I love when fashion illustrators collaborate with big brands on cool online marketing initiatives and tech products. The other day I was lucky enough to come across a small collection of iPhone cases designed by fashion illustrator Izak Zenou for Henri Bendel. The four-piece collection is super cute and right on trend with its bright colors. Each case is priced at $58 and perfect for any girl open to admitting her fashion addiction.
Last Thursday, 6 of my close friends and I hosted another Digitally Chic meetup. This time we featured fashion and lifestyle apps from around the Bay Area whose creativity was shown through small group demos and one on one discussion.
Just one year after we met for drinks and realized we all had a love for fashion and tech in common, we’re 230+ members strong in our Facbeook group, but also have a public Facebook page (where all of the event photos are located) and Twitter account you can follow for more updates: @DigitallyChic.
The other night I was spending some time browsing ASOS (one of my favorite online shopping destinations for the past three years) and noticed a few changes to the site, which led me to do some research on the brand. A lot of changes have taken place lately!
Under the Marketplace section of the site, users can now shop independent boutiques and labels. So far, brands from the UK, US, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, and Sweden are participating. And, each boutique has a blog so visitors can see what’s new and learn about a brand’s view on fashion and lifestyle.
Under the Outfits & Looks part of the site, users can assemble outfits (very Polyvore inspired) and can upload pictures of themselves (very LookBook.nu style) to be judged. Very smart of ASOS to incorporate ideas from two major fashion websites to make its own site more social. But, it would be nice to only see images that clearly include at least one piece from the ASOS site for inspiration. Maybe this could be an idea for a contest?
The other new section is Blogs, which is comprised of five blogs. Each one has a different subject, including one about styles seen during Fashion Week and one with a music related theme (guess someone else reads The Vogue Vibes?). Personally I don’t see the point of 5 separate blogs on the main section of the website, unless the brand is trying to ultimately be both a social shopping destination and editorial go-to place. After all, fashion magazines and eCommerce are merging these days.
In addition to making the eCommerce site more social, ASOS has also been busy delving into the mobile space by recently launching a shopping app (available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad).
During a recent press release, E-Commerce Director James Hart said, “Following year-on-year growth of over 800% in mobile revenue, I’m delighted to release our iPad and iPhone shopping apps.”
Key features of the app include full integration between it, the website, and the mobile site, a “Save for Later” option (something I wish the website offered for a longer period of time), and GPS, for helping with locations where customers can drop off returns.
Global Strategy: with a Focus on Men
ASOS is also working on a marketing campaign to reach for a larger global customer base.
Specifically, the brand hopes to target more male shoppers through a new campaign for which brand has released a few videos that introduce the Urban Tour. ASOS hopes to entice more men to shop on its website by incorporating dance and other forms of pop culture, which is where most men get their fashion inspiration from (not runways). Soon, viewers will be able to click of dancers from some of the campaign videos and purchase.
Here is the teaser video:
Oh, and a few more things- ASOS has a section of the site dedicated to the brand’s favorite Twitter users, its Facebook page is constantly updated (with contests!), and has found a way to incorporate Instagram. All in all, I’m impressed with all of the digital changes ASOS is making these days. Other fashion brands can learn a LOT by seeing ASOS’ fashion marketing lately.
Anyone else knock-your-stilettos-off impressed?
Edited by Taylor Davies
This weeks selections for Links a la Mode take us all around the globe and back again. From vintage shopping in Paris and Istanbul to picking the best from fashion weeks abroad, our community is buzzing with news and thoughts from overseas.
Of course we couldn’t leave out some more local stories entirely, so we’ve sprinkled in a selection of fall inspirations from som American bloggers; from menswear to DIY projects to some ethical debates in advertising and journalism.
THE IFB WEEKLY ROUNDUP: LINKS À LA MODE: OCTOBER 6TH
If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine
Whenever I go shopping for clothes in San Francisco I tend to just focus on the area around Union Square. Two reasons: I know what I want and where I want it there, and I’m usually short on time. But it’s nice to know that I can cut down on time even further by using ShopNear.Me.
The App’s Usability
ShopNear.Me a new iOS app that gives users information about sales and arrivals at stores they care about. Users can also set up alerts for their favorite stores, and browse the app by products so as not to miss out on a great piece by sticking to their usual stores. Without waiting until there’s time to visit new stores on a whim, users can browse products in their San Francisco neighborhood of interest for goodies they love. Though right now the app features mainly boutiques in Hayes and the Marina, the team is working to expand coverage into the Mission and SOMA.
And the best part, is that coming soon, users will be able to reserve items while on the go.
You won’t have to be torn between seeing an alert go by about beautiful shoes you don’t want to miss out on or attending a startup’s launch party. You can do both!
I recently had a nice chat with co-founder Yuan Zhang, whose role entails business development, marketing, PR, raising funding, and investor relationships. Phew! But she said it doesn’t feel like work.
According to Zhang, shopping is “a visual experience”, and this app fits that desire of consumers. There are apps out there that list store directories, or sites like Yelp, where users can write reviews of their shopping experiences, but no real visual way to find out what’s inside stores in the area quickly. (Talk about finding a perfect niche in need of some help).
Other team members include Programmer Ben Wong and Designer Loc Ngo (co-founders of Startuply), and Programmer Steve Zu (formerly of social gaming company Lolapps).
The Boutique Perspective
To get the boutique perspective, I took a quick trip to meet with Marissa Olson, Owner of Chloe Rose, a women’s clothing boutique on Union Street.
Olson, in no way new to fashion, or online marketing, said what first drew her to using the app for her store was that she was approached about it.
She finds that to keep her store running smoothly and market online, she does what every boutique owner should do- she has a checklist of promotional things she does. She updates Facebook and Twitter at least once a day if possible and ShopNear.Me when new items arrive in the store.
ShopNear.Me really offers a “store front” to boutiques. With the pretty pictures and thoughtful search options, I’m excited to watch this app take off.
I can’t tell you the number of times when I’ve been out and about and seen an amazing shoe that I took a picture of to text to my mom or one of my girl friends. In the end, these pictures would either end up saved on my phone or eventually deleted. But now I am able to save all photos to one place, Snapette, where other fashion fans will be able to enjoy my finds and I am able to see theirs too.
Last Friday, I sat down with Sarah Paiji, a co-founder of Snapette, and she told me the story of how this cool new fashion app came to be.
Sarah Paiji, originally from a suburb of LA, found herself on the East Coast for the past 8 years, including time in school at Harvard and working for Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co and Berkshire Partners. Most recently before Snapette, Paiji was studying at Harvard Business School. It was through an HBS alumni event where she met Jinhee Kim, an HBS alum more than two decades her senior, and more importantly, a woman with a very big idea.
According to Paiji, the two had a short meeting over coffee, after meeting at a Harvard alumni event. Soon after, Kim invited Paiji to spend her January 2011 term with the Kim family in London… to launch a company. Snapette.
With “no dominant social app yet” in fashion, and mobile being a space with such great growth potential, Paiji decided this was a chance too good to pass up.
After the two recruited a technical person to join their team (and for a month in London), the real work began.
Luckily, a tweet Paiji made about their new app was found by Dave McClure of 500 Startups, a startup incubator located in Mountain View, and soon McClure was inviting the Snapette team to relocate to California and work from the 500 Startups office space.
Just yesterday, 500 Startups hosted its second ever Demo Days, a place for its entrepreneurs to present their ideas to investors and press. The Snapette team presented, along with more than 20 other startups, as the culmination of their 3 month period in the 500 Startups accelerated program.
Think about it, within 8 months, Snapette went from an idea, to a company, and to a company that publications like Forbes and VentureBeat are now covering. That is pretty inspiring.
Paiji describes the app as this: like Milo for fashion.
Snapette lets users upload an unlimited amount of content to the app (available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and browse other users’ finds as well. For now, users can see shoes and bags that others have uploaded from around the world, and content uploaded by nearby stores. Users are able to search by brand, store, description, or “New”, “Near”, and “Hot” ratings of products.
And of course, there is further social integration with sites like Facebook.
Right now the Snapette team is focusing its efforts on working with boutiques in New York, LA, San Francisco, and London, including San Francisco-based boutiques like Heidi Says and Gimme Shoes.
Why stop with shoes and bags? Well for now, the Snapette team decided to just start with those products because “women are passionate about them”, according to Paiji.
Within 6 months, Paiji hopes to see the team add more features to Snapette and figure out whether to decide to focus more on fashion or the social experience.
I treated myself to a new magazine this weekend, and if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, I chose Lucky Magazine.
Not only was I (and still am) super excited about the piece on “90 Days of Outfits: Our genius styling guide to dressing for $5 a day!”, but was intrigued how technology was integrated throughout the magazine.
Here are my five favorites:
1. Behind-the-scenes video of select parts of the mag that draw you to the website by way of mobile-friendly bar codes, text message, or simply typing in luckymag.com on your browsers. Videos of Heidi Klum’s photo shoot, the last nine outfits of the 90 featured in the piece mentioned above, and how to get frizz-free hair with the products discussed on page 153 are some of the behind-the-scenes looks you can find. (Note: you must first download the free app at gettag.mobi before scanning the codes).
2. Invitation to connect with Lucky’s “digital concierge” by way of iPhone app or LuckyatYourService.com. Basically, by setting up an account on this site, you can save time shopping at work (whoops, on your lunch break). Browse items on the site by brand, price, color, and size and then choose the option to either find it online (like any other social shopping site ) or find it near you. After entering a few more details, the Lucky Concierge team will contact the store to see if the piece is available and put it on hold for you to pick up later in the day. Oh yeah, and you’ll hear back from the Lucky team within the hour during the business day by email or text confirming how to go about picking up your purchase.
3. Every page with items of clothing include a text-to-buy option, that lets you immediately purchase favorite items from the issue without having to hunt all over.
Great read this weekend, but the tricky part will be to stick to my budget since I’d really like to now own the wedges in the Top-Sider ad… the trench on page 91… the the woven belt on page 100, the purple dress on page 134… the dress on page 136… the Fendi on pae 138… the floral dress on page 195… the pleated skirt on page 199… the leather dress on page 202…
From Chanel to H&M, some of the most high profile fashion labels have turned to mobile marketing as a creative (and tech savvy) way to reach consumers. These brands are using mobile marketing for text, banner and video ads, which include promotional content focused on brand awareness, upcoming sales and other events. And so far, the smartphone using population of the 156 million Americans with a mobile device are being heavily targeted- especially those owning iPhones.
*(Image edited by Meg O’Connell)
While Armani Exchange, Chloe, H&M, Christian Dior, and Chanel have been testing out their marketing skills on the mobile platform, Donna Karan is so far the brand that’s decided to just get personal, by recently launching an iPhone app that really lets users feel they’re connecting directly with Karan.
According to MoblieMarketingWatch.com, along with The Media Kitchen and ad network AdMob, Armani Exchange launched its first mobile campaign to promote their spring 2009 collection. The focal point of the campaign was the tagline “Instant Message. Instant Style”. This campaign, promoted on Exchange shopping bags, let customers text a keyword to a short code for a chance to win a shopping spree.
Chloe launched an iPhone friendly website and free app which featured viewing options for ready-to-wear collections and accessories, and runway show video. iPhone using fashionistas could also gain access to a Chloe news feed and store directory.
While some fashion brands are just beginning to use mobile marketing, H&M has been at the forefront of this promotional wave since 2006. Their 2007 campaign, conceived by Miami Ad School, let smartphone users purchase H&M items through their phones, with H&M charging their cell phone bill instead of credit card.
Even haute couture fashion houses Christian Dior and Chanel have been recently getting in on the the fun. Dior was the first haute couture brand to jump into mobile marketing, in promotion of their Lady Dior handbag. iPhone user Dior fans are able to watch the trailer, entire movie and behind the scenes clips of the Lady Dior handbag inspired retro suspense movie “The Lady Noir Affair”.
“Luxury brands, particularly designer labels, have been earlier than some of their more mainstream retail counterparts to embrace the mobile channel,” said Mack McKelvey, vice president of marketing for Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD. “There is a world of opportunity in mobile for fashion and other luxury brands, as they are focused on appealing to consumers on an individual level.”
Chanel, who first made a leap into mobile marketing, bycreating an app called “Chanel- Haute Couture Show Fall/Winter 08/09”, recently launched yet another iPhone app called “The Chanel Ready-to-Wear Cruise 2009-2010”, where iPhone users can gain access to news about the brand, find a boutique near them and view the Chanel fashion show right from their mobile screen.
But the most personal fashion branding done on the mobile platform to date has been that of the Donna Karan label. The Donna Karan brand gets especially personal with options for iPhone users to access the newly released Donna Karan application on August 7th.
The app features “Donna’s Journal” (where content is added weekly), “Donna’s Must-Haves”. According to a press release released by Donna Karan earlier this month, this application is pretty innovative because it showcases Donna Karan explaining how to use clothes in versatile ways in a video called “System of Dressing”, lets app users to create an item wish list and forward this list to a personal shopper.
Donna Karan partnered with Atmini Software Inc. to launch the application just in time to go with her Fall 2009 collection. This free app has been available since August 7th.
“The design method applied to the iPhone application was to truly allow Donna Karan to connect with her clients in as personal a way as possible,” said Scott Michaels, Atimi Vice President, said.
Fashion is helping keep the iPhone seriously fierce.