LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s that time of year again. With over one million pageviews on BoF in 2009, it’s time to take stock of the year that was in a retrospective of the most popular articles from The Business of Fashion.
Needless to say, 2009 was the year of social media in fashion and our top 10 list is reflective of the explosion of interest in fashion bloggers, social networks and the now ubiquitous Twitter. Despite all of the hubbub (and yet another high-profile article this week from the New York Times on bloggers crashing the front row) social media is not a trend that will disappear. At BoF, we have prided ourselves on going beyond all of the hype to figure out what the implications are for the long-term.
But BoF is about more than just Web 2.0 and our top 10 is reflective of this. Indeed, over the past year we responded to media requests on a variety of subjects from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wallpaper*, Women’s Wear Daily, AnOther Magazine and others seeking our input on the forces re-shaping the fashion industry that are regularly covered in our pages.
So, without further ado, here is The Best of BoF from 2009. Happy reading!
Our most recent article on Fashion 2.0 was also one of the most popular articles on BoF this past year, taking the industry — brands, bloggers and maintream media alike — to task for focusing on the superficial short-term ‘trend’ of social media, as opposed to the fundamental long-term changes that social media portends for the future of the industry as we know it.
A flurry of comments from digital media experts, star bloggers and industry watchers around the world pushed the Fashion 2.0 conversation forward at what is only the beginning of a long period of change and adaptation.
Online fashion films really took off this year as a way for big and small fashion brands alike to connect with consumers. From narrative films to moody pieces to quirky animation shorts, our rundown of the top 10 fashion films for Spring/Summer 2010 was so popular it sure to be a regular feature on BoF in seasons to come.
The top fashion film in our estimation came from Alexander McQueen, who created a real fashion moment with his futuristic display of technology and fashion during Paris Fashion Week, accompanied by an equally arresting fashion film.
I was proud to announce my role as a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Luxury Society, the first global online network for luxury professionals, on BoF in March. Our “Whisper Campaign” resulted in a widespread viral conversation that brought thousands of readers to BoF and hundreds of requests join Luxury Society in its beta incarnation.
Later in the year, Women’s Wear Daily profiled Luxury Society as we marked the milestone of 2,000 luxury professionals in the network. Today Luxury Society counts more than 6,000 members in its ranks and will move out of beta in early 2010. Stay tuned for more news soon.
2009 will also be remembered as the year when Martin Margiela left the fashion house that bears his name. Before the announcement of his departure was made, BoF was grateful to republish an article by our friends at Agenda Inc. which chronicled the how special characteristics of the cult Belgian brand and its mysterious designer created a following unrivaled in the fashion industry.
Our friends over at LuxuryLab published a ranking of fashion brands’ digital competence in the Autumn, and we were amongst the first to share the now widely-read report with the global fashion industry.
For fashion brands, the news was not so good. The controversial ranking played a part in the wave of social media interest that swept across fashion brands in New York, Paris and Milan in the latter half of 2009. LuxuryLab has more technology initiatives planned for 2010.
Technological disruption is not an issue isolated to fashion brands. Our three-part series on the future of fashion magazines by Vikram Alexei Kansara explored how technology is revolutionising fashion media as well. Jefferson Hack, Nick Knight and Diane Pernet were amongst the important industry voices who weighed in on the debate.
Our always-sharp contributing editor in Tokyo, W. David Marx, penned a piece on Uniqlo, which in our view, was the most important fashion brand of 2009.
In the middle of the greatest economic slowdown in several generations, Uniqlo continued its global expansion, increased profits and sales, and brought in the formidable talent of Jil Sander to create one of the most successful high-street designer collaborations to date.
Back in January, Lauren Goldstein Crowe, co-author of a tell-all book on Jimmy Choo, published a BoF column outlining her thoughts on how brands could survive the Great Recession of 2008-2009, gleaned from her conversations with fashion executives and brand managers. The article continued to garner interest throughout the year, a reflection of the dire state of the industry as 2009 comes to a close.
In June, I was fortunate to be invited to participate in the 9 Festival for Fashion and Photography in Vienna, incorporating the Austrian Fashion Awards, panel discussions with e-commerce retailers and fashion bloggers, and a variety of accompanying events that made for an exciting week. Next year, the Unit F buro fur Mode will put on its 10th annual festival from 7-20 June 2010.
In our first ever poll of more than 10,000 BoF followers on Twitter, seeking reader feedback and comments on social media sites by Burberry and Gucci, the iconic British brand came out on top for its innovative website, The Art of the Trench.
After posting the article, we received feedback from many readers, including global PR and marketing professionals at both of the mega fashion brands in the poll. It seems we have discovered a new way to engage our readers, so there will be more Twitter Polls to come in 2010.
Imran Amed is Founder and Editor of The Business of Fashion