Are Fashion Editors The Saving Grace Of Social Media?

With fashion-related web properties popping up all over the Internet — be it e-commerce, web versions of print publications, or blogs — it comes as no surprise that brands would be anxious to find a way to join in on the party.

Social media has made communicating directly with your consumers practically seamless. Twitter, Facebook, dedicated newsletters — all of these tools have made marketing and public relations an entirely new game. And while brands know the importance of utilizing the web, many have shied away from it.

Enter businesses like iStyle Media, a company that claims to be “a leading provider of social networking solutions for fashion and retail brands.” Powerhouse brands are now making social media strategy a priority and using both in house and external means to do so.

Now enter Amina Akhtar, formerly of New York Magazine, who left to work for iStyle Media. She is now the editorial director of the company where she helps brands figure out how best to incorporate social media.

“More and more brands are becoming their own little media outlets of sorts,” Akhtar explained in WWD. “It makes sense to have a fashion editor who’s been working for years on what works online and what doesn’t.”

Other staff changes reflect the trend too, WWD reports. Annabel Tollman who was once Interview Magazine’s fashion director now works at eBay’s fashion department where she blogs and tweets; Caroline Tell, formerly at an accessories editor at WWD now does digital marketing for MIchael Kors; Naomi Nevitt, who ran Teen Vogue‘s blog now works at PR Consulting as a new media specialist.

“They’re the new ‘it’ girls,” Francine Davis Ballardsaid of the editors-cum-digital experts. Ballard, who used to work in publishing at Lucky, InStyle, and Jane (R.I.P.), is now the president of It’s the new power marketing job. Before brands wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole, and now there’s a tidal wave rushing to social media.”

With editors being told by the press daily that they’re working in a dying industry, it’s no wonder that many are beginning to jump ship, opting for a more forward-thinking career. But while editors certainly have the experience and know-how with regards to making a newsletter pop, we can’t help but think that these brands are looking for help in the wrong places.

With the exception of people like Akhtar and Nevitt, who actually have professional online experience, the majority of these editors are coming from old media mainstays in the form of fashion magazines which are often highlighted as having just as much trouble as brands with regards to adapting to the web. It’s somewhat disingenuous to highlight Annabel Tollman as an example of an editor-turned-online consultant. While her name is now associated with eBay and while, yes, she blogs and tweets, this doesn’t mean she’s the brains behind eBay’s success in the online sector. We’d bet a lot of money that there are more than a few people in a chain of command above Tollman dictating how eBay’s fashion offshoot manages its web presence.

[via WWD]

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