jeudi 14 mai 2015

Snapchat enters the Fashion industry media mix

We could say this is official since the last season: if you can remember, last March, a new story appeared in your Snapchat list : Fashion Week in New York, then London, Milan and Paris.
More lately, you could enjoy the Palm Spring Louis Vuitton's Cruise show,  a few days after Dior's in Cannes, or the MET Gala in NYC.

You and I, and your neighbor - who just does not care about the fashion month marathon - could got an insight of the not-so-mysterious-anymore exclusive Fashion's backstage. Models in robe getting their make-up done, the backstage rush before a show, and even a teaser of the outfits from the new collection, just right under your thumb.

Snapchat is the anti-definition of the glamorizing Instagram. While people use their Instagram feed as a magnification of their daily life, most of the time we use Snapchat to laugh at ourselves with friends, taking blurred and bad quality pictures that will last from 1 second to one day. Snapchat has this self-mockery dimension that take our minds off of all the other apps's social rules and expectations. It certainly is the social media that looks the closest to what we are offline, with our flaws (Not more than 3 filters here. Meaning you won't hide this big zit on your forehead thanks to Snapchat as you could do with another app.)

And that is what has seduced the fashion brands established or aspiring fans. Snapchat is the latest companies' move in terms of social media communication. Snapchat instigates a "live" and real-time relationship with the fashion world. It is the next step of this democratization phenomenon.
While Fashion Weeks' events make invited people feel exclusive and non-invited ones feel excluded, the boundary is more and more blurred. I mean, I woke up looking at my Stories 3 days ago and Raf Simons was speaking about the show himself as I was sat in front of him drinking a cup of tea. No need for a backstage pass, I can have the supermodels' fun selfies in real-time or their walk practice on the runway.

That is actually funny that the most image-obsessed industry jumped into Snapchat as a new media to integrate in their strategy. While the campaigns are photoshopped to death and the models' faces so sleek, Valentino, Michael Kors play the authentic and playful approach through their online stories, offering their admirers a glimpse of their mystery. Of course, we love it because we all feel being kind of granted the brand's intimacy.

And the reach is a a lot broader than the press or even other social media: while I will need to already be a Vogue buyer or to have already "liked" a brand's page to see their ad or updates, the little live stream stories just got into your feed. Nobody forces you to look at it.
But this is where Snapchat is efficient: we open and scroll Snapchat most of the times because we are bored. And when we are bored, we are curious. While I'll(personally) directly swap when I see "Dior Cruise Show", some will just give a look because they already looked all their friends' stories of the day. *And 1 more viewer*. Unlike Youtube videos or ads, Snapchat condensates the brand's image in less than 10 seconds. The simple curious will look at the story because anyway it is not time-consuming and he will make up his mind and opinion in less than 20 seconds. In a world where we are all developing the "FOMO" ( Fear Of Missing Out) syndrome, we are always hurrying to try to cover the maximum of an overwhelming source of information, and Snapchat appears as a perfect solution for media coverage. WWD also highlighted the superior ability of Snapchat compared to the other platforms to capture consumers' attention and memorization since the user has to stop and completely focus on the image before it "dies out". You cannot scroll down information without real concentration like on Facebook.

The early adopters were Michael Kors, Valentino, Stella McCartney, then followed Dior and LV among others... Predicting, in my opinion, a breaker of new entrants.

But after understanding the several arguments in favor of the app, we also know its pitfalls. Of course, Snapchat's quality is lame, and childish drawings thanks to the paint tool on a $2000 outfit can result in a weird combination. But more importantly, while we are happy to be cordially "invited" to the backstage of the show, some others could not feel very pleased to lose their privileges. Buyers, journalists, and influencers lose value and interest, if the magic of novelty has already been delivered online to the global audience before they see it on the runway with their own eyes. This again is about the challenge of balancing the mystery, dream and exclusiveness of the fashion world and reaching a global audience/demand.
Moreover, Snapchat seems accurate only for "one-shot" big events, and not for a daily tool of social media management to keep fans interested all year through such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Now, I make predictions and gamble which brand will be the next to take on my Snapchat feed.

mercredi 25 mars 2015

(Marc By) Marc Jacobs

It is quite funny actually. One of my last posts was a love declaration to Marc Jacobs's secondary line, Marc By Marc Jacobs (MBMJ), and more specifically to the duo Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley's work.

And yesterday, I learnt that this line was about to close. Marc Jacobs himself confirmed it to the Women's Wear Daily.

MBMJ is a brand I particularly cherish, since it has been the first brand I worked for. I keep a lovely memory working in this boutique in Paris, because I really loved this mix of ultra cheap and fun accessories such as pens, necklaces, printed tee-shirts, with middle-price leather goods and clothes never priced above $800, or even watches. It was nice to work in this colorful place, serving so many different types of clients.

I never really loved Marc Jacobs' line, but I always liked MBMJ young and fresh silhouettes. Especially since Hillier and Bartley were its creative directors.

It is not the end of MBMJ : it is supposed to be absorbed by the main line Marc Jacobs, folded into the overall brand name.
This move follows the intention to move towards an IPO (initial public offering) for the whole brand, and thus the secondary line should not be a separate entity anymore.

The whole debate is about the price range. I read different articles, and for now, none of them really agrees. What about this entry-level fashion Marc Jacobs has been one of the first to propose?
Should we forget it?
"The lower-priced line, embraced by lower-budget fashionistas and celebrity fans like Rihanna and Beyonce, typically ranged from $178 for a denim mini-skirt to $798 for a winter coat. Accessories like earrings, iPhone cases and wallets fly off the shelves in the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker St. in the West Village.
Jacobs’ namesake line features $3,200 dresses and rabbit fur coats for $5,800"
Source: The NY daily news 

Opinions are contradictory. While Robert Duffy (CEO) was speaking about a focus on this less expensive priced line, The NY Daily News seems quite pessimistic.
"You may need to pay more to make your Marc."
On the other hand, Grazia is not afraid.
"Don’t fret. The price point spectrum that Marc has so carefully crafted over the years will very much still be in existence, just not segregated out into a separate range." 
Marc Jacobs is this designer you can see walking on the catwalk after a wonderful designer show in a pair of Adidas sweatpants and used Stan Smiths. He is one of the pioneers and leaders of this pop culture dimension we give years after years to the fashion world, or I should say, fashion industry. He said it himself.
"On a daily basis I will wear everything from American Apparel to Adidas to Marc Jacobs to Prada. I love that mix of things, that high and low, that rich and poor, all of those contrasts, the everyday and the extraordinary.”
And on the other hand, he will add he never wanted MBMJ to be the "poor-relative-of" of the first line.

It is about unifying the two lines, but I am quite skeptical about how the positioning could be managed and coherent split between these completely different styles and price-ranges. I think the MBMJ's line will be the one which will suffer from this merge.

On the other hand, I could have predicted this move...

 "We’ve gone through many different ways looking at what it was initially and how it had gotten away from that, and I think again we’re back to that same thing… The way to do it is that this is under one label." 
Source: Grazia UK 
When I was speaking about this unsustainable speed and pressure of the fashion's ruthless pace, I always thought about Marc Jacobs.

At the time, he was running his eponymous collection, the first line Marc Jacobs, the secondary sister Marc By Marc Jacobs for men, women including accessories, watches, jewelry, leather goods... but he was also the creative director of the Louis Vuitton's empire.

And all of these lines... following the fashion pace as we know it : Spring Summer, Autumn Winter, Pre-collections, Cruise...etc!

(Have you made the calculation of how many collections it is a year?)

Louis Vuitton Spring 2012
It was predictable, because just not sustainable.

After the end of couture lines at the profit of ready-to-wear's exploding demand, then the end of ready-to-wear lines (Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier) to focus on couture creation, is it the beginning of a new wave of merge of secondary lines with their elder sisters (while some years ago we assisted at the multiplication of this type of entry-level offers)?

dimanche 22 février 2015

Save or Spend

Céline VS Asos, for 10€.
Just made a bargain to get the "Céline"'s barrette I wanted.