These days, you don’t have to be in the front row to really have a good look at the latest runway designs. From live streams to instant snaps, fashion has become accessible to almost anyone with a smartphone.
Businesses in the industry are quick to catch on. Building a presence on social media is now a must as well. No reputable fashion brand would be caught dead without at least a Facebook page or Instagram account.
Malaysian label Mimpikita first started operating via a blogshop in 2008. While it currently has a flagship boutique (and numerous physical stockists), it still operates through a website and various social media platforms.
As managing and creative director Nurul Zulkifli explains, they have been using social media since day one. She says that it’s the most relevant and accessible tool – and agrees that it has helped brought them success.
Nurul, 34, started the business with her two sisters, Mira and Syahira (32 and 29 years old respectively). Mimpikita is popular for its bridal and ready-to-wear collections, whereby functional sensibility is combined with modernity.
“Social media connects us to our customers. We can receive feedback and communicate with them in an instant, at any time of the day. Everyone can access social media, regardless of their hectic schedule,” she states.
Mimpikita has even presented at last year’s London Fashion Week. It currently has more than 45,000 page likes on Facebook and about 222,000 followers on Instagram.
“Social media is the most visible extension of your brand; it must be carefully curated with good content that speaks of your brand identity. You have to invest some time and resources to make it work,” advises Nurul.
Behind the scarves
Another Malaysian label has gone a step further in playing the social media game. Duckscarves built their name using a fictitious figure named D. It’s so believable that fans are still speculating whether the person exists.
In the many stories and sketches that appear on Instagram, D lives in a high-rise apartment, has two close friends, Carey and Hannah, and is in a long-distance relationship.
D even gives interviews, answering questions on behalf of Duckscarves. Some people are assuming she is nothing more than the voice of the 28-year-old founder Vivy Yusof, but of course, D maintains that she exists.
“I haven’t revealed myself so people can only reach me via social media. But Vivy gets stopped. She doesn’t seem to mind, though, because her life is in the public eye,” notes D, when she spoke to a local newspaper in the past.
“It really helps to have two different people leading the brand. I’m the voice of the brand, focused on the operations of the company. My partner Vivy is the face of the brand who handles its image.”
Such is the influence of image crafting – and of course, its power in being able to make others believe in what you want them to. Just look to the 91,000 people following D’s postings on the Duckscarves Instagram.
The right footing
Not every brand has to create a special identity to engage customers though. It certainly helps if the owner is already active on social media. Take for example Ung Yiu Lin of ShoesShoesShoes.
The 37-year-old updates her personal Instagram regularly, and does the same for her business. Both Ung and the ShoesShoesShoes accounts have a combined following of 93,000.
Ung is a recognisable face as it is. Married to former squash world No. 10 Mohd Azlan Iskandar, she has also founded a second brand Klutched that sells chic bags.
While ShoesShoesShoes was launched in 2006 to offer affordable yet beautifully designed shoes, the brand’s store concept has since evolved into a head-to-toe solution for the busy working woman.
A statement on the website aptly reads: “ShoesShoesShoes also believes in the power of the Internet, leveraging on the global platform to reach out to our existing fans around the world.”
Besides connecting through social media (Facebook, Twitter and more), ShoesShoesShoes is also growing its online sales points through its newly established website.”