Links: Crazy Robertson and Web 2.0

Wall Street Journal: In West L.A, A Homeless Man Inspires New BrandBack in August when the BoF touched down in L.A. to poke around the lively local fashion scene, I witnessed a very interesting character twirling  down Robertson Boulevard in an outrageous outfit. Today, I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about the same gentlemen, who has inspired a range of t-shirts that are all the rage in the City of Angels. Fashion Inc: Web 2.0 at the Luxury Briefing Conference I had the full intention of attending all three of the London conferences this Autumn dedicated to the web 2.0 and luxury. Unfortunately, I am home-bound due to a nasty bout of Shingles (yes, really), and so…

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Web 2.0: Etsy and Threadless pave the way

At a wedding I attended in Karachi last year, all of the guests received a parting gift from the bride's family. For the men, it was a beautiful dark brown wool satchel, festooned with colourful embroidery and handwork by talented Pakistani artisans. No two bags were alike so each guest received a one-of-a-kind gift which was rooted in symbolism and meaning. All around the world, in the West and in the East, artists work away in cottage industries and small businesses rooted in the passion of making of beautiful things. And yet, it seems so many consumers' lives are dominated by just the opposite of this. We live in a world where global megabrands at the high-end and on the…

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Web 2.0: The industry takes notice

Cathy Horyn recently asserted that that London's fashion renaissance might be linked to the fact that the city is awash with cash. From Russian oligarchs to Arab princes to Indian billionaires, it's true that that London has become a playground for the world's rich and famous. Perhaps this is also why there are no less than three luxury conferences taking place in London over the next few months, each with some focus on the opportunity that web 2.0 technologies presents for the industry. Next week, The Walpole Group hosts Tech Luxe: Web 2.0 and Beyond, a half day seminar to help companies learn how they can "reharness the creative power of technology." Speakers will include Nick Robertson of the innovative…

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Fashion 2.0: A cut, sew and blog above

When Malcolm Harris, one of the designers behind the Katsumi & Malcolm label which was once financially backed by Madonna, wanted to launch a new brand, he knew he needed to do something singularly different. Harris is the man behind Cut, Sew & Blog which has got young fashion insiders and the blogosphere buzzing and is already spawning internet spoofs. By turning to web 2.0 technologies and using sites like Myspace and Youtube to promote his new label, Malcolm may be the first fashion designer ever to build his entire business strategy around the use of the Internet, as opposed to treating it as a cosmetic afterthought. He recently answered a few questions from the Business of Fashion to explain…

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Online fashion retail: A party without the cool kids

Every week there are reports of new online fashion retailers, but some of the biggest names in the UK are noticeably absent from the space. Selfridges and Harvey Nichols have essentially no online fashion businesses to speak of, while the venerable Harrods is selling a heavily edited mix of its lower-priced collections, with an emphasis on accessories, knitwear and outerwear only. All of this is even more surprising when you consider that many of the major American department stores, with similarly large profiles, have made heavy (and successful) pushes into the online space. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Barney's all have online sites with a large fashion assortment for sale. What's more, many of the world's best known…

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Style.com: Sartorialising

WWD reports today that Style.com has concluded an agreement to sell advertising on the Sartorialist blog maintained by Scott Schuman, a former fashion industry staffer who left a fashion sales showroom to create one of the best known blogs in the fashion blogosphere. Women's Wear Daily said: A fashion label may get the best endorsement when its wares show up on a well-dressed city dweller photographed for fashion industry veteran Scott Schuman's popular blog The Sartorialist. But for those who want more direct brand promotion, Style.com and Men.style.com will begin to sell ads forThesartorialist.blogspot.com beginning Sept. 1.... ...The partnership is the first time the CondéNet properties have sold ads for a brand outside the company stable. Schuman's blog, where he posts…

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YSL: Interactive experimentation

For years now, the Yves Saint-Laurent brand has been a drag on the otherwise strong results posted by many other fashion brands in the Gucci Group, owned by parent-company PPR. Most recently, Bottega Veneta has been on a tear with strong financial results (eclipsing YSL's top line revenue in 2006) and a leading position in the luxury consumer league tables, making it the number two luxury brand in PPR's stable. The story for YSL is a lot less fairytale, and a lot more Nightmare on Elm Street. The brand has not been profitable since Gucci Group purchased it in 1999 and is still reportedly losing around €50m a year. The brand turned over €194m in sales in 2006. PPR doesn't…

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Men’s luxury: Time for an (arm)revolution?

That oft-ignored market for men's luxury has been popping up on my radar screen a lot more often in the last few months. Up until now, men's luxury spending has been dominated by expensive watches. But, as a generation of high net-worth men with a taste for modern design is growing up, more players are reaching out to meet their sophisticated needs in innovative ways. It brings to mind a casual gathering of friends that took place in my kitchen on a recent Saturday evening. Over wine and cheese, I watched in awe as hedge fund managers, private equity investors and investment bankers from London's burgeoning financial community were comparing, discussing and examining each other's (expensive) watches in excruciating detail.…

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Cathy Horyn: Video on the Runway

It seems every few weeks I come across some interesting quotes from or video clips of Cathy Horyn of the New York Times. As one of the first major fashion critics to pen a regular blog, it's not surprising that she believes in the importance of blogging to the fashion industry. Regular readers know that this is a recurring topic on the BoF, especially after what I heard from some industry people at the Harvard Business School Retail and Luxury Conference earlier this year. This is a video I came across where Julie Fredrickson of Coutorture attempts to interview Ms. Horyn on the topic of Web 2.0 and fashion. I use the word "attempts" intentionally. As you will see, by…

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