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THE UP-TRENDING OF MODEST FASHION

For those of us who are dedicated followers of fashion, the announcement of London Modest Fashion Week as  a new addition to the London fashion calendar is not a surprise. The first event of its kind in the British capital, the shows are scheduled for the 17th and 18th of February. The successful in the ever-changing fashion industry are those brands that act instead of react to trends; innovate instead of replicate.

                                                                                                                                     

Burberry 2016 .                    Burberry 2018 .                Burberry 2018 RTW Runway

Burberry came out with their first Ramadan collection in 2016. The structured black high necked crepe dress with topstich detailing, introduced in 2016 is still available for sale on their current website. The enchanting gold metallic lamé silk dress, also by Burberry, is not specifically identified as modest fashion. Yet with a high neckline, long sleeves and a below-the knee hemline, many women, regardless of their religious beliefs could consider this a modest garment. The pretty ruffle details and fitted silhouette make this a flattering style as well as modest.  Yesterday, February 17th, (as of this writing), Burberry showed their Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection in London. Irreverent, wild, bursting with color, energy and nostalgia, this was Christopher Bailey’s final show for the brand. Did he have modest fashion in mind when he created this joyful collection? We will never know the answer to that question, but we did spot a number of ensembles which were covered up, yet immensely beautiful. So many top designers have chosen to offer garments which could venture into this category. And for good reason.

“Muslim consumer spending on clothing was estimated at $243 billion in 2015, or 11 percent of the global total on apparel, according to the 2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy,  from Thomson Reuters,” as reported by cbsnews.com.

DKNY first introduced a Ramadan collection in 2014. Simplified and sleek, devotees of all cultures could have applauded the minimalist designs. Remove the hijab head scarf and this modern ensemble could move from the office to a dinner engagement. Add the hijab and women who cover their head for religious reasons could be comfortable as well as stylish. Donna Karan continues to offer modest dresses in 2018.

                                                                                        

DKNY 2014                                                                                 DKNY 2018

Dolce & Gabbana introduced their first collection of hijabs and abayas targeted to Muslim customers in the Middle East in 2016. The offerings were lovely, feminine and iconic D&G. The most recent Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2018 collection also offered long feminine dresses and jumpsuits, flowing florals, long sleeves and high, demure collars. Were they specifically focusing on the Muslim customer? The D&G business plan we don’t know. What we do know is that more and more important designer brands are offering an alternative to being exposed.

Dolce & Gabbana 2016

Dolce & Gabbana 2018

 There is one thing we can all agree on…it’s nice to have a choice.

#FASHION SHOW

Fashion has always been an art form that breaks boundaries. The most successful designers are continually pushing the limits of their art form, asking “Why?” and then swiftly creating clothes before anyone can even answer. It makes sense, then, as we are thick in New York’s heralded Fashion Week, we’re seeing a reexamination of not only trends, but also the format in which those trends are presented. More and more, designers are abandoning the traditional fashion show and ushering in innovative ways to send their collections into the world.

This year, American sportswear designer Derek Lam gracefully bowed out of the traditional tent setting, opting instead for an intimate, invite-only luncheon at The Pool Room of the Four Seasons. While his equestrian-inspired pieces were still the main course, the niche fashion insiders in attendance were treated to a luxurious yet relaxed experience, meant to mimic Lam’s brand and clothes themselves.

Another notable example is fashion powerhouse Diane Von Furstenberg’s recent departure from the traditional girls-all-in-a-row setup. Instead, she opts to open the doors of her meatpacking district headquarters for an immersive fashion show experience, where models mingle as guests come and go as they please. Stacey Bendet, the designer behind Alice and Olivia, has long considered theatrical vignettes a more impactful way of presenting her collections. This year’s intimate, collegiate-inspired installation leaned heavily on the idea of educating the public on equal rights while simultaneously impressing everyone with her designs.

Perhaps the most innovative fashion shows this year happened somewhere completely unexpected – in the hands of everyone with a smartphone. A complete departure from the norm, designers turned the popular app Instagram into their own personal runway. Designer Lela Rose hand selected a group of fashion influencers to “debut” her collection on their personal Instagram pages. Kanye West took a similar approach with his notorious brand Yeezy, revealing his Season 6 Collection via hashtag in a series of posts from starlets, models, and socialites, all clad in his clothing.

The reason behind this departure from the time-worn fashion show is quite simple: the Internet has cut out the middle man between creator and consumer. In an age where anyone with a phone is a model and attention spans are shockingly short, standing out in the world of fashion is more difficult and more necessary than ever before. Whether that’s done through creating a profoundly intimate viewing experience or one that’s as accessible as tapping a hashtag, stale traditions have no place in our viral universe, meaning fashion presentations now have to be as fresh as the fashion itself.

brand identity

THE IMPORTANCE OF BRAND IDENTITY TO SUCCESS

If you’re a designer or the owner of a business, you’re probably focusing on exposure primarily. After all, no one will buy your products if they’ve never heard of you. However, the fashion industry moves fast, and with so many options out there, getting your name out is no longer the quickest way to win picky customers over. Today, creating a strong brand identity is more important than creating a new line. Brand identity is a feeling your potential customers have about you, and cultivating a positive, valuable image is paramount to success.

brand identity

Innovation in fashion is important, and there’s value in being creative, but let’s face it: people are not going to spend two hundred dollars on a brand-name coat unless that name is more important to them than the knowledge that a knock off would work just as well. Brand perception can help you outsell products that are similar to what you’re producing. Defining your unique selling point is crucial to defining your brand. What’s the one thing that you have to offer that isn’t being offered by anyone else? It can be your name, quality, sustainability, ethical practices, or anything you choose, but you should only pick one thing that sets you apart. Make it your focus, and the rest will follow.

brand identity

Simply having a brand is not enough to fulfill all the requirements of branding your business. The visual aspect of business is very important. Customers should glance at your ads and instantly know they’re for your brand. Your logo should be as recognizable as Chanel’s double C or Puma’s leaping cat. However, visuals aren’t everything. Your brand encompasses the core of your company, including its practices, ethics, and values. In a world of increasingly informed consumers, these can be more important than the quality or functionality of your products.

brand identity

Once you pick your target audience, your goal should be to create an emotional experience for them to connect with your brand. This can be anything, from a poignant commercial to creating evocative memories associated with you. Imagine your customers’ first time walking into one of your boutiques, or the easy experience they had with your customer service. That, more than anything else, will earn lifelong customers.

brand identity

EMPOWERING YOUR BRAND THROUGH MARKETING

EMPOWERING YOUR BRAND THROUGH MARKETING

The fashion industry continues to expand, and yet undeniably, some brands are cornering more of the market share than others. Why do some brands die out while other similar ones thrive? The answer lies almost entirely in marketing. Producing a quality product that fulfills an existing need is only one part of the process. You also have to get that product in front of the appropriate consumers and convince them to buy it. The key to that is both marketing and doing it correctly.

Being familiar with demographics is the first crucial step to getting your product seen by the people who need to see it. Sixty-six percent of active users on Instagram are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four. If you’re targeting that age range for your product, Instagram is a good place for you to advertise. Facebook advertising, when used correctly, can garner many hits with surprisingly small budgets. Social media in general is a necessity these days for generating buzz about a brand. The more “sharable” the product, the better. Word of mouth hype can be generated by customers sharing photos of their latest buy. Free advertising is the best advertising, so it never hurts to make your ads share-friendly.

The strength of e-commerce is growing steadily. Consumers shop online more and more, so your Internet presence must be a show stopper. You also need a mobile site that’s user friendly, comprehensive, and professional looking. Clothing in particular is bought online, so if you want to start a brand identity or grow your current one, it’s essential to stay up to date with trends in online shopping. Other uses of technology that can grow your brand are as simple as having an email signature with your logo and a link to your website, and also producing an email newsletter.

Once your product has reached the correct potential consumers, there is one final important key to success: the customer has to like it. Word of mouth advertising is effective because people trust their loved ones. If a friend or family member speaks highly of your brand to everyone they know, that can be more effective than a paid ad. Customers respond to ethical business practices. Produce a great product, and the rest will follow.