Category Archives: Fashion

Gucci Gucci goo

I’ve talked about how different fashion houses have started livestreaming  their shows over the internet a few posts back and now that it’s Fashion Week all over again, we can expect them to once again broadcast their collections for fashionistas all over the world to see in real-time. Last night, Burberry showed its women’s Spring-Summer 2011 collection live from London and I was able to watch only snippets of it (my internet connection was rather choppy and the video host kept buffering every two seconds or so). Needless to say, it is a triumph for the brand granted that every time they do a livestream, thousands of people around the globe tune in to their website. Burberry is one of the frontrunners in innovative fashion show webcasts, having streamed their last season’s show in 3-D.  However, despite being 3-D, it still looked rather grainy. This season, they were successful in broadcasting it on high-definition. Even with that, it seems another brand is trying to top their performance with one that is more outlandish, if you will (fashion is about extravagance, after all).

Burberry women's Spring-Summer 2011

Burberry women's Spring-Summer 2011

Enter Gucci. Gucci of course, is a brand that needs no introduction. Like Burberry, it too has jumped on the livestream bandwagon. Last season they did simulcasts of different cameras stationed in different locations within the venue of their show, much like what you’d see on CCTV camera screens. However, like Burberry, the quality of the video was not exactly up to par. This concern is probably a result of having so many viewers watching the stream at a time. This season, they’re being more exclusive as now they require an online RSVP for one to view the channel. I have a feeling that they too will be doing a high-definition broadcast given that Burberry has raised the bar considerably high. Apart from the live-Tweet function (which Burberry also offers), Gucci has this webcam viewing option so online guests can see each other while they watch. Now, I really don’t see the point in doing this since everyone would be fixated on whatever would come down the runway. It does give the impression of Gucci being more advanced nonetheless when it comes to its web platform. Whether they will succeed Burberry will be found out later, in approximately six hours.

This display of “Who does livestreams better?” certainly shows how much companies are capitalizing on the fact that a lot of those who comprise of their stakeholders are netizens. They’re definitely bringing out the big guns to catch their audience’s attention. These PR efforts certainly makes these luxury giants more appealing to a greater number of people and thus create a bigger demand for their products. If that is the case, then wouldn’t it be nice if Philippine Fashion Week did the same? After all, gaining worldwide recognition is about as easy as doing a live webcast.


She’s everywhere

On September 4, 2010, my org, the Junior Marketing Association – University of the Philippines Manila (JMAUPM), held a seminar on various online marketing strategies. The guest speakers for the afternoon were Zack Bulatao of CreatiVoices, freelancer Tricia Gosingtian, Camille Co of Coexist, and Beam Mariano of Artwine. Each of them shared their experiences as well as tips on how to market one’s brand. Miss Gosingtian in particular elicited much excitement and anticipation from the audience as she is the most prominent figure among the four.

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosintian)

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosingtian)

Tricia, despite the fact that she is not involved with any particular company unlike the other speakers, is arguably better-known because of her internet popularity. Since she uses a plethora of platforms to promote “Tricia Gosingtian, Inc.”, it is really no surprise that most of the audience members know her or have at least heard about her. It is her knack for for projecting such an appealing public persona that made her a fixture in the Philippine social scene and blogosphere.

Surprisingly though, Tricia shared that her celebrity status came by accident and insisted that she did not expect this kind of attention from people. She said that her so-called success stemmed from her “hobby of being self-centered” and everything else snowballed from that. What began as her simple outlet for her creativity (she is a professional photographer after all) has catapulted her to internet fame, so much so that she has approximately 19,000 followers on Tumblr (it is is ranked second in Topblogs.com.ph in the Fashion and Beauty category), 13,000 likes on Facebook, 9,000 followers on Twitter, and and 5,000 fans on LOOKBOOK.nu. She’s also in YouTube, deviantART, Flickr, Chictopia, and has her own food blog. One might ask how does a typical 20-year-old girl achieve this kind of feat (in less than two years’ time, mind you)? Her secret is remarkably simple: by being everywhere.

Tricia’s meteoric rise to the cyber-stratosphere is a well-thought-of and carefully-orchestrated effort on her part. By capitalizing on her initial popularity on Tumblr, she was able to redirect her readers to other web platforms in which she is also using. It is a product of a domino effect of sorts. When people see different links, especially to social networking sites, on her blog, the tendency is for them to click on them and eventually follow, like, or become a fan of her account on that site.

Organizations and brands can learn a thing or two from Tricia’s marketing strategy, specifically in tapping online communities and promoting online. In order to achieve online visibility, one must learn how to catch the attention of one’s target audience or primary stakeholders and have them tuning in for more. In Tricia’s case, she gave people something nice to look at in the form of her well-taken photographs and her insights on fashion. Brands should be able to captivate their target market by providing content that is both relevant to their cause and in line with the interests of their audience. Some actually commit the very common mistake of relying solely on the existence of a Facebook fan page in the belief that the mere presence of such would already suffice for visibility effort. In order to establish oneself in the internet, consistency and more importantly, active participation (responsiveness) of the brand is necessary to effectively achieve their cause.

Certainly, successful online marketing does not stop at existence for existence’s sake. To be a front-runner on the realm of internet promotions means that one should grab every opportunity (seize whatever popular web platform at the time) for marketing oneself. Only through that could one reach popularity of Tricia Gosingtian levels.


When plain old marketing just won’t cut it anymore…

It seems that relying solely on deep-seated customer loyalty will no longer guarantee the much-anticipated profit turnout. To survive in the cutthroat world of business, one must possess not only a thick leathery hide for criticism but also a very much good sense of the global economy. It is undeniable that the global financial crisis of 2007 has left a lot of casual casualties (in terms of businesses) in its wake and the ill effects of the initial downturn spiral of the world’s finances are still being felt today albeit some period of recovery. Even publicly listed industry juggernauts felt the pressure of cutting back spending and rethinking their already-laid-out strategies in keeping their target markets buying their wares. Such is the case of  certain luxury fashion houses.

Fashion used to be a bit of a technophobic industry. Kaiser Karl [Lagerfeld] himself admitted to being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to using the internet, saying: “I don’t use a computer; I do research with my brain, And if I want or need to — I get people to do it for me.” Fashion (and celebrity blog) darling Marc Jacobs on the other hand has developed a rather steady relationship with the internet, being an avid commenter on blogs. Designers Nicolas Ghesquiere and Miuccia Prada, however, both are clueless in terms of using the internet.

Prada official website

Prada official website

Prada US online store

Prada US online store

Nowadays, more high-end brands are embracing the internet and if I’m not mistaken have made it into their new marketplace of sorts. Since the tangible markets (read: boutiques) are losing their potency in generating customer interest in brands, labels are now tapping the new democratic (if I do say so myself) medium which is social media. Of course, online shopping is not exactly a brand-spanking-new phenomenon, but it is only now that these fashion giants learn to utilize it (or rather milk it of its potential in raking in customers old and new). Of course, this will not replace the joy of actually going to a store and trying on clothes but it certainly helps in ensuring patrons of easy accessibility to their products. It must be effective since a lot of labels have already begun selling online or have plans to do so in the near future — Jimmy Choo, Hugo Boss, Lancôme, St. John, Theory, Donna Karan, La Perla, among others. Prada, most notably, launched their US online store last June 30th.

The implication here to corporate strategists is to be very receptive the changing needs and interests of the publics whom they serve. Rethinking a company’s marketing and communication strategies can certainly mean a lot especially with the volatile condition of the world’s economy. This goes very much hand-in-hand with one of our lectures in class wherein company websites are proving to be a very profitable venture that brands can rely on in promoting themselves. One simply cannot adhere to very rigid and traditional marketing styles. Like haute couture, one must try to customize their strategy according to the business environment. After all, the worst thing to happen if you’re in the fashion industry is to be out of style, both technologically and sartorially.


Paper is so ten years ago

I think it’s safe to say that not a lot of people appreciate books anymore. With most of the world being more fixated on their computer screens, it’s amazing how publishing houses still rake in money. The solution? Make books and magazines digital of course! It’s really amazing how the first published books in human history were only made available to those who have the sufficient funds, not to mention social status, to avail of these then-considered luxury items. Now, it seems, books, magazines, newspapers, and all other print media can be had almost anywhere. Lately, however, the rise of mass media translated into more people favoring these new developments. Some people no longer turn to print for their daily dose of news; instead they opt for Yahoo! News or other online news-providing bodies. Others don’t bother reading entire novels and instead rely on film or television adaptations of certain works. Let’s face it, not a lot of people are into reading things on paper because of the subconscious association of it to tediousness. We may not realize it, but we already give printed materials a negative connotation and that is “work.” Given these examples, one might think print is a dying medium. Well, not exactly.

As we’ve learned from Sir Isaac Newton, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The shift towards digital media definitely made publishing houses rethink their strategies. Rather than spend more on promoting their printed products, they simply offered an alternative approach in ensuring that their target audiences will read their publications. They resolved this by introducing the idea of the e-book or electronic book, which of course we know as the digital counterparts of houses’ inked and bound predecessors. Of course, they didn’t stop at just books. E-zines or electronic magazines soon flourished, so did online versions of newspapers and academic journals. Some of the very evident benefits to having a paperless method of information sharing is the reduced waste. Paper is certainly a commodity that diminishes as fast as any rainforest from which its raw materials are sourced from. Second, it ensues the readership of its target stakeholders. That being said, it also makes it even more accessible to a broader audience since almost everyone has an internet connection nowadays. I’ve mentioned earlier that we tend to avoid literature on paper, digital versions of these seem less intimidating by virtue of the thickness of the collective binding of pages. In short, PDFs are a lot less frightening. This paved the way for social publishing sites like Scribd and Issuu.

Vanity Teen 9

Vanity Teen 9

Vanity Teen 9

Vanity Teen 9

Vanity Teen 9

Vanity Teen 9

Just to add, e-zines are also growing more and more popular. At first, books and newspapers were gaining steady readership online but now so do magazines. Apart from the mainstream magazines dominating the market, the internet has given smaller, independent magazine houses a medium in which they can promote their publication and achieve momentum in terms of getting subscribers and advocates. Among my favorites are Vanity Teen and 160g. As you may have guessed, these are fashion magazines. E-magazines Publications like these have very specific niche markets and I guess that given their considerably small (but growing) fan-bases, it won’t be long that they reach mainstream success because of the internet. The best part about it is that they don’t have to spend as much for paper as big-name publishers do.

P.S. Do check out Vanity Teen Issue 9, featuring a 20-page editorial featuring Francisco Lachowski, photographed by Marley Kate.


The power of (fashion) blogging

Two days ago, I was invited to a product launch party for Sally Hansen’s new Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Polish. During my on-the-job training over the summer, I learned that as a Public Relations practitioner, a good reputation should always come hand-in-hand with a good consumer relationship. That being said, our company invited the editors of the country’s most prestigious fashion glossies (Zo Aguila, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Philippines and Cindy Go, Beauty Editor of Preview, among others) to try the product firsthand as well as cover the event, which included a mini-collection presented by renowned designer Tina Daniac. Needless to say, the event was a hit among the editors as well as to the distributor of Sally hansen products in the country, Unisell Corporation.

Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen: America's #1 Nail Expert

Now, how does blogging fit in to this picture you ask? Well, I had the privilege of being introduced to Miss Daniac at some point during the soirée and while we were having a little chit-chat about the evening’s activities, she mentioned that events like that should have more bloggers in the guest list. I was dumbstruck for a moment with her remark. At first I thought, “Us? seriously?” There has always been a long-standing hostility towards fashion bloggers in the Western world particularly because some can be relentless in their criticisms and given their fair share of regular readers, spell h-e-a-d-a-c-h-e to most designers, especially if they get scathing reviews. There are however, a fabulous few who actually have much respect in the industry in their blogging ventures, take Tavi Gevinson (The Style Rookie) for instance. Anyway there I was, conversing with a Philippine Fashion Week darling who was consequently disproving my earlier belief. Later I realized that, in the Philippine context, it made perfect sense.

It is common knowledge that the local fashion industry has yet to have the due recognition and loyal customer base it deserves from the Filipino people. In other countries, fashion is “big business.” Here, only those who know of the industry’s existence (beyond the mass-market brands like Bench, Penshoppe, and the like) are the ones who get to appreciate it and in turn buy from it. Given this dilemma, what better way to achieve sufficient publicity through a wide range of media? From the point-of-view of fashion designers, making money is necessary to strengthen their respective businesses. Publicity is a commodity for them as much as fabric and thread.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Polish Press Launch.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Polish Press Launch

With fashion bloggers (and blogging, in general), they are able to tap into their target market who do not make much use of print media. We know that a blogger can be a potential opinion leader and in turn can convince his or her readers to take into consideration whatever it is that he or she recommends or gives an opinion about. In short, blogs step in where mainstream journalism stops. They reinforce what big-name journalists say about a certain designer but at the same time, can go against them. Regardless of what the reader chooses to believe, the publicity generated is valuable to any designer who wants to make a lasting impression in the local fashion scene. Needless to say, fashion blogging is Public Relations at work. Granted that at least one blogger (with a sizable readership, that is) gives a positive response to a product (or in the case of Miss Daniac, a mini-collection), it can possibly lead to more potential consumers.

I realized that this is very much an application of what we were talking about last Saturday during our OrCom 152 class. Nowadays, the broadcast model of communication is no longer the most ideal structure of communication. The playing field has been leveled off because of the current preference towards a more interactive model. One now has the liberty to choose whose opinion to adhere to. Also, putting it in the perspective of the Social Media model, the more people who share this information, the more likely will an organization (Unisell Corporation, for one) can flourish with the products and services it provides. With this new way of information exchange, building lasting customer relations just got a whole lot easier.

P.S. Sally Hansen’s new line of nail polish did not disappoint. Also, Tina’s collection was amazing! *winks*