Thursday, 22 July 2010

Shaping/Shopping the Future

Net-a-porter magazine - launch of a new iPad app 

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln once said - but some people live in compliance to that bon mot more than others.
I have just finished watching the live streaming of Natalie Massenet interview for Business of Fashion's Fashion Pioneers series. It was a truly inspiring interview with the "visionary on stilettos", who is the founder of the worldwide most successful online shop for designer fashion, Net-a-Porter.  Not only has Net-a-Porter been fronting the crisis (the sales numbers are proof to that) but also has she been launching an outlet for designer fashion in 2009 (theoutnet.com ) and is about to launch an equivalent to Net-a-Porter for male designer fashion (MrPorter.com), which will go online in January 2011.
In my opinion, the entire audience who was watching the life stream has just witnessed a solution for the dilemma that fashion magazines are finding themselves in - possibly even THE solution.
Somebody once said that the publishing houses worldwide owe Steve Jobs big time - due to his iPad, people will continue to read books and magazines. Maybe, there is a few more who have to thank Steve Jobs and his unperturbed intuition and vision. But let's not give all the credit to Steve Jobs, shall we - like the iPhone, the iPad's value stands and falls to a considerable extent with the apps developers create for it. So for this particular treat, we'll have to thank the think tank working for Natalie Massenet:


Net-a-porters latest magnum opus  is to combine fashion magazines and e-commerce directly - as an application for the iPad called Net-a-Porter Magazine. The app was presented during the live streaming interview by Net-a-Porters founder in person tonight and will be officially launched tomorrow. What Natalie Massenet pulled out of her couture hat is - in her own words "to offer a magazine-like experience", which is directly combined with etailing. The app will give you the possibility to "read, watch and shop wherever you are" according to the description in the iTunes store.The clou is, as opposed to most glossy magazines, offering actual couture photo spreads once a month, Net-a-Porter will update its app every week - yes, you heard right -52 times a year. One thing we can assume for sure: Natalie Massenet is not going to waste our time with cheap productions. Having had her origins in fashion journalism working for the fashion bible WWD and other magazines as well as being a stylist, we even can expect great editorials for the new webzine.

I am very happy about the idea and I am curious to see whether or not this will set a precedent in the etailing industry. I strongly believe that creating a hybrid between online retailing and glossy magazines is a great step into the future for both industries. Also, I am truly curious of how and when other online retailers will be jumping on the bandwagon.

xoxo
Glamazone

Sources: thebusinessoffashion.com, net-a-porter.com, iTunes Store

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Time to re-think

Is it possible, that with our endless quest for security and safety in our lives, we increasingly find it difficult to adjust ourselves to new structures? Maybe, our old ideas of trends, seasons, haute couture, pret-a-porter, fast fashion and all the hybrids in between are outdated already... with our intuitive desire to label things new perspectives might be restricted. It is time to challenge our old thinking patterns:
When will the fashion industry and the satellite industries around it start to admit that mass market is dead and instead we are confronted with numerous micro markets? How can we target those micro markets in journalism, marketing and PR if every individual in it is insisting to be oh-so-different from his comrades? If the lasting vintage hype has shown us one thing, it is that people are beyond the stage of wanting to look the same and wearing a global uniformtrend is done-  individualism is trump.  The spottet casualization of clothing during the last years might just be another extension of the desire to put behind global fashion conformity.
Are we on the verge of experiencing a renaissance of bespoke fashion? Of custom-made tailoring and of brands, which are delivering regional micro trends instead of global fashion? Are pop-up stores the answer to our ever-changing taste levels and the ennui that holds us in his tight grip when facing same-old retail environments?
We are confronted with an up to now unknown flood of textile possibilities and fashion diversity.  

The even and rigid mask of mass consumerism has been dropped and shattered into numberless splinters, resulting in each and every broken fragment becoming an entitiy in its own right, with its own vivid psychographic profile, its own taste levels, desires and preferences.
Despite the financial reality that has hit us all in the face over the last years, we are all becoming more and more aware of the fact that the economy of scarcity is long gone and we have been living in an economy of abundance for quite some time already. What does that mean for us, the consumer? Well, very simple: WE get to chose - sometimes we even get to dictate. The internet as the most democratic medium in the world, has enabled us to have almost anything at our command one Visa Card and one click away.
We get to influence the market, due to a shift of power from producer to consumer: economical success of companies depends on our goodwill and them keeping us happy. Many companies have been shifting from being product oriented towards being consumer oriented, which means we'll get what we want and we even have a say under which conditions we get it.
Designer darlings and fashion faux-pas are no longer exclusively appointed by elitist fashion crowd working for Conde Nast but alternatively can be proclaimed by pretty much anybody: bloggers, unknown journalists and so on. One percentage of the world population is suddenly able to become opinion leader in a movement. For god's sake, don't expect a new world order just yet - but sometimes it is a good thing to realise and acknowledge significant changes.


Exciting times we are in - even more exciting times lie ahead of us.

xoxo
Glamazone

Friday, 16 July 2010

CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists 2010

The CFDA(Council of Fashion Designers of America) and Vogue Magazine have announced this year's ten finalists have been named for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fun initiative, which will provide business mentorship and as well the financial funding for its winner.
2010 is the seventh time a winner will be announced to receive an award endowed with $200,00 trophy money, whereas the two runner-ups will be put off with a consolation prize worth $50,000.

The finalists and their brands are the following:

 Joseph Altuzarra (ALTUZARRA), Billy Reid (BILLY REID), Christian Cota (CHRISTIAN COTA), Eddie Borgo (EDDIE BORGO), Gregory Parkinson (GREGORY PARKINSON), Oliver Helden and Paul Marlow (LODEN DAGER), Moss Lipow (MOSS LIPOW), Pamela Love (PAMELA LOVE JEWELRY), Prabal Gurung (PRABAL GURUNG), Robert Geller (ROBERT GELLER)

The selection process will be taking place in end of July and consist of individual interviews with the nominees, reviews of their latest collections as well as a visit to the design studio of each contestant.
The final decision will be announced in New York City on November 15 during a gala dinner.
 Amongst the now-famous winners and runners-up of previous years' CFDA/Vogue Fashion fund are designers like Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Philip Lim, Derek Lam and Rodarte.
 Among the famous mentors were industry professionals like Howard Socol (ex-CEO of Barney's, Rose Marie Bravo (ex-CEO Burberry Group), Domenico de Sole and Mark Lee (both ex-CEO of Gucci).


The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was created to support designers with a business perspective and is aimed to help them and their brand built a secure future and develop their overall strategy, their production, marketing, PR and sales.

Let's keep our eyes open about who's going to make the race... and how all the publicity will help the other nominees to establish themselves solidly within in the industry

xoxo
Glamazone



Monday, 12 July 2010

Fashionable World Cup

Glamazone is checking the fashion business side of the World Cup

Who of you was sitting in front of the TV, watching the World Cup Finals Netherlands vs. Spain yesterday? (At this point, I'd like to extend my congratulations to Spain! Well played! Deserved win!)
Well then...and who of you saw the scene, when Fabio Cannavaro, Captain of the Italian team, who previously won the World Cup in 2006 brought the trophy onto the pitch together with model Deborah Mukaz? Quite all of you, right? So did you notice that the trophy was carried in a custom-made Louis Vuitton travel case? What I am trying to get at is: There is a lot more fashion and luxury involved in the world's biggest sports event than people realise at first glance. Apart from the fact that everybody knows the World Cup event is big business - and with that I am not even referring to the millions of dollars the players contesting are worth- let's take a look at the fashion business/sportswear aspect involved, shall we?!

Actually, the other major finale during the World Cup is USA vs. Germany. Or let me rephrase that - Nike vs. Adidas. Being the world's biggest sports event, the big brands' battle over consumers' favourableness is nearly as old as global television broadcast. Usually Nike and Adidas brace themselves for a fierce competition during the four weeks of the event in terms of brand awareness, replica jersey sales, the sponsorship of the soccer ball (which for the 11th year in a row has gone to Adidas, who came up with the controversial Adidas Jabulani ball) , the best/most popular soccer ad etc etc.
As a preposition, whereas Adidas is one of the official sponsors of the World Cup, Nike has to content itself with a position as a non-affiliated competitor. Nike equipped 9 out of 21 teams with their jerseys, whereas Adidas equipped 12 teams. Spain - equipped by Adidas won against the Netherlands wearing Nike jerseys - is that representative for the soccer battle between the two mega brands?
Besides a lead position in the share of World Cup Online Buzz, which according to Nielsen market research went clearly to Nike this year - its star-studded "Write The Future" ad campaign directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was far more captivating than Adidas' also star-studded "Star Wars Cantina 2010". Let's take a look at the sales figures: As the global football market is estimated at $10.9 billion (with the UK spending the biggest share of over 7.8% ($1.4 billion)), Adidas's soccer sales in 2010 alone are anticipated to be near $2 billion, whereas Nike is anticipating $1.85 billion. For the latter, this will be an astonishing increase of 25% over the 2006 World Cup sales figures. Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer however does not appear to be intimidated by the strong competitor as he states that not only will his brand be over-achieving his sales forecast during the 2010 World Cup but is also extremely content with its brand visibility and market share. However, as previously stated - as Nike is a non-affiliated competitor, this also means that Nike does not have the presumptive mammoth investment to become the official FIFA sponsor like Adidas has. Consequently, one can only assume that Nike is making more profit out of the event.

The World Cup clearly is about the big bucks!

xoxo
Glamazone



Source: fastcompany.com, blog.nielsen.com, adidas.com, nike.com
Picture Source: © Antoine Jarrier / Louis Vuitton, adidas.com

Friday, 9 July 2010

Haute Couture - an historical excursion

Haute Couture (French for: High dressmaking/tailoring)  

For centuries, French Haute Couture has been the stuff that dreams are made of.
Year by year, these few days in Paris might be amongst the most luxurious spectacles worldwide - and surely for most Haute Couture houses, they are the most prestigious days in their annual cycle - where custom-fit, exclusive clothing is presented to a demanding high profile clientele and the world press.

History:

Did you know that the origin of Haute Couture is generally awarded to Charles Frederic Worth, who in 1857/58 found the first big fashion house "Worth et Bobergh" in Rue de la Paix in Paris? The extremely precious designs, which he was the first to display on an actual mannequin (his wife) were presented to a selected exclusive clientele. C.F. Worth created wardrobe for crowned heads like Empress Eugénie, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth of Austria (commonly known as Sissi). And not enough with my historical sashay here, did you know that Paul Poiret - who later became an acknowledged dressmaker himself and who was said to be amongst the first to create a design fragrance himself -was one of his assistants?
And last but not least - did you know, that each designer/fashion house who wants to call themselves Haute Couture has to fulfill four criteria annually (yes, you read correctly, they are being checked each year meticulously by the „Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne“):

- Each design house/designer has to have its/his atelier in Paris

- Employ at least 20 people as full time staff

- The collections have to be presented twice a year

- Each collection has to comprise at least 50 pieces

Apologies for de-romanticizing this magical subject, but economically speaking, Haute Couture usually is a losing deal. It certainly is the big sister of Prêt-à-porter in terms of elaborate tailoring, sartorial skills and working hours of countless seamstresses who put all their handcraft to realise the head of design's lastest vision. In the end however, it is no big secret, that the pieces are rather vertu and pieces of art to be kept and shown in museums instead of generating turnover. The main mission of Haute Couture is to attract attention to the fashion house itself, the brand as such and the more accessible lines and accessories of the fashion house.

For all of you who think it is crude to vocalise "trivia" like the filthy lucre when it comes to couture wonderland - I do not intend to be the Grinch who stole couture - quite the opposite I have always been an advocate of "L'art pour l'art".


xoxo
Glamazone


Source: Rudolf Kinzel, 1996: Die Modemacher, Geschichte der Haute Couture; metmuseum.org
Picture Source: Britannica.com, metmuseum.org