It’s not every day that one gets to meet an A-list blogger. There are only a few and London-based Imran Amed of Business of Fashion is definitely at the top of the game. Having acquired an MBA from Harvard, Imran has a unique perspective and insight into the world of fashion: he concentrates on the business side of things. Business of Fashion is a fascinating read, beyond clothing, often providing a peek into the somewhat incestuous relationships between the luxury houses.

Imran Amed and Alexandra Suhner Isenberg (photo by Bronte Robertson)
Alexandra Suhner Isenberg of Searching for Style (a great Vancouver-blog from an industry insider) organized an event – “The Business of Fashion and the Digital Revolution” – which consisted of a conversation between Alexandra and Imran. The business of fashion has clearly been changed (as have all businesses) by the interactive nature of the digital media.

If someone told luxury brands ten years ago that they would do a chunk of their advertising and PR through a social networking site like Facebook or have a thirteen year-old blogger sitting front row at their show, they would have thought they were crazy. Some brands embraced social media and interactive marketing, while some lagged behind the times.
Imran discussed an interesting precedent set by Burberry, and how social media played a crucial role in their re-branding. Before hiring Christopher Bailey as a creative director, Burberry was stuck in a rut. It was considered the type of clothes our parents or grandparents wore and the brand needed to regain its street cred. They enlisted Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist to photograph a bunch of cool-looking people in Burberry trench coats and eventually spun it into the interactive website Art of the Trench, where Burberry fans all over the world can upload photographs of themselves wearing the iconic trench. It is considered their most successful campaign to date. Burberry further embraced digital media by becoming the first luxury brand to live stream their runways shows, perhaps blurring the significance of the show attendee.

Burberry’s “Art of the Trench” campaign

Fashion shows used to be private events and we, the fashion outsiders usually had to wait at least a couple of weeks before images were published in papers or shown on television. And it would take months before we knew what was going to be in stores for the upcoming season. But now as consumers we have instant information on trends and items. Though the fashion houses’ marketing strategies have caught up with the times, the retail strategy somewhat remains the same as before. So the question left hanging in the air was this: can the nature of interactive media blur the line between commercial buyers and everyday consumers? How can it change the world of traditional retail? Clearly, it is something that can only be speculated at for the moment, and Natalie Massenet of Net-a-Porter offers her very provocative insight in an exclusive interview with Imran Amed.

BoF Fashion Pioneers | Natalie Massenet in conversation with Imran Amed from The Business of Fashion on Vimeo.

I’m a geek so I can ponder this stuff forever.

The event was attended by many magazine editors like Lisa Tant from Flare, Rebecca Tay from Fashion, Michael Belgue from Hobo Magazine, Craig David Long from Montecristo and Sarah Bancroft of Vitamin Daily, many of Vancouver’s most popular bloggers like Vanessa Hong of The Haute Pursuit, Erica Lam and Nicole Soon of The Style Spy and Kelsey Dundon of The Anthology, fashion designers Heather Martin of Mono Clothing and Jason Matlo, stylists, industry insiders and PR professionals. Now that’s a stylish crowd! I would sincerely like to thank Alexandra for inviting me to one of the most insightful events I’ve had a pleasure of attending.

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