Because “Sharing Is Caring”

I have just returned home from one of this years exciting fashion exhibitions ….The Louis Vuitton Series3 #LVSeries3 at 180 The Strand, London WC2.

I am not that partial to the Louis Vuitton brand, or so I thought, however, after visiting this exhibition I am much persuaded. In a word it was slick! I could not fault it. I have been to so many fashion shows and exhibitions in my career, and this one was right on up there with the best of them.

Access to up-to-date fashion is no longer confined to a small corridor for the “privileged” few and marketing companies are really beginning to identify that the leading shoppers are from the “A-typical” world of fashion. Whilst waiting outside for the exhibition to open what struck me today was how engaging the staff at The Louis Vuitton Series3 Exhibition were, inviting strangers to come in and view the exhibition. Twenty years ago that would have been unheard of. Inquisitive minds probably would have been spurned away if you did not fit the “fashion mold”.

In this day and age of technology the majority of individuals do what they can to share. We share details of our lives. Intimate details down to the point of what we are watching, reading, eating, wearing and taking an interest in.

It really does amuse me because I recall the days when fashion was exclusive. What I mean by this is that it was incredibly difficult for you to get into a fashion show never mind sharing any details about what you may have witnessed at a show. Fifteen to twenty years ago it was unheard of to share images, comments and ideas about a fashion show or exhibition unless you had been invited to the premiere or exclusive preview. Nowadays it does not matter and I love the Internet for this.

What I find fascinating are the methods to which one can gain access to fashion and the wider creative industries. When I studied fashion at The London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martin’s in the early nineties, fashion was not viewed as much as a commodity as it is now, take for example the type of jobs we as fresh faced graduates at that time were steered to pursue, Fashion Buyer and Designer. That was pretty much it. Now you can become all of those things with the addition of “Fashion Blogger”, Stylist, “Fashion Make Up Artist” and throw into the mix “Fashion Marketer”. Why is this? What has changed? Fashion was once a multi billion-dollar industry. Today it is almost certainly a trillion-dollar empire. The Internet and sharing has opened up so many doors for this industry to thrive and develop.

The idea of sharing has now been turned 360 degrees on its head and everybody and his wife, child dog and cat are now sharing. Which brings me back to the #LVSeries 3 exhibition. One of the first things our guide said to the audience was… “and our hashtag is #LVSeries 3. Please feel free to take as many pictures as you want and tag us in them with this hashtag”. Brilliant!Louis Vuitton Logo

I love this. I think it is incredibly clever that fashion companies now understand the importance of sharing. Exclusivity is practically obsolete or is it?

Consider if you will the “Hermes Birkin Bag”. Women (and some Men) lust after this bag and vie to be included onto the waiting list. Good old fashion #WOM or “Word Of Mouth” works especially well here in marketing. You cannot just walk into Hermes and purchase a Birkin Bag you have to be an associate of Hermes and also have a purchase history with the store and then they interview you, much like an assessment and if they like you then and only then can you go onto their waiting list. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-10/how-the-legendary-birkin-bag-remains-dominant

I am more of a shoe person myself and I have to say that one of the most amazing exhibitions that I have had the pleasure of attending the Retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum: Christian Louboutin, 1 May – 9 July 2012 – at London’s Design Museum. It was truly amazing. For me the hologram of Dita Von Teese took my breath away as much as the coveted red-bottomed shoes did. In a word this exhibition was exquisite, however, what intrigued me was the fact that spectators were not allowed to share their “personal visions” as it were. Spectators were not allowed to take pictures and post on Facebook and/or Twitter (the leading social media apps at that time). Fast-forward three years, if you missed the exhibition you can get a small sense of what it felt like to attend here: http://designmuseum.org/designers/christian-louboutin

You can also shop the collection directly from The London Design Museum there too. A type of retrospective share if you like!

For my part Louboutin is brilliant in terms of how he markets himself and shares his eponymous brand. If you did not get a chance to watch Channel 4’s “Louboutin: The Worlds Most Luxurious Shoes” do so if you can. Here is authentic promotion in motion. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/louboutin-the-worlds-most-luxurious-shoes

Louboutin steals a piece of my marketing heart because he takes the time out to personally meet with his new clients and flies out to an exclusive viewing in India. In my opinion he is a genius because of this. Louboutin has recognised that his clients come from far and wide and are not typical of what the fashion industry would have once like us to believe -The western client. There is something to be noted about the “hands on” approach and Louboutin executes this to perfection.

When I ran Designer/ Manufacturer workshops for the British Fashion Council and The Industry Forum back in the nineties, My ex boss Ken Watson always told me that “the everyday man and woman love it when they get to “Meet The Designer”, this was ultimately one of the keys of success for our unique workshops which are now ubiquitous within the industry.

The #LVSeries3 Exhibition was equally distinctive in the sense that spectators actually got to meet one of the Louis Vuitton artisans from Paris preparing an exclusive bag, we were even invited to ask her questions about her work and Louis Vuitton provided a French interpreter for our convenience.

Louis Vuitton - Manufacturing

Louis Vuitton – Manufacturing

 

It was Marketing 101 – “a new guide to winning customers”. You could hear the smart-phone camera shutters clicking and the bird like chirps from Twitter as guests photographed and uploaded their visions onto social media platforms. Right at the end of the exhibition we were each given stickers, two for our initials (I received three because I am double barreled in the name department) and two which depict items from the Louis Vuitton Series 3 collection, clever, naturally everyone is going to covet them because they’ll be worth a pretty penny or three in a few years time.

 

JWB LV Stickers

My very own name in Louis Vuitton (stickers)

 

It did not stop there right before we exited the exhibition we were treated to a gift of the official Louis Vuitton Series 3 poster handed to us by our very own Louis Vuitton guide.

 

Gareth @ Louis Vuitton Series 3

Gareth @ Louis Vuitton Series 3

 

A final video of the exclusive Nicolas Ghesquière collection shot by Juergen Teller and Bruce Weber. Louis Vuitton Series 3  greeted us before we left. I used the exhibition to share my first Periscope upload because Sharing is Caring right?

Want to know more? You can #ReadWatchLearn with me here: Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Central Saint Martins – Fashion Marketing Online Course.