Fashion Rambler meets Matthew Williamson

So. I had JUST landed from Paris and I was already on it. Matthew Williamson was propping up the bar in Manchester’s new French Brasserie, Aubaine, in Selfridges Exchange Square.
I got a chat with him that you can read on The Fashion Network here.
I picked his brains on LFW, Manchester, Online and Social. Here is what the Chorlton born designer had to say about Online.
Fashion Rambler: Your clothes are all over the .com, but you operate your own transactional website. How does it fare?

Matthew Williamson: It’s been going a year, it’s going OK. I think the internet and social media and anything to do with the internet is a difficult proposition if you don’t have the funds to make it a legitimate engine. We’re doing what we can with what we’ve got. We’ve just joined Facebook, about 10 years behind everyone else. *laughs*

fR: Watch out, you’ll be on Twitter next.
MW: Steady. Don’t hold your breath. We’ve just joined this Facebook and got 8,000 fans now so….
 Matthew’s SS12 Collection
fR: So, online is a big scary world but you’re doing OK since 1 year isn’t long to be in the game and 8,000 Facebook likes means something.
MW: It’s a long, slow thought in our minds. We’re meeting the right people and for it to really work one needs to put in a lot of effort and time. It’s not about slapping up a sight and hoping you sell. You have to do a lot work.
 Customers get a preview of the SS12 Collections in the new French restaurant.

fR: How do you try to keep your own personality as part of the online engine?

MW: We try to with Facebook. We keep our customer in the know. We’ve started, in the last 6 weeks, to post blogs that are personal, from me. They inform readers about what I’m up to. I do an event in my store in London once a month, we plot them 12 months in advance. Next week I’m doing a press event to meet people in industry that I may not have met yet. I know the Alex Shulman’s [Editor of British Vogue] and those kinds of people but not the new generation; bloggers, stylists. 

I love being in the store, seeing the customers, I genuinely like knowing what women think of the clothes. It’s all well and good doing a show, on a girl that has a body like a boy but I do quite like engaging and learning. I’ve been in so many changing rooms with so many women and they’ve told me so many things!

Read the full interview here.


Fashion Rambler meets James Roome of iCom

I got the chance to pick the brains of one of the Social Media boffins at iCom. So I did. Here is what James Roome has to say about Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the rest of the Social world.

Fashion Rambler: How do you envisage Social Media platforms and their ever increasing role in eCommerce unfolding? Will we really be buying fashion in Facebook?
James Roome: Yes I think we will; in fact we already are. Massive global brands like Starbucks and big name fashion brands like ASOS are using social commerce, so I’d say it isn’t going anywhere. Facebook’s massive user base is just too tempting for retailers.
Social commerce is also handy for smaller brands that haven’t had a mobile site or shopping app built, as it helps them to tap in to the mobile market. We’re actually in the process of building an F-commerce tab for one of our fashion clients, so we’re looking forward to getting some more concrete information on how just how lucrative Facebook shopping is.  
Of course, there are hurdles for social commerce to overcome. There are usability issues with the integration of social commerce apps in Facebook such as page load times, and the inevitable security concerns. There are also issues relating to the overhead for the business in managing another distribution channel which may not generate enormous sales whilst the concept of F-commerce is still in its infancy.
FR: What dashboard do you favour? (Hootsuite, tweetdeck etc…)
JR: I use Hootsuite PRO. To be honest there’s not a great deal to separate them, I just prefer the user interface to that of Tweetdeck.
It also offers decent reporting options and I like the fact that I can schedule tweets by uploading a csv. 
FR: Following my recent post on how Scheduling lead to back-lash during the riots (see how Twitter Backfires here) Is Scheduling as convenient as retailers think or will consumers start to switch off to tweet-bots?
JR; I think consumers already switch off to tweet bots. The only fully scheduled accounts that can possibly work are those belonging to already massive brands that don’t have to do anywhere near as much work to build a following online.
Having said that, I do think scheduling has a place in a properly managed social media account. For example, there’s nothing wrong with scheduling a few tweets for a weekend event. In fact, we scheduled some tweets for one of our clients over the recent Manchester Pride weekend.
As long as you ensure that you monitor your account and are ready to reply to your followers’ queries, retweet their content and generally interact, there’s no problem with setting up a few tweets in advance to bulk out your feed.
You just have to be careful that it doesn’t take over; simply setting up a Twitterfeed of vaguely relevant content and auto-publishing to your account is a big waste of time. 
Read more of this interview at The Fashion Network here.


Video killed the radio star.

So, I’ve been playing fashion boy at for a bit now. I manage the tweets, facebook, blog and BWD.TV (which is my favourite bit). It takes me way back to Media Studies class when I made a creepy thriller film and a music video with toddlers popping pills (it was art, darling). Must dig ’em out!

Anywho…Check out this week’s installment where we take viewers behind the scenes at one of our product shoots. Exciting stuffs fashion lovers! AW11 collections from Lulu & Co (Fashion East’s Lulu Kennedy’s latest venture) Carven (love), Rag and Bone (love more), By Malene Birger (want that utility belt lots) and loads more hawt brands for ladies and boys that don’t give a toss if it’s a girl’s Tee. (me).


When Twitter backfires

Riots, riots, riots. What a dramatic couple of days, one where Social Media has been used for good and for bad. 
I’m typing this from my living room whilst watching Twitter and the itv live blog update on the goings on as the riots hit my home town,. 
Right this second Miss Selfridges has gone up in flames in Manchester City Centre and Manchester Arndale has been broken into.

images from @mtattersallitv
Explosions have been reported and a Didsbury resident is being held over using Twitter to organise riots.
But you know all this. You’ve seen it on the news.
What I’m interested in is how Twitter has been used by fashion retailers during the chaos. TOPSHOP came under fire because their tweets seemed insensitive to some followers. TOPSHOP’s marketing division had undoubtedly scheduled their tweets in a few days prior, as most large organisations do. 
Their tweets read things like: ‘@TOPSHOP We’re busy busy over here with exciting things for AW11! What’s everybody else up to?’
Admittedly, this could seem sad to someone sat outside their burning shop, but can we expect retailers to alter their marketing strategies to suit the political mood of the moment? It would too seem sad to someone who had just been the victim of an unfortunate situation unrelated to the UK Riots.
A helicopter has just gone over my house….
Twitter is reactive, it is of the moment, but why do we care what retailers are tweeting when we’re worried about loved ones, some might even say that if retailers jumped on the PR carosel and tweeted #riot themed posts that they would also be insensitive.
Harvey Nichols in Manchester also came under fire, tweeting: ‘@HN_Manchester Our tweets today have been pre-scheduled. We’ve had to close. Apologies if we seemed insensitive.’
Personally, I think this is the least of the problems when retailers are having to close during the toughest month because of stupid scumbags not having anything to do.
Trams have been stopped to and from Manchester city centre and this man has just been arrested for trying to damage the stationary vehicle.
images from @mazherabidi
Perhaps this is the end of scheduled postings?
What do you think?

ADDED AT 20:05

Diesel just tweeted me after I included them in a list of attacked stores in the City. They are using Twitter to asertain the damage to their chain. Clever/sad that they have to.

 images from @mtattersallitv