We have recently become addicted to a series of videos from TED — or, Technology, Entertainment and Design — an annual conference where passionate people descend on Monterrey, California to listen to other passionate people, each of whom are given 18 minutes to give the talk of their lives. The idea is that the best ideas will spread, by sheer virtue of the combined influence of all of the mavens and connectors in the room.
The notion of the idea virus also happens to be at the core of Seth Godin’s expertise. Godin gave this prescient talk at TED in February 2003 and declared to the world’s leading thinkers: “No matter what we do for a living, we’re in the fashion business!”
What he is getting at is that we in the fashion business know that it is the most remarkable ideas gain attention – and every six months we are on the lookout for the freshest visions of how people want to dress and live today. Sometimes this may mean borrowing ideas from a different era and making them relevant for now. Nicholas Ghesquiere, a fashion innovator whose ideas influence both his high-falutin peers and the mass market alike, is a perfect example of this.
Godin also says marketing today is “not about interrupting people with full page ads,” but this is a lesson that the fashion industry still needs to learn. Just flip through any fashion magazine and witness our worship of the full page glossy ad, even at a time when a recommendation from Susie Bubble, photograph from The Sartorialist, or endorsement from The Manolo can have much more weight at no cost at all — and simply because you are creating remarkable products.
While we suspect there will always be a role for advertising in the fashion business, smart fashion brands are also focusing on delivering a remarkable product that will get fashion people talking.