Four users who checked in to one of its New York

How the Web Is Changing Fashion Marketing in 2010

The Fashion Tech Series is supported by Nordstrom Conversation. To share your thoughts on apps and social media replica designer handbags in the fashion industry, join the Conversation at Nordstrom.

The fashion industry functions much like your least favorite high school clique: A leader boldly undertakes something new, a few replica louis vuitton imitators cautiously follow suit and the rest then clamber to participate before the trend dies out.

The same pattern has emerged so far this year, as brands sample new digital and mobile technologies to market to and engage with consumers. In particular, brands took to location based social network Foursquare to build buzz around new product launches, like Jimmy Choo’s line of trainers and Oscar de la Renta’s limited edition series of python iPad clutches.

In addition to campaigns, fashion brands released a significant amount of behind the scenes content on a regular basis, ranging from blurry mobile snapshots of runway models for quick distribution over Facebook and Twitter, to professionally produced short films delivered exclusively on company websites and mobile apps.

Perhaps the most gratifying development this year Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags began with LOFT specifically, LOFT’s Facebook Page. The company’s corporate staff answered a widespread call for “real women” models by modeling the clothes themselves and posting them to Facebook, sparking a flurry of positive media attention and several imitators within the industry. This year fake designer bags , the fashion industry proved particularly keen on location based gaming platform Foursquare.

Marc Jacobs was the first major designer to take advantage of the network. During New York Fashion Week in February, Marc Jacobs distributed “Fashion Victim” badges to those who checked in to one of its stores around the country. Four users who checked in to one of its New York stores were also awarded tickets to its runway show, notoriously one of the most difficult to get access to during Fashion Week.

Although Marc Jacobs may have been first, Jimmy Choo’s use of Foursquare was certainly the most creative. Its spring Catch a Choo campaign had women running all over London in order to secure a pair of the company’s new line of trainers (or sneakers, in American speak). The company used the platform to check in at various fashionable locales; checkins were broadcast over Facebook and Twitter, and the first person at each site was awarded a free pair of trainers. Roughly 4,000 people participated in the chase, high quality designer replica handbags wholesale which was picked up by the mainstream and online media alike. Sneaker sales subsequently increased by 33%, according to social media agency FreshNetworks, which designed the aaa replica designer handbags campaign.

Several other brands also took advantage of location based networks to build buzz around big events. Louis Vuitton awarded a “Vuitton Insider” Foursquare badge to followers who checked in three times at its new London boutique. Oscar de la Renta gave away an iPad clutch to the Foursquare mayor of its flagship store in July. TOMS and AT teamed up to give away 1,000 TOMS shoes and other prizes via Gowalla in August. And many others, including Cynthia Rowley, Gap, Juicy Couture and Ann Taylor, offered significant discounts to shoppers who checked in at retail locations via Foursquare.

In addition to location based networks, fashion marketers also continued to use Facebook and web based social styling platform Polyvore to promote new product lines. To coincide with the release of his first men’s fragrance, dubbed replica louis vuitton bags Bang, Marc Jacobs built a Facebook game titled Bang! You’re it!, which encouraged users to “Bang” high quality designer replica handbags their friends and crushes for chances at giveaway prizes. Online retailer Yoox also launched a Facebook application to draw attention to its fall catalog. Polyvore hosted many brand sponsored contests to encourage users to explore new collections; American designer Prabal Gurung even premiered pieces of his Spring 2011 collection to online consumers before his New York Fashion Week show in September.

Brands Become Content Creators

Marketers haven’t limited their social media use to big campaigns this year. In fact, many have released a steady stream of content on their companies’ websites, as well as platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and iOS (via mobile applications).

The most common of these were behind the scenes shots, which were quickly captured via replica louis vuitton mobile phones and digital cameras and distributed over Facebook and Twitter. Livestreams of runway shows also were enormously popular this year. During fall fashion shows in February, only Louis Vuitton and Dolce Gabbana live streamed their shows via the web and their respective mobile applications; by September, nearly every brand provided live footage of their presentations to fans on the web. Fashion Week, once an exclusive series of events for media and buyers, became a global spectacle for consumers.

In addition to Twitpics and livestreams, many brands also released professional quality celebrity interviews and short films replica louis vuitton handbags , like the one produced by Chanel lead designer Karl Lagerfeld above. These videos were not designed to sell individuals items (Chanel does not even sell online) but rather to bolster brand luster.

During London Fashion Week, Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey observed (via Twitter, no less) that Burberry is “now as much a media content company as [it is] a design company because it’s all part of the overall experience.” Like many other fashion houses, Burberry released a heavy amount of video and photographic footage of its September catwalk show, giving fans the ability to peak backstage and watch the show live online.

In addition to marketing, many brands also learned to use social networks to listen to high quality replica handbags china customers for the first time.

In June, LOFT posted pictures on Facebook of its new silk cargo pants worn by a tall, blonde catalog model. Fans complained that it was impossible to tell if the pants would be flattering on someone who wasn’t “5’10” and a stick like the model in the photo” and asked if the fashion retailer would show the pants on “real women” instead.

The next day, LOFT posted pictures of its own corporate staff ranging from sizes 2 to 12, and from 5’3″ to 5’10” posing in the cargo pants. Each styled the pants according to their own aesthetic, and explained why they liked the fit and drape of the product.

Fan response was overwhelmingly positive. “I sooooo appreciate you taking the time to ‘listen’ to our comments and show these pants on ‘real’ women,” one woman wrote. After Mashable’s initial report, a number of other media outlets, including Jezebel, WWD and The Huffington Post re reported the story, drawing even more acclaim for the brand, which has since continued to post photos of “real women” modeling its clothing. Other brands, like Nanette Lepore, soon began posting photos of staff modeling their own clothing as well.

A number of large companies, such as Comcast, Ford, Virgin Airlines, Starbucks and Best Buy, have used social media to inspire customer loyalty and satisfaction, but we hadn’t before seen this level of engagement between a fashion company and its fans. It’s a trend we hope continues to develop for the rest of 2010 and into 2011.

Other Trends

Besides the wider movements cited above, many smaller trends also emerged this year. Following the launch of Apple’s iPad, many individual brands and retailers developed and released apps for the device, including MaxMara [iTunes link], Gilt [iTunes link] and Dolce Gabbana [iTunes link]. Many online retailers, such as Neiman Marcus, Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica began holding flash sales for the first time in order to compete with the likes of Gilt and Rue La La. Burberry and Christian Louboutin upgraded their replica louis vuitton bags from china online catalogues to include high quality video as well as photographic footage of products replica designer handbags , allowing shoppers to examine the texture and drape of a python trench coat or the glitter of a jeweled strap, as if they were holding the product in the store.

With two months to go and the holiday campaign season just around the corner, industry pioneers still have plenty of opportunity to break new ground. Expect to see behind the scenes footage from holiday parties, a winter themed short film or two and location based marketing initiatives designed to drive customers into stores this season.

How have you seen the Internet changing the fashion industry in 2010? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

The Fashion Tech Series is supported by Nordstrom Conversation. To share your thoughts on apps and social media in the fashion industry and more, join the Conversation at Nordstrom.

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