September 13, 2011

NYFW Chronicles: Highlights from the IFB Conference 2011



Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) is a mentorship network, created by Jennine Jacob of The Coveted, that provides an infinite amount of resources to fashion bloggers, including user-generated content, group forums and the ever-popular weekly community link round-ups. The IFB Conference brings together hundreds of fashion bloggers anxious to gain insight and knowledge from their peers and industry insiders.

This past February, I was able to view some of the conference via livestream. It was so enlightening that I made a vow to attend in person if I was in New York for Fashion Week.

It was a pleasure being in a room full of like-minded individuals.  And with a room full of fashion bloggers, you must know the day was filled with networking, outfit pictures, power socket monitoring (for recharging all of the gadgets) and downright fun! Click HERE to see my IFB Conference photo roundup

Between tweets (see Exhibit A), I took a few notes.

Exhibit A


Here are some highlights from each panel:


BLOGGERS TOOL KIT


Moderator: Christen Rochon, Divas & Dorks
Panelists: Leandra Medine, Man Repeller; Alisa Gould Simon, Pose.com; Lauren Kolodny and Erica Chan Coffman, Honestly WTF; Sammy Davis, Sammy Davis Vintage; Vahni Georgoulakos, Grit and Glamour

"Outside of trends, the best thing you can wear is self confidence" - Sammy Davis

1. Stay relevant. The blogging world is so saturated, you have to be unique.
2. When working with brands, don't dilute your name. If you typically work with high end brands, it doesn't make sense to also work with discount chains and vice versa. Partner with the brands you appreciate.



IS THE SOCIAL MEDIA INDUSTRY BROKEN?


Moderator: Tony Wang, post.fashionism
Panelists: Mark Beeching, Digitas; Meghan Donovan, Wit & Whimsy; Bryce Gruber, The Luxury Spot; Yuli Ziv, Style Coalition; Carol Han, Milk and Made; John Jannuzzi, Textbook

"Just because you love what you do, doesn't mean you shouldn't get paid for it" - Mark Beeching

1.  Have editorial standards. Just because you get something doesn't mean you should write about it.
2. You can add value to a brand with your own creativity. Bring suggestions to the table. That's how collaborations develop.
3. When joining ad networks, make sure it is a 2-sided agreement. The ads and brands should benefit you and relate to your blog content.
4. Agencies are beginning to narrow down their focus (which bloggers to reach out to, how many, etc.), eliminate blanket pitches, and use blogger networks to source bloggers. Therefore, having a distinct voice and joining a good blogger network is increasingly important.


BALANCING ACT: BUSINESS AND BLOGGING


Moderator: Grechen Cohen, Grechen's Closet
Panelists: Natalie Suarez, Natalie Off Duty; Annie Tomlin, BellaSugar; Aimee Song, Song of Style; Kristina Medhus, Pretty Shiny Sparkly; Ari Goldberg, StyleCaster; Coco Rocha, Oh So Coco

"Find a brand you love and study it! When making decisions, ask yourself, 'Would they do that?' If not, then neither should you" - Ari Goldberg

1. Your blog is your online reputation. Keep that in mind when creating content.
2. If you want to monetize, think about what your hourly rate would be. Understand what your value is.
3. Write down your mission statement and vision so that you are prepared to have those discussions with brands, new contributors, etc. This will explicitly inform others what you do and don't stand for.
4. A media kit is extremely important and should include monetization options and your blog's demographics.


EVOLUTION OF FASHION MEDIA


Moderator: Ann Colville Somma, HolierthanNow
Panelists: Mary HK Choi, MTV Style; Claire Sulmers, Fashion Bomb Daily; Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style; Mr. Mickey, PaperMag; Joyce Chang, People Style Watch; Christian Remrod, Fashion Networks

"When writing a review, be clear. Don't just say it is "awesome". Explain why it is awesome." - Joyce Chang

1. Magazine editors look for niche bloggers, i.e. those with a specific area of expertise. Translation: Get A Focus!
2. Fashion can be exclusionary and elitist. If your blog gives a voice to those that are typically excluded (eg. Plus size, older age group), you can quickly gain a cult following.
3. More bloggers are starting to use Viddy. It is the video equivalent of Instagram and a great way to share video content.


KEY NOTE SPEAKER: JOE ZEE

Interviewed by Tina Craig of BagSnob


"I consider myself a content provider. It's not Elle Magazine. It's Elle, the brand" - Joe Zee

1. Social media has made fashion much more democratic and accessible.
2. The quick turnaround with social media is not too fast. It is great. Magazines and blogs may cover fashion differently but they both get the word out.
3. Be genuine. Have a point of view. Focus on what you do best.
4. Just like any industry, in fashion and blogging, those that are really good will rise to the top.
5. If your blog has more text than images, it's better to make it "140 characters or less". Translation: When you're writing on the internet, be concise.

Joe also provided us with a few details about his reality show All On The Line.  He is one of the producers and enjoys being involved because it allows him to validate the authenticity of the show. He revealed that the second season will have a tightened format and more behind-the-scenes footage. It will also showcase some big names (including Nicole Miller) and tackle the topic of plus size fashion.

When asked about the future of magazines, Joe stated that he doesn't believe magazines will go away as long as they do something great and different. He believes that traditional media may experience some growing pains along the way but will always continue to be around.

Joe also mentioned that he will be launching a Tumblr site that he will use to share his 20 year photo portfolio. I think everyone in the room was more than delighted to hear that. With that much history captured in the form of photographs,  his Tumblr will be #MAJOR.

It was such a pleasure hearing from Joe Zee, Creative Director of ELLE. He has 20+ years experience in the fashion industry and is one of few in traditional media that has fully embraced social media.



As you can see, there was a lot to learn from this season's conference! I'm certainly looking forward to the next one.

Were you able to attend this year, either in person or via livestream? If so, what was the highlight for you?


P.S. Special thanks to MADE for hosting the conference and to all the sponsors (KMS California, Pose, Magnum Ice Cream, Unilever and ALDO) for making the breaks in between each session eventful.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Baby Shopaholic said...

I saw you tweets! Thanks for re-capping this great info!

September 13, 2011 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous tembisboutique said...

will b attending NYFW nxt. yr., on a sidenote, yayyyy u got 2 hear Sammy Davis of Sammy Davis Vintage speak, i luv her

September 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM  

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