MFMS: To Summit All Up

On sunny Friday the 13th, the Michigan Fashion Media Summit took place at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Throughout the event, a star-studded team of industry colossi came to share with both students and industry members the future of fashion marketing and distribution. The event started off with a touching private keynote from Gary Sheinbaum, the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Americas. While the monologue that took place is unfortunately under wraps, it’s no under-exaggeration to say that Tommy Hilfiger may very well be the future of fashion for the differently-abled.

After this morning keynote, a dialogue between the CEOs of Inturn and M. Gemi as well as the VP of marketing for Shinola commenced. Within this presentation “Revolutionizing Retail”, optimization for retail spaces dominated the talks. A key take-away shared between the 3 speakers was the importance of making a consumer “Somewhat obsessed” with their brands. Through using machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, these speakers are able to augment their digital retail platforms for customers by calculating ideal colors and sizes of garments for each consumer. These techniques allow these companies to exponentially expand their customer conversion rates and turn hesitant buyers into long-term brand loyalists.

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Succeeding this presentation, the VP of HR at Micheal Kors, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the CFDA, and the VP of PR for Talbots took to the floor to discuss the future of influencer marketing for their respective labels. Throughout the panel, all speakers emphasized the importance of maintaining brand authenticity when forming partnerships with influencer marketers. For MK, their main factor for evaluating the viability of a future influencer is both to analyze if their personal style is cohesive with MK (“classical offerings with a twist”) and if that influencer’s followers themselves are people MK wants to represent their brand. For Talbots, their metric for influencers is more based around if the influencer can seamlessly blend into the style ethos of Talbots while still appearing to be authentic. To represent Talbots effectively, influencers must actively wear their clothes in manners that seem realistic, rather than holding up a sandal to the camera and tagging Talbots in the comment. Due to the CFDA being a non-profit rather than a traditional corporation, they are unable to sustain millions of dollars in influencer funds that the other two panelists could. Rather, they look towards designers and labels that they have a personal relationship with and help them develop their own skills to navigate the social media landscape.

During the final keynote, Owners of nuyu, By Jordana, and Melissa Flies spoked to the crowd about how millennials are modifying the retail shopping experience. Presenters expressed their views in regards to younger generations moving towards online shopping spaces rather than retail stores due to the comparative ease. Rather than trying to innovate the retail space as some stores have struggled with effectively doing, these labels instead chose the development of the digital storefront to capture the attention and imagination of potential customers. By presenting striking and vivid cyber boutiques that display the brand ethos, these labels are able to sell an image of how their clothes will make customers appear, with this technique have found great success.

To wrap up an incredible day of intriguing speakers, a MFMS x SHEI fashion show commenced, presented by The Somerset Collection. An eclectic runway was walked by a diverse cast of models were draped in a series of differing styles, from subdued smart-casual looks to audaciously patterned oversized coats. Stand out looks included a rainbow sequined bomber jacket paired with aggressive black leather heels, as well as a shimmering moto jacket fashioned with floral-embroidered black denim.

 

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