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I am shocked to read Cathy Horyn’s article in the “New York Times”  titled Muscling in on the Front Row as she discusses that celebrities actually get paid to sit front row at fashion shows during New York Fashion Week! Can you believe that? Celebrities are getting paid up to $100,000 for sitting front row at famous designer shows, something I can only dream of experiencing  in my life time.

It appears that bloggers are not the only lucky individuals that designers are fighting to have sitting front row at their shows during fashion week. Not only do editors such as Anna Wintour have to make room for amateur bloggers, but Ms Wintour keep moving down and make room for the celebrities! The things that designers will do for good publicity are hard to believe! Even in economically challenging times designers are still willing to fork out as much cash as their budgets can allow for celebrities to sit front row at their shows as a way to endorse and promote their collections. When celebrities are charging a hundred thousand dollars plus traveling and accommodation fees, no wonder designers are blogger lovers. The free publicity from bloggers must be a large relief on designers cheque books in such poor economic times.

Another idea occurred to me, designers must just be happy that bloggers are more than willing to attend their shows, as it is a dream fulfilled for them. I am sure designers are happy to have individuals with a desire to experience their collection before the public in the audience, especially over the celebrities that are paid to attend the shows, and are probably dressed by personal stylists most of the time. Just because a celebrity appears to be glamorous does not mean it is exactly their personal style that they are sporting, most are dressed by hired stylists, especially during public appearances like New York Fashion Week.

Fashion week has become less of a fashion focused experience and more of a media frenzy full of appearance opportunities for entertainers, and other famous faces. As popular culture takes over the fashion industry, once exclusively open to only editors and fashion journalists, the industry becomes less ridged each season. It appears that bloggers should be the last people to worry about when celebrities are socking up the cash just for appearing interested while sitting front row. When you think about it a celebrity does not necessarily even have to be a fan of the designer, they just have to sit front row with a smile on their face.  At least bloggers are genuine fans of the designers and true lovers of fashion. Bloggers are not making appearances or trying to create publicity they are sitting front row and achieving dreams that many youthful fashion lovers before them would never dare dreampt of. Not only are these bloggers sitting front row they are gaining success at an extraordinary rate because of their sharp eyes and advanced writing skills.

So next time someone complains about bloggers who are working fashion shows while sitting front row, ask them the question, why celebrities being bribed to take seats is appropriate over the blogging fashion lovers who have worked their way in to that exclusive position?

Keep striving fashion lovers, one day that could be you squished between Madonna and Anna Wintour at a Marc Jacobs New York Fashion Week runway show!

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The Online Brand Community

Alexander McQueen defines the marketing term ‘brand community’ as, “a fabric of relationships in which the costumer is situated” this is a very well worded definition.
In the article in “Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management”, Jane Boyd Thomas, Cara Okleshen Peters, and Holly Tolson, discuss the new trend of marketing online on websites that host fan pages, such as MySpace, or Facebook. In the article McQueen speaks openly about his marketing Technique of forming a relationship with his fans to promote his brand in the virtual world that has become so overwhelmingly advanced. McQueen and other designers discuss the idea of this “powerful marketing tool” being successful because of the public forum atmosphere that fan pages, or discussion groups about specific brands create. These fan groups give each individual their chance to speak openly and honestly about the brand, positive or
negative, and as society has told us time and time again, “no publicity is bad publicity”. We are aware that using the internet chat groups as a marketing tool is successful, but do you ever wonder why exactly the brands have reached such popularity through online discussion groups? Although we can’t deny that our society is very much accessible through our computers now, we know that not everyone has always been so dependent on the internet, and not all fans would necessarily join these discussions groups, so what is the secret to their success?
The answer is youth. Fashion houses marketing and publicity teams work hard to aim their marketing specifically at the youth of society. What better people to reach over the internet then the internet savvy generation of todays teenagers and young adults. Clearly teenagers in today’s society are constantly exposed to marketing gimmicks and marketing techniques, and especially through the internet. The idea of targeting the youth as the marketing group is of course not always ethical or appropriate maybe, but it sure is successful! I think that designers would be making a mistake if they are not already on websites as popular as “twitter” or “Facebook” where they can reach millions of people for the low-cost of nothing, especially in today’s economy where the sales of luxury items such as brand name and designer fashion is struggling.

The online fashion community largely relies on the idea of peer influence and a word of mouth method of spreading information. Designers are hoping that they will not have to influence youth to buy their product if other teenagers are spreading the word for them, and let me remind you this is all FREE for designers. Is this just an economically intelligent way of spreading word, and promoting a product, or is it a lazy marketing technique of designers? Is the virtual world doing a marketers job for them now?

It seems that these internet phenomenon’s like “YouTube” or “Facebook” are no longer amateur expression of control over the corporate based society, but a more financially achievable method of advertising and marketing for corporations, and that this amateur virtual world is quickly developing in to an internet capitalist society. Society thought that internet sensations like “YouTube” and “Facebook” would be an amateur arena, free from capitalism but when designers use these amateur websites to promote their products, or upload their own advertisements how much of an amateur atmosphere does the site really maintain? Marketers will always find a way to invade a society, such as the internet which is a large mass audience of millions, and transform it into a world of hidden advertisements and marketing.

These designers and fashion houses save millions in advertising using the internet as sales continue to maintain pace in the market place. These designers have figured out the way to break into a society that is supposed to be supported by amateurs and free from corporate influence, and for that we have to give them some credit, they are making millions off of our dependence on the internet.
Feel like part of a marketing gimmick now, looks like our generation has had the wool pulled over our eyes!

This Blog is dedicated to an innovative user of the internet, and design genius, the late Lee McQueen, of  the Alexander McQueen fashion house.

Designers are speaking to the fashion consumer masses through ‘Twitter’ as a social networking medium.

Designers has changed ‘Twitter’ from the typical networking website used to communicate on an interpersonal level between friends or as ‘Twitter’ calls them ‘followers’. The social network that was once used for maintenance of interpersonal relationships is now the new marketing technique for the fashion industry. Famous design houses like Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karen, are just a few of the famous fashion houses that have taken to Twitter, YouTube, and MySpace, to market their brands to the masses via internet as their information medium.

In an article written by Lauren Benet Stephenson, of the “Women’s Wear Daily” magazine, Stephenson discusses the idea of marketing through the internet. As fashion in print seems to become more and more of an ancient practice with the development and improvements of the internet, products are looking to the internet as a home for their advertisements.  Could it be that one day we will be relying on blogs for our fashion news, that the bible of fashion “Vogue” Magazine will one day be obsolete because of the internet? As advertisers pull from print journalism, designers have to get creative about how to market their products. As a result many design houses have turned to the idea of building an interpersonal relationship with its followers through social networking mediums such as ‘Twitter’ or ‘MySpace’.

Designers such as Donna Karen or Alexander McQueen have discovered the internet as a new marketing tool they have built relationships while interacting through social networks with their fans. This marketing tool is absolutely brilliant!!  Making fans feel as though they are interacting with designers on a more personal level builds trust in the designer and the brand that they promote. When a consumer feels as though they are acknowledged and appreciated by a designer,  in return they will be loyal to the brand, and interact with the brand on a more personal level. The consumer will no longer feel as though they are a fan, but part of the exclusive fashion house. And as I have stated many times before the exclusiveness of the fashion industry is part of what makes fashion so mysteriously sexy and intriguing to the fashion lovers who dream of belonging in the front row of fashion week. For designers to take the idea of the exclusive world and welcome fans into their lives through ‘YouTube’ diaries and ‘Twitter’ posts is a well-developed marketing technique.  Using technological tools such as ‘Twitter’ or ‘Facebook’ business page, places the designer in the position of the messenger, or medium between fashion house and consumer, and who better to deliver an advertisement than the designer themselves.

The internet is used on every level of the fashion industry. Most importantly now though designers have caught on to the internet as a marketing and advertising tool that will reach the most consumers, at the quickest rate. The designer interacting with fans on a personal level  builds trust in the brand and great loyalty in the consumer.

Really, who wouldn’t want to receive a tweet from a designer like Betsy Johnson, who has been known to reply to her followers on many occasions.

Keep breaking down those barriers into the fashion world my fellow fashion lovers and capture front row!!!

 

I have mentioned young fashion blogger, Tavi Gevinson, again and again in my blog. As it is a blog about the movement through technology of the fashion industry it is hard to turn anywhere in the fashion world without reading about Gevinson.

Although I have been critical, and at times pessimistic about how capable this thirteen year old is of being knowledgeable about fashion to the extent of a fashion editor or journalist, this thirteen year old blogger might be  starting to change my opinion of her. After reading an article published in the “Chicago Tribune” titled Tavi Gevinson earns acclaim with Style Rookie fashion Blog  written by Megan Twohey, I have more respect for the pint-sized blogger.

Not only is the four and a half-foot thirteen year old author and editor of her own fashion blog, but she is attending fashion shows,  gracing covers of magazines, and helping to launch a new line at Target, all while she is attending the eighth grade like a normal thirteen year old. Although I have never hesitated to question the small fashion lover, I have to admit at thirteen I was cutting pictures from fashion magazines, and shopping on weekends with friends, so she definately has me beat. I guess we have to give the girl some credit, because really what were you doing at the young age of thirteen?

Gevinson recently began her own fashion column in Harper’s Bazaar, she is the youngest author to ever be published in the prestigious magazine.  The blogger brings in 30,000 readers daily on her blog, and writes for Harper’s Bazaar, that is more than an achievement at any age, that is a dream. Although I still find it crazy that this thirteen year old is being labeled as an “international sensation” in the fashion world. Gevinson proved her advanced maturity in the article, as she spoke about the ‘gimmicky’ deals that she has turned down, book deals that she has passed by and the fact that she only does 5% of the interviews that are requested of her. Gevinson seems as though she has a good head on her shoulders as she goes on to talk about how she would only ever work for publishments that she respects,which is more than a lot of people can say.  Gevinson also admits that the internet was her way to a young successful career, at the age of thirteen. Without the medium of technology Gevinson, like all young bloggers, would not have had such an early and easy entrance into the fashion industry. The advancements that technology provide today are crazy! The idea that a blog can take you from your bedroom at thirteen to a Paris fashion show the next day is surreal. Gevinson also discusses the fact that the way she became so knowledgable about fashion was through the internet. The internet has become a well-rounded culture all on its own.

 The internet is a one-stop-shop for the fashion industry. Not only can you shop online, read about fashion, and view runway shows, but now you can start your own fashion career online as well.

After reading Nicola Copping’s article Style Bloggers take center Stage  it got me thinking…In the article, Copping addressed the issue of bloggers invading the front row of fashion week. Especially the idea that some of these bloggers are SO YOUNG!  Copping discusses a particular blogger, Bryanboy a.k.a Bryan Grey-Yambao . Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, are just two of many designers to accept, and embrace the new fashion blog trend that has swept the fashion world. Dolce & Gabbana view Bryanboy as equally important as having Anna Wintour, “Vogue” editor, or Michael Roberts “Vanity Fair” editor, who both sat along side Bryanboy at the D&G runway show. Dolce & Gabbana are two designers who have caught on to the benefit of having a blogger front row at your fashions show, which is instant publicity. While readers have to wait a months to see collections in magazines, Bryanboy instantly uploads videos, pictures, and critiques for all his followers to view instantly after watching a runway show.  Designers are catching on to the idea that bloggers can be instant publicity, and free advertising for them. Designers are much more embracing of the fashion blogging movement than editors, Burberry Creative Director even went as far to say,  “It’s important that the bloggers become well respected. They have a very articulate way of expressing an opinion. The difference between bloggers and traditional press is that [bloggers] are often talking directly to a final consumer.” Bloggers are instantly reaching global masses with their blogs. Vanity fair which circulates an average of 200, 000 magazines each month, Bryanboy squashes that number with 215,000 visitors to his blog each day. 

Designers also seem to be embracing the bloggers with an open door policy. Welcoming all new comers into the  fashion world, a world that used to be full of hierarchy and exclusion. Designers want to encourage the image that ‘anyone’ can land front row at fashion week if they create their own successful blog. The entire amateur blogger movement increases the idea that fashion is no longer a hierarchy, not a closed off world from the masses, but that it is now an achievable dream for all fashion lovers. Designers seem to want to encourage this idea, with the hopes maybe that it will make the fashion world an even more powerful dream for fashion lovers. 

No matter the reason why, designers seem to be embracing the blogger phenomenon full force. Are designers really just embracing the masses, and trying to encourage people to work for their dreams of entering the fashion industry? Or is the welcoming attitude of fashion bloggers a marketing technique? I can’t help but think that bloggers may just be the new medium for designers to present their collections to the masses. The fashion world has always thrived off of the idea of luxury and hierarchy, so why now would designers take on the idea that the fashion world should have an open door policy, unless it is benefiting the designers themselves. Every designer wants to reach the masses to sell their product, and fashion bloggers have become the new inventive way to reach the masses. So the question is no longer should fashion bloggers be front row at fashion shows, but more importantly we should  dissect the reason as to why bloggers are sitting front row? Bloggers are the new instant advertisements for fashion designers. 

Bryanboy and other bloggers  are the  new walking billboard! 

 

New York Fashion Week took on a very youthful feel this past fall, and I am not talking about the fashion. Young amateur bloggers filled the seats of famous designer runway shows such as Marc Jacobs and Rodarte.

Young fashion bloggers are taking on a whole new kind of celebrity in the fashion world, amateurs such as Jane Aldrigde, age 17, with her blog “Sea of Shoes”  has jumped from amateur blogger to designer with her new shoe collection  for Urban Outfitters. Fashion blogger, BryanBoy, age 23, recently sat front row at multiple fashion week shows and even had a bag from Marc Jacobs fall ’08 collection named after him. Julia Frakes was hired to write for Paper Magazine at the age of 17. These are just a few of the newly famed fashion bloggers, that have used the internet as their single tool to launching their fashion careers at such a young age.

Then there is Tavi Gevinson, a whole new kind of young amateur fashion blogger. Tavi is thirteen years old. Yes. Let me repeat that, THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!! Tavi Gevinson who started her own fashion blog at age 11 in  2008, landed herself front row seats to Marc Jacobs and Rodarte this past fall. Any fashion lover would describe Gevinson’s accomplishment of front row seats, as unattainable in an industry as exclusive and competitive as the fashion industry.  As surreal as it is that a 13 year old would even be at a fashion show, let alone front row seats, it appears to be a new trend that has no end date in sight.

There has been much controversy surrounding Gevinson’s presence at fashion week, presenting the question of how appropriate is it for a 13-year-old Gevinson to sit front row with established editors and fashion journalists who have devoted years in the competitive fashion industry to get their chance at front row?  In my opinion it is crazy that any thirteen year old who can write a critical fashion piece receives almost instant front row fame, a position that others have worked years for. With advancements of technology, amateurs have been able to use the internet as a tool to break in to the fashion industry at alarmingly young ages. Is Gevinson some sort of child protegé with extreme talents, or is she a young girl with a desire to play dress up? Can any thirteen year old with an eclectic style, and interest in fashion rise to the position that Gevinson has in the past two years? And how credible is the opinion of a thirteen year old? This is just an example that amateur blogging has created a whole new section of writing in the fashion industry. I would have to say that the blogging phenomenon of the internet is decreasing the credibility of fashion journalism. When a thirteen year old can sit beside established writers and editors like Anna Wintour, something is defiantly wrong with the fashion industry. Gevinson is an example that amateur blogging has been taken too far! When a thirteen year old who appears as though she has spent an hour in her mothers closet, piling on as many different mixed and matched patterns and styles as she can find in a form of dress up, sits front row at a fashion show, something is wrong! So lets clear the tents, it is no place for teens!!

Fashion Faux Pas

Who knew it was such a fashion faux pas to give an honest critical review of a designer’s collection?

The new trend in fashion appears to be the banning of critical fashion journalist from high-end designer shows. In a world as creative and artistically charged as the fashion industry it is disappointing that it is unacceptable in the view of designers for someone to have a different creative opinion as themselves. As Cathy Horyn, author of the New York Times article “My Invitation Isn’t in the Mail”  pointed out, ” the fashion industry is the only creative field that attempts to bar the news media.”  Horyn also examines the idea of the caste system that makes up the fashion industry, that maintains such an exclusive atmosphere and prestige. It is common knowledge that not just ‘anyone’ can attend a fashion show by a well-known designer such as Giorgio Armani, and apparently it is not just the common folk that are excluded anymore, fashion journalists with a differing opinion from Mr. Armani are now on the outside of the fashion tents.

In 2008 Horyn was banned by Armani from attending his future fashion shows because he believed that Horyn was too critical and had “an embedded preconception” of Armani and his collection. Although you would assume Horyn would be devastated and immediately disadvantaged as a ‘banned’ fashion journalist, Horyn seemed to have a different outlook and a suprising solution to the ban. Horyn got technical. Fashion shows are now streamed online for all to view, so not even Armani could stop her from viewing and critiquing his collection. That is the beauty about the fashion world going technical, the caste system of fashion is quickly breaking down as the industry becomes a more accessible world to fashion lovers.

Horyn then continues to discuss the idea that Armani should completely cut out the middle man, that is the fashion journalist, and take the fashion right to the public. Is that the future of fashion? A live streamed, audience free runway show? No more shots of famous fashion editors sitting front row, beside celebrities and fashion icons that currently fill the front row seats of fashion week? Could Horyn be on to a technologically advanced marketing idea,  and the end of the fashion industry caste system, or could this idea be the beginning of the death of the fashion industry?

Although it is a great idea to broadcast fashion shows on the internet for those that are not part of the hierarchy caste system of the fashion elite, does it really require cutting out the fashion journalists. Aren’t those journalists supposed to be our guide to what is hot and what is not, aren’t they supposed to be the eye of the consumer, the critical leader looking out for its fashion reader. It is important for the walls of exclusiveness to be broken down some what, allowing fashion lovers to have a glimpse into the fashion world that they so desperately wish to be a part of, so I vote yes for displaying fashion shows online. As for the topic of cutting out the middle man entirely, I vote no. Isn’t part of the fantasy of fashion the exclusive membership into the mysteriously sexy fashion world, a world that fashion lovers can only dream of one day reaching, isn’t the fight to belong part of the appeal of the fashion industry?

Fashion is a world, far from our own, a world of wonder and beauty,but  is that world going to be tainted by technological advancements or will technology take the fashion world to a whole new level?

I guess we will just have to wait and see what the world of fashion has in store for us, my fellow fashion lovers!