February 25, 2010


                  still from Lily donaldson's Flying Hair via: Nowness

We live in a time where ideas are constantly being thrown around from all sorts of places and angles. Living in a global society, the Internet has become the central hub for ideas to be communicated, shared, and evolved. LVMH has grasped this concept and recently launched a luxury lifestyle site, NOWNESS, where new content is shared daily by the most respected and innovative creatives working today. 

A place to be inspired, NOWNESS introduces the latest and best of fashion, art, culture, and travel in digital form. With interactive capabilities and user-friendly interface, its allows viewers to engage with the site as it then tailors the content to the viewer's specific interest. With it's "Love/Don't Love" feature, they are also able to directly gauge consumer reaction to products and ideas, setting up a new system of user testing and gathering information. 

Although NOWNESS is a brand of the luxury group, LVMH, the content is editorially independent and the NOWNESS international team collaborates with any creative individuals and brands. As content is the most important focus of the site, there is yet to be any revenue model. But as the site grows, it expects interest from advertisers. 

Because much of luxury is about tradition, the luxury market has always been a bit slow in adapting to online media. But NOWNESS has taken the leap as it experiments with new capabilities and sharing of ideas through the Internet. While it's approach is relevant to today's society, it remains faithful to the luxury lifestyle with it's forward-thinking approach to creativity and innovation. The concept of NOWNESS is not a completely new idea, but an evolution of what has been happening in social media such as blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. 

We live in a time where it is crucial for luxury brands to re-strategize and re-market themselves in order to stay on top of today's technologically advanced society. The power of the Internet is becoming increasingly important as it is continually being explored and expanded. We are eager to see how NOWNESS develops and differs itself from today's never-ending list of online editorial sites. But we also expect that this trend of online presence will continue to grow as other brands imitate with similar concepts. 

February 17, 2010

The Role of the Blogger

     Designer John Galliano and Blogger Tavi Gevinson via: Style Rookie

As previously mentioned in our earlier blog post, bloggers have a new role and greater influence in fashion than ever before. As everyone relies on the Internet nowadays for the latest information, the influence of blogs is something that cannot be ignored. Not only is it a source of information or inspiration, blogs are also the new type of portfolio in the fashion industry. It can lead to sponsorships, deals, collaborations, and jobs in marketing, fashion and media. Naomi Nevitt, a new media consultant, states that there are so many different types of blogs. And "it's about designers seeing how important this is, and the ability to circulate this information so quickly is really important." Looking toward the future, she predicts "personal style blogs filling the role of the traditional stylist. Just in the way a [public relations] company will lend out an item to shoot to a magazine, it's that way for a personal style blog showing how this item can exist in people's wardrobes."

                            Designer Marc Jacobs via: Vogue Espana

A few years ago, it would have sounded ridiculous for a blogger to be a designer's muse, inspire a new It bag, or be invited to sit front row of a fashion show. But it is now apparent that we are living in a new era where relatively anyone with a computer and Internet access can have a voice in fashion. And more recently, it is clear that not only do bloggers have a voice, but they have somehow managed to take the lead.

The power pyramid has shifted and designers are paying more attention to what bloggers are saying. Attracting hundreds of thousands of hits per month, these bloggers influence a wider audience. Calling them key influencers, a spokeswoman from Tory Burch states, "we hope that through their sites, they'll introduce Tory Burch to a whole new set of customers... Blogs and Web sites invite a dialogue with readers and customers that is invaluable to us." Fashion designer Norma Kamali also noted that "there is no elite in anything anymore."Calling them leaders, she says she appreciates the way they interpret what she does and publicly share it with others.

Jane Aldridge at Crillon Ball via: Sea of Shoes 

Bloggers play a multi-dimensional role; they are the new celebrities, editors, critics, stylists, muses, etc... The list can go on and on. 13-year-old Tavi Gevinson of Style Rookie is now a correspondent for Pop Magazine and has reportedly been approached about a reality TV show and a book. 17-year-old blogger of Sea of Shoes, Jane Aldridge, designed a capsule collection for Urban Outfitters and was invited by Vogue to attend the Paris Crillon Ball in a Chanel Haute Couture gown. And London-based 25-year-old Susie Lau of Susie Bubble is now an editor at Dazed & Confused.

With all of this attention given to bloggers, there has been an uproar the last few weeks of bloggers versus editors. 13-year-old Tavi Gevinson, blogger of Style Rookie, wrote her stance, and Business of Fashion made a great point. And for the most part, bloggers are not trying to take over anyone's position or step on anyone's toes. As Business of Fashion states, instead of an unconstructive us versus them mentality, journalists and editors should engage genuine dialogues with bloggers "about the state of the industry and the ways in which social media can make fashion a more participative industry."

As information is available to everybody instantly, the pace of fashion has moved much more quickly than before. Today, most fashion brands and retailers have some form of blogger outreach. Whether these companies are giving bloggers new products, inside scoops, inviting them to special events or fashion shows, those who are smart enough know that they cannot ignore this new blogosphere. Journalists, stylists, and editors may feel attacked by the power of bloggers. But that does not need to be the case.  Perhaps many people who have been in the fashion industry for a long period are not yet comfortable with this idea, but it is only to their disadvantage to not accept the changing times. 

Information moves quickly, and people are reacting quickly. As information becomes more widely available and fashion becomes more transparent, we stand in a midst of a revolution. It's clear that blogging is not just a trend, and we look forward to how this will evolve and change the fashion industry.

Source: WWD

February 10, 2010

A Return to Luxury?

                                                                    via: Flickr

As an estimated twenty percent of the US population are still unemployed or working part-time, the 
recession is still a reality for many of us. Most of us are still looking for the best bargains and being frugal with our dining expenses. So it was a bit of a surprise when we heard that despite the economic state, the luxury market is actually doing better than expected.

Richard Hastings, retail strategist at Global Hunter Securities, estimates that about half of the 80% of Americans fully employed are not affected by the economic state. As they are less concerned about the stability of their jobs, many have begun to comfortably open up their wallets. And it's not just casual spending, we're talking about a return to high-end luxury goods.

Retail companies from all angles have reported sale increases. Tracey Travis, chief financial officer of Polo Ralph Lauren, states that he has "begun to see the gradual return of our core luxury customer," including buyers of their $4,000 couture dresses. Representatives of the Louis Vuitton Las Vegas boutique, which just opened last December, announced that sales were 50 percent higher than their predicted forecast. Prada's retail sales rose more than 14 percent and expressed hopeful prospects for the coming months. Abercrombie & Fitch recently reported an 8% sales increase, its first monthly increase for the last 20 months. In addition, the top department store chains, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, and Bloomgdales all report an increase sales growth. Neiman Marcus also noted that their strongest categories were women's couture clothing and precious jewelry. And consumers are also shopping online. Online fashion retailer Yoox reported this week a 50 percent rise in their 2009 sales, claiming all markets, include Europe, North America, and Japan had strong sales. And just last month, ASOS, Yoox's rival online retailer, stated a 30 percent sales increase in the five weeks to January 3.

Despite the sales reports, in times like these, we can't help but to have some skepticism about this new confidence of such an optimistic outlook. What has suddenly urged people to spend so lavishly? And is it naive to say that this is going to gradually increase? But nonetheless, we would love to be proven wrong and hope that recovery may be faster than expected.

February 9, 2010

Stacy J Lee's Re(-)Creation

                                                 via: Ecouterre

Last week, Ecouterre highlighted the work of one of MBF's own staff members, Stacy J. Lee. Her Re(-)Creation line is an avant-garde approach of making use of what already exists. Collecting samples, left over and damaged merchandise, the line reworks what is considered waste into a one-of-a-kind piece of craft. Her first collection experiments with America's most iconic look: t-shirt and jeans. Click here to see the full article.

February 4, 2010

The New Social Currency

  Still from Vol de Jour, film by Karl Lagerfield via Chanel

With today's technological advances, it's hard to imagine how life was before the invention of the Internet. The world wide web has become such an integral part of all our daily lives, we barely notice how much it has affected us in such a short period of time. It has completely revolutionized every aspect of our culture, from how we run our businesses to our every day menial tasks. We adapted into a society where everything is accessible at anytime, anywhere. Checking status updates on Twitter and Facebook, reading newspapers on Kindles, listening to music on iPods, and writing emails on smart phones are all normal things most of us do everyday.

As we live in such a world, having virtual presence is key for the longevity and success of any business company. Smart retail companies and fashion brands recognize this and are shifting their marketing and branding strategies. These days, in order to stay afloat in the market, having digital content is vital. Without a platform in the digital world, a brand has almost no identity. And since creating a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, or a blog is free, building an online community has never been easier.

With the influence of media and technology, brands must begin to think in a more creative manner and offer something special in order to stand out against the crowd. As we are constantly bombarded with new ideas, brands must offer something interesting to keep their audience engaged. And to stay on top, it's much more than just about having presence; it's about innovation. Chanel, for example, has been making some changes lately with their runway videos, a silent film, video diaries, and their most recent development, Chanel News. Although Chanel is regarded as one of the most exclusive Parisian design houses, the brand recognizes that the world is not the same today as it was twenty, or even ten years ago and change is necessary. And even smaller designers are experimenting with film and media; Designer Vanessa Bruno for example, collaborated with model and actress Lou Doillon and director Stephanie Di Giusto for her last two seasons to create a fashion video "Visual Poem."

Tavi for Vogue Paris via Jak & Jil
Fashion is no longer about elite runway shows or exclusivity. Anyone can have a voice these days, and people are eager to exchange and criticize. The newest magazines are no longer in print, but online. Instead of monthly or weekly subscriptions, online magazines offer daily updates, videos, and endless content, and everything at virtually no cost. In addition, blogs have become even more important where blogging is now an acceptable full-time job. Gaining fans from around the world, bloggers, despite their age, location, or background, are influencing fashion trends and starting new ones. One does not necessarily need the traditional credentials to be offered a design collaboration or magazine spread. Just look at the thirteen-year old blogger from Chicago, Tavi, who is now Rodarte's muse and invited to cover almost every runway show.

We live in an exciting period where all the traditional systems of fashion are being redesigned, criticized, and restructured. And as we live in a global society where technology is the driving force, we are ready to leave the old, and embrace the new. Andy Warhol was right when he said, "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." But even if recognition is easier to achieve, the challenge now lies in permanence.
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