7 Reasons Fashion Brands Should Be Nice to Bloggers

In the fashion world bloggers are rising to prominence as a force to be reckoned with. For some reason many new and established fashion brands still seem to treat them as second class citizens. We think this is a mistake, and here are a few reasons why we think so.

1. 40% of the press at New York Fashion Week are bloggers.

According to Reuters the presence of online media at fashion week has grown more than 20% over the last six months. This means that of the 3, 600 members of press present, nearly 40% are fashion bloggers.

2. Major fashion brands are inviting them to shows.

Designers like Carl Lagerfeld and John Galliano are inviting bloggers to their shows. In some cases they are even paying all costs to fly the bloggers to the show. If top end designers are doing this, don’t you think it’s time you start being nice to your local fashion blogger?

3. In the USA fashion bloggers are becoming very popular.

Blogs like Style Bubble are getting up to 25 000 hits a day. While some bloggers have tens of thousands of twitter followers. If this isn’t enough to make you sit up and notice then I don’t know what is.

4. Bloggers are now judges for CFDA

For the first time ever bloggers have been invited to be judges for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This is a landmark event for the fashion blogging industry. It is an indicator of the power and influence that is moving into the hands of fashion bloggers.

5. Traditional fashion editors are losing control.

Just like the film and music industry is struggling to come to grips with the fact that the internet has made them largely irrelevant; the fashion editorial industry is losing much of it’s power. In the good (or bad depending on your point of view) old days fashion editors could control what and who the public sees. With the advent of the internet and growth of fashion blogs this power is now gone.

6. Enthusiasm = Influence

Everybody knows that the thing that sells clothes is enthusiasm and passion; not knowledge. The average person out there doesn’t care about technical details and high-brow descriptions of the “silhouette” and “architectural lines” of a garment. On the other hand, having somebody who clearly loves clothes recommend an item they love carries much more weight. Bloggers mostly do this because they love clothes and fashion, yes some of them make money from their blogs, but they only make money because they are passionate about what they do.

7. The rest of the world lags behind the USA

If you are based outside the USE this might be the most important reason to start building relationships with local bloggers. The developing world runs 3-4 years behind the states when it comes to the adoption of internet trends. This means that before long all the major local brands will be beating a path to the door of your favorite blogger. Shouldn’t you be there first?

How To Do Your Own Fashion PR

Having a fashion publicist is definitely worth the cost, but if you’re an emerging fashion designer, that may not be a business expense you can afford just yet. If you’re working with a zero budget for your PR campaign, don’t sweat. (Well, try not to.) Here are a few ways to get around that dilemma and pitch your fashion label on your own:

1. Do research on how to pitch effectively.

One of the biggest gripes that magazine editors have are weak pitches! If you’re going to go head-on with an editor, especially in fashion, have your pitch down to perfection as a PR professional would. Research what to say and what not to say. Know whom you are contacting by first name, last name, and title. Think of the “elevator pitch”. Can you introduce yourself and describe your company within 15 seconds? That’s how direct your pitch should be. List the basic who, what, where, why, when, and how in an easy, conversational tone, and conclude with an open-ended question about following up with you to send more information about your label.

2. Getting a follow-up and properly responding.

If you’re lucky, a fashion editor will get back to you in regards to featuring your collection in an upcoming issue. Be prepared for any requests that may be asked, i.e. designer bio, line sheets, lending agreements, or lookbook images. At this point, your lookbook or press kit should already be completed for your current collection, and make sure that it’s updated for every new season. Be swift in your responses to editors when they ask for things because they can easily move on to the next designer if you’re not keeping up with them. Remember, they have frantic deadlines and you’re considered to be on their time!

3. Sending your press release to the media.

A well-prepared press release can definitely alert the media of your new collection. Spend some time on PR distribution websites and study how the best ones are written. Follow the standard model of a press release and formulate a few paragraphs about the new release of your collection and about you as the designer. Set up a free account with press release distribution sites and schedule your releases to be sent out to the local media. You can also e-mail and fax your press release directly to news stations and newspapers (they’re always looking for local stories to cover). Who knows – what if you’re called in to be featured in a morning news segment? That’s definitely a good look for your press portfolio.

4. Invite the media to your launch party.

If you plan on celebrating the launch of your new collection, you’re responsible for securing the venue, setting up the event, and sending out media invites. It’s best to send formal invites to editors through the mail at least 3-4 weeks in advance so that gives them the opportunity to pencil you in their schedule. Fashion bloggers are also great to invite, of course. Event photos, blog write-ups, and Twitter mentions from different bloggers means more publicity for your fashion line, which you need in order to attract more customers. Make sure to save your press clips and send thank-yous to anyone doing coverage of your event.

5. Make friends with fashion stylists.

Another way to possibly have your fashion line featured in a magazine is to have a stylist hook-up. They’re always pulling clothes for photo shoots and looking for hot, new designers to work with. Get acquainted with some fashion stylists in your area by using social media and going to different fashion events in your city. It’s also good to know a lot of photographers, models, and makeup artists who can probably help get your collection used in an editorial photo shoot.

There’s so much work that goes into handling the PR side of a fashion label that more than likely should be handled by a pro. Once your label starts becoming increasingly profitable, hiring a good PR team to help you market your brand would be the best way to go. While it’s in your hands for now, do tons of research on the job of a fashion publicist and implement some of those ideas into your own marketing campaign.

How the Fashion Industry Uses Social Media

Black Friday and the exclusive Fashion Weeks: Two pinnacle times of the year where retailers and the fashion industry hope to make up for a bad year or put the cherry on top of an awesome upward-driven one. But leading up to (or concluding) these championship fights for retail revenue redemption and leader-crowning, how are retailers and the fashion industry elite getting the word out about the deals or extraordinary collections that they have to sell?

America’s retailers are learning how to chime in on the conversations of their customers through social media. Whether it be Facebook or Twitter, major retailers are learning what their customers like and don’t like based on their Facebook statuses, comments and tweets. Besides using commercials, retailers like Old Navy use their Twitter page to advertise the deals and discounts currently going on in their stores.

Retailers like Cole Haan are using digital media to create aliases for their customers based on the customers’ lifestyles and embed interactive games in their social media pages to compliment these efforts. Cole Haan’s Facebook page mentions “Like us and explore more” to encourage the visitor to dive deeper into how Cole Haan clothing and accessories cater to the “Urban Explorer”.

As B Culture has mentioned before, digital media is a powerful commercialized hammer that some celebrities have wisely wielded to secure the nail in the foundation of a fruitful relationship with their fans. This is the same for high-end fashion designers. Fans of celebrities, the customers of high-end fashion designers, often like for their customers to vote for “who wore it best” and post new looks through their social media fan pages. Celebrities are often the retail industry’s initial guinea pigs and retailers use their customers’ social media comments to know what trends are hitting or missing which is a heads up to the retailer on which ones they should follow or continue to produce.

Digital media also helps high-end fashion designers get the word out about how to access a designer’s full collection, the campaign and allows the fashion industry’s supporting cast – the Press and stylists – to chime in on what they liked or didn’t like, what fashion shows they are excited to see and how the public can mix and match the designer’s pieces. Louis Vuitton has their full Spring 2012 fashion show on YouTube. Before YouTube, customers could only dream of seeing a high-end fashion show from beginning to end. The video of the above Louis Vuitton fashion show is in HD, which further gives the viewer the experience of being at the actual show.

From New York Fashion Week to a new high-end boutique opening up in L.A., fashion editors and socialites can us Foursquare to let their followers know what fashion shows and store opening they are spiriting to cover or shop next. Retailers can also use Foursquare to reward their frequent visitors with special discounts and recognition. In the image above, Jeremy P. is listed as the major of Kenneth Cole in SoHo. Foursquare makes an individual a celebrity along with the place the individual frequents.

Digital and social media has given the customer more of an immediate say in what works and what doesn’t. This gives the retailer and designer the ability to react more quickly and efficiently within their next collection. It seems social media may have accelerated the transition between fashion trends because of the swift reaction to what’s hot and what’s not. Interactive media is now the digitalized style meteorologist for the fashion industry.