Nobody would argue that the fashion business was late in opening up to social media. Iconic designers locked the doors as long as they could, considering themselves closer to god than to their clients. Then the social fashion revolution happened through an uncountable number of fashion blogs that popped-up across the globe – many in France, the US and Asia – creating a blogging category in itself and contributing to the rise of now media giants like the Glam Media Network or Sugar Inc.
Fashion is on the fast-track in the social space
I remember my first Fashion Week spring 2010 when Fashion bloggers had to beg organizers to get a pass into Fashion Shows (or had to make deals with security guards). Most bloggers were still waiting outside of luxury palaces or hanging around in the cold on Paris’ Place Vendôme hunting top models and other VIPs for a street-style photo. Tolerated “amateurs” such as Garence Doré and Scott Schuman, the most famous blogging couple, were exceptions inside the shows. Paris in particular used to be a “closed society” while other Fashion Weeks in London or New York were more open minded towards the new social media. As example: Burburrey was amongst the first Premium brands to stream their London show live on the web and to use iPads after the show to present the new collections to their guests.
Then in 2011 more bloggers were invited, the best and smarter ones even got seats in the front-row. This annoyed the former front-row seaters to see that “nobodies” would enter their well-protected space leading to lots of tensions and “protectonistic” debates within the industry. Then came more affordable Prêt-à-Porter brands like Etam who decided to stop snobbing bloggers and turned their catwalk into a gigantic party with lots of them. The social media coverage they received for this show contributed strongly to their re-branding efforts and helped them gain ground in the competitive environment..
Finally, in December 2011 during LeWeb in Paris, which as all of you know is not a fashion-event, M Karl Lagerfeld showed a hand-drawn portrait of Steve Jobs (19″)on an iPad and even started drawing live on stage using a pen and iPad. Thus everybody inside and outside the Fashion space had understood that the embracement of technology by Fashion creators is irreversible and that a new area had started, allowing fashion marketeers also to go more social – making fashion the fastest growing business online with still some bright years ahead, according to Forrester Research.
Ykone saw this coming
Ykone, France’s first social fashion magazine, agency and media network had seen this coming for a while. In the past 24 months fashion and luxury brands became very active, playing around with technology and are now deploying their full creativity with social media. While blogs played an important role a few years ago, I predict that Fashion blogging will soon be dead as brands and labels are becoming more intimately involved with social media (This might be the subject of a future post here – stay tuned or contact me to contribute or argue).
FLOW – When social media meets fashion
On September 24th, on the Eve of Paris’ Spring/Summer 2013 Pret-a-Porter Week Ykone organizes its 2nd edition of FLOW, a must participate event if you’re working in Fashion or Luxury markets or if you are passionate about social marketing in that area.
I met with Olivier Billon, Ykone’s co-founder and CEO, who told me “we’re doing FLOW again this year, and it’s going to be better than last year”.
Personally, I am expecting a conference with a lot of practical showcases and best-practices. I asked Olivier what he is cooking up for this years’ event. “It’s not about blogging nor Facebook, but about fashion business” says Olivier, “it’s connecting community and commerce”. It would have been easy, according to him, to grow the number of participants from last year’s 300 to up to 500 in 2012, but instead he wants to focus on quality of the attendees and depths of the sessions.
What’s the plan for FLOW 2012?
Fewer speakers: I was one of the speakers at last years FLOW which saw many panel discussions but only few fire-side chats. This year Ykone wants to focus more on individual speakers and provide real insights. Thus expect that there will be fewer, but nonetheless more high profile speakers. Fashion startups were given a lot of room on the agenda last year, but this year it should be balanced and more traditional actors with a strong social media strategy can be expected (Note that I can’t disclose yet which companies confirmed, but I will come back to this point as soon as Ykone give the green light)
Only 200 professional participants: Everybody can attend FLOW, but you’ll have to pay for your ticket. “We decided to limit the participants to the first 200 ticket owners” claims Olivier, who prefers to limit the number of attendees, and wants to manage the quality of networking through the conference fee that is set at 990€ for a single participant. The venue will be the same as last year: A trendy location, Le 8 Valois in the heart of Paris, next to Palais Royal and Le Louvre. The audience shall be balanced between fashion labels, media agencies and startups contributing to interesting discussions and experience sharing. The facility is made in a way that you can attend the session or have private discussions in a meeting area.
Paris – capital of Fashion and social media for 24h
Last year’s event was already a good success, even as first edition. I am glad that Ykone has decided to organize the 2nd edition. Not only because they are the best suited to do it and because I like to see Paris lead the Social Media topic for Fashion, but also because typically the learning curve and improvements from one year to the next is very steep. With more time per speaker and topic, a great networking location and focus on professional participants, you can expect an event that maybe, is on its way to establish itself as the convention for social media professionals in the Fashion business – just as LeWeb has become for startups.
Rude Baguette Readers get a 200€ discount
Readers of The Rude Baguette can get a discount of 200€ to register at FLOW. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the Rude Baguette post. You will be given a special code to sign up and at 790€ instead of 990€.