New York City has become even more glamorous with the advent of Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. The bi-annual runway events of apparel designers set the trends, tone and pace for the preceding season's retail business growth or decrease. However, much of the actual innovation for both sales promotion stem from the digital media strategies that many manufacturers are beginning to utilize; and acknowledgment of excellence in this area took place February 16, 2011 at the second annual Fashion 2.0 Awards held at Trump Hotel Soho, NYC.
Over 300 fashion innovators and top fashion retail and apparel brands such as Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Bluefly, DKNY and Armani were in attendance while thousands more watched as the event was live-streamed across the world via ICED Media. The Style Coalition, a leading network of more than 60 independent online publishers in fashion and beauty, in partnership with TheFind, the fastest-growing search engine for top-tier shopping, produced the evening's event.
The awards celebrated the best innovators and users of technology and social media among the fashion brands and were nominated by open ballot via a community of their peers and fans. The winners celebrated their respective wins in the following categories:
Best Online Video: Bluefly Closet Confessions Presented by: Felicia Walker Benson (ThisThatBeauty) and Sydne Summer (ThinkThruFashion)
Best Twitter: @DKNY Presented by: Sarah Conley (StyleIt) and Kristin Booker (FashionStyleBeauty)
Best Facebook Page: Levi's Presented by: Lauren Dimet Waters (SecondCityStyle) and Kat Griffin (Corporette)
Best Mobile App: DKNY Cozy Presented by: Jordana Bruner (Clutch22)
Best Blog: DKNY Times Presented by: Gala (GalaDarling)
Best Website: Armani Jeans "The Room" Presented by: Jennifer Davidson and Beth Herbst (StyleBakery) Next Big Thing in Tech: Tumblr Presented by: Michelle Madhok (SheFinds) and Dina Fierro (Eye4style) Top Innovator: DKNY Presented by TheFind Team
Yuli Ziv Founder of the Style Coalition, stated, "We're witnessing so much change in this industry in such a short period of time. I feel lucky to see such historical events. The event wasn't so much about the awards but more so about celebrating the innovation behind these virtual personalities and how they have become part of our lives." As a major champion behind the convergence of the fashion and digital industries, Ziv casts a watchful eye on the expansion of this industry. "I feel the fashion arena was a bit slower to accept and use technology, " she explained. "And I feel like recognizing excellence in the field will encourage everyone to keep moving ahead and drive the business overall."
However, one area in which most fashion brands, particularly luxury businesses, have yet to further excel is that of better accessing the "Royaltons", a moniker given to the expanding demographic of affluent African-Americans. In fact, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies recently released statistics that show that higher income minorities represent the fastest growing segment on the Web in this country. In fact, a study by chief economist Greg McBoat at the research firm, Diversity Affluence, estimates that affluent ethnic consumers have $282 billion in spending power, African-Americans making up $87.3 billion of that force. These influential consumers are the "new holders of the gold," said Andrea Hoffman, Diversity Affluence CEO. Yet, they have largely all but invisible to luxury marketers. Ms. Hoffman suggests that marketers better educate themselves about the Royaltons' needs, interests and economic significance, particularly since affluent ethnic consumers -- have an average household income of $233,000. "Although they account for only 2.4 percent of all ethnic individuals in the country, Royaltons represent 39 percent of total income, a significant portion of wealth," said Mr. McBoat. "In other words almost one of every 42 people is affluent and income earned by the Royaltons represents one dollar out of every $2.56 earned."
These financial facts combined with statistics from organizations such as Pew Research demonstrating that Blacks and Latinos access social media more frequently than any other demographic in this country as well as the fact that they are more likely to have smart phones than the Caucasian demographic (source: The Nielsen Company), out-index in mobile phone usage, features and expenditures seems to indicate a wealth of business opportunity for the fashion industry and digital convergence. The winners of not only future Fashion 2.0 awards but also greater revenue will be those who tap into this new direction in America and partner with the right firms, consultants and brand ambassadors to help them expand the digital message to a broader consumer base.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @mediaempress.com