Archive | January, 2012

Brands That Gives Back

31 Jan

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear of fashion brands giving back, is Toms.  Toms motto of “One for One”, meaning for every pair of shoes they sell they give a pair to a child in a developing country, caught on like wildfire and shot the brand to popularity in recent years.  It’s always refreshing to see successful companies giving back to the world, while at the same time involving their customers in the process.  Buying that new pair of shoes or shirt always feels a lot more rewarding when you know you have helped someone in need at the same time.  Believe me, I know from selling about a million (okay, maybe not a million, but it seemed like it) pairs of Toms at my last job.  When the occasional customer would come in not knowing about the Toms philosophy, it was great to see how excited they would get knowing that by buying a pair of shoes for themselves, they would also be responsible for donating a pair to a child who desperately needs them.  Giving back always feels good, and it’s a great idea for fashion brands to incorporate the idea into their business.  So that got me thinking, what are some other brands, besides Toms, that use their platform to support causes and give their customers a chance to be involved?

Marc Jacobs came out with these cute graphic tees ($35) in which 100% of the proceeds are given to Aid for AIDS Intl (AFAI).  The shirts feature drawings made by children living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean.  What a great opportunity for the everyday fashionista to be the proud-owner of something Marc Jacobs at an affordable price, while at the same time supporting an amazing cause.  By supporting this charity, the brand not only got great feedback from both the press and the public, they expanded their customer base by making them affordable and by being proactive in supporting AFAI.

Another philanthropic brand, Krochet Kids International, not only has great apparel, but is entirely devoted to empowering women in Northern Uganda and Peru.  Each hat that Krochet Kids Intl. sells is handmade by one of 150 women in either of the two locations, and includes a tag with that woman’s name on it.  The owner of the hat is encouraged to head to the website, and has the opportunity to personally thank the woman who made their hat.  What a great idea!!  Not only do these women have jobs to help support their families, they are given an education and mentorship in order to lift them out of poverty and end their dependence on outside aid.  Krochet Kids Intl. has also recently joined the Instagram sensation, providing a place for customers to share their new apparel.  From a PR perspective, they have done a great job using social media to involve their customers with their cause by including them in every step of the process.

These brands, and many more, have taken a great opportunity to give back and involve their customers in their business.  By using social media they are keeping the world updated with their progress, and showing them how their customers have made an impact.  I think it’s a fantastic way for fashion companies to build on connections with consumers and expand their customer base, while at the same time providing help to those who need it.

 

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Fashion Brands Using Instagram #brilliant

29 Jan

Social media has become such an integral part of our lives today that it’s no surprise companies are using mobile apps like Instagram’s API  to engage with consumers on a more personal level.  Instagram began as an iPhone app (surprise, surprise) where users upload their own pictures as well as comment, share and like other people’s pictures.  It’s a social network for photography.  A social network that has become so popular, pictures are being upload at a rate of 15 per second!  And like any social network, brands have recognized Instagram’s popularity and put it to good use.  Fashion brands in particular have thought of creative ways to not only promote their products using Instagram, but interact with customers and turning their brands into lifestyles.

FMM (fashionablymarketing.me) recently posted an interesting story looking into how three fashion brands, Bergdorf Goodman, ALDO and Levi’s are successfully using Instagram to promote their brand and taking their public relations to a whole new level.  And although those are the only three brands mentioned in this particular post, there are not surprisingly a handful of other fashion brands using Instragram such as Gucci, Threadless and Burberry to name a few.

Bergdorf Goodman’s “Shoes About Town” Instagram campaign has been a huge success, asking customers to upload photos depicting the secret life of their luxury shoes from Bergdorf’s.  Shenan Reed, cheif marketing officer at Morpheus Media (the company Bergdorf’s partnered with for this campaign), told FMM, “Bergdorf Goodman is very forward thinking in their use of user generated content, especially for a luxury brand. When the time came to celebrate the opening of their new Shoe Salon and their latest Shoe book, Instagram just seemed like a perfect fit. We know the Bergdorf Goodman consumer loves their shoes, and we really wanted to create an interactive program that celebrated the shoe obsessed.”  Well, they hit that one right on the nose.  Bergdorf’s clearly knows their customers, and by incorporating Instagram into their business they have reached the public on a more personal level.  Fashion is such a visual industry, and using Instagram to let the shoe-fanatic share their great finds at Bergdorf’s is a fantastic and innovative idea.

FMM also discusses how ALDO uses Instagram’s API allowing users to tell their own stories of the ALDO brand and what it means to them.  They started the campaign to support their new fragrance collection, engaging customers with a Moodboard where they pick through photographs which they feel represent them and ALDO tells them which fragrance suits them best.  They have plans to increase the levels of engagement for their users by adding games to the site, which is a great idea because clearly their customers are responding well to their Instagram campaign.

Finally, Levi’s has been using Instagram not only to promote their brand, but as a global casting call to find the freshest faces to represent Levi’s in 2012.  Talk about brilliant.  I completely agree with FMM that Levi’s has come up with a great way to encourage worldwide participation in their brand by inviting everyday people to become a part of Levi’s.  Not only are they asking customer’s to upload photos of them in their favorite Levi’s fashions, to enter the program users upload photos with the hashtag #iamlevis.  They are making their brand a lifestyle, and giving customers the chance to make it big.

It will be interesting to see which brands (fashion and all) jump on the Instagram bandwagon, because clearly it is a successful tool that connects brands with customers and reaches them on a more personal level.

Will You Be Able to Watch NYFW From Your iPhone?

26 Jan


Well, only if you are one of the carefully selected buyers, editors, stylists or industry reporters invited to view Prabal Gurung debut his new collection for ICB digitally during this February’s New York Fashion Week.  “Attendees” will be able to view the show on a computer, tablet or smartphone on February 15th, in the midst of NYFW.  Garung teamed up with KCD, a top fashion industry PR and production agency, and branding agency King & Partners to introduce this innovative way to bring the fashion show from the runway to the iWorld.  And with how quickly our lives have turned digital, why not?  Of course the experiences of going to a fashion show, seeing the clothes, having the opportunity to network and travel to fashion capitals like New York, Paris and London can’t be replaced, but in a week’s schedule busy enough to fill up an entire month for some, going digital might be welcomed.

Not only will selected invitees be able to view the pre-recorded show on their choice of iDevices, there will also be photographs of each look accompanied with detailed shots of accessories, shoes and makeup.  In addition, guests are given access to behind-the-scenes interviews with the designer, and the ability to tag their favorite looks, making it interactive for the buyers.  “Going digital” remains a fairly untapped tool for the fashion world in terms of presenting their lines, and KCD is paving the way to something that may become a part of every fashion line.  Ed Filipowski, Co-President of KCD, told the Wall Street Journal, “Our industry has not taken the time to look within itself and find the digital tools we need.”  KCD is taking that step into mostly uncharted waters to find out if this the way of the future.

In a world where our iPhones, iPads and iEverythings are attached to our hands 24/7, brands have to find ways to make themselves fit into people’s busy lives.  I don’t see digital fashion shows replacing live runway shows anytime soon, but I do think KCD has found a creative way to make sure people (no, not everyday people like ourselves) but influential players in the fashion world, pay attention to Gurung’s new line.  They don’t intend to replace the experience of going to a runway show, but they are providing an alternative for buyers, stylists and reporters who aren’t able to attend every show during the busiest month for fashion.  Mr. Filipowski said, “We are fashion purists and we believe in the runway show. This online experience will replicate the pureness of a live runway show, the only thing this doesn’t give you is the glass of champagne. Bring your own.”

However, fashion PR and marketing expert Crosby Noricks brings up a good point in her blog post on PR Couture, urging the press and bloggers alike to not solely use the “PR approved” shots and descriptions of the clothing provided while they write their critiques, but to bring their own individual reviews to the table.

It will be interesting to see if the digital debut is a success and evolves into a norm for the fashion world, or if the live runway show will live on.  Now if only I could get my hands on one of those invites…

 

Photo Credit: Maxene Huiyu

Welcome!

19 Jan

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Rachael Urrutia and I’m a senior at the University of Oregon in beautiful, but rainy (I’ll come back to this later) Eugene, Oregon.  I’m a journalism student here with a focus in public relations, and until now was pretty unsure of what I wanted to do.  Am I the only one who feels a slight embarrassment when replying “um, I’m not sure yet” to the often-repeated and until now, dreaded, “what do you want to do once you graduate” question?  To which the answer is always “oh…well, you have some time.”  Well, my time has finally come!  For one of my journalism classes we were assigned to create a blog about an area of public relations that interests us, and the first thing that came to my mind was: fashion!

I have a serious love for fashion.  Like I said earlier, I live in Eugene, where more often than not there is a torrential downpour outside my window, and the outdoors aren’t especially inviting.  But while it’s dumping buckets outside, I can sit on my computer for hours upon hours and get lost in chiffon blouses and five-inch heels.  I can pass the day away clicking through sites like Wanelo or Pintrest looking at amazing clothes and finding new stores and designers to obsess over.  I know, to some people that may sound crazy, but if you’re still reading this, then you can probably relate.

Now back to my blog.  When I started exploring the world of fashion public relations I found sites likes PR Couture and nyc PR girls which showed me how this career path is the perfect fit for me.  The profession is constantly changing and evolving, is on the cutting-edge of fashion and you never seem to slow down.  From my blog I hope to keep you up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of fashion from a PR perspective, discuss ways PR professionals can best promote their clients and how they can connect with the public using social media.

Enjoy!

Photo credit: Ana Garcia