A year might as well be a New York minute in the fashion world, where things move so fast even the business insiders struggle to stay ahead of the game. We’ve collected the biggest happenings of 2015 regarding fashion intel, business and e-commerce. Try to keep up!
The really, really ridiculously good-looking duo is back! – March
Ever since its debut back in 2001, Zoolander has become the satirical symbol for everything that is wrong, right, and downright frivolous about the fashion world. Nearly a decade later; buzz began to grow around a potential sequel and various rumours were both confirmed and denied, without any sign of our favorite pouty model appearing on the big screen any time soon. Fast forward to Paris Fashion Week in March of this year, when, out of nowhere, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson suddenly strut down the Maison Valentino runway. Ben’s spiky raven wig and Owens luscious locks made it clear that they were both back in characters as Zoolander and Hansel – and at last, the world’s favourite fictional supermodels had returned!
This was without a doubt a clever marketing strategy from Paramount Pictures, and a highly successful one at that! What made it work was not only the obvious link between a movie concerning male models and a men’s fashion label, but what Valentino did to provide Zoolander no. 2 and Paramount with a relevant global platform, given more coverage by press than any billboard or Instagram post could ever hope to achieve! And the most genius aspect of it all? The effortlessness and seamlessness of its execution. There was no need for any announcement, no need for words or for an official statement from any part – simply by showing up in character, Stiller and Wilson showed the world that everyone’s favourite male models are back!
Is everyone leaving French fashion? – July/October
It all started in late July when rumors that Alexander Wang was leaving Balenciaga were finally confirmed. His final collection appeared on the runway at Paris Fashion Week that October, and with it came a landslide of prestigious designers leaving their respective fashion houses. Raf Simons announced that he was leaving Dior after three highly successful years as Creative Director. Though he initially stated that his reason for leaving was to spend more time on his own brand and personal interests, truth proved to be more complicated. Raf then admitted that the increasing pressure of constantly pushing out new collections, sometimes as quickly as five weeks, was just too much.
Just a week later, Alber Elbaz released an official statement claiming that after fourteen years, he was now stepping down as the Creative Director of Lanvin. Rumor has it that Alber had major disagreements with Lanvin’s owner Shaw-Lan Wang and chief executive Michèle Huiban and was therefore in fact fired.
Regardless of what actually happened behind the scenes, the proverbial musical chairs that took place in the fashion world this fall sent the signal that something is very wrong with the increasing speed and consumerism of high fashion. No successors have yet been announced for any of the fashion houses, and 2016 will without a doubt bring great change and rearrangement for some of the world’s most prestigious fashion empires.
Instagram reaches 400 million users and 40 billion photos – September
The idea that social media has made its way into the world of fashion is now a proven fact. With Instagram currently accumulating over 400 million users and 40 billion photos, the fashion world has opened its eyes to the marketing possibilities that lies within the popular photo-sharing platform. Celebrated fashion profiles such as Victoria Beckham, Olivier Rousteing and Marc Jacobs are not only posting selfies of themselves at lavish fashion parties, but also using it as a clever marketing tool in order to seemingly and organically promote their own brands and collections. During the early days of Instagram, this was the only way to sneak advertising onto the platform.
Now, Instagram is allowing advertisers to promote their own brands through sponsored posts, and the ad recall from said ads proved to be three times higher than the norm for online advertising, according to Instagram’s own study. Is Instagram and social media really the future of fashion marketing? We had a talk with our own Social Content Manager, Charlotte Stringer, who shared the following insight: “The way people use Instagram is very personal; we look at it first thing in the morning whilst we’re still in bed, we refer to it as a distraction whilst on a boring commute, and use it to share pictures not just of where we’ve visited on holiday, but also what we’re doing (& eating!) right in that moment. It’s this aspect of Instagram that some brands have utilised so successfully, and seamlessly—to inspire yet remain relatable—that has made it the number one social channel and, in turn, its sponsored posts more memorable than ads placed anywhere else.”
Fashion giants unite – October
In early March 2015 it was declared that e-commerce giants Net-a-Porter and YOOX would merge and together make up the new YOOX Net-a-Porter Group. Even though the announcement was made in March, the merger didn’t actually take place until October after being pushed back for months. Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-A-Porter, was initially set to take the role as executive chairman as well as a member of the board of director, but chose to leave the company in order to “explore new ideas and opportunities”. Founder of YOOX Federico Marchetti took over as CEO and proudly proclaimed “I am thrilled to see the passion with which our two teams have already come together – this energy is at the heart of building Yoox Net-A-Porter Group. Our combined force is staggering, our future potential extraordinary.”
What this merger illustrates is not only the bright future that is e-commerce, but also that competitors can work together across nations, with British Net-a-Porter seamlessly blending with Italian YOOX through their common denominator of luxury fashion. And with Instagram’s head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen joining to serve on the board of directors, the group has successfully joined British, Italian and American fashion perspectives into one giant company filled to the brim with the best the business can offer!
Balmain x H&M – Fast Fashion at its best – November
Swedish high-street giant H&M has long since proved that high fashion and fast fashion do in fact go hand in hand. With their now (in)famous designer collab collections, H&M has made big business out of bringing cheap and chic into a beautifully stylish marriage. The most recent collaboration with French fashion house Balmain exceeded all expectations, with eager fans and customers queuing from dusk till dawn in order to snatch up a tiny piece of affordable fashion luxury.
BALMAIN X H&M Collection – Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for H&M
Balmain’s Creative Director, Olivier Rousteing, was both praised and criticized for his use of social media stars and ‘It-girls’ Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner in the promotion and advertising of the collection. Many were quick to scream out nepotism, others criticized the girls’ modelling reliabilities and claim to fame. Regardless of the advertising, the collection was a massive success and sold out in stores and online worldwide in just a matter of minutes. Still doubting the wearability of high/low fashion collabs? Our in-house editorial team took the collection head-on and discovered just how #HMBALMAINATION fits the ‘everyday’ life…
Together with the rapidly closing gap between high and low-end fashion thanks to these designer collabs, and the boost in e-commerce; trends are taking over the streets (and internet) quicker than you can say ‘Balmain’. (Read our insights into the world of dangerously delicious fast fashion)
The business of Victoria’s Secret – November/December
The world’s largest lingerie empire was founded by a man who wanted to change the embarrassment men felt when buying lingerie for their wifes and girlfriends. Nearly four decades later, the retailer has grown beyond everyone’s wildest dreams and is now a worldwide brand and institution. Know for their luxurious, sexy look and clever use of famous models in their marketing, Victoria’s Secret and their infamous fashion show has grown to be big business for everyone involved.
More iconic is perhaps their lavish fashion show, which takes place annually and is watched by millions when it finally airs on TV in December. Since the 80s and 90s, Victoria’s Secret has used supermodels to model spectacular lingerie looks, complete with wings, costumes and themes. And as if that wasn’t enough, they also bring out the iconic “Fantasy Bra” which is traditionally made specifically for the show and is valued at millions of dollars. This year, the bra was named ‘The Fireworks Fantasy Bra’ and had came with a price tag of 2 million dollars. We bet you can’t even imagine how many things you could buy for the same amounts as money as that one bra! Well, we collected 21 🙂
The show itself, costs approximately $12 millions to produce, with marketing and promotion costs added on top of that! Strange as it might sound, this is peanuts for a company that banks between $6-10 billions of dollars each year, sends out 375 catalogues to customers, not to mention their thousands of stores and concession stands in malls, airports and shopping streets worldwide.
#AskJack – December
What better way to round off 2015 than with a cheeky and somewhat opinionated 9 year old? Indeed, we invited ‘Fashion Week.. as told by kid’s’ star Jack back into Stylight HQ to get his very important views on the best and possibly worst fashion of the year.
|By Ellen Egeland|