When people have an aha-moment, they are most likely to follow it. They leave one room and enter a new one, inspired by a creative push. But what if they are only certain about leaving one room, but do not know which one to enter?
Whenever I am trying something new, and I begin to realize that it is not for me for whatever reason, I continuously tell myself “Just keep going, you have to do that, you have no alternative.” Then, after a certain period of time, there comes the breakdown – a point when I can no longer go on like nothing was wrong; if you want to – a point of no return.
Knowing that something is not good for you is not the problem. It just means that you have to exit one room. However, if you find yourself standing in the hallway unsure which door to turn to definitely is a problem.
Actually, aha-moments are not as rare as most people think they are. Walking around on this planet, you see and meet so many people, you have and take so many chances that it is only normal to come across someone or something that you do not like. But how often do you find something that simply excites you, that makes your heart beat faster and that makes your brain run wildly?
So, the challenge is not to have an aha—moment. Rather, it is to be able to use it in a good way. After having found out what you have to leave behind it is not helping your state of mind not knowing what you can get in return.
Now, the question is: How can we find out which path to take?
To be honest, I do not know. I am still trying to figure out what my interests are.
In the end, as disappointing as it sounds, I would suggest that everyone has to stand lost in that hallway for a couple of times. Ultimately, you will have to enter some other room. Try out what it has to offer for you. If there is nothing in there for you, just leave it again and try a new one!And never judge the room by its door! You cannot know that is useless to step in without ever having done so. It might sound crazy but if you are sure about all the things that do not interest you, you can be sure that the rest does!
If you want to take a look at our new group mindmap which is now based on all of our tags ( I hope… I might have forgotten some…).
The password is fashion.
Check this out: http://www.mindmeister.com/128794788
Enjoy your weekend (or the rest of it)!
A Resume for Young Designers
After having looked at some of the most important channels of marketing in fashion – runway shows, commercials and collaborations – I have decided to give a little resume about what new designers can do to promote their labels. The interesting part about that is that they do neither have the financial means nor the reputation to launch a huge runway show or to shoot a three-minute commercial with Hollywood stars.
Nevertheless, the same aspects of marketing are important for them. They simply have to use other ways to make publicity. It is hard to imagine how an unknown is able to rise up the career ladder up to a point where he will no longer have to ask others for favors but has people representing him.
When I started researching this topic on the web I found little information. All I found out was how the big names today came to success. Unfortunately, I think this would not be a very helpful or accurate information for the post since the conditions back then differed by one very important factor: no internet! Nevertheless, this new medium has changed the nature of publicity drastically so that it would not be an up-to-date blog post.
All of the sudden, I had a moment of revelation: Why use the web when I have a friend that has achieved exactly what I want to talk about?
An Interview Might Help
He was a nobody before he started designing T-shirts which he then began to sell very successfully. But how did he manage to do that? How did he find celebrities that would wear his designs? How did he find sponsors for his second collection that consists of a lot more than T-shirts?
Although I will not be able to refer to many experts I have the chance to interview a real person that has made exactly this experience? I will have no trouble finding the information I need – instead I can just ask for it!
I hope this post will enable me to provide a lot of insight into the world of marketing in fashion!
by Katharina Städele
Since this is a rather critical than “blingbling” kind of fashion blog, I’d like to go a little bit deeper into the field of EXPLOITATION in the fashion industry. Depending on your attitude, this is probably a never ending story, but I want to point out two aspects that I find exceptionally striking.
This video shows how miserably the animals bred for fur are treaded. I believe, seeing this has a significantly bigger impact than simply reading about it. So for those of you who want to know more, especially on the processing of reptiles: see here
So Zara and its mother company Inditex has been critized by fur activist for selling real fur in their stores several times in the last years and claimed 2009 to no longer use fur, but actually they still do like many others. In response to a demonstration in Cologne against fur production verbally attacking INDITEX, the company replied: “All animal products used in those articles supplied to the Group shall come from animal reared in farms to obtain meat.” Apart from this fact being irrelevant, we can also see how the consumers were tricked on purpose and how INDITEX broke it’s word. Though I have to admit, I’ve seen A LOT of faux fur in the stores which is in my opinion a step in the right direction, but I also think that such a big and influencing company should show some more commitment and consistency. Reflecting the number of items, a company like Zara produces, it is quite obvious how even a few pieces with real fur sum up to thousands of tortured animals.
Personally, I’ve never been big of a fur fan, but those videos cleared my mind once more. It’s really depressing, how nowadays you can shop hardy anything in good conscience. I really hope, that’s going to change soon.
What else would a “Ministerium für Verbraucherschutz” be good for..?!
Most of us (students/young ppl) like cheap clothes and we all noticed the “made in vietnam/china/india/turkey…..” signs in our stuff. Obviously, the people working there to sew clothes for Europe or the US don’t get paid in our standards… But still, no one would really think that working conditions are AS bad, as they turned out to be.
August 2011. HUGE scandal. Zara is accused of alleged slave labor and child labor in Brazil. The press was full of it! Apparently, Inditex has approximately 50 suppliers in Brazil, which employ more than 7,000 workers.There are hundreds of factories in Sao Paulo state, producing garments for Brazil’s booming market. According to a BBC article, many of the workers are smuggled into Brazil from Bolivia and Peru. I found on a different blog information that, in search of a better life.
The “workers” left their countries in search of the “Brazilian dream.”
When they arrived in Brazil, they had to work long hours over a number of months just to pay off the cost of transportation to Brazil. During the operation, inspectors seized two notebooks filled with debt related to “pass” and “documents”, and “valleys” that caused employees to further increase their debt. The specific details show some of the wages received by employees: from $274 to $460, much less than the minimum wage in the country, which is $545.
15 people including a 14 year old teenager were released from slavery in two workshops – one located in the centre of Sao Paulo and another in the north. The investigation culminated in an inspection conducted at the end of June when 52 workers were found working under conditions similar to slavery in Americana, where the group sewed pants for Zara…
Turns out, Zara received accusations including illegal child labour, degrading, exhausting journeys of up to 16 hours daily and curtailment of freedom (prohibition of leaving the workplace without permission!!!).
According to Inditex, there will be an increase in the review of the production system to ensure there is not another case like this, but I highly doubt that since supervision of all the productions in Latin America would be WAY to costly. So I’ll keep my eyes open for any other cases like that because I think that if anything like this was to happen AGAIN, Zara will be in BIG trouble….
Every season when the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is about to start, there are some shows that are more anticipated than others. Everyone wants to sit first row when Karl Lagerfeld presents his new creations, everyone wants to be the first to catch a glimpse of Marc Jacobs’ new line. But there is no other show as exceptional as the one of true visionary Alexander McQueen who turns the runway into a dramatic stage.
The Origin of Runway Shows
When the Mercedes Benz fashion week was first held in 1943 the purpose was to draw attention to American designs in order to undermine Paris’ importance in the fashion world. However, the original purpose of a runway show was to present the designs of the next season to the public in order to receive reviews in fashion magazines which are very important for publicity. A satisfying review from Anna Wintour is a good indicator for a successful season. Ultimately, a runway show was the base of marketing.
In the fashion industry, Alexander McQueen has always been praised for his unique mix of aggression, energy and creativity that he brought to Mercedes Fashion Week. His shows have always been the hottest ticket in New York. That is due to the fact that he has always had a very strong point of view when it comes to what a runway show can be. He does not use it as the base for his marketing strategy – it is his marketing strategy! Provocative, innovative, lavish, extravagant and unconventional are just a few words to describe his shows.
In 2008, McQueen was smart enough to turn a film everyone was talking about into a runway show. He was clearly inspired by the comedy “Borat”. Therefore, he sent models down the runway wearing only “mankinis”. Since everyone knew the movie, they could all relate to his interpretation that did not fail to add a new dimension to it. No press releases were necessary to make people talk about his new line!
Graffiti Meets Fashion
His Spring/Summer Show used the newest technology in the automobile industry to create fashion on the runway. He had a model stand on a wooden turntable in an ethereal white dress that was sprayed by two robotic arms. This way, he let people be part of the creative process by also conveying them the important message that everything can be fashion. With almost half a million clicks on YouTube, this show is a fast-selling item and one of the most well-known runway shows ever!
What most people do not know is that before 2007 his label did not generate any profit. He was just one of the many extraordinary talents in the fashion industry no one was aware of. But sticking to his ideals and standing out in a way no one has ever before, his clothes are now highly desired and worn by the big names: Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lady Gaga.
He achieved to create a new channel for marketing that has changed the fashion industry forever!
by Katharina Städele
The Inditex Group is a Spanish enterprise that is one of the biggest global players of today. Just recently Inditex biggest subsidiary company Zara outstraped the swedish giant H&M in terms of sale. With eight sales concepts Zara, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Kiddy’s Class Inditex had (2006) 3,701 stores in 68 countries. The company claims that „Inditex’s philosophy -creativity and quality design together with a rapid response to market demands- has resulted in fast international expansion and excellent response to their sales concepts.”
I find that especially interesting after I realized that although addressing pretty much the same target group, both companies follow entirely different marketing strategies. Zara and H&M are both huge European clothing retailers and each others’ biggest competitors. Meanwhile it’s publish knowledge that Zara’s secret to success is it’s short response time in terms of fashion moods. It implements fashion trends the fastest in the whole industry since the factories are located relatively close by. They forbear from cheap eastern Asian salaries to produce faster in Europe. The price for that kind of customer convenience is more expensive cloths. This sometimes cuts of the rather price-conscious H&M clients from the Zara followers. Personally, I was wondering when I read some of the numbers, which IT systems a retailer like Zara, or rather its mother company Inditex would use to keep track of all the customer needs, design specification, delivery and so on. There will be more things to consider than I can think of as an outsider.
I found information that Zara for example currently uses POS systems in its retailer. POS means point-of-sale. I found the following Wikipedia definition the most helpful, so please: The retailing industry is one of the predominant users of POS terminals.
A Retail Point of Sales system typically includes a computer, monitor, cash drawer, receipt printer, customer display and a barcode scanner, and the majority of retail POS systems also include a debit/credit card reader. It can also include a weight scale, integrated credit card processing system, a signature capture device and a customer pin pad device. More and more POS monitors use touch-screen technology for ease of use and a computer is built in to the monitor chassis for what is referred to as an all-in-one unit. All-in-one POS units save valuable counter space for the retailer. The POS system software can typically handle a myriad of customer based functions such as sales, returns, exchanges, layaways, gift cards, gift registries, customer loyalty programs, BOGO (buy one get one), quantity discounts and much more. POS software can also allow for functions such as pre-planned promotional sales, manufacturer coupon validation, foreign currency handling and multiple payment types.
The POS unit handles the sales to the consumer but it is only one part of the entire POS system used in a retail business. “Back-office” computers typically handle other functions of the POS system such as inventory control, purchasing, receiving and transferring of products to and from other locations. Other typical functions of a POS system are to store sales information for reporting purposes, sales trends and cost/price/profit analysis. Customer information may be stored for receivables management, marketing purposes and specific buying analysis. Many retail POS systems include an accounting interface that “feeds” sales and cost of goods information to independent accounting applications“
In addition to the POS system, an (rumors say OUTDATED) DOS system is also used by Zara. Vital information on the DOS system are as follows: „DOS Stands for “Disk Operating System. DOS was the first operating system used by IBM-compatible computers. It was originally available in two versions that were essentially the same, but marketed under two different names. “PC-DOS” was the version developed by IBM and sold to the first IBM-compatible manufacturers. “MS-DOS” was the version that Microsoft bought the rights to, and was bundled with the first versions of Windows.
DOS uses a command line, or text-based interface, that allows the user to type commands. By typing simple instructions such as pwd (print working directory) and cd (change directory), the user can browse the files on the hard drive, open files, and run programs. While the commands are simple to type, the user must know the basic commands in order to use DOS effectively (similar to Unix). This made the operating system difficult for novices to use, which is why Microsoft later bundled the graphic-based Windows operating system with DOS“
So knowing that Zara apparently uses an outdated IT system and STILL records enormous sales, makes me either doubt the theory of new IT systems being super-important for a company’s succes, OR makes me take into consideration that even a bigger range of sales for Zara. Either way, further investigation might be interesting….
by Inga Z.
Today in class I discussed my issues of writing my first blog post with Bruce.
My main concern was that I felt like reading for hours and not really knowing how to put it into a blogpost. And more important, I felt like my outcome didn’t reflect my efforts (which is obviously depressing). Moreover, it took me forever to find a topic to right about, but that kind of solved itself while writing.
So I talked with Bruce about it and he showed me again how to use evernote properly to collect interesting homepages/blogs I want to refer to in my post. I already used evernote for my post, but somehow I didn’t use it as efficiently as I could have. So apparently (so those of you who haven’t figured out, the others can quit reading here…) you start a new notebook and save a bunch of links in there. THEN you start scanning each link and point out the most interesting aspects in the space for notes underneath the link. After you did that for a few (let’s say at least 3) links, look at your summarizing notes and pick the one that appeals to you the most. PROBABLY, you will find it relatively easy to write your post about it. Within your blogpost, compare 3 or 4 different opinions you just researched on other webpages (preferably blogs, cause they are more recent) and eventually add your own opinion.
For your second blogpost, you can either refer to your 1st post, or write a post on someone else’s post. I hope that helped. Maybe I can explain it better in person, if you have further questions…