Fashion Entrepreneur Podcast

Fashion Originators

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Hi.

Welcome to Fashion Originators, a podcast hosted by me, Stephanie Irwin. Every other week, I interview game-changing fashion entrepreneurs. Each episode, THEY share their wins, losses and wisdom – all to inspire your career and personal goals.

#FashionOGNews: Stormzy's Glastonbury vest, The Real Real's Wall Street debut, and video game fashion?

#FashionOGNews: Stormzy's Glastonbury vest, The Real Real's Wall Street debut, and video game fashion?

Photo: Glastonbury attendees in typical ‘English summer festival’ attire

On the latest edition of #fashionognews, I’ve got the stories you need to know from last week; why people can’t get enough of the Nike sneakers app, the lowdown on Stormzy’s Glastonbury style, and why video game fashion is more important than you think. 

1. Nike’s SNKRS app fuelling digital business

According to an article on Quartzy, the Nike SNKRS app is one that evokes rabid frenzy. On the app, Nike fans can get Nike limited releases and ‘special products’. Last year, a technical glitch on the app during an OFF-WHITE collaboration launch caused Twitter-memes galore.  On the topic of the app, the CEO of Nike claims that it acquired more new members for Nike than any other digital channel they have, saying SNKRS ‘more than doubled its business’, and is ‘on pace for annual sales of over $750 million USD.’ In lead-up to launches, the app also sends users push notifications so they can have their credit cards at the ready. 

My POV:

To me, the creation of this app is a form of targeting. During the day, I work in email marketing. When we target our VIP or brand-specific customers, they consistently generate more revenue than our normal emails — even though they are going to way less people. For me, this can provide inflated figures compared to when we send emails to everyone. While this app isn’t targeted solely to streetwear customers, it is designed to appeal to them so other customers fall to the wayside. As well, the app is shifting customers from online to the app — they are the audience who would’ve already been buying and closely tracking the time of the OFF-WHITE release (to later resell of course). That being said, I think push notifications are a great technique to keeping your brand top-of-mind. 

2. The low-down on the Banksy-designed stab-proof vest Stormzy wore during Glastonbury performance

At Glastonbury over the weekend, Stormzy received great praise for his performance — and it wasn’t just because of music. During the performance, Stormzy sported a ‘stab proof vest’ decorated with a dripping Union Jack flag. On Instagram, street artist Banksy later claimed credit for the vest, saying: 

“I made a customized stab-proof vest and thought — who could possibly wear this? Stormzy at Glastonbury” 

The vest was a statement maker — given Stormzy’s sampling of a speech (on the proportion of Britain’s incarcerated black population) by Labour politician David Lammy, all while flashing statistics on the screen behind him. At one point in his set, ‘Fuck the government and fuck Boris’ were integrated into the lyrics of Vossi Bop.

MY POV: 

While I haven’t watched the whole performance, I think the vest / art piece is a genius use of fashion. As well, the black ballerinas wore leotards properly coloured for their skin — highlighting the fact that ballerina leotards haven’t actually been made for a wide range of skin colours until very recently. 

In general, I think fashion is a quiet complement to a bigger message — it can support it, or it can make the message fall flat. I also think the fact that Banksy — the famous street artist — designed the vest is incredibly interesting. Street artists have a special skill for debuting their art on the right surface / body / space at the right time to get people talking and to really underline their point. Through fashion, Banksy is achieving a similar impact. 

3. The Real Real soars on Wall Street debut

Shares in The Real Real, an American secondhand luxury site, jumped 40% after their Wall Street debut. Interestingly, the founder of The Real Real, Julie Wainwright, was the former boss of pets.com (which raised 82.5 million in investment but went bust 8 months later).

This time around, however, Julie is optimistic. With $300 million in investment raised and an aim to create an e-commerce business ‘Amazon couldn’t replicate’, it appears she has done just that. Looking to her closet, Julie realized she needed to create a platform more trustworthy than Ebay — so she could feel comfortable reselling her goods. 

My POV: 

It seems like every fashion company is going public, at least quite blatantly, these days. What’s interesting about The Real Real is exactly Julie’s aim — it can’t be replicated by Amazon, and it creates a more sustainable attitude towards shopping. PLUS, businessmen are finally buying into this change, and realizing that young people don’t just want endless ‘newness.’

4. Rainbows aren’t enough: taking stock of fashion’s approach to Pride

For Pride month, every store in London seems to have turned completely rainbow (and digital stores, for that matter). In fact, the likes of Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors (who received criticism for the lack of diversity in their ads for the collection) have even released specialty pride capsule collections. Given this enthusiasm of brands to embrace pride, one thing is apparent — young consumers overwhelmingly support it. 

My POV:

Interestingly, I think it’s a good sign that businesses are latching onto pride — even though it seems a bit cheap and not-genuine. Similar to The Real Real’s high valuation, this signals that even the out-of-touch businessmen can see what young customers are responding to.

BONUS: Video games’ tricky relationship with fashion

BBC wrote a really interesting article on the role of fashion in video games. According to gaming experts, bad fashion in a video game is something people really notice. Some developers, like Victoria Tran of Kitfox games, says it can create a ‘really jarring experience’ if characters don’t have good looks. Earlier this year, she gave a talk on ‘Why fashion in (most) video games sucks.’ The main crux of her argument? Getting fashion wrong for a game could undermine the whole game itself and fuel sexist stereotypes. 

My POV: 

It’s weird how all these stories connect. This story connects to the one about Stormy in a way in that there’s a greater story at play, and fashion is supporting it. While fashion may seem like a small, superficial aspect of the greater story, it can easily make or break how people perceive your story.

That’s it for this week!!

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