Dr. Alana M. James (UK) – Global Dialogues: Fashion Digital Marketing conference
Dr. Alana James is an Assistant Professor in Fashion in the School of Fashion and Design, Heriot-Watt University, Galashiels.
A fashion designer and maker, Alana teaches widely across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Heriot Watt implementing her knowledge of the socially responsible fashion to the design process.
The Digitally Informed Consumer: A study of fashion retailers social marketing practices.
The new generation of fashion consumers want to be informed. Generation Z have grown up with recycling being the norm, canvas totes being their handbags and the everyday familiarity with terminology such as global warming and sweatshops. These tribes of fashion consumers are turning to digital and social media in order to become the informed shopper. With this customer demand to access such information, companies are now having to be more open and transparent in their ethical and sustainable practices, with online, digital social marketing being their communication method of choice.
This study utilised five high-street fashion retailers as case study examples, where their ethical and sustainable actions and messages were analysed in terms of both communication method and the type of information being disseminated. Further to this, a consumer questionnaire was also developed in order to create a comparison between the information the fashion retailers are offering to inform their customers and what consumers want from their chosen brands and retailers. Early conclusions have shown a disparity in this, with consumers wanting to be engaged with information on a number of different levels in comparison to the retailers who tend to choose one strategy only. Despite this, consumers continue to turn to digital and social media to obtain their information regarding fashion’s ethical and sustainable practices.