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Capital Fashion Week?

As a supporter of fashion in the capital, I believe in building a solid foundation for a strong fashion scene. Not one that seeks to compete directly with large markets like Montreal and Toronto, but one that can still be considered a “market” and not merely a third tier fashion city. By supporting this, it also means I am not a supporter of unnecessary reproduction. Let me explain, less than a few months ago, Ottawa had it’s first fashion week, and all of a sudden, I get a press release about something called “Capital Fashion Week“.

I am completely confused because a) the site contains no information regarding the event (only the date) and b) the press release and sponsorship package is praising the two founders for their “unique” idea rather than providing information about the show. What’s the deal?

“With small fashion-infused events happening occasionally around the city, its time the nation’s capital come together and welcome fashion-aficionados from all over to experience something fresh, bold and exciting for everyone– everyday fashionistas and industry people alike.”

Why should I think this event is so avant garde when it’s not? It’s been done before (May remember?) and continues to be done (yep, there’s another season coming up) and it’s very very new so why is it being reproduced exactly?

Capital Fashion Week claims that they would like to encourage fashion in the city: “The premise for this showcase is to, with the support of the city and its governing bodies, gather the community under one roof to finally be able to appreciate design talent. What started out as hope for something “bigger and better” for the city will now come to fruition with your support!” How about instead of starting another fashion week, contacting the organizers of Ottawa Fashion Week and collaborating with them? I don’t understand why a city with a fashion scene that is still very small requires two fashion weeks. Market research. Will people know the difference between a fashion week and a fashion show? Not likely now.

From the information I received, I can say with all honesty that the location is cool and when I was working on Ottawa Fashion Week, I did pledge interest in renting out the old Train Station (Government Conference Centre) due to its history and prestige but the price was ludicrous and availability was scarce.

The other thing that’s pissing me off about both shows, is that they are taking place at the end of November. Buying season is basically over and buyers no longer have open to buy money to spend (it’s the feedback I received after the first fashion week in May). How is anyone going to take Ottawa seriously? Did I also mention that Ottawa Fashion Week is November 12-15 and Capital Fashion Week is November 21 to 22?

This is what I have been talking about in various articles regarding the Ottawa fashion scene, elementary.

Analyzing this as a marketing and PR rep, there’s a lot of work to be done. Research. Actually, a basic google search shows this: Capital Fashion Week in Brazil. Now I’m no expert, but this runs into a little confusion and trouble. Yes, sure, two different shows in two different countries, but it’s the same as me using the name Nike for the new shoe line I’m launching in Malaysia for example. Also, when I hear “CFW” my mind automatically thinks “Calgary Fashion Week.”

The logo: I don’t understand it at all. I’ve emailed the people at Capital Fashion Week for clarification and received no response. Here’s my interpretation: this logo doesn’t resonate fashion week, it just looks like a graphic design project. Actually, it looks very similar to the Project Runway logo. Simplicity is key – when I worked for Ottawa Fashion Week, I rejected various logo concepts before agreeing to the basic font and colours they have now. I also made sure to include it in French to promote bilingualism, we are after all, the capital, and French is my mother tongue.

Advertising and Sponsorship: How come I’ve only heard about this show last week? I have not seen any advertising for it at all. And taking a look at the sponsorship package, I understand some of the proceeds are going to the cancer society but $15,000 to be a premium sponsor? You haven’t even put together one show to be asking for that kind of money. I am also not fond of the package names…fierce? I’ve worked in agencies before, I know that’s what non-fashion people think we call fashion poses. It’s not. I also don’t use the word fabulous, glam, chic or luxe in sentences. Fashion stereotypes make me happy though (seriously people keep asking me eccentric questions about fashion, I love answering them).

Tagline: Cut, Sew, Stitch – Come see the Finished Product! Sounds like Project Runway as well. Is this a fashion week or a competition? And exclamation marks at the end of any tagline are a big faux pas, they are better left for Wal-Mart flyers and considered extremely tacky (this is directly from the mouths of various advertising copywriters).

Season: There is no mention of the season but it should be Spring/Summer 2009 Collections.

Experience: I guess from the press release and sponsorship package I know who the founders are, and they seem to be the only two on the committee so my question is regarding the experience they have in terms of judging which designers make it or not. What is the designer criteria? Who checks the sewing? The samples? Press kits? Analysis of how the designers can manage wholesale, etc etc. And who are the designers? This requires judgement from someone with experience in fashion design and fashion merchandising, it’s vital for Ottawa fashion to be taken seriously.

Models: Please tell me your are using professional models from legitimate agencies? Fashion shows in Ottawa need to learn from previous mistakes. I’ll admit to many, I don’t critique without admitting I’ve made mistakes too (many factors come into play as well). There are a lot of great models in the city and looking outside the city is also an option. My question is who are the casting directors? What are their credentials?

I have an idea how this is going to end up, but I don’t think I can judge just yet because I haven’t attended the shows. I am merely asking questions and giving an OPINION.

Now I know what a lot of readers are thinking and I assure you that the first Ottawa Fashion Week was by no means perfect, but it was just that: the first one, a trial, many future seasons will be (although I have not worked on the second season and no longer work for fashion week). But we (Ottawa fashion people) need to learn from our mistakes and learn how to work together, not see everything and everyone as an obstacle.

More info on Capital Fashion Week:

Download the Press Release

Download the Sponsorship Package

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the brown bunny, numero II

This girl is just really hot. And the fact that she’s getting ready for some Vincent Gallo is even hotter, even if the guy is a complete sexist ass. Looks like Terry Richardson should have called this “ode to The Brown Bunny minus Chloe Sevigny.”

Picture from: http://cache.gawker.com/assets/resources/2008/04/belvederead.jpeg

A failure in pastiche

Today’s post discusses advertising. Although not fashion related, I felt it necessary to discuss Moxie’s latest campaign as it relates to the “treating women as sexual objects and subject to the male gaze” topic that I’ve discussed here and here.

Moxie’s Bar and Grill has been known to hire girls for the following reasons:

a) they have blond hair

b) they are sexy and/or slutty

c) they are somewhat good looking

Before you say anything, I assure you, the feminists are already on it!

I want to talk about Moxie’s latest advertising campaign, “thingshappen.ca”. Please download the PDF here to see what I am talking about. All three ads are reminiscent of misogynistic Axe advertising. What’s more interesting is the website attached to this, visit thingshappen.ca. Upon logging on, I was asked my age and province of residence (something usually associated with alcoholic beverages websites or porn related sites). Then I was asked to choose a female or male companion to play the “Mojo Game”. It doesn’t end there, I must make a move and I offer my companion a drink, there are three options and I opt for a Double Scotch, he chugs it (it’s a real model) and says “heat all the way down, like the heat I feel with you.” Now we are at dessert and I decide to give him some Cuban Chocolate Moose Cake. He says, “baby that’s what I like.” Wait, why did we skip dinner? The website then tells me I am in the mood for a little romance. I don’t understand the point of this game so I play again.

This time, I click on the woman and she’s much more sexy (not look wise but her voice and gestures) than that male companion I just wined and fed dessert to. She’s got way more chances with me then he does, hahah. Let’s start off with some drinks. My girl is “so glad she gave into this temptation” when I offer her a Raspberry Temptation. Now, I have the option of offering her dinner. WTF? Why was I not offered this option with the dude exactly? Anyway, I offer her Wild Salmon on Capellini, but before I do so, I wait a little bit and she starts checking herself out in the mirror. “Quintessential” female behaviour when we are bored for like two minutes, right? Oh Moxie’s you sure know women! Who is the art director for this thing any way? Back to dinner, my date inhales the meal and tells me it reminds her of Italy. I am 100% she’s never been but she starts saying something in Italian, probably about wanting to skip dessert, take me home and make out with me in the cab. Still unaware I am not the sex that interests her (but with a few more Raspberry Temptations, she may be (the Moxie’s logic)), the dessert menu arrives. I would take the cab offer but the website won’t allow me to skip dessert, and I think she’s going to love the Banana Carmel Xango. Success, she says it makes her “happy”. So once we are done our meal, this is what the website tells me:

You’re definitely feeling amorous today. Wine, warm ambiance and sensual food reflect your mood. Being a lover not a fighter means you’re always willing to go the extra mile to please. Let the tantalizing and endless possibilities at Moxie’s keep your romantic mood going”

Flooded with sexual innuendo, Moxie’s is really cutting it close here. Their print and billboard advertisements are sexist and mysoginistic. Their website is unnecessary and plain stupid. It reminds me of this website a guy in my grade 10 computer class used to visit called ROMP.COM. The other funny part is, Moxie’s is failing at copying a campaign that’s been done before. Word of advice, it’s better to fail at originality then to fail at pastiche, make sure your ad agency knows this.

Watch my feet, watch my feet

Sorry Vic but your husband wins this round! To tell you the truth, I have never enjoyed any of Marc Jacobs’ advertisements. I feel like they [the ads] try too hard, just like Dov Charney and the pretentious people who aim to “shock” at American Apparel.

I wonder, do Victoria and David discuss their latest campaigns at the dinner table? Did Victoria get jealous of David, which led to her getting the Jacobs contract? I just hate it when people try different things and fail miserably at it. Stick to what you know how to do, in Victoria’s case, I am not quite sure what that is.

Oh, and this seems to be another case of Versace. Remove celebrities from fashion advertising, it’s not a Pepsi commercial.
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Pictures from www.onesourcetalent.com

Here today, gone tomorrow!

I’ve been writing quite a few letters and posting them on the blog as of late…just for fun. But I realized that they might actually get attention from people that matter (i.e. those they are directed to). A few times in the past couple of months, I’ve written a post about something or someone and received an email almost instantly from the person or representative of that company answering me. So this is far fetched but I am going to try it out. A letter that will never (or maybe will) be read to the one and only Donatella Versace.

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Dear Donatella,

For the past ten years, I have sat down and watched you take a classic and established brand (thanks to your brother Gianni) and shred its reputation to bits. Take this letter as an intervention. For the sake of the Versace name, please stop using celebs in the ad campaigns! Since you’ve destroyed pretty much anything worthy about Versace, I have become anti your brand but I do get disappointed when I see celebrities wearing your clothes in the advertisements. Have you sunk so low? The celebrities “model replacement program” stopped a few years ago, why are you one of the only brands STILL using celebrities? With all honesty, Donna (is that ok for me to call you that?), I loved looking at Jonathan Rhys-Meyers but, you are including the most mainstream type of celebrities (read: Patrick Dempsey) in there. You and I both know that in two years time, these boys and girls will be washed up and their fans will know them for what they USED to be. Whoever is taking care of your advertising, get them to call my people and we’ll work it out. Promise.

Regards,
Ottawa Street Style

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Dempsey images from: http://www.greysanatomyinsider.com/images/gallery/patrick-dempsey-versace-ad.jpg http://www.ethansays.com/images/2008/01/14/dempsey2.jpg
Madonna image from: http://www.madonnalicious.com/images/extra/2005/versace_esquire_uk_0405.jpg
Jonathan Rhymes Meyers image from: http://cfs3.tistory.com/upload_control/download.blog?fhandle=YmxvZzM4MjZAZnMzLnRpc3RvcnkuY29tOi9hdHRhY2gvMS8xNzUuanBn

All too familiar

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What’s happening here? No naked people, no women on the floor, no overt sexuality, no ethnicity, and could it be, a D&G ad with no edge? Wait a minute…I’ve seen this ad before! It looks familiar. Hmm, this looks like a case of Burberry. Oh right, Testino shot this! Are we running out of ideas for fashion photography or something?

Images from: http://www.onesourcetalent.com

Life is just a [glossy] fantasy

Remember that Dolce & Gabbana ad that came out in March of last year? You know…the one that caused massive outrage and was banned from certain countries? Well, any way, I call the ad, for lack of a good name or maybe just to go along with the imagery, ‘Gang Rape is a Good Thing.’ (NOT THAT I THINK IT IS A GOOD THING OR ENDORSE GANG RAPE WHATSOEVER).

D&G, known for their provocative and edgy advertising campaigns, did not necessarily see the problem with 4 dudes watching another dude take down a beautiful woman by her wrists in a form of “I am so about to bang you right now!” type of pose. D&G claims, they were simply trying to capture a male fantasy. RIGHT. Because every man (at least the ones I know) wants 4 other of his friends, all equally as glossy, to watch him rape a girl in her D&G outfit, and then when he’s done with her, his buddies get their share.

In my opinion, this might as well be another AXE ad because it is (like I had mentioned before in Ohhh les hommes) representing women as sex objects and is very, very degrading. No matter how many times a company apologizes for putting it out, the fact of the matter is, they still did.

Picture from: http://www.cherryflava.com/photos/uncategorized/dolcegabbana03.jpg