet:,Estethica is the eco-friendly fashion showcase of London Fashion Week and SS10 was sponsored By Monsoon for the fifth season running.? Eco designers not only have to create beautiful pieces that will set our hearts racing; they have to ensure the environment is not damaged, the rights of workers are fair and resources are not wasted.? Tough call but as you can see below, they have pulled it off: Not dragging their feet are two eco-friendly shoes designers: Beyond Skin and Nina Dolcetti. Beyond Skin are vegan shoes designers using PU plastic rather than leather. Their SS10 collection introduces a capsule evening wear range. They are excited about the US store Anthropologie arriving soon in to the UK (Regents St.) because they will be stocking their new pumps ?"Beyond Skin Sole". Nina Dolcetti designs leather footwear but only uses left overs, off-cuts, old colour swatches and any other unwanted pre-consumer waste to create her shoes. Left over leather soles are used from other shoe companies, re-cut and re-stamped with the correct size.? All the shoes are limited editions as the design and colour depends on the left overs.? So if you want to be ethical but can't bear to give up your leather shoes �C this is your kind of brand. Hats off to Pachacuti who design fedoras and panama hats whilst ensuring just remuneration for current weavers, ensuring sustainablilty and training a new generation in weaving techniques.Their SS10 collection was inspired by the painters and sculptors of St. Ives in Cornwall, with the interweaving diamond shapes drawn from the sculptures of Barbara Hepworth.? Vivid colours and intricate detailing keep the authenticity of the Inca heritage. Makepiece spins a yarn with their SS10 knitwear collection "the Matrimony" which was inspired by? Nicola Sherlock's (the designer) own wedding this year. This collection sees delicate fine knitwear with ruffles, ruching, ribbons and plaits creating a romantic feel. Light airy colours of sky, petal, lilac haze and cream mingle with more earthy colours of evening green and dark earth.? The knitwear company is based in the Yorkshire Pennines where they take the natural yarns from their own sheep, spin them as locally as possible and knit them in their own community.? Buy?from Stella, 5 Upper Market Hall, Camden Lock, London. Anatomy's SS10 collection shows tailored pieces in navy with an accent of red in buttons and buckles. Fabrics used are bamboo for their denim pieces; hemp and cotton blend for their fun stripey pencil skirts and jackets ; and a linen silk blend. Best sellers are their fencing styled waistcoats and jackets which flatter the figure and emphasise or give the illusion of a waist. A perfect brand for the woman who prefers her clothes structured. Buy online from The Bees Knees - Designer Ada Zanditon created a Buzz with her SS10 collection "The Colony". Inspiration came from bees. Main palette is red and navy. Hexagonal shapes were widely used ?in patterns (as seen in the red tunic dress on the hanger) and to make 3D sculptural pieces such as the navy interlock skirt & cape. All fabrics used are organic and natural. Her designs can be bought from Digitaria, 60 Berwick St. London. Soaring high is Christopher Raeburn's SS10 collection made of re-appropriated military parachute fabric. The garments are brought to life with splashes of rainbow colours �C red, orange, yellow, green ,blue, indigo and violet, with circle cut outs appearing on lapels and around hoods for decoration. Mainly designing outerwear such as parkas, bomber jackets, macs, capes and ponchos, Raeburn has created a capsule collection of dresses for SS10 with his orange creation being worn by Hilary Alexander to Downing Street. ?Also this season, he has introduced the "jellyfish" bag made of woven netting with parachute fabric and cord .His designs for men can be bought from Liberty and for women in Browns Focus.,How to make it in New Zealand fashion? Talent, sure, and a nose for hard work, yes. A knack for branding and marketing goes a long way, and business nous is a given. But behind many of the industry's most successful and long-lasting labels is something of a love story: a creative couple, with each half contributing their own unique talents. Think of Karen Walker and her husband and branding guru Mikhail Gherman; Steve Ferguson and Helene Morris, the two former lonely hearts behind Lonely Hearts; Trelise and Jack Cooper; Helen Cherry and Workshop's Chris Cherry.
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We all know fashion week, like many runway shows, helps to showcase a designer's creativity and inspiration. Simply put, you'd rarely find yourself ordering a fashion week ensemble for day wear. These shows are an exaggeration of style and design and take clothing, hair and makeup far into the realm of fantasy. While we agree that looking like Lady Gaga is meant for a time and a place, many of these shows do spark inspiration in our everyday style choices. So what can we expect to see this fall in terms of fabulous hair styles?
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