These days, it’s not enough for fashion brands to only sell products. Consumers want more, they want to be enticed, they want CONTENT relevant to them.
The internet expels so much information, which means that consumers are constantly overloaded with this information, so what does this mean? It means that consumers are being more selective about the content they bestow their attention to, which ultimately places pressure on fashion brands to maintain consumer appeal.
One brand that is successfully catering to this demand is Opening Ceremony. The label has created a ‘Discovery’ page on their website that frequently provides content ranging from fashion reviews, the latest collections, music related articles, celebrity interviews to culture pieces.
The brand has created an inclusive and relatable community for their consumers, weaving together fashion and lifestyle elements that appeal to their target market. This tool not only enables Opening Ceremony to advertise their products, but to build a platform that enables them to further elevate and enhance their creations.
In a bid to maintain consumer attention and intrigue, Opening Ceremony and many other brands alike are applying editorial opinions to generate a sense of relevancy and personification for their market.
What is the leading fashion brand that tops Omni-channel retailing? It’s none other than UK powerhouse Topshop.
In an age where retailing has moved on from solely bricks and mortar and face-to-face selling, Topshop leads as the multinational retailer embracing technology as a means to achieve wider market reach and appeal to larger masses consumers.
Founded in 1964 with now over 500 locations worldwide, Topshop is continually finding innovative ways to reach their consumers. Other than retail and online stores, the brand has a mobile app which allows customers to not only shop on the go, but also stay up-to-date with the latest trends as well as actively utilize the app whilst they shop instore.
In order to bridge the business with high fashion, the brand has proactively immersed themselves with fashion events; the most noteworthy being the launch of digital billboards during London Fashion Week 2015. These billboards were installed across the UK and provided real-time content of key trends emerging on the runway in the form of word clouds generated from twitter hashtags. Customers were then able to see related Topshop products instore that complemented the new trends.
This clever idea created an association of the Topshop brand with high-end fashion which as a result, elevated the brand image. Talk about innovation.
If you were to randomly stop someone on the street and asked them who they thought were a fashion icon, many would undoubtedly answer Audrey Hepburn. The haughty yet classy style icon is a household name and has left a lasting impression in the fashion and film world with her most noteworthy role in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.
The 1961 American romantic comedy solidified Hepburn’s position as a fashion frontrunner during this time and in 2012, the film was deemed by the US Library of Congress as “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant”. The fashion and notion of extravagance is undeniably the most significant aspects of the film, with the jewellery brand Tiffany & Co, being the one of the most memorable.
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ was the first time the brand had been used as a film location, expressing that they were “grateful for the kind words and free publicity”. The jewellery brand which was already established as a luxury retailer during this time, further gained recognition and status through the film.
Hepburn’s portrayal of the oh-so stylish Holly Golightly with her lavish adornments is considered one of the most iconic images of 20th century film and have continued to inspire today. The flagship store in Manhattan, New York where Tiffany was featured in the film remains a popular location for tourists and many fans alike.
Technology has become an integral part of our lives almost to the point of saturation and this richness in resources has birthed ‘virtual reality’ – a development slowly making its way to the rest of the world. Recently in 2015, American designer Tommy Hilfiger became the first major retailer to make virtual reality a fixture in its stores.
Using a Samsung VR headset, customers were enabled an immersive 360-degree experience of Hilfiger’s Fall 2015 runway show. The simulation allowed customers to watch the models strutting down the runway, admire the football pitch themed set as well as neighbouring celebrity attendees as if they were sitting front row at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory.
“Through virtual reality, we’re now able to bring our one-of-a-kind fashion show to the retail setting… From the incredible set and music to exclusive backstage moments, consumers will be able to watch the clothes move and see the collection in the original show environment – it’s a compelling and interesting elevation of the traditional shopping experience.” – Tommy Hilfiger
The brand is one of many retailers exploring VR as a sales tool to innovate, engage and compete in the mercilessly competitive world of retail.
The technology was launched in October 2015 at the Tommy Hilfiger store in New York, followed by stores in London, Paris, Milan and Moscow.
As online shopping and e-commerce prove ever more prevalent, luxury brands and its’ consumers are rapidly embracing this revolution, with the luxury industry slowly but surely penetrating the online market realm. Competition with bricks and mortar and instore retail experiences means more are opting to go online to run their businesses.
A fresh emerging pure play online fashion retailer that is gaining traction as a power player that crosses luxury and online is YOOX. YOOX was created after the merger between YOOX Group and The NET-A-PORTER Group in 2015. The name is comprised of the male (Y) and female (X) chromosome, with the OO representing the infinity (∞) symbol, all signifying the fundamental language of the digital age.
Unlike other luxury online retailers, YOOX’s concept is a little bit different. Instead of selling the newest products or the latest trends, the retailer buys overstocked or unsold items from previous seasons and sells them at discounted outlet prices.
This may seem like the greatest insult to the devoted luxury customer, but for these luxury brands, YOOX is enabling them to off-load past merchandise without damaging their brand reputation or impacting current sales.
YOOX is successfully contributing to the new era of online luxury retail by creating new systems to circulate products as well as providing a more convenient way for consumers to shop for premium goods.
This is the first thing you would be confronted with if you wore a Nirvana tee today, or any other band tee for that fact. So what’s with the low-key cynicism you ask? Well this all dates back to nostalgic craving of old school rock bands plus fast fashion’s rampant need to generate fashion trends.
Unlike band merch today that is typically donned by fans, ‘vintage’ merch from bands such as Nirvana are now worn by anyone and everyone. Band merch from the past has transcended the notion of typical ‘band merch’; they’re no longer about music anymore and has become a mere fashion statement. The true meaning of band t-shirts has gotten lost in the process of dying subcultures that were flourishing especially during the 80s and 90s.
Nostalgia is the driving demand for iconic band tees but most people today wear them simply because everyone else does and that it’s just ‘cool’. Fast fashion’s overzealous hunger for the constant spewing of trends has unfortunately led to the devaluation of the personal and once-treasured notion of owning a band tee.
Now that the trend of ‘old-school’ tees are becoming more and more widespread, actual fans of these rock bands are not impressed. What was once so personal and meaningful to these groups no longer carry the same significance. In a world where fashion trends are so rapidly changing and disposable, anything can end up like the Nirvana tee.
The 80s. The number that symbolises so much – from blaring colours and experimental chaos to nostalgic nuances of a time that propelled youth pop culture to where it is today. For those who experienced this era, the heavy fashion influences reign most memorable. Names like Esprit, Sergio Valente, Chuck Taylors and Jordache Jeans were some of the most well-loved during this time, however, there was a brand that was a little different in regards to publicity and that brand was ‘Members Only’.
Members Only was founded in New York 1975 by Jaggi Singh and offered a line of jackets that were first introduced to American markets in 1981. During this time was the American ideological shift to consumerism and materialism, in which Members Only was quick to take advantage of, putting forward their tagline “When you put it on, something happens”. This marketing created a sense of exclusivity and as a result, everyone wanted to be a part of this ‘club’. The brand made sure to emphasize the fact that ‘you were either a member or you weren’t’.
The brand took off and became such a hit, it was making 100 million in sales by 1984; a colossal amount in that period. Unlike other brands that used celebrity endorsements to promote their products, Members Only became so successful that they actually grew bored with this mainstream process, and so turning to social issues to ‘make their mark’. Millions of dollars were invested in campaigns such as the 1986 ad on anti-drug use and the pro-voting campaign during the 1988 election which featured Adolf Hitler. These defying decisions were risky but it worked and sales increased 15%.
Clever marketing and risk taking ultimately made Members Only one of the most recognised and memorable brands in the 80s, and for a brand that only made jackets, that was quite the achievement.