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from where i sit: content vs. commerce generation

27 Nov

while scouring the web this morning, i came across an article on the integration of content generation and ecommerce. it’s an interesting idea – one that i’m intrigued by but don’t have a solid opinion on yet.

from my business pov, i applaud the out-of-box sales innovation – it seems genius, and intuitive to create easy access pathways for consumers to buy products while they’re comfortably sifting through their favorite blogs, ezines, web sites, etc.

on the flip side – as a consumer – i’m not sure how i feel. my blog-hopping each saturday morning is reserved for leisurely browsing and unviolated inspiration. i originally veered toward blog reading for the personal, uninfluenced opinions of the authors. this is what made the blogosphere unique, intriguing and influential.

now with the inundation of “buy!” and “shop!” buttons on every blog under the sun, i’m not so sure about this realm of media anymore. it’s quite evident that bloggers are being compensated – in some way or another – for their promotions, and as a result, they’re becoming less credible. it’s sad to say that some of my once favorite blogs now almost exclusively consist of sponsored posts.

but at the same time, these are writers, business owners and entrepreneurs. they have to make money somehow – and that is a notion i wholeheartedly understand and support.

what do you think? is the rising trend of “organic” ecommerce a pro or a con? my verdict is still tbd.

photo from the business of fashion.

from where i sit: fast fashion

14 Nov

you’ve seen it. a myriad of respectable, well-known designers staking their claim in the mass market world via low-priced retailers. mr. lagerfeld kicked things off eight years ago, and soon an impressive lineup would follow. we had stella mccartney and comme des garçons for h&m (following in lagerfeld’s footsteps), christopher kane for topshop and a slew of notables for target.

sure, these for-the-masses collections seem exciting and fun with their “limited-edition” tags that compel even the most jaded fashion mavericks to urgently buy, but what does it really mean? what does it mean for the industry, for the reputation and prestige of “fashion,” and for society as a whole?

the notion of “fast fashion” is not totally unique. it’s one of many examples of the state of consumerism today. no longer do shoppers – for whatever product: clothing, furniture, appliances, cars – spend considerable amounts of time researching competing qualities of items. no longer do the masses study what goes into making a product and whether the process deems the outcome worthy of our dollars. no longer do we value quality. now the mark of a “good buy” is the lowest pricetag on the sales floor. we have become of society of disposables.

this is a scary concept that has many repercussions – at least as i see it. with the notion of “cheap” we’ve all become intoxicated with – meaning “low priced,” in modern day vernacular – how are we ever supposed to revamp this country’s manufacturing arm? bigger, faster, cheaper is not a goal accomplished here at home.

so while yes, it’s a nice thought that we can bring “designer” fashion to the masses, we have to take a step back and consider what that actually means. fashion was an exclusive industry for a reason. you have to work hard to be able to afford quality clothes. just like you have to work hard to buy a new oven, lease a new car, own a home, etc. but i fear our society has become too lazy for all that. because why would you make the extra effort when essentially the same labels (on the surface, anyway), are readily available at your corner convenience store?

on the flip side, one might argue that there’s no other choice – how are consumers supposed to buy quality items when the divide between price points is so steep? you have a $10 “designer” shirt on one end, and a $250 “designer” t-shirt on the other. doesn’t sound so democratic to me. sounds like another indication of the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots.

and that, i would say, is the real problem here.

from where i sit: democratization of fashion?

2 Oct

as i was sifting through my regular blogroll and sipping my coffee this past saturday, i ran across this gem of an article on refinery29. while typically geared toward the more fun-loving, eye-catching content, the site made a sharp editorial turn with their blatant, unapologetic (and rightly so) opinion piece that brought into question the so-called democratization of the fashion industry.

the author puts the shift of the industry’s editorial arm to the online world smack dab in the middle of the piece’s focus, but wisely brings up the point that, while yes, it’s great that more people have more access – whether first-hand or a couple degrees removed – to the once closed-door shows of fashion week, perhaps all this distant viewing through the lens of someone else hasn’t really brought fashion to the masses at all. Perhaps it’s magnified the feeling of being left out and the fact that yes, still not everyone is allowed at fashion week.

i admit that i’ve felt a tinge of this “FOMO,” as refinery29 put it (read: fear of missing out), a couple of fashion weeks myself. every once in a while, i’ll sit a fashion week out, not attending or covering any shows at all. it’s during those seasons that i’d really rather not pay attention to the runways, because the fact becomes crystal clear that i’m not there enjoying them first-hand. and how could you not feel that you’re being left behind when all you see, hear and inadvertently tweet about is someone else’s experience at the tents?

but more importantly – in my opinion anyway – the refinery29 editor brings up the point that this shift is also a reflection of the state of our nation today – the unpleasing and dangerous growing separation between the haves and the have-nots. while i see the point that there’s an inadvertent divide instituted by constant focus on who’s at the shows or even in the front rows and who’s not, i tend to think that the ever increasing elitist and superficially motivated invite lists and seating charts are more an indication of our country’s social, rather than economical, pitfalls. how have we become so egregiously obsessed with “celebrities”? how have society’s “chosen people,” who make mistake after glaring mistake, become a representation of the pinnacle we’re all supposed to lust after? it’s upsetting, and frankly, extremely off-putting to see an industry that once focused its attention on artists’ talent, and instituted processes (i.e. fashion week) for the purpose of business, flip a switch and now tout such superfluous things as “this person needs to sit front row because they’re famous” or “get that person because she caused such a scene the other day at x trendy restaurant, and it would create great buzz around our show.”

and yes, i get it – more buzz (superficial or not) creates more press, which creates more attention, which can ultimately trickle down and create more sales. but isn’t that the exact problem to begin with? why are we, as a people, so inclined to fall prey to, celebrate, and reward the salacious?

an industry that was once serious, is now moving toward being quite petty (ok, not all of it – there is still a very serious-minded side of fashion, thanks to real critics, real business men and women, and real artists who still possess real integrity), and to use refinery29’s words, verging on a spectacle.

photo is my own.