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Twitter and PR for Brands, Engaging Customers

A recent piece in the WSJ profiled the use of Twitter by several companies in the fashion world, that I think highlights a transformation in customer/business relationships:

Ms. Bearman is one of several executives who tweet on behalf of luxury fashion brands, masking their marketing in a Carrie-Bradshaw-esque life-stream. Dozens of labels now have a presence on Twitter, the benefits of which are seen most clearly during New York Fashion Week. Tweets come fast and furious during the shows, providing designers with instantaneous feedback from attendees and giving the events a much bigger marketing stage, albeit a virtual one.

When starting a new company or store, opening accounts on Twitter/Facebook/etc should be on the top of the to-do list.

Twitter Roundup

Some things that you might have missed if you’re not following me on twitter:


– The new Hickey Freeman? Do Men Want Boxy or Bold?

Are Designer Sunglasses Worth It? A look at the business of Luxottica and eyewear.

– Workroom has a preview of Garbstore’s SS11 collection.

Inverallan goes out of business: “After many years of business we have decided to retire. Many thanks to all our loyal customers.” Update: It sounds like they might stay in business, but are closing their mail/internet order system. Stay tuned.

– Superior Labor has a new bag design which could be great for camera gear.

– The Real McCoy’s updated their website for FW10.

– More on those awesome Makr stools.

– New blogs you should follow: Suitorial and Gentleman’s Gazette.


– The hard to find EG Newport jackets from last year are on Yoox.

– Sak’s has a few Polo Ralph Lauren navy blazers in larger sizes on sale.

– J.Crew is selling some new shell cordovan Alden boots.

Photo by Steve Benisty for the Wall Street Journal.

The Handmade Myth

LVMH recently got into a bit of trouble in Europe for advertising their products as being handmade by small workshop artisans when in truth, a majority of their products are made on assembly lines:

There’s just one tiny detail missing. Hardly any Vuitton bags or wallets are handmade. While reporting an article on Vuitton in 2004, I visited one of its factories in the village of Ducey near Mont St. Michel. There I saw rows of workers seated at sewing machines, stitching together machine-cut pieces of canvas and leather. The partially finished bags were rolled from one workstation to the next on metal carts.

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority then ordered them to stop not long after the ad campaign started:

The bureaucrats paid to protect the public from flimflammery declared this to be a fraud. “[C]onsumers would interpret the image of a woman using a needle and thread to stitch the handle of a bag,” the agency ruled, “to mean that Louis Vuitton bags were hand stitched.”

Fair enough, but one can’t help but think that the Standards Authority was just attempting to protect Savile Row and Northhampton craftsman, many of whom use machines for their own “handmade” work. The word is very ambiguous in marketing these days and it’s probably too late to protect it now.

What even counts as being handmade? Despite what notions we like to think of, most goods sold today were probably touched by a machine at some point – shoes need to be welted, jeans need to be sewn, and buttons need to be punched. These sorts of things should be encouraged though, as it helps efficiency (and in theory, better prices for consumers). A little leeway should be alright; after all, handwork is still involved somewhere along the way and a machine can still not beat the experience of a seamstress who has the finesse to finish those delicate details or the tailor who knows how to cut the fabric just right.

The Business of Selling Luxury Online

There was an article in yesterday’s NYTimes on how some luxury companies are rethinking their plans for online retailing:

In the genteel world of luxury, companies long felt that the Web was no place for merchandising exclusive products. And there was a gentlemen’s agreement with department stores not to siphon sales by reaching out directly to wealthy customers.

Then, in came the recession, and out went the niceties. Department stores slashed prices on $1,200 handbags, while luxury lines fretted about losing their exclusivity. Now, come September, marcjacobs.com is going retail, 10 years after most brands opened Web showrooms.

Selling high end goods online no longer carries the same negative connotation it was once had and companies can be successful if they’re smart about it. Third party companies such as Gilt and Yoox will also become much larger players in this area, and I would expect that we’ll soon see more designers working directly with them to use their existing platforms instead of rolling out their own.

Continue reading more.

Weekly Roundup

Some things from last week that you might have missed if you’re not following me on twitter:

– Shorpy has put together a fun gallery of digitally colorized black and white photos. Pictured above, Birth of the American Flag – and the original version.

Legion, Coggles, Blackbird, Mohawk, and Stuart & Wright have started their seasonal sales.

– End Clothing has posted some pictures from their Pitti buying trip. Includes some peeks at next year’s collections from Engineered Garments, Yuketen, Nigel Cabourn, and more.

– From the NYTimes, there’s a good profile on the man behind Best Made Co. and an opinion piece on the wimp effect in men’s fashion.

– Billy Reid needs a new pair of shoes.

Weekly Roundup

Some things from last week that you might have missed if you’re not following me on twitter:

– Speaking of gems, check out what the Bureau still has lying around from past seasons: Link. It’s too bad that Raf Simons can’t put out cool stuff like those parkas anymore. (no idea if they’re actually for sale or not)

– Simon Crompton gets his shoes back from Edward Green: Link

– Cool naval/military inspired bags: Link

– Jasper Johns on Secret Forts: Link

– NYTimes T Magazine finds out what bloggers are using for their cameras: Link. I’m shopping for a new camera now, and I’m torn between the usefulness of a Canon Rebel, the snob appeal of a Leica point and shoot, and a gadget lust for an Olympic EP-2.

– Cliff Grodd, the legendary president of Paul Stuart passes away: Link

It will be impossible to walk into that store and not feel his presence in every perfect detail. It is the end of an era with his passing, and he will be greatly missed by the many well-dressed gentlemen whose life he touched.

Weekly Roundup

Some things from last week that you might have missed if you’re not following me on twitter:

– Hell’s Kitchen interviews Frank Muytjens: Link [translated version]

HK: Un monde plus dynamique, plus attractif ?

FM: Oui, et surtout plus clair, je trouve. Le design des années 1950, 1960, et la façon dont toutes ces choses s’articulaient comme je te le disais. Ce n’est pas seulement l’héritage, c’est bien plus que cela.
Les USA sont plus faciles à saisir, esthétiquement parlant. L’Europe, de ce point de vue, est uniforme. Tu te balades à Paris ou à Londres, et tu ne vois pas vraiment les différences. Et c’est d’autant plus bizarre car la plupart des grands architectes européens du milieu du XXè siècle ont immigré ici. Mais je me compare pas du tout à eux, bien sûr. Il y a plus d’opportunités, c’est plus diversifié.

– Mister Four Eyes interviews Aaron Levine: Link

MFE: You began your career in sales at Joseph Aboud (like many of the top menswear designers, you have no “formal design education”). How did that experience of working the front-end business influence you as a designer when you made the transition?

AL: It was great. Really, it’s such a small industry that in order to be truly successful, I think it’s very important to know as much about as many aspects as you can. My passion is on the product and design end, but without sales, where would that go? As far as how it was influential with regards to product, I can’t say that it was so much.

Ivy&Navy is now on my daily reading list, thanks to Up North: Link

I just found out about Ivy & Navy on the weekend and spent many an hour going through their archives. Ono Masayuki puts together some killer outfits. He covers all sorts of styles that the Japanese love: Navy, Preppy, Workwear etc. Here are just a few of the looks he’s put together. Lots of inspiration to be taken from him when deciding what items to put together this spring.

– Nepenthes has started blogs for some of their stores in Japan: S2W8, Nepenthes, Lyla (for women). Still waiting on the blog for the Engineered Garments store…

Heavy Tweed Jacket is back!

Meet the Centipede. Not only does this collector know his stuff, he’s got some pretty rare shoes including early Alden Fan models from Alden of Carmel.

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