Archive for January, 2006

The Future of Fashion Advertising: Branding or Direct Response?

Danielle over at Final Fashion wrote an interesting post about how runway shows are a money-losing proposition and only really appropriate for Big Name designers.  Fashion Merchandising 101 told me that runway shows, while Glamorous, are staged more for branding purposes than for actually directly generating sales.  I’m generalizing here, but runway shows are staged for the press (so they’ll write about you and promote you to Jane Q. Public) and for your top clients (so they’ll feel special and buy more of your clothes!).

As Bob McCarthy pointed out in his blog, The Direct Response Coach, the advertising world is made up of two groups with very different philosophies: branding and direct response.  The fashion world, for better or for worse, is heavily weighted towards the branding camp.  Why?  Well, fashion depends heavily on perception, and having a strong brand gives a product a leg up in the marketplace.  And what makes branding so enticing to fashion companies is that building a strong brand allows them to elevate consumers’ perception of their entire product portfolioall in one fell swoop.  When you consider the number of products that are in a typical fashion line (from dozens to hundreds), branding as an advertising philosophy makes a whole lot of sense.

Direct response, however, is the reigning queen of the online advertising space.  What’s so interesting about Internet advertising (as compared to offline advertising) is its inherent measurability.  If you run an ad through Google AdWords or through Yahoo! Search Marketing, for example, it’s possible to see how many people saw that ad, how many people clicked on your ad, and how many people bought something/registered for something/etc on your site.  You can calculate your return on investment (or ROI) for your advertising dollars.  You can quantify how effective your advertisements are and make adjustments as needed.

Branding vs. Direct Response.  In the fashion world, branding (at least offline) is the clear winner as I write this in January 2006.  But what about the future?  Will branding continue its reign?  Or will direct response win out in the end?

I don’t pretend to know the answer to this question, but I’ll share with you my humble prediction.  The forces that make branding so enticing today will continue to exert influence in the years to come.  But the allure of direct response’s measurability will also have an impact on how fashion advertising budgets are spent.  There’s something to be said for a quantifiable ROI.  Already, some fashion companies are listing their products on direct response-type sites like and  A quick glance at women’s apparel on showed items from Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, J. Crew, and Kenneth Cole.  I predict that we’ll see a significant increase in this direct response advertising, but we won’t see that jump until we see more specialized fashion shopping search sites.  That is, it’s not going to be a or a that’s going to see this gain (unless they radically improve the way their sites work for the apparel category).  Instead, I think it’s going to be a specialized fashion search vertical.

What do you think about the future of fashion advertising?  Branding?  Direct response?  Or both?

2 comments January 31st, 2006

Prada Nylon Stripe ID Hobo

Prada Brown Nylon Stripe ID HoboI think I’ve been bitten by the Prada bug. 

A girl can dream though…

$676 at Bluefly.

Add comment January 31st, 2006

Ready Made Outfit: Trekking the Outdoors | Men’s Edition

You took your girlfriend’s “I’ll like anything you plan for Valentine’s Day, sweetie. The important thing is that we’re together…" too literally, and now the plans go something like: take a hike up San Bruno Mountain, have a picnic in an open field, hike a bit more, play soccer at the peak, hike back down, and rent and ride bicycles. It’s obvious you’ve turned a day of love into a day of your love of sports.

All we have to say is you had better look darn good that day… or you’ll be getting comfy with the living room couch come nightfall.

Getting some action = Corny Tee + Khaki Shorts + Sneakers + Bouquet of Red Roses.


\"I\'ve got horns for you\" Tee

Paul Frank Horns for You Tee | $28 at Urban Outfitters


Stock Flight Short

Stock Flight Short | $49 at Urban Outfitters


Asics shoes

Asics Canvas Mexico | $80 Urban Outfitters


Two Dozen Long Stemmed Roses

Two Dozen Long Stemmed Red Roses | $79.99 at 1-800 Flowers

Add comment January 31st, 2006

Culinary Herb Garden Kit

If you’re anything like me, you vascillate between cooking one week and eating out the next. The result: a lot of spoiled food, especially herbs. After all, what are you going to do with a whole bunch of parsley when you only need a smidgen? That’s why I’m obsessed with this 10-herb garden kit, which will not only spare you from this problem but also make your kitchen smell great. 

$24 at Wishing Fish

Add comment January 30th, 2006

Ready Made Outfit: Trekking the Outdoors

Your man is Really into nature, and he’s planned an outdoors adventure for Valentine’s Day this year. Problem is, hiking uphill and playing sports aren’t your idea of romance (Unless it’s a contact sport that doesn’t involve a ball!). Fret not. Just because you’re not excited about the plans doesn’t mean you can’t be excited about your ensemble.

After all, the more irresistible you look in your hiking gear, the less of a chance you’ll have to hike to the top of that hill.

"Au Natural" Gear = Printed Tee + Tank Top (layered underneath) + Jogging Pants +  Sneakers.

All you need is love tee

All You Need is Love Tee | $25 at Shop Intuition


Lilac tank top

Balance by Marika Swirl Top | $26 at Nordstrom


black knit pants

Balance by Marika Knit Pants | $42 at Nordstrom

puma sneakers

Puma “Bashy” Leather Athletic Shoe | $64.95 at Nordstrom

Add comment January 30th, 2006

What happens when fashion is Two Clicks Ahead?

This week, Omiru is proud to participate in "The State of the Fashion Union," a blogging carnival hosted by Julie of Almost Girl
We’ll continue to post the product-focused fashion guides that you’ve
(hopefully) come to love, but we’ll intersperse them with posts about
more philosophical issues in the fashion world.  We encourage you, as
always, to tell us what you think about these issues.  Our opinions are
just thatour
opinions.  If you have another way of looking at the issue, or anything
else to add, we wholeheartedly welcome your comments.  And with
that…let’s begin!

Back in December, Cathy Horyn wrote an article in the New York Times about how fashion is Two Clicks Behind. That is, the processes of the fashion industry (and particularly the mainstream fashion media) hasn’t caught up to the speed of the Internet.  Julie of Almost Girl, however, believes that, thanks to fashion bloggers,  the fashion media isn’t all Two Clicks Behind anymorein fact, some of us are Two Clicks Ahead. 

My question is: What happens when the fashion media is Two Clicks Ahead?  What does this mean for the fashion ecosystem? 

As it stands, the fashion ecosystem, like those found in nature, is the result of a careful balance of forces.  Designers staging runway shows wield great influence.  These designers influence the buyers that stock store shelves, the designers at mass market fashion brands lower down the food chain, as well as the consumers who ultimately buy the clothes. Some consumers go straight to the source and buy clothes from the designer.  But those of us who don’t have money to burn need not worry.  The trends these designers espouse find themselves interpreted by mass market fashion brands, repackaged and resold at more affordable price points.  But these designers don’t design in a vacuum.  They, in turn, are influenced by anything and everythingstreet style, art, music, movies, and the work of other designers.

Back in fashion school, I was taught about the Fashion Trend Life Cycle.  It was a very nice, simple diagram.  You first have your fashion innovators creating the trends.  Next up are the early adopters who popularize the trends.  After the early adopters comes the mass market, after which are the late adopters…and then the trend is over.  This is the way fashion has always been.  Each trend starts somewhere, it gains popularity, it goes mass market, it starts to go Out of style, and then it’s gone. 

But back to the questionwhat happens when the fashion media is Two Clicks Ahead?  To answer this question, one first should look at the time it takes to go through one cycle.  Back in the Olden Days, it used to take several years for a style to come in and go out of fashion.  Then it took one or two years.  Now, it can be a matter of months.  As the fashion media moves towards being Two Clicks Ahead, the time it will take for a style to rise to prominence will become shorter and shorter.

I wonder, how far can we take this accelerated fashion trendmill?  What happens when it’s a matter of weeks to popularize a style from obscurity?  Or, even scarier, a matter of days?  What will fashionistas do?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but here are my predictions:

Fragmentation: As the fashion trendmill accelerates, I think the
fashion market will fragment more and more.  It’s going to be harder
for big companies to sell tons of the same style.  Companies that are
going to benefit from this sea change in the industry are going to be
those that produce clothes in small batches as close to market as
possible.  Small batches because of this increased fragmentation, and
as close to market as possible to more accurately predict demand for
each trend. 

Confusion: As fast as fashion moves now, it’s hard enough to choose what’s right for you.  It’s going to become more and more important to choose your trends wisely, based on your personal style, body type, etc.  My sad prediction is that we’re going to see a lot more fashion victims who choose their trends willy nilly.

Backlash:  As trends come and go in what seems like the blink of an eye, smart fashionistas are going to rely more on their own concept of personal style in order to dress stylishly without having to run to the mall every couple of days.  We’re going to see a lot of interesting fashion bubbling up from the streets, and it’s not going to be all about what you’re wearing.  It’s also going to be about how you wear it.  Well, that’s my pie-in-the-sky hope, at least.

But my predictions aside, tell me, what do You think will happen to fashion when it’s Two Clicks Ahead?

2 comments January 29th, 2006

Designer Profile: goldiechan clothing

Goldie Chan Designs

This week, Omiru caught up with our friend Goldie Chan, a SF Bay Area based fashion designer focusing on urbanwear.

Omiru: How did you get started in fashion design?

Goldie Chan: I first started in middle school by hand-sewing garments using scrap fabric.  At the time, I also experimented with different forms of embellishment, such as embroidery and painting.  I have been designing my current fashion line, goldiechan clothing, since early 2005, but I have been designing in spirit since I first took a needle and roll of thread from my mother’s sewing box. 

O: What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

GC: My latest collection was inspired by the bright red, blue and checkered patterns of the Indy 500, while the cuts were based on hiphop/freestyle dancer-wear.
O:  What’s your design philosophy?

I design with the fluid female (and sometimes male) body in mind.  I like clean lines and pure colors as well as unexpected materials and/or decoration.

O: What trends would you like to see for Spring 2006? 

I would love to see traditional flowy, sheer elements as well as the return of several pastels: yellow, green and blue.
O: What’s your favorite piece from your most recent collection?

My favorite piece from my collection is a very limited edition hooded black dress with faux burnout fur trim.  It symbolizes the elegance and suprisingly fun side of my clothing line.
O: Who are your favorite designers?

Vera Wang for her elegant and always timeless dresses and unassuming personality.  Calvin Klein for his innovative vision in stark ads and clothing (as well as his use of obvious sexual tension as a viable marketing tool)

O: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I really love experimenting with new ideas and figuring out new designs from a pen or an old postcard.  As I grow, I hope that I’ll meet even more interesting and innovative people to learn from.

Add comment January 27th, 2006

Profiles in Style | Stefanie


Name: Stefanie
Found: On the job at Banana Republic.
Occupation: Sales Associate, BR.
Style Philosophy: "Modern. I have an outgoing personality so I try to match it with my clothes. I’m not trendy. I don’t follow guidelines. I like to do my own thing. I mainly wear black and neutral tones."
Wardrobe Staples: Well-fit tailored blazers.
Where I shop: Banana Republic (Duh!), Macy’s, Jeremy’s.

Add comment January 27th, 2006

Axbo Sleep Phase Alarm Clock

Axbo Alarm ClockThis is one of the coolest things we’ve seen in a long time.  Perfect for those who don’t get enough shuteye, the Axbo is the world’s first sleep phase alarm clock.  

Getting enough sleep isn’t always about quantity–it’s also about where you are in your sleep cycle when you awaken.  Axbo wakes you up at the Optimal point in your sleep cycle so that you’re not groggy upon awakening.

Genius….just genius.

€199 (US $244) (preorder) at Axbo.

Add comment January 27th, 2006

Friday Fashion Hotlist | 1.27.06

Issue XXVI of the Friday Fashion Hotlist: a weekly compilation of the
cutest and coolest stuff Style Intelligence Report saw out there this

This week, we’re drooling over an absolutely adorable apple skirt (chosen Despite my fear of Fruit!) and a slick titanium wallet that’s designed to last a lifetime.

For women…

Apple Wrap Skirt

Made With Love by Hannah Apple Wrap Skirt| $62 at Cut+Paste

Who knew fruit could be so cute?

And for men…

Gary Scott USA Brushed Titanium Sammy Wallet
Gary Scott USA Sammy Brushed Titanium Wallet | $330 at Guyshop

Love the utilitarian stylishness of this functional metal wallet!

Add comment January 27th, 2006

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