State Of Fashion: The Democratization Of Style

Professional Advice From Our Chic Boss, Rachel Zoe
Giambattista Valli: Arrivals - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring / Summer 2013

Photo: Getty Images

This column was originally posted to Rachel’s LinkedIn Influencer Profile. For more professional advice from our Editor-In-Chief, follow Rachel on LinkedIn.

The fashion world has become one of the most digital-forward industries out there. Digital and social media have been massive parts of growing my business and it’s been incredibly exciting to be part of a community that can now have a true two-way conversation with our customers because of new technologies available to us.

Fashion’s Accessibility
Fashion Week – in New York, London, Milan and Paris – is one of the most exciting times in fashion. Designers unveil their collections for buyers and the press in the form of presentations and runways shows. For as long as I can remember, the shows have been exclusive events, reserved for industry insiders. Fashion has changed so much in the last few years and has become much more accessible to the world. Live streaming fashion shows, Instagram and social media all provide an intimate look inside the shows. This advancement in technology is amazing because it makes people feel like they are there experiencing the show—it reveals a fashion insider’s point-of-view and makes it available for everyone to see. As a designer, it is important to consider all of these platforms. During fashion week I always try to do behind-the-scenes videos or a Google+ Hangout before my runway show to give everyone access to the backstage environment. Whenever I meet up-and-coming designers and they ask me for advice, I always encourage them to embrace social media. It’s a great way to connect with your customers and supporters and it’s a major marketing tool that is available to them for free.

Still In Love With Hardcopy Magazines & Books
I started my career as a magazine editor and I have always loved fashion magazines. The glossy pages are tangible and the fashion really comes to life—I love to see the way Edward Enninful styles a shoot for W. The important transition that magazines and brands are making now is how to think digitally and to engage with the online world by adapting their print initiatives to accommodate the social-media savvy user. It’s no longer about just broadcasting an image, but giving people a reason to share it. For example, my new book, Living In Style, launched on March 25 and although it is a tangible, hardcopy book—it was essential to engage with the online community for the launch in order to share its amazing content. Since the book is filled with all my favorite photography, travel destinations, home décor advice, beauty products and fashion – we asked people to post their own photos on social media with the hashtag #LivingInStyle to turn the release of a printed book into a well-rounded experience for the digital consumer.

Obsessed With Online Shopping
The best online shopping destinations have perfected the art of telling a story about their products. To compete, fashion websites need to show products in multiple views, in a video clip so you can see the clothing move or offer styling advice. Offering color options, similar styles and linking to items other shoppers bought are important ways to provide relevant information to the shopper. All of these layers tell a story about the brand and what they have to offer and this is what engages the user. The same way walking into a physical retail store can feel like walking into a whole world, offering an experience and a feeling is so important for online retailers.

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