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Keeping the apparel industry afloat through the past year, the $13 billion denim industry, which has remained largely recession resistant is expanding its options in sales. Recently CIT, the largest lending factor in the apparel industry hit a wall when they neared filing for bankruptcy and the flow of merchandise between retailers and their vendors was threatened. Manufacturers are choosing to invest more heavily in the web, as E-commerce takes on an even greater importance for brands who wish to connect with their customers and bypass traditional brick and mortar shopping by offering a wider selection and special sales.

The changing economy and social media sites are determining new rules as brands showcase their collections on social networking sites like Facebook and participate in branding opportunities with the highly trafficed Polyvore (which had more than 835,000 unique visitors in June) which connects users directly to a brands website. As the recession continues to rage on, online sale sites like Haute Look, Rue La La and Gilt Group (who all received large multi-million dollar capital investments) are pulling consumers to their sites. Denim brands such as Frankie B., J. Brand, 7 For All Mankind are regularly featured on these sites.

In 2008, some of the top online retailers included brands Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle (AE) and Guess Jeans. Denim brands J Brand and Frankie B. and Diesel all have recently expanded their websites to include E-commerce, special discounts and expanded offerings. Frankie B. founder Daniella Clarke told us: “By expanding my web presence and participating in viral networking sites I’ve opened up a dialogue with my customers by using Facebook and Twitter. The spike in sales and website hits happens instantly”.

Low cost behind the scenes shoots and the benefit of greater profit margin indicates this trend will not only stay but grow in the near future. Once upon a time, advertising in a magazine was the way to get noticed by consumers. With dwindling magazine sales and the holy grail of 18 – 28 year olds spending more money online (where the over 40-year-olds are attempting to recoup their wealth) an innovative web presence and appearances on Facebook and Polyvore translates to sales.