How to promote fashion. Non-standard PR tools from Olena Obukhivska, Arricano

The domestic fashion industry already competes well with international fashion brands represented in Ukraine in various consumer segments. We see that our market, as well as our consumer, is of interest to global manufacturers of clothing, shoes and accessories. And this causes the need to establish connection and communication with Ukrainian buyers in order to be recognizable and in demand. After all, sometimes it happens that an international brand, its values and activities are known in New York, Beijing, Warsaw or Ankara, and in Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia or Kryvyi Rih, little is known about it apart from the name. There is a logical explanation for this, because each country has its own national characteristics in the perception of the name and positioning in order to successfully present new collections and models, causing a desire to purchase them. Olena Obukhivska, Communications Director at Arricano, shares valuable insights in the column for Retailers  

Communication channels and tools can be very different: informational messages, creative messages, standard and non-standard visual designs, integrated and collaboration projects, sponsorship etc. Most brands have Ukrainian pages in social networks and develop Ukrainian online stores. Although there are some who communicate only through their global networks in English, without adapting to local markets, including Ukrainian one. 

In addition to their own information platforms, fashion operators have already evaluated the effectiveness of connecting to the media resources of shopping malls where their stores are represented.  After all, the shopping mall is building up its own active and loyal audience.

Brands and trends of fashion communications with Ukrainian consumers 

Since I am responsible for PR communications and projects in four shopping malls located in Kyiv and the regions, I see daily news, releases, images and posts for social networks from various fashion brands. When I receive advertising or native text with an image, I am interested in tracking what meanings and values representatives of the fashion industry offer to their consumer audience. 

I will immediately note that the subject of communication lines is very different. Some international and Ukrainian clothing manufacturers report themselves in a simple way: photo, price, and discount. Others describe themselves with motivational messages about style, success, and confidence. 

About Ukrainian digital fashion content

Most of all there is such content on the Ukrainian digital pages of fashion brands, which concerns announcements about discounts and new collections. This is fast consumer communication, which does not encourage comprehension or immersion. Simple fast facts – "discounts up to 60%" or "hurry up to see the new spring collection first". 

 Another tool that brands actively use is professional stylish photo shoots of beautiful models for social networks. Moreover, most of the photo shoots are held by international brands on a global level with world-famous celebrities and launch a single communication for all countries and markets. 

In 2020, most well-known and beloved brands in both the mass-market and luxury segments distinguished themselves with majestic storytelling photo shoots. Among the world stars - Marc Jacobs, Beyonce, and Julia Roberts were actively present in Ukrainian content. 

Some international brands conduct an advertising campaign at the local level, adapting it to local insights with local pop, movie, theater or TV show stars. Both the first and second cases have their advantages. For example, a world-famous star gives a brand status and influence. Collaboration with local media personalities proves that an international brand respects national authenticity. 

However, international brands do not often and do not work so closely with local markets . And "local" consumers are not so well aware of the values and missions of global brands, because "their own shirt is closer to the body" in the fashion market as well. 

Therefore, Ukrainian celebrities advertise Ukrainian brands. From recent campaigns in the fashion market, Tina Karol for Giulia and Nastia Kamenskikh for the Zolotyi Vik have proved to be brand ambassadors. 

From fast facts to full-fledged fashion communication 

Both Zolotyi Vik and Giulia are tenants in shopping malls, where dozens to hundreds of other branded stores are represented. Therefore, it is fundamentally important for a shopping mall to have an influential fashion status, so that customers can confidently and reliably reach out to it for fashion collections and solutions. 

In the Arricano portfolio, each shopping mall corresponds to its own individual positioning and communication niche: RayON shopping mall is a center of brands and trends in Troieshchyna; Sun Gallery shopping mall is a fashion residence in Kryvyi Rih; City Mall shopping center is a pearl of fashion in Zaporizhzhia; and the Prospekt shopping mall is a fashion expert. 

For example, at Prospekt shopping mall, we develop our fashion and style expertise in various areas, including research.  We analyze trends, heredity, linearity and cyclical nature of fashion, fashion and family ties. And this year we chose a new theme – Fashion & Profession, that is, the relationship between fashion and the profession of an individual. 

By exploring fashion from various aspects, we conduct fashion expositions and integrate shopping mall's brands into a single full-fledged fashion communication. This allows us to attract more attention of customers to new products and the latest collections, trends and modern image solutions, while stimulating additional demand and creating added value to the brand and shopping mall. 

After all, the author's exhibition about fashion is not just a creative communication, but the formation of a new relationship between the brand and the consumer. And the image of clothing and shoes from the photo goes into the status of an artistic image or painting.  As a result, guests of the shopping mall not only contemplate the exhibition, they understand what they saw, get involved more deeply in the presented content and generate their own user-generated associations, impressions and publications with thousands of reactions and reach in social networks. 

For example, one social media post about discounts or a new collection gets up to 2,000 organic coverage. The announcement of the exhibition itself will be 50 times more, and thousands more likes and other reactions. 

Cyclical nature, linearity, heredity of fashion and its professional impact 

In 2019, for the first time, we held an illustrated photo exhibition "Cyclical nature of fashion in Prospekt shopping mall" with our brand partners Reserved, Conte, Colin's, VOVK, Cropp and Sinsey. 

We collected old photos from visitors to the shopping mall and together with them analyzed the style of clothing of their parents and grandparents. It turned out that fashion repeats itself – what is trending today was already once fashionable. And you can see this by looking through not only old journals, but also family photo archives. Moreover, fashion is repeated from generation to generation. We saw that, for example, grandmothers, daughters and grandchildren prefer the same colors and shades of dresses. Or both mother and daughter choose a classic business style or even similar accessories. 

By realizing that fashion is really cyclical in 2020 we decided to look at its opposite aspect – linearity. That is, how fashion has developed over the course of a century. Especially on this occasion, we organized a new exhibition – "ArtFashion in Prospekt shopping mall: from the 20s to the 20s". At 8 stands, elements of women's and men's clothing were demonstrated using the example of works by famous artists and photographers of the last century. Looking at these images, the viewer immediately understood what a fashionable path dresses, costumes, accessories and even children's toys had taken. After all, the central photo of each stand showed stylish attractive bright modern models of clothing from fashion brands represented in Prospekt shopping mall: Parfois, VOVK, Arber, Intertop, Camel Active, bags etc and Budynok ihrashok. In the project "ArtFashion in Prospekt shopping mall", we talked about fashion from a cultural and retrospective point of view. 

In 2021, we will start preparing for a new personalized study of fashion attributes – "Fashion&Profession in Prospekt shopping mall". That is, how the choice of profession affects/has influenced a person's individual style. And is it possible today, as before, to guess the sphere of activity of women and men in the external image? Or perhaps fashion today is too democratized to determine whether it is a doctor, a teacher, an actor, a journalist, a blogger, or a director.

Why do shopping malls and brands need their own original projects

Unique conceptual original communication projects contribute to the fact that the Prospekt shopping mall brand stands out in the media market from other players. In addition, it is easy to generate your own content in this project without borrowing information from other sources. And a personalized approach, that is, attracting partners and participants, allows you to expand communication expansion both by the number of speakers, and by attracting new media platforms – both the shopping mall's own pages on Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, and the pages of partners who are interested in joining, exploring and being fashion experts together with Prospekt shopping mall. 

Fashion is very sensual. It plays different tones, and its taste should be felt through self-reflection or objective contemplation. In our communication projects for fashion retailers, we offer unique original content, useful consumer advice, as well as meaningful communication with a high level of reach and reactions. We also increase demand and add new consumer value to new lines and collections.