Isabel Marant, the Internet & Social Media

by grechen on March 3, 2010 | RSS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | FACEBOOK |

There was an interesting article/interview with Isabel Marant in Grazia yesterday which sheds some light on why she’s resisted the Internet so long. She says:

‘For me, fashion shows are not for the public, they are trade shows for the press. It’s time for the press to understand the collection and then spread the information. That’s more interesting than just the image. Everyone wants to be first. It’s too too much. There should be privacy and mystery. There is no excitement about anything anymore as everything is available immediately and all the time – you don’t have to wait for anything.

I don’t like the idea of being flooded with image and information. I don’t belong to the generation of spending time on the internet. I think it’s too fast and too fake. It’s like going to a museum on the internet – where is the pleasure? It’s sad because everyone is running after everything, but after what? Everything is too quick. There is no room in your heads for all this information. No one retains anything.’

on the one hand, it feels like she’s very resistant to the change that’s inevitable in the fashion world; it’s not all about secrecy and exclusivity anymore. I don’t believe that consumers and fashion-lovers need “gatekeepers” or journalists to interpret things for us. Now that we can have all the information, we want it; and we’re not giving it up any time soon.

on the other hand, she has done remarkably well NOT selling on line until now (at Net-a-Porter) and really keeping very tight control over her images and brand online. Isabel Marant is a CULT luxury brand not least because of the secrecy and exclusivity surrounding it. She also makes beautiful clothes, exactly what is called for at any given moment, but there is always something to be said for the power of waiting and not making access “easy.”

this success seems to belie what many people are saying that in the age of “fashion 2.0″ you simply cannot succeed as a brand today without being on facebook and twitter, and making our product and inspiration as available as possible to the masses. If succeeding is interpreted as increasing sales & profits, I humbly disagree.

I love being able to interact with some of my favorite boutiques and brands on twitter, but that interaction has never once contributed to my buying something as a direct result. while I agree that boutiques should DEFINITELY be on twitter and facebook, interacting as much as possible with their customers, being available, posting promotions, I don’t think that’s necessarily true for brands/designers unless they’re directly representing their online store.

all this interaction and behind the scenes online is fun & entertaining, but I wonder how it directly translates to sales, company growth, and increased profits if at all. maybe I’ve missed a major study that comes to that conclusion, but I think that it has to be very difficult to measure.

For example, I love to follow @dkny on twitter, but I would like to know how many of her 42,000+ followers are consumers of DKNY/Donna Karen and how tweets like this translate to sales:

Not that DKNY shouldn’t have a presence on twitter or facebook, but if the ULTIMATE goal is to increase sales, then I’m not sure it’s altogether effective, or worth the time/effort. It definitely increases brand awareness and loyalty over time, but sales? Maybe the goal with participating in social media isn’t sales at all, but branding.

These are just my thoughts..what are yours?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

M March 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Interaction is about creating a sense of inclusion in my view fabricating the need to really be a part of the brand by actually purchasing something even if only a sharpie with the brand’s name stamped on it
.-= M´s last blog ..The lips of spring summer 2010 =-.

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Macala Wright Lee March 13, 2010 at 9:56 am

Grechen – for larger brands social media has become about awareness/branding/PR monitoring and to some degree sales. For smaller brands, I believe social media supports their PR efforts and is part of them, but has to equate to sales. That’s what’s why so many brands haven’t jumped full force into it. Where’s the monetary value (one I will notice). Great piece, I’ve just discovered your blog through The-Coveted and will link to it, <3 it!

Macala
Editor-In-Chief
FashionablyMarketing.Me
.-= Macala Wright Lee´s last blog ..Interview: Daniela Zeltzer, Marketing XCVI Clothing =-.

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grechen March 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

thanks for your comment macala – i love to read your blog too! and you’re absolutely right about the distinction between larger and smaller brands, that’s really important to note.

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ThatGirl39 March 14, 2010 at 11:33 am

Great piece! Whether or not I interact with a brand via Twitter has no influence as to my purchasing with them. As a fashion addict, I love that we can interact with certain brands in this way and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. By the same token, those that don’t “put themselves out there” are savvy in their exclusivity. We often covet those things that seem unobtainable (case in point: me trying to get hold of Chanel’s Particuliere polish!) so I think there’s a place for both approaches – and one shouldn’t “sniff” at the other. xx
.-= ThatGirl39´s last blog ..Forty Loves…. =-.

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grechen March 14, 2010 at 11:49 am

i totally agree with you…thanks for your comment!

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Beaut VIntage August 28, 2010 at 4:03 am

Grechen,
That was a great post
it is interesting to note that fashion shows are really for the trade.
very insightful.

Beaut xxx

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