Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Designers Blend Traditional Designs and Modern Technology: Social Media and the Fashion Industry

Various blog posts of ours dictated the way to create a fan base on Twitter and Facebook, Tumblr and Blogger. Usually, it helps to give step-by-step guides, telling each and every business owner the actions it takes to break into public relations, marketing, and social media. However, it also helps to learn from successful brands, ones that utilize the sources your company is trying to figure out. As such, we profile here two major fashion labels, Balenciaga and Alexander Wang, both of which are innovatively using social media to connect with their fan base and gain attention for their label.

Balenciaga is a company that dates back to 1914 Basque Country, Spain. How does a old-world brand merge into the 21st century? By infiltrating the social media market. For Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2011 campaign, the brand is paying homage to their heritage, hoping to fuse history and modernity. How is this possible? ”Some photos were shot in a Gothic Harlem church, with a futuristic world — the black and white tiles in a studio – that still showcases the iconic sense of what people have come to know with the Balenciaga brand.” But what makes it modern? Half of the campaign was shot in a bright, tiled studio set. This part of the campaign features “the same poncho-like dresses, with bright colors popping in a futuristic, 3D look due to the shiny, black-and-white tiled background.” You’re probably wondering what this has to do with your business. Well, this new campaign is showcasing the the brand’s effort to combine the classic with the modern as it takes its first leaps into the digital world. “Balenciaga’s new Web site is rumored to feature more than 200 video clips, 3,000 photos and an e-commerce section.” This shows you that it’s never to late to revamp your image, join the digital community and gain success and new customers/fans.

Other types of social media being utilized include building projections. Yes, you read that correctly, images and videos placed on stationary towers. Apparel and accessories designer  Alexander Wang decided to release his latest campaign video on the walls of New York buildings. ”The young designer deployed several vans on July 13 to project the Fall 2011 ready-to-wear video onto the walls of buildings throughout Manhattan. The new video features model Raquel Zimmermann and debuted globally on the branded Web site the following day.” The vans that displayed the videos were located in SoHo, Union Square, and the Meatpacking districts of Manhattan. From 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., the designer was tweeting about his video, providing his fans with the exact locations to see the campaign live. Alexander Wang diehards are wondering if this marketing approach will spread to other cities, and others in the industry are awe-stuck, noticing the sales-successes and attention this has created for the brand. One article claims, “Certainly, other brands will take a cue from [Mr. Wang's] playbook and start promoting in this way in other cities.”

This post shows us that there is not only one way to approach social media or that it is only suitable for more “modern” companies. Balenciaga, a company favored by an older demographic, unaccustomed to social media and technology ,is branching out, reaching a new  younger demographic and making a huge splash. Alexander Wang is trying things no other designer has before, but likely things every designer will try in the future.

Whether these case studies inspire you to create a new website, launch a new social media campaign, or simply reconsider your marketing; understanding--and, thus, implementing--a new approach via technology can increase your fan base, bring attention to your brand and, ultimately, lead to increased sales.

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