Designers Go Digital

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Are USBs the new status symbol? In an increasingly digital world, they might be. Once merely a dorky necessity for conference speakers, it seems that everyone has a flash drive with them at all times, ready to connect and download at a moment’s notice. And this fact hasn’t been lost on the fashion world.

MIMOBOTS were some of the first USB drives to really make data transport fun. Cute little critters promised a smile with your file. A few years ago, Fendi’s Baguette USB, modeled after their iconic purse, made headlines as the “It gift” of the season. Sharply dressed business men weren’t left behind, as USB cufflinks graced the accessory counters at high-end stores.

Today, Maison Martin Margiela offers a tasteful leather key fob with 8GB USB, and Marc Jacobs continues to design adorable characters cleverly disguising 2GB of storage. Juicy Couture make use of the traditional USB stick design, while Kate Spade brands their drive with “whistle while you work.”

But perhaps the biggest advance in tech fashion comes to us from Rebecca Minkoff through a partnership with  Stellé Audio. At her runway show, models carried her latest design: an audio clutch that resembles a minaudiere but actually is a mini speaker, ready to play music anywhere, anytime, thanks to this “Boombox” clutch.

Some designers seem to have a firm grasp on the tech space, while others merely see a chance to increase sales. 2GB isn’t really worth carrying around, but it sure looks cute! And while the Boombox Clutch has no space for other handbag essentials, requiring the wearer to bring a bag for each hand, it’s undoubtedly one of the coolest digital collaborations a designer has attempted.

What do you think? Would you pay more for a fashionable flash drive? Or rock a mini-speaker minaudiere?

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Social Media Hits The Small Screen

Wednesday, 06 February 2013

A few years ago, seeing a #hashtag at the end of a commercial prompted a lot of offline chatter, mostly saying “what the heck was that?” This year,  half of the Super Bowl commercials mentioned Twitter. Appearing so frequently during Super Bowl, also known as Advertiser Olympics, solidifies social media’s place in the world at large, perhaps more so than its inclusion in the dictionary a year and a half ago.

TV shows are also embracing social media, and not just the geeky programs either. Shows encourage real-time interaction through the use of #hashtags at key points throughout the episode. Pretty Little Liars, airing on ABC Family and aimed at teenage girls, superimposes #hashtags like #FitzFindsOut during pivotal scenes and posts exclusive content on its corresponding Facebook page. In fact, nearly every show on the network has its own dedicated social media pages aimed at increasing engagement online and viewership on TV.

Social media is a huge factor in many TV shows’ second screen strategy, and it’s paid off big. The added benefit is that more and more people outside of the social media geek community are now familiar with the term and know what they heck you’re talking about when you say you tweeted something. For the first time, I’m starting to feel like people know what I do when I say that I’m a social media manager.

What do you think? Is TV finally giving social media the respect it deserves? Is it changing the nature of online communities? I say yes, all of the above, and for the better.

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