The fashion industry is proving how online content can be harnessed to establish and promote a brand�s voice
What would a magazine be without a fashion section? It doesn�t matter how high- or low-brow it considers itself, but virtually every mag, from the glossy weekend newspaper supplements to the weeklies and monthlies (aimed at both sexes), invariably features ridiculously good-looking people modelling occasionally ridiculous styles. The Message is no different. Only, our take on it is a little unusual�
Considering it wasn�t so long ago that social media was being dismissed as a �fad�, it�s a little ironic that, today, we can point to the fashion industry (which, after all, is all about creating and effectively marketing styling fads) as proof of how successful social media and online content is in reporting and promoting a trend, a product or even an entire industry.
The face of fashion reporting used to be a smooth, thin, mirco-dermabrasioned scowl hiding behind an oversized pair of sunglasses. Now, though, thanks to bloggers, a new, far more diverse picture has emerged.
A new era
Amateur fashion reporters have been harnessing the tools of the Web to publish their sartorial opinions since the term �blog� was first coined at the end of last century. The mainstream fashion media was aware of these enthusiasts, and rather patronisingly dismissed them.
The fashion industry itself, however, recognised fashion blogging for what it was � a direct dialogue with the most passionate consumers, making the bloggers themselves buzz-generators who were fresh, novel and had a desire to provide the missing link between the labels and the street.
By 2005, fashion bloggers were sharing front-row show seats with the likes of famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour � and were commenting in an unbiased way on the latest offerings from some of the world�s most exclusive labels.
Technology raises the bar
In the recent (northern) Spring/Summer 2011 show season, the instantaneous fashion journalism pioneered by the bloggers and since adopted by the mainstream media was the only acceptable kind. Bloggers have raised the bar for coverage and timeliness. Images and opinions from shows are available often minutes after a show has ended � or even, thanks to live video streaming, during it!
Brands embrace social media
The traffic fashion blogs receive around fashion week has been extraordinary for several years, and labels and brands are now beginning to realise the opportunities this offers. As a result, labels like Calvin Klein, Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta this year hosted live video streams on their websites and are now using Facebook and Twitter to enhance buzz.
Fashion consumers get a thrill from vicariously experiencing the previously exclusive shows through the lens of a fashion blogger. Many believe, rightly or wrongly, that blog accounts a far more authentic than a magazine write up that could be coloured by the needs of the magazine�s advertisers.
This is social media doing what it promises. In the eyes of fashion consumers and lovers, the playing field has been levelled. Labels are being judged not on the size of their advertising budget or the exclusivity of their parties, but on the strength of their creativity.
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