In the Financial Times of 12/18/11 an eye-opening article by Lucie Greene and Vanessa Friedman explores the clout of fashion bloggers coupled with the visibility of style-conscious celebrities. Here’s a brief recap of their findings.
In 2011, Express, a fashion chain in the U.S. known for its colorful, funky attire, sent a dress with navy-and-red stripes to a few celebrity friends, namely: Zoe Saldana, Emmy Rossum, Amanda Seyfried, Nicky Hilton and Olivia Munn.
Coincidentally, and in the space of four weeks, all wore the dress in public. Before you could say, “What a cute outfit,” blog sites such as SheFinds.com, Celebuzz and inTheirCloset.Com had written about this sartorial mind meld.
Express Hits Pay Dirt
Within a week of their posts surfacing, all 600 Express stores, as well as their e-commerce site, had nearly sold out of the $49.90 item which means: they moved in excess of 10,000 dresses.
Celebrities vs. Bloggers
Did this sell-through occur because celebrities were shown wearing the dress and consumers want to be just like those celebrities? Or, was it because key fashion bloggers picked those particular pictures to feature?
Last year, the answer would have been “celebrities” but one fashion maven has no doubt that the bloggers were the biggest reason the striped dress became so coveted.
Moving With the Times
Today’s fashion bloggers are not necessarily the same ones who first gained the fashion industry’s attention a couple of years ago. This new breed of bloggers is different.
Focusing on red carpet events and celebrities, they play into several contemporary trends: a fascination with famous people, our desire to acquire information quickly and the ability of online sites to drive sales.
The Power of Bloggers
For example: the blog/website called WhoWhatWear, set up by two former fashion editors, charts celebrity fashion with links to retailer sites. With 4,000,000 visitors a month, the twosome says that they “direct millions of dollars of revenue to retailers.”
TRUE STORY #2
A fascinating TV series called “All On The Line” is currently appearing on the Sundance Channel in New York. It is hosted by Joe Zee, the creative director of Elle magazine who works with new or established fashion designers to put their business on the right and/or different track.
Reinventing a Label
Nichole Miller, a very successful “specialty” designer of prom-and-cocktail dresses and evening/bridal gowns for the past 10 years, was looking to expand her business by attracting young buyers for her sportswear line.
High-energy Joe Zee felt that Nicole Miller was not grasping the impact of the fashion bloggers so, within a matter of weeks, he proposed a totally new approach for New York’s upcoming Fashion Week. Ultimately, Nicole’s fashion show, a six-figure expense, can set the tone for the year ahead.
A “Wow” Finish
The new approach included: (a) creating a cool, hip line targeted to a younger audience, and (b) reserving the show’s front seats (formerly for editors from glossy fashion magazines) for the bloggers.
This was a risk, or as the CEO of Nicole Miller notes, “bloggers are loose cannons — with their live tweeting and blogging during the show.”
Fortunately, they raved about the collection and, most important, a senior executive from Neiman Marcus bought the line. This was a win-win all around.