Category Archives: News

Recap: Social Retail Summit

This week I attended the second annualSocial Retail Summit. It was an interesting and very thought provoking summit about the future of retail and the latest platform, social commerce.

The seminar covered various topics such as activating communities,flash sales, social discovery andoffline social retail which are all areas of interest that are shaking up the industry. The most intriguing part of the evening was learning about new companies tackling social retail and trying to understand their potential impact on the industry, and of course, how this applies to emerging designers.

What is social commerce?
There was healthy conversation on what truly is social commerce. Some said it was everything before the transaction while others noted that it was interaction with the brand regardless of purchase.The fact is, social commerce is here and expected to grow as consumers rely more on their networks to provide product recommendations, feedback and connect with brands.

It was clear that both brick and mortar stores and e-commerce store front are both playing in this social commerce space. At the most basic level, it’s using a platform like Facebook. However, there are more efficient tools like Moontoast that allows brands to create storefronts within their networks to help quantify ROI through a social network.

The one truth is that social retail encourages both the designer and the retailer to be accountable for creating a dialogue with their target, addressing customer service issues and fostering a community, all good things that help propel a brand today.

The future of the brick and mortar store.
Although there’s been so much attention paid to e-commerce, we cannot forget about the power of a physical store. Rick Weinstein, VP of Merchandising at Searle proudly proclaimed that retail was here to stay. And, the fact is, it’s true. There will always be consumers that want to shop and more specifically, the ones that want to touch, see and try on a product.  Plus, retail outlets give consumers an immediate transaction and just as important, instant gratification. And, there’s a lot to be said about the in-store shopping experience and of course, walking out with a new bag!

Other players feel this way too. Joshua Dern, CEO of Reqoop, a brand we featured earlier, discussed his app that allows consumers to take photos and describe their in-store finds with the option of sharing with their network via Facebook and Twitter, that make the in-store experience social.

What does this mean for a new designer?
The good thing is that there are plenty of retail outlets and resources emerging. As you begin to think about your distribution strategy and partner with these start-ups, you’ll have to understand how that outlet plays a role in your business. It seems that many of these social retailers and resources offer a specific point-of-difference and can help you live in both the online and offline space to help strengthen and make your brand profitable.

Check out all of the speakers at Social Retail Summit.

thebookr: Direct to Talent Online Model Booking Platform

Creating a fashion collection is a lot of work.  From sourcing and manufacturing to marketing and social media, the process never ends.  One aspect of the industry that designers might not think as much about is booking the right model for their photo shoots.  Contrary to what some may think, it’s not easy.  Recently, we heard about thebookr, a direct-to-talent online booking platform and the first of it’s kind.


There is a reason why models are attractive.  Simply put, they make the clothes look better. Consumers aspire to look like these models and therefore will buy your clothes in order to get one step closer. Right? 😉   Anyway, when it comes to emerging designers, who quite often have limited funds, we often see a bit of a cop out when it comes to acquiring models for the photo shoot.  Guess what, you’re best friend might be attractive, but that doesn’t make her a model.  You’ve spent so much time and energy on your collection and more than likely a decent amount of money on the photographer.  Why stop short when it comes to the person who is presenting your work to the world?  It may sound a bit catty and, honestly, it kind of is, but so is fashion.  We have all decided to enter a field where the way you look matters.  In fact, it what the industry is built on.

For those of you who do understand the importance of hiring a professional model, how many of you have done so in the past only to find that he/she was not so professional after all…. getting stood up by your model on the morning of the shoot is not only frustrating, it’s infuriating.

So if you hear what we’re saying and need a little direction, this platform may be of use to you. The site still seems pretty young so there isn’t a ton of talent currently present.  But we think this is definitely something to keep your eye on. Here are some of the features:

  • Every talent and client must be approved by thebookr.
  • Search talent by city, category and/or other attributes with advanced search tools.
  • See up-to-date polaroids and videos of talent instantly.
  • See a talent’s availability instantly.
  • Follow talent by adding them to your favorites page.
  • Send talent portfolios to nonmembers for their review in the job board feature.
  • Talent sets their own rates.
  • Book multiple models / talent at once.
  • Keeps all your upcoming and past bookings in one place.
  • Bookings are secured and delivered with paypal.

You can also check out an interview with the founder on SF Fashion and Tech

Who’s Leaving Mysterious Messages On Old Marquees Across The U.S.?

Whenever photographer Victoria Crayhon goes on a road trip, she makes sure to bring along a few packets of marquee letters. That way, if she comes across an old movie or motel marquee sign that looks like it’s seen better days, she can leave her own clever inscription on it. Over the past 14 years, Crayhon has left her roadside messages on signs all across the country and documented them in her brilliant photo seriesThoughts On Romance From The Road.

Untitled, Houston, TX

“Usually [the marquees] are blank. Other times they’re really old and still have old letters on them, and I take them off,” Crayhon says. As smaller, second-hand theaters get wiped out by the popularity of megaplexes and Netflix, Crayhorn finds more and more of these theaters for sale or abandoned. Their marquees are like blank canvases for the clever, poetic, sometimes poignant fragments and phrases she draws from her own life. Many of her missives are meant to be the opposite of the advertisements and propaganda that would have adorned these signs in a previous life.

“So much of movies and advertising, and the mentality of media and merchandising, is based on the idea that you find a relationship [and] you stay in it,” Crayhon says. “I’m addressing my life and having different relationships that mean different things to me—these [writings] were fragments from them. They’re little memories of love and romance. But I also want it to be strange and fictitious. They’re like diary entries: banal and sometimes flippant but have a lot of pain under them.”

Click through the gallery above for a selection of Victoria Crayhon’s work. For the full selection, go here.

[All Photos: Victoria Crayhon]

News from the Fashion Scene

They’re right in the thick of the action, keeping their eyes and ears open and reporting on fashion and lifestyle. The authors of OTTO’s Two for Fashion blog know what’s hot.

Since July 2008, there’s been a new hot online destination for fashionistas: the ‘Two for Fashion’ fashion and lifestyle blog. It was created for people who like to keep up with the latest trends and be inspired by insights into the international fashion scene.Caroline Whiteley

Each day, delivers up-to-the-minute reports, high-quality photos and videos from Hamburg, Berlin and Paris. Thuy and Kathrin, two external authors who are at home in the scene, are the authors of the blog. The editors describe their worldwide it-place discoveries intentionally from their personal point of view and do interviews with OTTO buyers and designers. “Two for Fashion allows us to bring our fashion expertise to life, link trends in the international fashion scene with insights into the company, and enter into a dialogue with readers and customers,” says René Murowski, Two for Fashion project manager.

Besides the two fashion experts, OTTO employees also write for the blog. They give personal insights into their daily work or let the bloggers look over their shoulder whenever they are doing something involving fashion, home design ideas or technology. Two for Fashion fans are encouraged to discuss and contribute their ideas in polls, contests and blog parades. For example, the current logo is the result of a design campaign: readers were invited to co-design and select the winning motif.

A campaign to mark the first anniversary of the OTTO fashion blog in 2009 attracted a lot of attention. The two authors sent their virtual mannequin Anna to selected fashion bloggers and fashion editors around the world, inviting them to dress Anna to reflect the current trend in their home countries in Scandinavia, Asia, Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. The bloggers could dress Anna in their favourite fashions on the computer, print her out, colour her, paste things on her, photograph or scan her as desired. Their creative Anna styles were then exhibited in a virtual fashion show. Finally, readers were asked to vote on their favourite look.

The anniversary campaign was an augmentation of the regular Two for Fashion ‘blog parades’ that OTTO uses to actively promote networking in the German fashion blog scene. All invited authors simultaneously blog on the same topic and link their contributions – text, photographs, collages, videos – with each other. As the initiator, Two for Fashion compiles the individual contributions in a collective article or in a virtually endless video. For example, the longest online fashion walk ever was created in this way.

Two for Fashion offers a prominent forum for current OTTO sustainability projects, such as the Aid by Trade Foundation’s ‘school uniforms for Benin’ by the Cotton Made in Africa initiative.

Of course, Two for Fashion is also on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter and keeps users in the loop with exclusive extra information from the fashion scene.

Two for Fashion has become a fixture in the fashion scene and has won numerous trade and consumer awards, including Gold at the 2011 German Online Communication Awards.