Content Marketing Lessons from Paris Fashion Week

If you’re a fashion diehard, fashion week is actually fashion month. Beginning in New York and moving to London, Milan, then finally Paris, the series of shows and parties is the sartorial world’s biannual carnival.

Paris’ fashion week began on Tuesday, and ends next Wednesday.

You will never see a poster overtly advertising fashion week in Paris, but the building energy is palpable. Why? Because individual brands and publications have built an extraordinary amount of content around the event, making it feel as though fashion week kind of carries itself.

What can a business take away from #PFW’s content marketing strategy?

Offer temporary accessibility

Though fashion week gets its power from its exclusivity, and celebs cement their A-list status through seating arrangements, anyone who bought a Paris Vogue before Sept. 6 was invited to Fashion’s Night Out.

In 2009, Anna Wintour and Diane Von Furstenburg initiated a late-night shopping event in New York, aiming to excite consumers and prompt full-price sales. Now, the event serves as a fashion month kick-off and allows entire fashion-focused cities to celebrate. In Paris, free champagne flowed and Karl Lagerfeld even made an appearance.

Just as Fashion’s Night Out gives the plebes a chance to feel front-row fab, any business can make its customer feel privileged by opening a previously inaccessible door. If you’re a jewelry maker, give your customers a window into your world by photographing your studio and writing about how you make your morning coffee before settling into work. If you’re a veterinarian, make a gallery and blog post about your pets at home.

Build community

While Fashion’s Night Out gives Parisians the chance to live the socialite life, Galeries Lafayette made it possible for everyone to be a runway model. No need to be six foot three or slice vegetables with your cheekbones; 400 people with the coolest “look”were chosen to participate in “The World’s Biggest Runway Show.”

They then got their make up and hair done by pros in the industry before catwalking in front of a crowd across the street from Galeries Lafayette, one of Paris’ biggest department stores.

This event showcased France’s varied style, simultaneously building community and hype before the onslaught of haute couture. In addition to the show, Galeries Lafayette built a Pinterest-like site of the best submitted looks. Their customers became their content, and likely, those customers brought their friends to Paris for the show.

All brands can take a page from this and allow creative content to come from customers. They just need to send an appealing invitation.

Encourage collaboration

Garance Doré may be fashion’s favorite French import of the moment. She illustrates, photographs, and blogs in both French and English on her eponymous site.

Before this year’s New York Fashion Week, she launched a video series, “Pardon My French,” sponsored by online boutique Net-a-Porter. She interviews designers, talks to fellow bloggers, captures shows, and shares DIY tips.

The combination of a charismatic individual, a powerful brand (Net-a-Porter) and a whirlwind of events makes compelling content seem easy. Sharing it across varied channels is even easier.

The fashion world  during fashion week especially  is a hot mess of collaborative projects. Check out another Garance video and you’ll see writer Derek Blasberg hawking L’Oreal hairspray during an interview. (“Keep spraying!”)

When big names come together, whether people or products, they multiply their audience. Content marketers and bloggers should think about whom they know, and who matters in their industries. How can they work together to make content worth talking about?

Image by Flickr

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