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Modern Sartorial Communication: What’s Hot?

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Coco Chanel once said “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” In short, whether you like it or not, your fashion choices say something about who you are.

Google released its first ever Fashion Trends Report this Spring, giving us a sneak peek into what’s hot and what’s not this season, as well as the trends to watch and the trends to forget. Analyzing over six billion searches to compile the report, Google looked at search demand patterns and geographic data to see what’s trending in fashion, to forecast what would be the next item selling off the rack. In case you were wondering, it’s the Tulle skirt.

Google’s hope for the report was to make the data accessible to designers, marketers, trendsetters and taste-makers for planning purposes, allowing brands to leverage the findings to help them better communicate with their customers.

This got us thinking. In a saturated market filled with choices, styles and image considerations, where do consumers look to see what’s trending in fashion? Vogue, Elle or InStyle? Bloggers and Instagram fashionistas such as Chiara Ferragni and Nicole Warne? Stylist Petra Flannery? Or Net-A-Porter Magazine?

The report’s reach was limited to the United States, so we at Edelman Hong Kong, enthused by all things analytical, wanted to see if the data was relevant in our own backyard. We wanted to find out where Hong Kongers get their fashion information from, what influences them and to explore whether the traditional modes of communication are hot or not. We also wanted to see what brands need to do today to capture consumer’s attention.

On a sunny Saturday, our talented content team project coordinator, John Shea and I took to the busy streets of Central where a number of major brands reside. We interviewed 12 individuals from different age groups and genders asking them:

  • Where do you look to see what’s trending in fashion?
  • Do you read fashion magazines? Which ones do you read?
  • What has a brand done recently to capture your attention?

​So what exactly did we discover from our research?

  • Google is the platform where Hong Kong consumers search most for fashion information, but they also look to social media and bloggers for inspiration.
  • There is a shift away from traditional print media, but online versions of long-standing and trusted publications are still influential.
  • Brands should make their content easy to find on search engines like Google by adopting an effective SEO strategy, making them visible to their target audience.
  • A picture says a thousand words: Images are inspirational and persuasive.
  • Hong Kong consumers are keen on impartial ‘honest’ advice from ‘natural’ fashionistas such as peers or bloggers.
  • They are turned off by advertising that sells to them – they want a dialogue with brands.
  • Big data is currently the hottest item off the runway. If brands want to top Google’s charts, they need to utilize data in order to drive conversation through relevant and personalized communications in becoming the next “What’s Hot” item.

Click here to watch our full interviews.

Jacqueline Young is an account executive in the Consumer Marketing practice in Hong Kong.

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