2013: the year luxury brands embraced social media

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While exemplary social media operators like Burberry and Oscar de la Renta have had their social media strategy down to a ‘t’ since (what feels like) time immemorial, some brands have been slower to interact with the web.

Chanel, for instance, has slowly embraced social media, but is still holding back on online retail. “To be able to wear Chanel clothes, you need to try them on. You need to be in the fitting room. You need to have a tailor who alters the clothes to fit exactly to your body,” Chanel’s Bruno Pavlovsky told Vogue.

But this doesn’t mean the brand has shied away from the web totally: “what we want today — and the way we use digital — is to have more and more people come to the boutique to see the product, to touch the product, but also to try the product,” he explained. 

Still, according to PM Digital’s trend report ‘Luxury Brands Online’, luxury consumers are one of the most connected demographic groups out there, “with twice the smartphone ownership rate as the general population.”

Faced with facts like this, this year saw brands swallow their reticence when it came to diving in on social media. When Instagram launched its video service in June this year, fashion brands took very little time to get involved. Within 24 hours, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg and Helmut Lang had all posted images, followed by pretty much everyone else. Companies which previously slowly took their time to edge into new social platforms were instead fighting to be the first. 

Italian brand Fendi launched its Fendi Life ‘Social Wall’ experience, tying together a range of digital assets in an explorable minisite to celebrate its new Milan store and show this fall. The Council of Fashion Designers of America also got in on the action by launching a specialized CFDA Social Feed.

And, importantly, brands announced news directly via their Facebook and Twitter profiles. Plenty of major news items, from designer comings-and-goings (like Nicolas Ghesquière’s appointment at Louis Vuitton) to designer collaborations were unveiled to the public via tweets and Facebook updates. 

It wasn’t just fashion and luxury companies and organizations which picked up their game; even the social networks themselves got organized to feed the internet’s massive appetite for fashion content. Pinterest created a special ‘Fashion Week‘ zone on the site, collating all the best pics and content from the Spring-Summer 2014 shows as they happened. 

In 2014 expect to see plenty more of the same, as the biggest players expand their social media platforms around each individual news items, and tie in e-commerce offers to boot.

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