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


Tag, I’m it!

I’ve been a busy pea these last few weeks. So, in light of my revision nightmare I’m going to plan this blog before writing it.
Introduction: DONE
1. Post-Christmas trauma
2. Exam revision 
3. Moving house
4. Sale shopping 
5. Conclusion
Those of you delightful stalkers that follow my life on Twitter will no doubt already know about all of this and more.
So, Christmas was amazing. I didn’t want it to end, hence being so bloody late with my Xmas review. I got lots of lovely pressies and gave some homemade joy too. Adam and I (in a bid to save money) made: candles, bath bombes, gingerbreadmen, soaps, shortbread, truffles, decorations and more (and ended up spending a fortune!) But it was fun.
This is me being all Wolf Whistle with my new camera from Mother and Father and my new Fashion Rambler (publicity whore) bag from the rents too (I know, cool parents ‘eh?)
Hair, not done (I’ve been busy!)
T-Shirt, Religion
Jeans, H&M
Socks, ASOS
New Flat’s funky mirror, included in rent. 
2. Revision Hell. Why would I bore you with that?
3. Moving House. We’ve moved from our lovely green-house of a glass box to a bigger more comfortable premises in the historic heart of Manchester. 
Google Maps
The Victorian train lines go over head, the canal systems merge with the old Mills (now £3,500 pcm Penthouses and Key 103 FM HQs) and the bars sell £4.50 pints. The whole place, an urban heritage park, is beautiful and Mancunian and post-industrial and amazing. Very fitting since I’m currently reading Shirley and it’s all about Yorkshire Mills and petticoats. Outfit posts feat. the surroundings coming soon (maybe even a petticoat)
4.  Sale Shopping: I think the sales have been poor this year. Just pants. Although I found an amazing Galliano Tee (The Galliano Gazette Tee) for Harvey Nichols from £105 to £75!!! I hesitated, waiting for final reductions. When they came the Harvey Nichols Manchester twitter announced the reductions, I tweeted them to ask if the Tee was reduced, IT WAS! So, I ran to the store and….they had sold out. Online too. GUTTED.
5. Conclusion: Sara Wilson, my absolute favourite, has tagged me in one of those tag-a-blogger-for-stupid-reasons games that I (secretly) love.
So, I now have to write seven things about myself… pointless procrastination (much needed)
1. I was deaf when I was born and make up for it by being all loud and stuffs.
2. I had a love affair with London, until I went to New York… though Manchester will forever be my home.
3. I have a thing about tidiness and cleanliness, my home must be orderly for my brain to be.
4. My Mother is my bestest friend, don’t care what Freud would say.
5. I study English Literature despite being dyslexic and never having time to read.
6. I went to a press day yesterday at Selfridges Manchester Trafford and made the Fashion Editor of Manchester Confidential lol when I did a U-turn from a PR trying to get me to sample Sandro S/S’11.
7. I have not even been blogging for a year and consider it one of my bestest hobbies ever.
Now to tag: Buckets & Spades, Male Mode, Fuck Off Kitty: Confessions of a Disney Princess, Disney Roller Girl, Wolf Whistle, Tweet, Dinky’s Delights I can’t be bothered with hyperlinking anyone else… TAGS TO EVERYONE!
Selfridges & Co Ltd

Fashion’s Night Out: Manchester

If there is a fashion event going on somewhere in the world, the chances are, Manchester is hosting its own version. British VOGUE’s Fashion’s Night Out London is no exception with Manchester being well represented by Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Fashion’s Night Out was created by American VOGUE Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour (as if you didn’t know) to help an upsurge in sales during the 2009 recession. One year on and the event is being hosted by representative VOGUEs in the US, UK, Germany, France, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Korea, Japan, China and Australia. Pretty good going if you ask me.

In Manchester however, whilst a crowd including Martine Alexander and Clare of tweet partied with Henry Holland to celebrate his Autumn/Winter collection launch in Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square, I partied next door with a bunch of tipsy ladies that lunchin Harvey Nichols! (See Martine’s blog about the night here)

The first floor of the palace of perfection was kitted out for the soiree with VOGUE covers, a drinks bar, DJ and pamper section overflowing with lotions, potions, tweezers and powders. Grabbing a drink I nabbed prime position for the second of the night’s three fashionshows, Denim Deluxe.

I’d missed the ‘More Cash than Dash’ show and would then go on to miss the ‘International Collections’ show because my party of fashionably inept gentlemen wanted pints in Castlefield instead! Sacre Bleu. Still, the show was intimate and simple and showcased some beautiful denim on some beautiful models.

Of the pampering section, Andrew Barn of Barnit salon represented, as did Yves Saint Laurent purfumes and Shu Uemura make up. It all got a bit Oestrogentastic for me so I swept back past the bar and headed out.

Well done Harvey’s, lets hope next year is even bigger!


What’s your shoe story?

I was scanning tweet and found something interesting.

Selfridges are hosting a yummy competition which will see one lucky winner win a year’s supply of Shoes and several win a pair! I was in there (kinda forgetting that it is probably only for women…pahh!)
My shoe story is:
They said it was silly. I knew it wasn’t. They said it was just a trend. I didn’t think so. They said I could get them at Topman. I knew they weren’t the same. They were KG by Kurt Geiger and I was in love. They’ve lasted all summer and still look perfect. They agree.
What’s yours?
Click here to enter.

It’s time for friendlyfashion!

Heard of it yet? The newbie on the interweb? Where Car Boot Sales meet eBay? Oh yes, I’m talking about friendlyfashion.co.uk! I gots to know about this little webtastic gem whilst surfing tweet. The concept behind the site is anti-consumption and waste-not-want-not. So, clothes you’re tired with can be submitted onto friendlyfashion.co.uk and then either sold, swapped for something else or given away for free. ARGH! FREE CLOTHES!!!!!!! ARGHHHH!.

Anyway. I needed to know more so I asked the site’s UK representative, Agne Jakimavciute.

This is Agne… isn’t she pretty?

Friendlyfashion.co.uk has said it wishes to become both an advocate for responsible consummation as well as a social networking space. How does friendlyfashion.co.uk plan to achieve this?

People tend to change clothes very often and spend many hours on shopping. However, it is more like an attraction “to get something new today”, to socialize or simply check new arrivals in shops. New clothes push out the old ones even though many of them are still suitable to wear. So people could give some of them away, maybe sell few or swap them into something different and more interesting. We believe, that the clothes can get a second wind and their life circle can be prolonged. On second thoughts, it saves time, resources and, of course, your money! We all had the situation, when after shopping we realize that the size is wrong or a new jacket does not really look that good, so everything can be posted and re-sold on our site. We also want to encourage creative people to promote their handcrafted clothes and accessories which can be made of original materials.

There is one simple rule for the site users – they have to become members. However, membership creates the community where people can communicate to each other, write letters, comment and discuss, share their interests. Here we aim to create the community that shares their ideas & skills, all related to fashion and lifestyle. We do not dictate trends here, members create them themselves.

According to our colleagues, Lithuanian website proved that this idea rounds up people into a so called affinity group. Many of the members became good friends that meet up for coffee, organise small meetings and share their personal stories.

You’re the only member of the friendlyfashion.co.uk team in the UK at present, does the UK website have strong ties to its Lithuanian counterpart?

The circumstances determined that another Friendly Fashion team member works from Lithuania and I am the only member in the UK at present. The public interest in our idea of more meaningful consumption is growing; I believe, soon we will need few more enthusiasts to work on this project in the UK. Certainly, we are lucky to have our colleagues running the sites in other countries as their experience and advices are priceless. Such international cooperation really helps to spread our messages mouth-to-mouth, as members are happy to tell about us to their friends abroad and share their experiences. However, Lithuanian and German sites have their own face and obviously the English site is going to develop its own membership contingent and ideas.

See what I’ve got for sale here expect FCUK, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein!

(please buy because I’m saving for my NYC trip in November! :D)

More of this interview can be read at MFN

Blog Geek

I recently attended a brand development seminar hosted by Manchester Fashion Network and presented by Geek Branding Consultancy. Sound boring? You couldn’t be more wrong! I was asked to cover the event for the editorial segment of Manchester Fashion Network’s website because my Editor, and the brains behind the blog tweet, was a little poorly after Latitude Festival shenanigans.

The event was aimed at brand owners and people working in PR and media and generally sold the Geek Consultancy package but let slip a few juicy techniques and tips for free! Being a person who is passionate about brands and fashion from a business perspective as well as an artistic perspective I was interested in what Amanda Burrows and Rafael Gilston had to say.

See me Tweeting?

One major point that kept cropping up in the presentation Geek were giving and in the questions being asked by event attendees was the point of Social Media. Social Media and other marketing platforms are ways to voice a brand’s message and personality but they are not a one way street. To Tweet is conservation and brands have to accept that tweeters, bloggers and social networkers (that is you and me) are going to shout about what we think about their brand! An example being my recent post about AmericanApparel in which I praised the brand and condemned Urban Outfitters for their stance on LGBT rights. I’m not the only one doing it (obviously) there are hundreds. Another example is with the recent MAC Rodarte controversy (don’t know about it? Click here) Bloggers had multinational conglomerates by the balls and they weren’t letting go.

Consumers are becoming critics.

Many people already know this but did you really know that the brands are actively seeking to tap into this resource in order to preach their brand’s values, mission and personality and thus, to make more money?

When I asked about Geek’s stance on Social Media when they are working with a new client, Amanda Burrows answered: ‘It is so important … we hold our hands up, we’re not experts, but we have a social media guy who is brilliant, to work with us on brands.’ Burrows went on to say, of the heads of big fashion brands, that they are ‘terrified of social media … it is a generational thing’. From Burrows’ experience she has witnessed brands having blogs ‘which don’t speak to their customer because they’re written but some girl in marketing typing away about pop-up shops’. Brands in the fashion industry are desperate to reach out to the customer in these new platforms because they offer a golden opportunity for their brands to become integrated into the consumers life, the consumer lives the experience the brand sells.

Some successful retailers that manage this are TOPSHOP with their popular Twitter portal (@topshop_tweets) and ASOS with their use of blogs. ASOS, bizarrely have one of the worst click conversion rates in the ecommerce sector (that means most people clicking onto their website don’t then click to purchase but go elsewhere for their goods after seeking the up-to-the-minute fashion news). Fortunately their customer base is big enough to cope with the millions of none buyers and their blog-power fuels their branding instead of sales margin. Come to think of it I visit the ASOS site regularly but the last thing I bought was 2 years ago….

Whilst sat in the audience room balancing my dicta-phone on my lap, updating my Twitter (@jordanjmcdowell), MFN’s Twitter (@TheFashionNetUK) and note taking for this very blog, I realised it wasn’t just brands that were obsessed with social Media, it controls my life.

Photographs by Jennifer Urwin contact me for Jennifer’s contact details.