Lagos Fashion Week 2018 is almost here and in the spirit of #FashionSZN we decided to share some tips on how to leverage the super buzzy event!
At its best Lagos Fashion Week creates opportunities for fashion brands, retailers and can attract media and buyers globally. As more and more fashion weeks outside of the big 4 (Paris, Milan, London, New York) begin to grab international attention (Think Oslo, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Tbilisi and now Lagos), there is far more to be gained in terms of traction and potential positioning for emerging and established designers across the continent.
Whether it is your first time participating in fashion week or you’re a veteran, each year is different and exciting and it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. As opportunities go, you’d be hard pressed to compare any other period in the fashion calendar for sheer volume of buzz and awareness.
So what makes a successful show (outside of the obvious – like the quality of the collection and its reception by the industry and the public)?
Check out six tips that can help you create invaluable impact for your brand and make the most of this high-interest time.
Harness the Retail Impulse
Fashion weeks the world over have become more consumer focused, about the media spectacle, talkability and top of mind awareness for brands. However I would be remiss if I didn’t reiterate that fashion week is first and foremost a trade event. Traditionally it’s a chance for media, buyers and industry insiders to preview collections and see the trends that’ll shape the upcoming season.
Due to myriad factors including consumer appetite for fashion week content, the fast and furious churn of the news cycle and the ever-increasing emphasis on product speed to market by fast fashion brands, it has become imperative for designers to harness the consumers impulse to buy as quickly as possible . Internationally brands like Moda Operandi help by allowing consumers to pre-order in trunk shows almost immediately after the shows and some brands are experimenting with ‘See Now, Buy Now’ models where you can order or shop selected pieces as they come down the runway to mixed success. This season both Tongoro a SenegalesE brand (and new entrant to fashion week) is holding a trunk show with Temple Muse. Even if you are not showing at Fashion week this is a good time to capitalise on it – Ghanaian brand Bello Edu is also working with Temple Muse on a popup event, although they are not showing at fashion week.
The Art of Collaboration
More than ever we are in the age of creative collaboration – from high profile ones with different but complementary industries such as Ciroc & Moschino to fashion brands both home and abroad. For example Rokus London (a British Ivorian jewelry brand) has collaborated successfully with brands like Orange Culture and Loza Maleombho.
One of the best examples of a mega successful collaboration of two fashion brands is the high profile, high value collaboration of Supreme & Louis Vuitton 2017 which combined Supreme’s famously limited inventory with Louis Vuitton’s hefty price point. It was dubbed “a representation of the excellence of New York street style and Louis Vuitton’s French savoir-faire.” The collaboration basically revived the logomania trend and sold out in short order, only to pop up on the resale market at eye-popping prices.
Why is this important? Supreme has a history of high-profile collaborations, counting brands like A.P.C. , Comme des Garçons, The North Face and Nike in its repertoire – but this collaboration was distinctive. Not only because it married the ever-expanding intersection of high fashion and streetwear, but also for its melding of two seemingly disparate fashion cultures – the hypebeast/skate brand with a heritage fashion house.
How can your brand leverage this? You can partner with another brand on the runway or in retail.
Collaboration helps in two ways, they are often newsworthy in and of themselves and two brands can help in cross promoting to their individual audiences and reaching new demographics.
A personal touch is always important and fashion week is the perfect opportunity to give your brand visibility and create buzz. From making sure you take street style photos (which tend to travel media wise and pop up in trend reports for a good 90 days to six months), mingling with press and rubbing shoulders with industry cognoscenti, key celebrities and influencers, work every angle available to you!
If you’re showing – reach out to influencers and celebrities who are a good fit for your brand, dress them in looks from your current or previous collections and encourage them to share their experience on social media, if you have the budget for it you can also make this part of a larger campaign. If not, a little niceness goes a long way, send a memorable invitation with a small gift and put those FROW and VIP tickets to good use. Leveraging these high visibility guests not just for their attendance but for their ability to share your newest looks with their highly engaged and relevant audience.
Above all, participate. Nothing comes magically and great press won’t necessarily fall in your lap – I get it, showing at fashion week can be overwhelming so maybe get some help – interns, friends, family. Tap your network to make sure you have all the angles covered. Get selfies with other designers, capture the models on the runways and network with local scene. Be sure to credit them in any of your social media posts by tagging their businesses (who doesn’t love a repost?)
Foster Key Relationships and Create an Experience
Fashion shows are very visual, but as editors and influencers tend to see a tonne of shows (there are 50 at Lagos Fashion Week alone this season) it can easily become a blur. Take the time out to develop relationships and share a little more about your brand with show guests. Sending pieces with a ‘thank you for attending’ note and samples post fashion week to VIPs, key editors, celebrities and influencers is a smart way to ensure you get some traction, create some content and keep everyone engaged. This can be hard for a young brand because every sample is a cost – but this can be built up as part of your medium to long term PR and marketing strategy. Where you don’t have direct access consider reaching out to agencies or stylists that specialise in brokering and facilitating relationships such as Kindred Kreative, The Style Concierge and VaneStyle Showroom. You can start with loaning samples from your collection and eventually build up to gifting when your budget can accommodate it.
JUST IN | @chiaraferragni is at it again, garnering more buzz for her collaboration with @calzedonia than any other sponsored post during #pfw , generating a Media Impact Value™️of $190K & 328K interactions across social. . Her Instagram account was also the highest ranking Influencer social account during #pfw generating $3.2 million in MIV & 5.7 million interactions. . . The overall top Instagram post was @chaelincl mentioning @celine , which resulted in $346K in MIV & 675K in engagement. . . This data is only just the beginning of a #fashionweek breakdown coming your way! Stay tuned 😉 . . . . #pfw #calzedonia #chiaraferragni #parisfashionweek #dataanalytics #launchmetrics #connectingtheindustry #fashionindustry #fashiontech
What Gets Measured Gets Done
Your fashion week show is over – time to let your hair down and enjoy yourself right? Wrong. This is easily the most crucial point for most brands, and where creative entrepreneurs tend to fall short. Not only should you be aggressively promoting your new collection and getting your calendar ready for retail, press and aggressively following up with potential buyers, you should also be measuring and assessing the impact of your brand outing.
Before your event you need to decide the metrics by which your fashion week outing can be judged a success or failure. Is Media Impact Value most important to you (eg Launchmetrics estimates that the MIV of Victoria Beckham’s debut at London Fashion Week was about $10 million) What are your key performance indicators? Did you get showroom orders or significant press requests post event? You have to track your coverage, commercial potential and evaluate all the key performance indicators. This ensures that all the time and effort invested in creating this show is worth it and you garner the engagement and ROI you deserve.
A great show is much more than just great clothes on a runway, it encompasses the entire experience and is no small opportunity to create buzz around your brand and to develop and nurture relationships.
Social media is changing the method and delivery of live event coverage, and Fashion Week is no exception. This year, whilst we await the ability to live stream shows, platforms like Facebook and Instagram ensure we can tap into social media FOMO and livestream moments. This is a chance to broaden your brand scope heighten the immediacy and connection to your brand by ‘lifting the curtain’ so to speak and showing play-by-play coverage of shows and events via social media.
From real-time coverage on the runway, behind the scenes beauty and setup you can really engage your current and potential clientele by giving insight into your brand beyond the runway.
Post fashion week, extend the coverage and give tips on how to style particular pieces or trends, give insight on what inspires your brand and curate a content hub of images and videos across your social.
If you have a budget or possibly even connections – this is a good time to work with a micro, medium or mega influencer to collaborate and create fashion week content for your brand from their specific point of view. From OOTDs to snaps from the FROW this is a chance to talk directly to your target customer through their audience.
Lagos Fashion Week and StyleHouseFiles have created the platform – it’s up to you to do the work, get the word out there and leverage it in a way that makes the most sense for your brand. Now this is the last time I want to hear any designer brand say ‘Fashion Week wasn’t worth it’. It’s ALWAYS worth it if you plan and you create realistic plans and goals of what you would like to achieve. If you expect a magic wand and to just ‘blow’ overnight because you participated – you’re in for a rude awakening.
Check out our Lagos Fashion Week Hub for all #BNSHLFW18 content!
Follow the conversation on social – @bellanaijastyle
Hashtags to use, watch and follow during Lagos Fashion Week 2018: