Due to the Instagram development, many small emerging (local) brands have got a chance for rapid showcase in front of the customer’s eyes without a long chain of intermediaries. Thanks to the platform, fashion lovers can observe, contact and buy online directly from the brand. The same advantage the system gives to the emerging brands: self – statement, model searching, photo posting, fashion show broadcasting – all the tools for customer eye-catching content.
Yet, for the young brand to be noticed by the clients there are still lots of challenges. One of them is a lack of investment. A common situation is when the designer holds the role of a brand manager and a social media manager at the same time. Obviously, it does not create a fruitful environment for the brand to emerge. Thus, the digital environment is altering the approach. Perhaps, that is a reason that the initiatives helping the new talents to show off on the media and actual market are still so popular among the emerging designers.
To find out more about those initiatives I talked to the founders of two of them, both based in Milan and well-known among local and foreign fashion emerging talents.
First “community of like-minded people, who do not try to compete with each other, but support” called Emerging talents (@emerging.talents.milan) and has been up and running about 4 years ago by two fashion professionals Ruslan and Tariel. Each of them previously dedicated quite a long time for the similar works in the field but then decided to join forces and offer emerging designers a “full service” experience that includes a showroom, press office and provides a full business consulting following up the growth of the brands after the shows.
“Emerging Talents is not just a fashion show or presentation organization. Our idea is to have a long-term collaboration; we are doing a lot of editorials shoots, sometimes coming months after the events. We have also successfully launched a series of pop up stores not only in Italy but also abroad. We already did in Yerevan and Zurich, and coming up with new cities.” – Tariel
Once started with small presentations, now they have two shows during Milan Fashion Week in the most prestigious locations, followed by an accessories/beauty trade show. Their designers come from different parts of the world: China, Russia, Thailand, Italy, France, UAE, Brazil, USA, etc.
“The designers/brands are not just showcasing their collections on the same stage, they are building up bridges between their countries, creating new collaborations and expanding the network.” – Ruslan
Next interviewee is Milan Fashion Club (milanfashionclub). Unlike the previous one, this initiative started with an idea to support the real fashion lovers by democratizing access to Milan Fashion Week events. The founders noticed that a huge community of the city is not having any access to inspirational fashion events in Milan and it causes the limitation of experimentation and knowledge sharing between creatives.
“You are living in one of the most important fashion capital and not enjoying the fashion week? As Milan Fashion Club we are thrilled by the idea of creating a community of fashion lovers with the same vision, who likes to experiment together and celebrate fashion in all its forms. ” – Elif, creative director MFC
Both initiatives have selection criteria for the new designers to join the projects. Essentially, it is a made to measure work. Also, it is meant to keep the creative direction clear so the participants are confident about being part of something exclusive and well selected.
“We try to understand the needs of each brand, providing a fashion business consultation that fits the brand perfectly. As you understand it takes much time and dedication.” – Emerging talents team
“We are looking for brands/designers with a clear vision on what they are doing and what they want to communicate. The projects we want to include should be fresh, environmental, provocative, experimental and innovative.” – Elif, creative director MFC
At the same time, both initiatives do not solve directly the biggest problem of the fashion startups – financial, though, due to established network and experience, both may share the tips on that issue. However, to organize a fashion show in Milan is not a low budget thing. Obviously, the designers should be prepared before the application.
“We suggest the brands to choose the city that suits their concept and style and permanently showcase there. In this case, we have a more targeted and professional strategy that gives real results. We believe in small and strong steps.” – Emerging talents team
Moreover, the collaboration with brands for both agencies is not a one-time thing but has a long term aim. The huge part of work follows the show: promotion among buyers, coordinating the delivery for stylists of editorials, cooperation with fashion magazines and etc..
Thus, here are two initiatives having similar ideas on how to spread fashion culture and to support locally, fashion community and talents. To conclude our conversation I asked both crews the same question I arose in the beginning as an idea of the whole interview:
– Do you think the young and emerging talents still in need to be supported in order to show up when there is so-called the “age of Instagram”?
“Absolutely yes! Young designers should create opportunities for their selves to humanize their projects and let people touch and see their products in real life. One more important thing of being part of offline events is creating a personal connection with other people, which is never the same as messaging on DM.” – Elif, creative director MFC
“Participating in Emerging Talents Milan events the designers have possibilities to be seen worldwide. At every show, we gather industry professionals, influencers, bloggers from more than 30 countries with around 15 million online and offline coverage. Can you imagine all those people going live during the show, sharing the runway? Moreover, Instagram is a perfect tool for sales. Getting all this publicity creates more trust for clients to purchase online.” – Emerging talents.
Thereby, Instagram is one of the tools for the brands/designers to show what is done and reached to a global audience. Definitely with the digital era came a lot of possibilities for the designers to be seen and share their creativity. Still, there are some designers who besides Instagram promotion try to participate in all fashion weeks around the world spending a fortune, because the direct contact with people remains important.