The relentless pace of fashion industry has never been more evident than at time of my writing. Comfortably seated on my flight back to Norway from NY it occurred to me that the hyper connectivity we have experienced over the past couple of years has planted the seed of cohesiveness. At the time present many brands have chosen try out the new model of direct approach to customer- at least as many brands have opted out of the official schedule and some brands have rather chosen not to show at all. Brand-to-consumer relationship has historícaly been based on monologues approach, the brand- sole root of the idea and creative output has over decades had a decisive role in image building.
Lucky for us the technological revolution has made space for a more vicarious and intuitive approach towards the way we communicate and interact- the readers comments and remarks as important as brands chiefs of marketing, and thankfully the brands listened.
So when Zalando decided to revive lackluster tradeshow Bread & Butter it made perfect sense. What is better than bringing brands and customers in direct contact with each other, creating a dialogue that benefitted all the involved.
Visitors had the chance of seeing first-hands sneakers being woven out the micro-plast sea waste and engage directly with the brand of their choice. Many booths offered customization and if one felt a bit tired as inputs where many there was plenty of exciting food & beverage choices.Maybe the most interesting part was seeing public taking part in staged fashion shows. As somebody who has seen her fair share of them, the creative input, the engagement of audience to the point of not being able to access internet and the sheer thrill in the air was amongst more energizing events I have to attended. The elitist approach of well-governed fashion weeks where amount of invitation is dealt with highest secrecy and delicacy has been made much more democratic. Press and influencers were seated on 2-3 row allowing publicum to have hands on interaction with the catwalk. Models like Sam Rollinson and Saskia de Brauw usually seen only in the glossies were suddenly within the arms reach and they felt human. The same goes for the very wearable collection designed by Gigi Hadid for Tommy Hilfiger, a pre-view of the show that followed in NY, young girls(and boys) queuing up to see their idol.
Which brings me to the point of cohesiveness- if Zalando’s goal was to show that by inclusion and democratization one can offer very exciting range of events and hands-on experiences they have certainly reached it. The conversation that took place was not solely embraced by public- it resonated with the brands,giving them an opportunity to interact with community in rather relaxed setting.Private concert with A$AP Rocky didn’t hurt either, visitor’s appreciation abundantly visible.*
*In collaboration with Zalando