A Mobile Fashion World

Blog #3
Shui Leung Cheuk, Kannis
100297536
27 June 2014

Image
(Captured from TOPSHOP webpage)

Nowadays, all you need on the go is a mobile device. According to Lemos, mobile technologies have enabled new means of communication and sociability based on “post-mass media functions” and “information territories”(Lemos, 2010). That’s so true! Let’s be honest, we can’t live without mobile devices, communicating, learning, shopping, studying or even sleeping (my mobile alarm wakes me up everyday!). In this blog post, I will use a fashion shop, TOPSHOP, as an example, to demonstrate how mobile technologies revise fashion industry in the world. I will talk about mobile social networking as a medium, the interaction between fashion brands and customers, with my own observation, to prove the importance of mobile media in fashion business.

TOPSHOP is one of the UK’s most popular fashion stores, as well as one of the forerunners in using social media. In 2012, TOPSHOP partnered with Facebook for the first time, to achieve the largest online audience of a live-stream London fashion show with mobile devices. Over 200 million people were able to purchase the looks from the runway directly on the mobiles. The most inspiring result is that, the first dress appeared on the catwalk sold out before the end of the show. The mobile social platform is useful for ‘fashionholic’ who wish to share, buy and sell the latest trends.Image 
In addition, from my observation, unlike other clothing chains H&M or ASOS, TOPSHOP is the first retail chain providing  ‘personal shopping’ service in the industry, which can ONLY reserve online. More importantly, ‘personal shopping’ allows customer customizes the look and colour of pre-ordered items before purchasing them in store. This feature also allows them to take shots and share on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with their mobile devices immediately. This kind of unconventional, exclusive and dignified shopping experience becomes the signature trademark of TOPSHOP.

As Cooke, TOPSHOP’s Chief Marketing talked about the winning strategies in the business, “Fashion is selling product, and the reason we’re going to win and win big is because we’re selling experiences. We’re going to create an incredible experience around our brand which is going to define us.” Yes it really works, latest statistics show that more than 500,000 daily page views to Topshop.com, over 3.8 million likes to the Facebook page and over 2.3 million followers on the Instagram. With the mobile platform, TOPSHOP and its audience interact unboundedly.

Image
(Captured from TOPSHOP APP)

When it comes to fashion, an image is worth a thousand words. In other words, a user-friendly application is another winning strategy in the business. Just like having the whole store in your pocket, everyone can shop, scan, save and share all of fashion items across the application. With the very high mobility, TOPSHOP launches the latest collection and customers can browse and purchase at anytime and anywhere. Mobile media is now deemed as an opportunity to improve customer relationships and to ultimately capture a larger audience, target the digital generation.

The usage of mobile technology, mobility encourages customers to interact with brands by increasing awareness, involvement, and engagement. Thus, adding to brand recall and stimulating purchases.

 

Reference

Achenbach Steffen (2012). Web 2.0. The New Showroom for Fashion Brands: How important is Social Media for the Fashion Industry? South Bank University London.

Brown Scott (2012). Social Information: Gaining competitive and business advantage using social media tools.

Lemos, Andre (2010). Post—Mass Media Functions, Locative Media, and Informational Territories: New Ways of Thinking About Territory, Place, and Mobility in Contemporary Society. Space and Culture, 13: 403-420. Federal University of Bahia.

Whyte, Murray (2014, June 24). Fashion, and dignity, for the mobility challenged in new ROM exhibit. Toronto Star. Retrieved June 26, 2014, from http://www.thestar.com/life/fashion_style/2014/06/24/fashion_and_dignity_for_the_mobility_challenged_in_new_rom_exhibit.html

Fashion magazines: alternative media.

Gurvinder kaur
100285814
June 29

Every little concept of fashion is found in the magazines. Magazines have become a big source of information as well as latest fashion tips. As we travel we tend to realize how people grab magazines during their journey and go through them especially women. Fashion magazines are crossing the lines.

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picture taken from Alternative Fashion Magazines: Rebel Against the Printed Word

These magazines in a very short period of time have achieved their popularity. The magazines such as vogues and Elles of this world. The magazines are printed in a very attractive way and a lot of issues of fashion that are ignored or untouched are written in these magazines.A very popular magazine is the “The Gentleman” as it addresses and offers a fresh as well as intelligent approach to how women want to dress up, look thin. The editor-in-chief of the magazine Penny Martin says,”
God knows there’s a whole media that will slag off any woman … and we’re hopefully an antidote to that.” We can’t resist a
a fashion rag that puts Angela Lansbury on the cover!

On the other hand there are many other magazines which reveal a lot about the fashion world which even the mainstream media may not.One such magazine is the Hello Mr magazine. It is a magazine about men who date men, the articles are very much accessible to a vast number of readers.The publication of this magazine works to shatter stereotypes and gives a more realistic picture to the “fabulous” camp gay, which even the mainstream media would not.

picture taken from Nine alternative fashion magazines

However these alternative magazines do not only keep their limits until clothing and style but move on to food with style as well.These magazines find out attractive ways to attract readers and rarely make use of advertisements like the mainstream media would.Many magazines focus on the cooking of food in a stylish way which tends to interest not only a large population of women but men too.

picture taken from Nine alternative fashion magazines.

Reading one of these magazines tend to interest the audience so much to addict them to buy another one. They tend to give a broader view of the story and this makes the reader more fond. Theses magazines tend to be making use of celebrity lives and large population who is fond of these people will definitely be involved in the alternative fashion magazines rather than the mainstream media.

related links:

Alternative Fashion Magazines: Rebel Against the Printed Word

Nine alternative fashion magazines.

Alternative media fashion mobs.

Amninder tiwana
100285815
27th June 2014

Alternative media tends to provide more detailed information that a audience desires to know. This makes the audience more interested in the story line be it related to fashion, gender,sexuality or racism. As compared to the mainstream media, Alternative media gives a much more deeper understanding of the subject. In todays era a vast number of fashion weeks take place all over the major cities. Many fashion events are carried out under this project known as the Columbus Alternative Fashion . AFW is basically a full week of community events that elaborates on the Fashion in Columbus. It helps in promoting the diversity of local designs and creations in all aspects such as styling, promotion, marketing etc.

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picture from Alternative fashion mob.

Alternative media does not basically work for profits but rather for raising funds for certain foundations. The AFW is a source of alternative media that tends to cover fashion weeks and helps each designer to create their own branding which would assist them financially too. AFW is basically fashion mob which tends to promote fashion but in a unique way. Alternative media operate under a mandate rather than a profit motive as the AFW is doing.They are focussed on providing various opinions and idea that are not available in corporate press. In the attempt to have a better interest from their audience they usually seek participation from the committee.Alternative media focus more on the poorly represented group or community just as the Alternative Fashion Week is more focused on the fashion industry ands helping out designers financially is their motive unlike other commercial media. Even though alternative fashion is viewed and expressed through many same channels like the mainstream fashion such as fashion shows, websites as well as magazines.Alternative fashion media tend to focus more on fashion related to sub-cultures such as emo, goth and hip-hop. This is extremely attention grabbing for the audience.

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picture from Sub culture fashion trends

In the fashion industry the alternative media tends to touch certain topics that main stream media would not.For example the sub-culture fashion shows is basically elaborated more by alternative media because it focuses more on the ignored issues of the society. This becomes a reason for the audience to be more focussed.Fashion is a fast growing industry and has various aspects to it which are untouched but groups such as the Alternative Fashion Week work as an alternative media to spread more about local fashion which the mainstream media would ignore.

Related links:-

Alternative Media
Columbus Alternative Fashion Week 2014

Fashion Freedom under Surveillance.

Amninder kaur
100285815
08-June-2014
In the era today we realize that nothing has stayed private anymore. Access to privacy has been a long debated topic since the past time. The invasion of privacy has not even left the fashion industry. The fashion industry too is under the threat of surveillance. However the fashion industry is finding out ways too escape from this threat.
The rise of surveillance technology, including face recognition software, body scans and cell phones as locators, has resulted in some creative attempts to elude it.Designer Adam Harvey experiments with “fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance” in a series called Stealth Wear . Anti-Drone garments protect against thermal imaging, a special cell phone pocket blocks signals, and off-the-wall makeup and hair styling techniques make it hard to ID faces. This has proved to be of great success for the fashion industry.

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picture taken from: Stealth Wear: Counter-Surveillance Fashion Protects Privacy 

The invention of the anti-drone garments has been used to prevent surveillance.The Anti-Drone garments are made with a lightweight, metal fabric that reflects heat, masking the wearer’s thermal signature so they won’t show up in thermal imaging scans. Two of the designs are inspired by Muslim garments, including the burqa and scarf. This has been used in order to cover the face.Apart from major social media platforms such as Facebook and Tweeter as well as YouTube, the fashion industry’s love affair with social media has produced a number of unique sites. Many sites allow pictures to be posted so that people can follow ip with fashion statements.So basically a lot of the functions of the fashion industry lead to invasion on the privacy.However the clothing lines are also bringing in the trend of Anti-surveillance cloth lines to be used.

Privacy is a big concern for the entire world let alone the fashion industry. Many top designers are working on ways to bring about clothing lines which will be anti-surveillance. Such clothing lines will help to minimize the rate of privacy concerns taking place in the industry. However at the park the industry is growing its not possible to manage to finish up the privacy concern but one can only try to reduce it. The fashion industry cannot be considered anti-surveillance. Even by the introduction of Anti-surveillance clothing lines there is yet harm to privacy in fashion industry.

 

Related links:

Stealth Wear: Counter-Surveillance Fashion Protects Privacy

Clothing Line Makes Wearer Invisible To Drones

 

 

Strategic Surveillance in Fashion

Gurvinder kaur

100285814

07-June-2014

Blog#2

 

In todays world the social media networks,Fashion blogs and many other fashion-focused websites enable companies to get a sense of their market value. This can be exemplifies by how many times there products are mentioned online and how many followers it has on twitter as well as how many likes it has on Facebook. Additionally, websites such as Polyvore.com and Boutiques.com, which act as e-wardrobes, contain powerful information on the popularity of products. Internet has benefitted many online selling markets and helped them to know their market value and popularity of their products. Despite the benefits of the Internet, sales profits, the traditional method of understanding customers, remains a key tool of strategic surveillance.

 

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picture from chron

Fashion companies pay close attention to what their customers are buying or seeking to purchase as it helps them determine what trends to adopt.This has been a strategy used by companies for a long period of time. An “it” bag, for instance, is quickly replicated by many fashion companies to take advantage of a sought after style. It is understandably important for fashion companies to stay on top of, and even ahead of trends. In the modern era only the fashion brands that stay ahead of fashion tend to be more successful in business. Social networking sites are watching how competitors and clients react to a changing company strategy and receive their comments. The companies allow their customers to post their problems or their likings for a company and this helps the markets of fashion to grow.

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Image from Chron.

Fashion business has gone viral by the use of internet sites today.Marketing strategy for the fashion-related business can take the form of implementing a single means of promotion, or devising a system to track the effectiveness of a variety of approaches. Companies initiate the strategy by establishing the brand ,the essence of your fashion business that people will come to recognize, incorporating it into every marketing method that is employed. Every little thing that takes place in the fashion industry has is being surveyed and companied are being entitles to large amounts of information from their customers. Prior to this era fashion was not such a hot topic but today the celebrities tend to bring fashion in and their ways are followed by teenagers all over the world making fashion a huge business to be under surveillance.

Related links:

Creative Marketing Strategies for the Fashion Industry.

How the Fashion Industry Uses Strategic Surveillance

 

 

 

Anti-Surveillance Clothing Line: Reflection on Social Media Communication

Blog#2
Shui Leung Cheuk, Kannis
100297536
June 5

We are living in a prison. Everyone is being monitored. According to Foucault’s concept of ‘panopticism’, social media networks are seen as a sinister force. Individual seems to be faint and powerless to say ‘NO’ to the digital surveillance since social media such as Facebook, Google and Instagram became a ‘MUST’ in everyone’s life. Pessimistically, we are unavoidable to expose our privacy; the word ‘private’ cannot be clearly defined in the digital age anymore.

Vivienne Westwood  6a00e54ecca8b9883301630576e078970d-650wi
(
Picture from Lucky Magazine and The Style Con)

Is there another way that we can defense for ourselves? Fashion and clothing, as forms of communication, are the tools of designers to send silent but significant message in the society. For example, in the early 1970s, Vivienne Westwood synthesized clothing and music that shaped the Punk fashion era in UK, as a promotion of individual freedom. Another example is that, Jean Paul Gaultier created Madonna’s cone bras in the nineties, as a garment wearing outside, not as underwear hidden beneath other clothes, in order to achieve the invention of a symbol of feminine power and sexual freedom. By this token, fashion can be another way to deliver our social statement, to reject digital surveillance.

I’m about to introduce an anti-surveillance clothing line showcased last year in London; named ‘Stealth Wear’, a collection designed to make the wearer nearly invisible to drones, provided a opposite attitude to the digital surveillance.

stealth-wear-poster-md

(Picture from STEALTH WEAR)

“Collectively, Stealth Wear is a vision for fashion that addresses the rise of surveillance, the power of those who surveil, and the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy.” (Harvey, 2013)

stealth-wear-hoodie-tate-multi-mdstealth-wear-dronet-multi-md
(Picture from STEALTH WEAR)

Adam Harvey, the designer of ‘Stealth Wear’, believes that public are exposing under the camera control, cameras was not art-making tools instead of surveillance society since 911. He designed a creative and avant-garde clothing line, includes hoodies, t-shirts, caps and burqas, smart phone protectors as well. All garments use reflective and metallic fabric (like the kind used in protective gear for firefighters), to reduce one’s thermal footprint. In theory, this limits one’s visibility to aerial surveillance vehicles employing heat-imaging cameras to track people on the ground.

stealth-wear-burqa-anim1
(Picture from STEALTH WEAR)

Obviously, Harvey aimed to make a strong statement: explore the aesthetics of privacy and the potential for fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance.

stealth-wear-burqa2-multi-md
(Picture from 
STEALTH WEAR)

From my perspective, the most inspiring garment is the design of burqa, which is the Muslim women religious and traditional wear to cover their whole bodies (sometimes including eyes) in public. Harvey seems to argue that burqa is a violation of women’s right, similar to our freedom and privacy nowadays in the surveillance society. However, Harvey’s burqa was designed to be invisible, a way to challenge the authority, to free our privacy.

‘Stealth Wear’ was not only a creative invention of the garment, but an attitude of counter-surveillance, a way of social statement. I have to say that we can’t live without social media, as long as we need to communicate and connect with others. However, there is always an alternative way to make our social statement. Fashion does.

Silence no more. We are not living in a prison. We can make a choice.

 

Reference
Foucault, Michel. (1995) Discipline and Punish. Vintage, REP edition, 201.
Jansson, Mathilde. (2010, February 1) Fashion as Medium. Retrieved from http://fashionmedium.blogspot.ca/2010/02/fashion-as-communication.html
Wortham, Jenna. (2013, June 29)New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/technology/stealth-wear-aims-to-make-a-tech-statement.html?_r=0

Disney Princess Dress Fantasy: Cinderella’s Outfit and Women Body

Disney Princess Dress Fantasy: Cinderella’s Outfit and Women Body

Shui Leung Cheuk, Kannis
100297536
June 1, 2014

2014-03-17 15.50.19

Once upon a time, a little girl dreamed of having the ‘magical princess dress’, a dress that makes she chins up and chests out; gets a permit to the gorgeous ball where she can find the prince charming; a dress that means the dream of a lifetime.

You won’t be surprise to see a dozen or even more ‘Cinderellas’ in Disneyland. Little girls want to grow up to be one of the princesses, starting with wearing the ‘magical’ gown to the ending of happily ever after forever. Snow White, Belle, Jasmine and Cinderella in Disney films are some of the most popular characters in the world; are considered to be the role models for many teenage girls. Yet, does anyone think about the meaning beyond the princess dresses? In this essay, I choose Cinderella’s dress (Disney Film) as a text, to discuss how it twists women body structurally, shapes the sickness concept of beauty; and how it conceptually projects a patriarchal convention in the society.
CinderellaRedesign (1)

Look at Cinderella’s outfit, what comes into your mind? Elegant? Beautiful? Feminine? Then what elements make you think about that? The white sashes, laces, and the baby blue you may say, but the corset, tutu dress and puff sleeves are the key answer for me. Unfortunately, those elements twist women body in a very wrong way. Usually, corset is a garment that holds and shapes a body into a desired figure, tutu hoop as well. They emphasize a curvy figure of women’s ideal body, by reducing the waistline, exaggerating the bust and hips. However, does it mean that all girls, who want to be princesses should have this perfect figure (big bust and hips plus 22 inches waist), thin and boneless? You may argue that this ‘magical princess dress’ is only existed in children’s fantasy. No! It existed everywhere: thousands of women want to lose weight to fit in the prom dresses, wedding gowns and ball wears. In a BC study (Canadian Women Foundation), 60% of underweight teenage girls who said they were too fat to be perfect while only 15% boys agreed the statement. Those girls claimed that they want to lose weight to fit in the ‘XS’ and ‘size 0’ dresses. “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” (Beauvoir, 1973). The structure of princess dresses construed women body figure wrongly, which is sickness and unacceptable.

Apart from the sickness structure of women body, Cinderella’s dress upholds a patriarchal convention in social context. Cinderella’s dress first featured in the 1950 animated film produced by Walt Disney, based on the fairy tale “Cendrillon”. The purpose of the princess dress is, to please for men, to catch the prince’s eyes, showed the mentality of dominate gender.
cinderella8

Cinderella was ashamed to wear the old dress to the royal ball, therefore she asked her mice friend and the witch altered her old dress.  Once she wears the new dress, she was confidant, happy and beautiful. More importantly, she wasn’t shamed of herself anymore; she was shined to catch men’s attention. This dress represented a change, that gain the opportunity to be happy. Woman as an object, which establish the domination of men. Social conventions are instituted to children through the princess characters, in order to embed gender behaviours.

So, whenever you look at the Disney princess dresses, apart from the magical and fantastic world, don’t forget the negative side of them. They are the products of anti-feminist propaganda that mislead to an ideal women figure and mis-project the unfair gender convention.

Girls, you deserve and meant to be the princess for someone. Trust me!

Related Links:
Cinderella and Feminism
7 Disney Princess That Make the Worst Role Models