Dear diary

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This is my last post and I’ve been wondering way to much about what I want to write about. -13°C made me come up with the following idea:  I just write, how I like to write. This includes disrespecting most of the  advice I was given before. So for those of you who’d liked a double space after “This includes disrespecting most of the (writing) advice I’ve been given before” – I’m sorry. This is supposed to be a reflection about what I’ve been doing with this blog and this course for the last months. A reflection in the most thought-like structure possible. That’s supposed to explain the composition. So I hope, giving an insight to how my thought move, is as interesting as choosing an exciting topic to write about. 
 
So.. what have I’ve been writing about ? I chose to join the fashion group – even though fashion does not interest me beyond a certain – low- point. But I’m pretty glad I still found enough interesting elements to write about, that were helpful for me. I discovered a pretty eco-oriented character-trait which is probably follow me in my choice of employment later. And wasn’t writing this blog supposed to push us one little step further into the direction of job ideas? Apparently, I don’t have many followers and nobody offered me a job, because I’ve shown so much interest or talent for something 😉 but that’s no real disappointment. Actually it’s nice, cause this way I can write as personally as this without embarrassing myself in front of too many ppl. 
Actually, the more I think about it, the thing I like most about this course – this writing- is that it is pretty much our single way of expressing some kind of free thinking and creativity. Most of us have not chosen this study course because they’d LOVE to become an accountant or an HR manager, but because they don’t trust their talent enough to study something artistic and cool. Don’t get me wrong, I like my studies, and I think I’ll be able to do great things with it later, BUT don’t you think drawing, running, cooking and music would be SO much more fun to make a living of rather than…calculating, planning and controlling ? analyzing investment opportunities… yeah.. no opposing votes at this point. I actually rediscovered my passion for writing (rather than calculating) by doing my sister’s homework for a more creative study course. 
 
Nevertheless, just after I finished my last post, I talked to an old teacher of mine about what’s going on in school and what I want to do after graduation, I could finally say something – more or less due to the posts I’ve been writing, because I chose topics (except for one or two) that really interested me. So I know now – I’m not gonna say I didn’t know before, but I wasn’t as aware as I am now- I can imagine working in the fashion industry (which I’ve been ruling out strictly before) IF and  only IF it has some “good” point too it. Like supporting aid for self-help in Africa or producing clothes from sustainable resources. And at this time I can also call myself lucky, that businessppl are needed in any field, and since I’ve already established contacts in that field, it’s certainly not impossible. So at the punchline of this project, I can actually show more results than I expected. 
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Sustainability in fashion

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Background 
 
Sustainability in fashion or “eco fashion” hasn’t been big of a topic until a few years ago. Actually, nearly all big brands made negative headlines concerning sustainability (see my earlier post on abuse in fashion industry. Today, the growth of eco fashion is remarkable – also in Berlin.
 
What kind of green fashion platforms exist? 
 
Green Showroom
 
The green fashion movement is big and varies in its presences. There is for example the
trade show green showroom that describes itself with the following choice of words “GREENshowroom is an un-conventional trade-fair/showroom with a new refreshing concept, conceived to enrich the fashion world. The future of the high-end lifestyle sector lies in the combination of luxury and sustainability. With our concept we redefine the meaning of luxury in an exciting and contemporary way. Luxury means experiencing and enjoying high quality in calm, knowing the products are conceived in a social responsible way with ecological materials. The showroom offers a selection of brands from fashion, accessories, beauty and gourmet, as well as a presentation of innovative ecological materials – an opportunity to present and sell their high end products.” Moreover, several criteria have to be fulfilled in order to be allowed to exhibit: “Participation in GREENshowroom requires a high level of design, quality and innovation. The brand shall clearly be positioned in one the upper segments. Besides, brands have to be able to prove at least 60% or more of their product is sustainable which will be proofed through a questionnaire.
 
Sustainability means for example:
  • Certified organic material or
  • Recycled materials
  • Standards such as Cradle to Cradle®, bluesign or Lifecycle analysis
  • According to Fairtrade or other accepted social standards produced or traded products
  • Support of  social projects and traditional textile skills”
Labels
 
I found a really nice blog that showed that there are also tons of labels, who claim to produce ecologically but exhibit at “regular” fashion shows like the BREAD & BUTTER, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (includes Green Showroom) or Premium:
PREMIUM EXHIBITIONS
Armed Angels | A QUESTION OF | Blondes make better T-Shirts | CALICAMPO | Caro E.Haikure | I HEART | Julie Park | L`Herbe Rouge |Lanius | Les Racines du Ciel People Tree | Portocolonia | Raffauf | Reale |Simon Ese The Baand | Misericordia | Veja | Noir | Shakkei | Elsien Gringhuis | Rita in Palma | Themata | Villa Gaia
BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN
Natural World Eco | El Naturalista | Monkee Genes | One Green Elephant |Stop The Water While Using Me | Francois & Marithé Girbaud Actlive |Knowledge Cotton | K.O.I. | Nudie Jeans | A Question Of | Anvil | Natural World | Kuiyichi
GREEN SHOWROOM
Alina Schuerfeld Alma & Lovis | Atelier Laure Paschoud Atlantic Leather |Early Fish | Good Society | Hanna Felting | HULA | Kaschuba Hommage |Kaska Hass | Lanius Leibschneider | Materia Prima | Pampa Pop RE 101 |Reet Aus | Right as Rain | Royal Blush | Schmidttakahashi | Sonja Heyman |Stewart & Brown | Studio Ecocentric The Rooters | We3 | Wellicious |
 
Organizations
 
The eco fashion movement is followed by (mostly national) organizations and foundations that pursue the same goal. I listed the most important ones I found on “ecofashionworld” below:
 
BAFTS The British Association for Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS) is a network of independent fair trade shops across the UK, many of which stock garments and accessories.
 
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a voluntary program who’s vision is to enable millions of farmers around the world to grow cotton in a way that is healthier for the farming communities and the environment, and more economical.
With a population of 170 million, Brazil has a lot of people to “eco dress”. That’s why we were delighted to hear about the Ecotece Institute. São Paulo based journalist Ana Candida Zanesco set up Ecotece as a tribute to Mother Earth. The institute’s logo, a tree inside a butterfly, is a reflection of her philosophy: everything is interconnected, by living a green lifestyle, you can make a huge difference (it’s The Butterfly Effect).
Elsewear is a Dutch initiative to promote the most dominant fashion trend of our time: “Green is the new black”. Green stands for environmentally friendly materials, clean production processes and good labour practices in the textile industry.
 
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a UK based alliance of companies, NGOs and trade union organisations. The purpose of the ETI is to promote and improve the implementation of corporate codes of practice which cover supply chain working conditions.
 
Fashioning an Ethical Industry (FEI) is a UK based education project ofLabour Behind the Label . The project works with tutors and students of fashion-related courses to give an overview of how the fashion industry positively and negatively impacts on working conditions. FEI aims to inspire students – as the next generation of industry players – to raise standards for garment workers in the fashion industry of the future.
 
Where are we heading? 
As turned out in my report above, the eco-fashion movement becomes more and more prominent and common. Moreover, customer’s awareness for ethical shopping has increased due to general global developments (see the “organic” department at discount grocery stores). Still, eco-fashion is not as easily accessible as non-environmentally friendly retailers like H&M or the whole INDITEX group – or basically anything from cheap to expensive. So I think a real shift in shopping behavior won’t happen before more brands like El NaturalistaMonkee GenesOne Green Elephant,  I HEART , Julie Park etc open (more) stores in shopping malls. If you can only buy these brands online (or abroad) the effort is too big, to make a change. But if I see ppl crowding in “the BIO company” stores in Berlin, I’m sure, they’ll also pay a bit more for sustainable clothing…

Versace and H&M – Giants Collaborating

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Camping in the Streets of New York

“I can’t quite remember what made me want to sleep here over night; I’m so tired,” shopper Suzie Smith told us as the doors opened. “I just really wanted it. It’s the only way I can afford Versace and although it’s not the real thing, it’s close enough.”
Young Suzie Smith is talking about the new collaboration between two giants of a very different nature – H&M and Versace in an interview with British Vogue . On November 17th 2011, following the footsteps of Lanvin, Karl Lsgerfeld, Stella McCartney and Jimmy Choo, Versace for H&M was available in stores and online.
The mass hysteria was crazy. This collection was so highly anticipated that thousands all over the world camped in front of stores for up to 22 hours.

Versace for Everyone!

The collection was sold out in under 30 minutes and many pieces arrived on ebay just minutes later describes the author of the fashion blog Fashion in the Urban Jungle! H&M websites simply broke down because they could not handle such a large number of visitors. But not only fashionistas wanted something from that line but also small business owners were looking to snap up the coveted Versace label at a cheap price t then sell it a higher one in their own stores.

What is it that makes people go nuts over a fashion line?

First of all, I have to pay tribute to the design of the collection designed by Versace’s creative director Donatella Versace! In another blog called Carina 100 I found amazing descriptions of the collection. It is a fantastic lookbook with amazing, 90s-stylee, “print- tastic” designs. Great fabrics and beautiful finishes! What makes it so special is that it takes a look back at the past of the brand that was dominated by leather, loud prints and riot of color. Another thing that makes it special is that they also designed some pieces for men focusing on sharp tailoring as you can see on H&M’s website.

Planned and Precise Marketing

But as we know, great designs are not the only thing that matters! The marketing for this collaboration was exceptional!

Starting with preparation: Already two months before H&M and Versace published the good news, Versace had LadyGaga announce that for the next two months she will only be wearing Versace retro designs which can be read on the Telegraph’s site. As she is a fashion queen for most people, Versace got back into people’s minds.
After the deal was signed, H&M did a great job with their ads for the campaign. The publicity for this collaboration had to be significantly more high-end than for previous designer collaborations. They created an entire runway show just for the purpose of showcasting the upcoming collection. The commercial that can be seen on TV is very well-done as well – from the music in the background to the choice of models. Interestingly, part of the deal was that it includes a higher financial commitment from H&M for advertising and promotions. On the blog of Nathan Branch you can find more information about that.

Versace for 100$…? Really…?

However, one might wonder why a label like Versace that stands for exclusiveness and uniqueness would want to go into mass production. The reasons are of economic nature. As Suzie has mentioned, it is the only way ordinary people can afford it. What does that mean for Versace?
Diffusion lines and designer collaborations are the only way to stay ahead in a recessionary economy Nathan Branch goes on. They sustain demand for fashion designers. Ultimately, all designers will have to alter their business models with products aimed at different price ranges. These collaborations capture a younger and less wealthy demographic. They also change the image of a brand. In the upcoming year, Versace will see increased revenues and profitability due to the fact that they have become closer to their customers and due to the additional marketing sponsored by H&M.

Although I can understand why these collaborations are done, I see it similar to Suzie: It is just not the same! Nevertheless, I could not resist and I just had to order one of the pieces! Why?
Well, I guess I am a victim of marketing…

Whatever objections people might have, in the end we all feel the same about prêt-à-porter. I learned that it does not matter how you feel about it. In fashion and marketing as well it is more important how the product can make you feel. This is what brands should think about andthe collaboration with Versace proved to me that H&M is good at analyzing its customers. Although it might just be a cheap retailer it acquired a deep understanding of what prêt-à-porter is all about and was able to use that for business purposes.

In addition to that, I learned how many different opinions and interesting facts can be found on blogs. Whether you agree with these people or not is not the point. It is about enriching your own perspective and writing.

Digging Deeper into Hipsterdom

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Something’s Wrong…

Last weekend, I went to Freiburg to see one of my favorite DJ’s. While being out – dancing, partying, dancing, joking around, having fun and dancing (not to forget), I felt weirdly freed. I had the night all to myself. No one was looking at me, staring me down, checking out my outfit or shaking their heads because I was obviously enjoying myself too much! Something was missing and it was only when I got back that I realized what or better put who it was: the Berlin Hipster!

Alternative, Hipster, Scenester… What???

I still remember the time when I lived in Karlsruhe. There were these few differently dressed cool people that my girlfriends and I used to call “alternative”. After having spent a few weeks in Berlin, however, I noticed that there are a lot more “alternatives” here who are by the way called hipsters or scenesters as I was told. Their consumption habits, attitude, interest and culture differs a whole lot from us ‘normal’ people. And as they seem to become the majority that matters most in terms of style and fashion they have a tremendous effect on the marketing strategy of many firms. Moreover, it is not a phenomenon that can only be observed in Berlin. Rather, it is happening all over the world from the U.K. over Sweden to New York. But what exactly is a hipster and how are they changing the perception of coolness?

Evolution of a New Kind

It is not just me who is interested in the rising of this new subculture. Even the New York magazine n+1 has published a miscellany with the title “What Was the Hipster?”. In this collection of articles, one can learn about the emergence of hipsters. According to it, Anatole Broyard used this expression already in 1948 in his essay “A Portrait of the Hipster” as a personification of the cultural resistance of blacks against the dominance of white people. When Norman Mailer transformed the hipster into the White Negro he made the according lifestyle practicable for whites as well. However, the hipster as we know him today does no longer try to imitate the blacks. His idol comes from the White Trash. This shift happened due to the fact that blacks have finally arrived in our society and that it is now the white lower class receiving the lowest social respect. The year of 1999 is generally seen as the hour of birth of hipsterdom because the Vice Magazine was firstly launched (essential to the hipster culture) and because the first American Apparel opened its doors to American teenagers. (For more information, just check out good old wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_%28contemporary_subculture%29)

“I Am Not a Hipster! I Just Want to Be Different…”

Whether most hipsters know about the origins of their lifestyle is questionable. But they are sure of how they want to be perceived and how to achieve that. Since most of you already know a lot about their clothing and habits I do not wish to go into too much detail about that. (If you do: Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58PAu-WGB7g or read this:http://www.spreeblick.com/2010/03/08/der-berliner-szenemensch/) What matters most for the sake of an appropriate analysis is their attitude. Julia Plevin claims that the whole point of being a hipster is to avoid labels and to be labeled. They think of themselves as aesthetics, Christian Lorentzen of Time Out New York adds, that have been assimilated into a repertoire of meaningless from which they can draw an identity in the manner of a collage. Essentially, they consider themselves to be cooler than the rest as they express a longing to distinguish themselves through a unique and vanguard style under the pretension of a subcultural point of view, so an article of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Individuality Versus Group Identity

Makes sense if you only look at social groups and not at individuals. In terms of the desired individuality, Julia Plevin recognized that they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their non-conformity. This statement is supported by Dan Fletcher who noticed that stores like American Appearel or Urban Outfitters have mass-produced hipster chic merging hipster culture with mainstream culture. This contradiction results in a lack of authenticity, Rob Horning argues. He even takes his argument further by saying that the problem with hipsters is the “way in which they reduce the particularity of anything you might be curious about or invested in into the same dreary common denominator of how ‘cool’ it is perceived to be”.

No Stereotypes!

Given this new image that people developed of what a hipster is all about it is no wonder that a hipster would never admit being one. But what can a hipster do to not fall into this category? Craig Thompson and Zeynep Arsel talked to several participants of the hipster culture. In their findings, three main strategies for not being stereotyped have been crystallyzed:

  • aesthetic discrimination: Do not look like a hipster!
  • symbolic demarcation: Do not hang out with other hipsters!
  • proclaiming sovereignty: Keep repeating that you are not a hipster!

Following this advice a hipster would definitely no longer be a hipster so for them it is more about demythologizing their existing consumption practices by sporadically engaging in rhetorics and practices that are so not hipster!

What Does this Have to Do with Marketing?

If you reach an understanding of all of the above, the hipster characteristics as well as the resulting issues, you will be able to use your knowledge for marketing purposes. It is no longer possible to consider hipsters a marketing staple. Once they used to be rocking out as iPod silhouettes, acting the cool Mac counterpart to dorky PC’s in Apple ads or modeling for Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. According to Arsel, the term hipster is no longer targeting a specific set of consumers. The term is so vastly used that it is not precise enough anymore. Surprisingly, businesses go on as usual using their hipster strategies to appeal to potential customers while a shift takes only slowly place.

An Outlook…

In the future, marketers will have to look for new lifestyle images and marketplace myths to attract stylish and trendy customers. Although I am sure that this subculture will continue to exist and will most certainly continue to make others feel bad about themselves ( sometimes I really wish to go back to Freiburg just for a day or two…) I also know that they will lose their power and influence on what is considered to be cool or not. The hipster phenomenon is exhausted – out of new ideas and out of authenticity.

A Look Back…

I am so glad, I never completely fell for it! I am so glad, I am different!

Trading shows as springboards – The BREAD & BUTTER Berlin

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This post concerns itself with the BREAD & BUTTER Berlin and sets a focus on history, the last fair and exhibitor’s point of view. 

Background


The BREAD & BUTTER  is a fashion trade show, that started out in 2001 as an offshow for selected brands in Cologne. In summer 2011,  its ten-year anniversary under the motto ‘THE BREAD & BUTTER SUPERSHOW’ was celebrated hugely. At the last BREAD & BUTTER  around 580 exhibitors, the leading, market-relevant brands, labels and designers of the Street and Urbanwear market, attended the leading international tradeshow, where they presented their new collections for the Spring/Summer 2012 season to the professional (and semi-professional ;)) audience.

Current situation

Last week in Berlin, everything was touched by fashion. From wednesday to friday, the three main fashion tradeshows were hosted in Berlin. Namely the Mercedes Benz fashion week, the BREAD & BUTTER and the PREMIUM order Berlin. 

The BREAD & BUTTER (varying its slogan each time) followed the motto “HIGH FIDELITY”. View the BBB preview video to get a better idea! 

Exhibitor’s aim / Targets

So why is it so important so exhibit at fairs? The prices for booth rent, staff etc.  for a fair like the BBB are enormous. Is it all about showing off ? Apparently it is. The brands don’t make any profit AT the fair. Few write their orders there, but that can’t hardly cover costs. So due to the high density of press people and potential new clients (purchasing agents) no brand can afford to miss an exhibition. If one brand isn’t presents, rumors about financial worries are spoken out loud rapidly. And especially for new brands it’s important to arise attention in front of such great publicity. However their booth is designed, stays in visitors’ minds for long. Often you can find a real competition concerning the best give-away shirts or bags. The turkish brand mavi for
examples has the slogan “fashion kitchen- we cook the perfect jeans” and allows the booth’s visitors to design their own shirts and jeans in a kindergarden-like handicrafts station. Obviously, this is much for for the visitors and an excellent marketing tool. 

Data collection

In order to review and analyze their appearance at the fair, exhibitors are nowadays
equipped with scanners, that collect information stored on the entrance cards. The newest policies are pretty much ” everybody who wants to enter the booth, has to be scanned upfront”. At the end of the fair, exhibitors pass their scanners with 2000 to 4000 (average) datas back to the fair and receive meaningful excel spreadsheets. Information stored on entrance card include personal and professional information and can also be used to contact visitors after the fair. Also statistics are created about how many people of which profession (e.g. press, other exhibitors, purchasers, visitors….) visited the booth.

Followup

So right now, most exhibitors are on their way back home, packed with orders, and data, rushing to produce to their client’s confidents and analyzing their collected data to improve their appearance for the next fair in July. Apparently, the whole fashion industry consists of a tight vicious circle of designing, producing prototypes, exhibiting and producing orders…

No Slogans in Fashion – Why???

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A Slogan to Remember

Slogans- every big business uses them for advertising purposes. Whether we think of car producers, technology suppliers or food chains there is at least one slogan that comes to our mind. And that is exactly what slogans are for! People are supposed to remember them, right? That’s at least what I always thought until I started skimming through Inga’s posts.

No Slogans in Fashion – What Is Up with that?

Surprisingly, while reading through Inga’s posts who mostly writes about big retailers such as H&M or Zara I started to notice that in fashion real slogans are rare. I could not think of one single slogan even though I have been following fashion for pretty a while now. I thought of all the brands that are important to me – Zara, H&M but also Chanel and Asos- but nothing! Then, I considered brands that are usually not that present in my life such as YvesSaintLaurent, Ralph Lauren or Fendi, but still nothing! What is it with slogans in fashion? Are they so bad that they do not stick in people’s minds or are there just not that many?

A Slogan Is Supposed to…

First of all, let’s have a closer look at what a good slogan is supposed to do. An effective slogan is able to leave impressions in people’s minds when they hear or see it. This short statement can affect the way that consumers, competitors and others in the same industry perceive your business. A successful slogan can also distinguish your company in a unique way. Basically, what slogan creators are trying to do is to write a memorable phrase used in conjunction with a political, commercial or religious advertisement that in the best case also conveys a deeper meaning. They can be used to elicit emotions or to paint a visual image that implies something more.

A Slogan is Designed after…

It always amazes me to see how this is done simply by the use of just a few words. There are some crucial rules when developing an effective slogan. First of all, you should be very careful how to choose your slogan. Most of the times, slogans are short phrases that are easy to memorize. That’s about the structure of a slogan. When it comes to the message, it is essential to keep in mind your objectives. What goal does your company have? What image do you wish to portray? If you have the answer to these questions you can translate them into a short sentence.

“Just Do It” – Create a Good Slogan

Sounds pretty easy, but what does that mean in real life? It means that if you are good at it you will do it like Nike. Their “Just Do it” campaign from 1988 is generally seen as one of the most successful in the history of slogans. Why? Because the slogan is created the exact same way I just described. When people hear that phrase they have the impression that with Nike’s products they are able to just do what they want to do without having to think about possible failure or question potential consequences. That also corresponds to the deeper meaning of the slogan while being a positive image. Amazingly, all of this is packed into three words. Concerning the company’s goals included it can be found that Nike’s aim to produce products that make sports an easy activity and not something that is a battle with yourself translates very well into the slogan. ( For more information about this awesome campaign, read this article: http://www.cfar.com/Documents/nikecmp.pdf)

The Nike example shows what a great way slogans present to promote a company. So, why are they not used in fashion?

Where Could Slogans Be Seen or Heard in Fashion?

First of all, slogans are mostly created when a company starts a new campaign. This campaign will be seen on TV, on posters, in magazines and on the web. However, when designers launch a new product or better a new collection, there are no TV commercials, no posters and nothing on the web. The only channel through which they promote themselves are fashion magazines and their reviews. Therefore, it would make little sense to invest a whole lot of money into a slogan that only a small proportion of people will hear or see.

What People Would Notice Slogans in Fashion?

In addition to that, the people that will be confronted with the slogans given the fact that they would only be seen in fashion magazines are at least very interested in fashion. This implies that they already know a lot about the brands and their special and unique style as well as image. This is why, they are not in need of a slogan that could tell them what the brand is all about.

What about the Others?

Now, you may argue that there are also people reading the magazines not knowing a whole bunch about fashion. True, but as several surveys have found it shows that even though they are not very familiar with it most people can associate the big names with exactly the right brand image. Take H&M for example! Without ever having had to tell anyone, their customers know that the key characteristic of this brand is being affordable but still fashionable and stylish.

Image Creation in Fashion – No Need for Slogans

In the fashion industry, it is generally considered to be sufficient to diffuse photos of a model wearing the brand staging the right kind of atmosphere and environment. This has exactly the same effect as a slogan while having the advantage of not only seeing the product but also showing how to wear it. In just a few sub-sectors of the industry one can actually find slogans such as cosmetics, jewelries or sports-wear. Since the companies in these industries produce products that are bought by a much bigger number of people it makes sense to do so. Think of L’Oréals “Because you are worth it” and it becomes obvious in which way the fashion-fashion industry distinguishes itself from other industries. And that difference is not the reason for not creating slogans – it is the reason for simply not needing them!

new forms of marketing – video blogging and advertising



I dedicate this post to my latest acknowledgement in the blogging  and marketing scene. Apparently, the latest success is transferring existing (written) fashion blogs into fancy videos to gain more attention. And as you can see on the picture below, these video channels are more popular than ever (notice the red boxes!) Moreover, apart from the blogging, it has become unavoidable for all firms to connect their online
presents with videos. This post will give an overview over the general developments and advantages of video marketing of bloggers and fashion labels. 
 
 
The popularity of video marketing
Today, the range of Internet marketing strategies that can foster product awareness among the target market is huge. And since it is additionally considered the most cost-efficient method of promotion, video marketing remains one of the favorite policy by online business owners.It has been said that this audio visual scheme of advertisement is one of the best medium of reaching the right attention of the target audience.
Naturally, the videos are hitting the market like that because most target users don’t have much time to go through reading the descriptions of the products or services. Watching a video will make things simpler as well as it poses an entertaining effect. Because of this, most users prefer websites that have video references along with the product description. It is also pointed out that Websites that don’t have videos in it will most likely turn the visitors away from it. 
Online (Video) Blogging
Moreover, Internet Marketing such as online video blogging, has increased rapidly within the last 2 years as numerous video ads appearing all throughout the net confirm. Obviously, video blogging is a more inter-activ form of blogging, offering new advantages to all bloggers, viewers and fashion enterprises. See an example of really popular online video blogs here and here.
Videos used by enterprises
As I said in the beginning, videos are vital for today’s (fashion) enterprises. Nearly all of Inditex subdivisions have their own video channel on youtube. Zara, massimo dutti, pull & bear and bershka have a remarkable number of followers on their video portfolio. 
This post has hopefully shown, how video marketing is applied in the fashion and blogging industry. If you are seeking for advice how to optimize your personal (enterprize’s) video performance, see this interesting blog (german) oder for a english version, see here.

A Snobbish, Snobbish Industry – So Why Become Mainstream?

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Marketing starts with…?

We all think that marketing begins once the garments are designed. The designer decides about the images and the look he wants to convey and creates a marketing strategy around that. But we are so wrong! Marketing begins with pricing and deciding how much of a certain piece will be available!
Why? – Because in fashion it is all about exclusiveness and luxury!

The Rules of Consumption…

In most economic fields we can observe the phenomenon of a good being more desirable the cheaper it is and it becomes cheaper the more there is of it. So as the price raises people are likely to switch their consumption away from it and substitute it by a less expensive alternative. In fashion, however, we can observe the snob effect.

…Broken by the Snob Effect

The snob effect refers to the situation where demand for a certain good for individuals of a higher income level is inversely related to the demand for the good by individuals of lower income level.
What does that mean? It means that our desire to possess something unusual, expensive or unique makes us buy goods of low practical but high economic value. The less of an item is available, the more we want one copy of it, the higher its snob value.

Nescience Can Become Expensive

The paradox is that we mostly do not even notice that our purchasing behavior is influenced by price and supply rather than a certain threading technique, longevity or fabric like we keep telling ourselves.
For instance, a bag is a bag. Whether it has the Louis Vuitton label on it or not is not crucial to the characteristic that we can put our stuff in it and carry it around. And let me tell you the quality is not that different, either. I have seen these ridiculously expensive (and in my opinion ugly) bags falling apart!

Brand Loyalty versus Snob Effect

Now, some may argue that there is more to it. It is not just a bag, it is Louis Vuitton! That people buy it because they simply like the brand or even prefer it over all others. Nevertheless, no brand is unique and there are always plenty of others that have earned their reputations by producing both efficacious and innovative products. What it really is that we desire is a brand that rides on the “fashionable-celebrities-love-it-wave” or the “anybody-fashionable-should-have-one-wave”. This is something more and more brands build their marketing strategy upon. Make it expensive, produce only a restricted number of it and have a lot of fashionistas wearing it in public.

I hate Mainstream!

In my opinion, this is stupid and shapes the picture of the industry in the wrong way. Fashion is about exclusiveness, true. But it is not about mainstream. Originally, taste is something that varies from person to person, so clothing worth buying should, too. As soon as everybody has it, I do not want it anymore. I sold my Longchamp at ebay and laughed at my friend when she proudly presented her Louis Vuitton bag.

Weighing Risks

So, for marketers there is a fine line between making something a snob product and turning it into mainstream. You can never be sure how successful your product image creation is so that you will never know how many are actually going to save money for months to buy your item. From the moment on that too many people own your product you will lose a great part of potential buyers that do not want to go mainstream.

A New Trend – A New Challenge

Interestingly, it seems like the designers do not care about this portion of clients. Even Karl Lagerfeld is thinking about making an affordable line after his collaboration with H&M in 2004. He said: “My dream is to turn the whole house of Lagerfeld into this kind of mass business, because I am at the peak of luxury with Chanel and Fendi. Being at both ends of the market is the height of luxury.”
It appears that designers consider it a great challenge to avoid the snob effect. Maybe the reason is, as with every other artist, that they want their creations to be seen and especially worn by masses because it is sign of success to be able to appeal to more than just a few.

But I say it is a sign of success to be able to create something so unique and special that it appeals only to the taste of a few. And those people do not necessarily have to be snobs – they are just the ones with good taste…

Levels in Fashion

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Alexander McQueen, Gucci and H&M – having talked so much about these brands it is now time to finally have a look at the fashion market and how it is structured to understand that each level of the market requires a different marketing strategy.

Thinking in Boxes?

Every brand or label can be pushed into one category of fashion of which there are three simplistically speaking: haute couture, designer wear and street fashion. While each market belongs to one category, customers cannot as easily be qualified. Looking at these levels a little closer, it becomes clear why.

Haute Couture – Exclusive Must-Haves

Everyone wants to have it – only a few can afford it. I am speaking of haute couture. Haut couture houses are the major fashion houses of the world, run by recognized, internationally famous designers. To name just a few: Chanel, Prada, Fendi and my number one Alexander McQueen. The most important marketing channel for this group are the runway shows twice a year where they have the chance to present their creations to the public. However, the catwalk shows do not only promote the garments but also any other items such as accessories or perfumes. Of course, this level presents the smallest portion of the market.
The question that arises is: What is it that makes haute couture so desirable?

It is the uniqueness of these creations and the feeling of being the only one possessing this special garment for thousands of dollars! And after all, every woman wants to be and feel special and we often tend to think that looking special is equal to being special. This is the main factor marketing at this level responds to.

Ready-to-wear, possible-to-afford

But there is hope for all of us not going to marry a millionaire to obtain a designer piece. Those of us not as wealthy can obtain a designer piece that is pret à porter which presents the second level of the fashion market. Although the garments are still highly priced, they are produced in greater masses than haute couture under strict quality control. They are to be found in designers’ shops, independent stores and some of the more exclusive department stores.
Wearing pret à porter means success, selling a pret à porter line means the same. The move into ready-to-wear clothing by designers meant that they could afford to offer their stylish designs and high quality to a wide audience. Gucci, Marius and I have already talked about, is part of this level of the fashion market for instance. The customers shopping pret à porter demand luxury for the every-day wear. Therefore, marketing on this level concentrates on the pieces being luxurious but still affordable.

Coming Home – Street Fashion

Still too expensive? Welcome to street fashion-the market area where most of us buy our clothes. It is the fastest moving sector of the fashion market that is also undergoing many changes. In this area, fashion is bought at street stores. H&M, Zara, Weekday and all the other stores you go to are part of this group. Marketing  at this level concentrates on being stylish and at the same time available for everyone.

No Need for Desperation!

But do not be disappointed because you do not have any designer wear. To say it with someone else’s words: “What the customers lose in exclusivity, he makes up for in value.” In addition to that rather not comforting argument, we can find more and more celebrities who also buy street wear mixing it with designer pieces. I, for example, bought a jacket I saw Rihanna wearing in one of her videos just days later and it is only H&M!
But it also goes the other way round! My friend has a Louis Vuitton that she simply worked hard for and Caroline is thinking about getting these really expensive shoes.
What I want to say is that it is not the price that matters. Do not let the industry dictate you, dictate it! Do not let them push you into boxes!

Growing Wiser

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Shopping at WalMart…

When I was younger, going to WalMart on Saturdays was always the highlight of the week. While my mom was shopping groceries, I was spending my time in the clothing section. Since everything was so amazingly cheap I would always get a new sweater or jeans. But as the years passed by, I did not want to come with my mom any longer. My style and my expectation of a piece of clothing worth buying changed tremendously. No matter how carefully I looked at everything, I could not find one single “garment” that pleased me.

…but not forever!!!

My mom used to complain about this change in taste. After all, she had to spend a lot more money on my clothing! Contrary to her, I am very happy about the way I developed! Today, I would not be seen in WalMart even if I was paid for it!!!

Design versus Marketing
Again, fashion marketing is the reason for this attitude. The approaches a fashion distributor may take towards the market are very different. Some focus on design and others on marketing. In general, there are three different types of interrelations between marketing and fashion: marketing centered, design centered and the fashion marketing concept.

Marketing Centered

In the case of WalMart and many other retail stores such as Takko design is not as important as it should be in my opinion. Marketing plays the dominant part and it regards the designer as someone who must respond to the specifications of customer requirements as established by conducted marketing research. The designer is presented with detailed cost constraints and sample garments. Ultimately, merchandisers and selectors exert considerable control over the designer. Of course, many experts complain about the resulting blandness in the design contents that are directed towards profitability.

Design centered

Only a very few designers are able to do it exactly the other way round. According to design centered theory the design is the striving force and marketers should merely help to sell ideas to the public. Translated into practice this means that a brand does not have its own marketing department but has all marketing activity carried out by either public relations or advertising agencies. Potential customers are simply seen to be inspired by creative styling that is favorably promoted. Although this approach depends highly on the intuition and skill of the designer in consistently meeting genuine customer needs for earning profit many successful businesses run based on this assumption.

Marketing and Design centered – The Fashion Marketing Concept

Since both ways come along with some disadvantages a new one has evolved- the so-called fashion marketing concept. It attempts to embrace the positive aspects for high concern for design, customers and profit by recognizing the interdependence of marketing and design. Only if designers understand how marketing can enhance the creative process and marketing personnel appreciate that within the fashion industry design can lead as well as respond to customer requirements, progress can be made. In order to achieve this, many major retailers such as Inga’s beloved Zara have developed information systems bringing designers, manufacturing teams and retail sales staff together.

Three Ways, but only One for the Future!

Nowadays, the fashion marketing concept has been adapted by the majority of businesses.
In a time of rising competition and difficult customer groups it is the most secure way to become a stable factor in the fashion industry. A new designer can no longer rely on his designs only as there are a million other ones out there. And a retailer cannot depend upon marketing research to create designs because the target group attracted is too small. Therefore, in the long run, I would say that it is best for each brand to develop a fashion marketing concept.