right smack dab in the middle of fashion week, was the chictopia media summit that i attended.
what was it like?
well i took a lot of photos, met some interesting folks and literally, sat and listened to people talk (some who were incredibly intelligent and well spoken, others who clearly had no idea why they were on a particular panel). the conference (yeah i'm getting fancy) lasted about 6 hours. including lunch. i skipped out early after the talks were over b/c i didn't feel like attending a small fashion show when i wanted to go see "mon oncle" at film forum instead. (does cinema nerd trump fashion nerd? sometimes they battle it out)
what did i think of it?
to be quite and totally honest here, some of it was worthwhile and some of it was a complete and utter waste of time. but to be upfront, i had very specific expectations of what to expect. since the topic was media and social technology, i assumed it would be something of a lecture style where everybody already has a background in what is going on, so we could get into some intense talking with facts and graphs and want not, which i'm not sure why i thought this since chictopia was throwing it. what i mean by that is i expected a college level lecture on a very specific subject, however with the event being thrown by a social networking site that emphasizes user interaction about clothing and sites itself as a democratization of fashion, why would i assume an incredibly specific lecture? i really shouldn't have.
i do, however, wish chictopia had been more upfront about the possible panel themes and the time frame.
the whole lecture consisted upon virtual and online marketing (only for a second though), how to market your blog and is the fashion industry becoming more exclusive.
what i learned was or rather what i gleaned was:
you need to figure out your brand (for instance ceos of keds and kmart came to speak) and figure out how online and user specific sites relate to your brand. saks, who's main customer is older women with sizable incomes, shouldn't have a twitter that operates the same way urban outfitters does. however, a brand marketing to a younger demographic does need a youtube page, twitter feed and facebook page.
a cool idea that was brought up was how much it cost to market online and is it worth it? a company could be spend thousands online but only receive directly some thousands. however, every person following you on twitter or on facebook gets daily updates on your product and your brand. that brand loyalty really cannot be matched. so maybe they didn't buy something today but the fact that they are receiving information, by choice, about your brand, is something that will lead to them becoming a regular consumer of your product/brand. at least that is the hope, but that is a logical conclusion to make.
so that was interesting.
when it came to talking about your blog, i kind of tuned out. i already know what it takes to make your blog well known, i wrote a paper on it. chictopia stressed content, content, content. what i felt like they should've stresses were these things: timing (most famous bloggers started their blogs in 2006 or 2007, they are famous bc they were there first), content, and numbers (there are so many blogs out there right now, the odds of your blog becoming well known are pretty slim). essentially, now it's really hit or miss.
a better topic would've been how to differentiate your blog from someone else's. liebmarlene, for instance, is from georgia and that sets her apart. tavi is from chicago, jane aldridge is from dallas. they are girls who live in a more relatable america, b/c it's not new york city or LA and yet, even with less abundance of clothing brand availability, they are well known. i think their location helps with that, it adds an interesting detail but also proves the theory that fashion and style can be attained if you just innately have it, regardless of location, money, ect.
my favorite panel: has fashion gotten more exclusive?
on each panel, there was 1 blogger. so there were 4 bloggers in totally out of the 16 panelists (four panelists per panel). dino-ray ramos, a journalist and professor from san francisco, said that it wouldn't necessarily be a problem if the fashion world became more exclusive. he used the analogy of hearing his friends who are doctors talk about medical things and how he didn't understand but didn't need to, however he prefaced that was a bad analogy. ramos mentioned a better one is that you have you have people watching project runway and assuming they know everything about fashion, which isn't true. the blogger on the panel who works for chictopia said that she, like, thought it wasn't exclusive anymore cos, like, she went to six shows and had no idea who she was seeing. WHICH HORRIFIED ME. seriously, little lady, just google the people you are seeing. you are being paid to go to fashion week and write about it, do your homework. sigh. but in all fairness, this girl did say the beauty of the internet and blogging is that people can see an outfit on her, and she isn't a model, and that can help with the diffusion and selling of the outfit. okay, so great statement, however that doesn't have a lot to do with the exclusivity of blogging. just b/c you aren't a size 4, that doesn't mean you have the knowledge or tools to write about fashion. to simply say hey i like this current season is a valid point but there's more. what did you like? the use of chiffon, crepe de chine, ect? the tonal palette used? the departure from previous works? write about it like you are writing critically about art. i spoke to ramos after his panel and we talked about how that is the fear of the fashion world, that bloggers are uninformed and would be replacing people that have studied the history of fashion and fashion design and have the proper vocabulary to diffuse the shows that are seen. i mean, the fashion world is still exclusive, you still have a limited number of people seeing the collections first, but you have a much wider number of people taking that journalism and further diffusing it for a greater audience. that is what blogging does.
essentially, the summit was okay and i met some awesome people. but i honestly was surprised that nobody mentioned what i thought was the obvious elephant in the room: we all paid to be here, you are getting us to tweet about being here so our twitters appear on this huge screen, chictopia received TONS of free advertising from us. well this is the perfect example of how social media works as advertising. b/c 100 plus people paid to be there and then wrote about it. on twitter, fbook and now blogger.
so, those are my two cents. will i do it next year? probably not.
photos from chictopia media summit.
cate corcoran, of WWD, one of the speakers
been a la bella gets my vote for best hair
a sequin dress at breakfast blogger has a dress that i just want to steal.