Robert Polet, CEO Gucci, has famously said:
“We are not selling handbags or shoes. We are selling dreams. That market will always be there.”
While the statement still holds the truth, what’s hot and what’s not in the world of fashion is no longer decided by the few and privileged ones. The social web is changing the rules, by giving independent fashionistas the voice and the tools to get recognized for their own individual taste. As the web and commerce gets more social, so does every step of a decision making process.
Brands are starting to recognize the need of being part of the various stages of decision making process taking place in social networks. Facebook Like button has become the first step to connect with potential customers, and it was only last week Starbucks as the first brand reached more than 10 Million Facebook Likes, and became one of the top ten largest Facebook pages. When it comes to fashion brands, though, one needs to scroll down the list, finding only two fashion brands to make the top 100 list: Victoria’s Secret on place 44 with 5 Million Facebook fans, followed by Converse All Star on place 83 with 3.8 Million fans.
ModCloth, Bloglovin’ and Fashiolista harnessing Likes beyond Facebook
But, not all “liking” happens or is being harnessed on Facebook. ModCloth, San Francisco based indie fashion site featuring vintage-inspired clothing just recently raised $19.8 Million in funding to meet the growing demand of hot fashion items frequently being sold out. ModCloth was early on to recognize and create a marketplace for independent, up and coming designers, reporting $19 Million in sales last year. Influence ranks high among fashionistas, thus by engaging fashion bloggers and fashionistas to become virtual fashion buyers to help ModCloth choose which designs get created, it’s also able to predict the demand much earlier. Watch Eric and Susan Koger, the husband and wife founders of ModCloth, interviewed by Jason Kincaid on TechCrunch TV.
To further interact with fashionistas, ModCloth ran a fashion campaign earlier this year together with Bloglovin’, Swedish blog aggregator startup with 96% female users and 5.5 Million monthly visits. Influential fashion bloggers were chosen by Bloglovin’ to promote fashion items in a transparent and trustworthy way, resulting 5 out 14 items to have been sold out within 24 hours.
Aiming to become the start page for fashion blogging, Bloglovin’ recently also launched a new start page, described as a visual Digg for fashion blogging. By introducing a voting system called “Like”, the most popular blog posts in fashion can now be featured. Bloglovin’ has been picking up steam among fashionistas world wide, overtaking both Style.com and Teenvogue.com with its 1.1 Million monthly unique visitors. Brands like DKNY and Roberto Cavalli have discovered Bloglovin’ to reach out to fashionistas, and H&M has been a frequent advertiser on the site. US fashion bloggers like Fashionchalet and fashiontoast have already created a larger following on Bloglovin’ than for example on Twitter, counting over tens of thousands of followers.
Fashiolista is another European fashion startup from Netherlands, where Likes and “Loves” are everything. It’s a fashion community with a handy bookmarklet tool that lets you collect, save and share all the fashion finds with the rest of the world. One can easily follow other Fashiolistas to get inspired of their fashion sense, as add items from nearly any online fashion shops, such as ModCloth, who has implemented Fashiolista’s bookmarklet. When it will be possible to start subscribing specific tags on Fashiolista, I can see the site getting seriously compelling. Henriette Weber, Danish social media avantgardista and fashionista herself, recently interviewed the founders of Fashiolista.
With help of services like Bloglovin’ and Fashiolista, the life of fashionistas gets easier, when being able to spot the fashion blogs that don’t suck, as to track down the perfect summer season items in the nude.
As for “safe” fashion discovery, I recommend first to head over to Mint Goals to set up your saving plan for all the fashion Likes and Loves. Happy Liking!
Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Connect with her on Twitter: @paulamarttila
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com