Women often find fashion inspiration by checking out other womens' wardrobes, and that's the insight behind Belgian magazine Flair's new Facebook app that lets women tag a friend's outfit and ask where she got it.
Luckily for fashion weekly Flair, that kind of engagement has long been taking place on its own pages: Its website is already populated with user-generated content, including photos of clothes worn on the streets submitted by its readers. Whereas editors dictate trends at glossy fashion magazines, "Flair fashion is about you and me and people in the street … the fashion of friends and people [readers] relate to -- not celebrities or models," said Lander Janssens, strategic planner at Brussels-based Duval Guillaume.
The Publicis Group-owned creative agency approached its client, Sanoma Magazines -- publisher of over 25 titles including Flair, Belgium's fourth-largest magazine by circulation -- with an off-brief proposal for a new Facebook application. Called Flair Fashiontag, the app lets fans tag each others' clothes and accessories in photos. How it works: Select a friend, choose a photo of them, tag the clothing or accessory you'd like to know more about, and post it on your friend's wall. All Fashiontags, including the friend's response, are displayed in a Facebook gallery and the best are also published in the weekly print magazine. Flair Fashiontag was created by Duval Guillaume's in-house design company, The Parking Lot.
Publicis is hoping more cool ideas are sparked by Duval Guillaume, which was Belgium's biggest independent shop when the holding company bought it almost five years ago. In early 2011, Guillaume Van der Stighelen, co-founder and creative partner, was named to an international role Publicis is calling "global contagious officer." As a creative ambassador, he'll work with Publicis agencies around the world to help improve their creative work.
For Flair, the goal is to reactivate idle fans and attract new ones by encouraging constant interaction between the Facebook app and the magazine. The results speak for themselves: After launching on March 22, the application increased the number of Flair fans on Facebook in one week by 35%, from 17,000 to 23,000. Users reflect the existing Flair community: 18-30-years-old and mostly female.
One of the most popular Fashiontags was for a gray top with stand-up collar and low neckline, and the question most posed was "Where did you buy this?"
Everyone has a presence on Facebook these days, but this application seemed "typi Flair," said Clo Willaerts, business unit manager of Sanoma, especially as it fits the conversation already evolving among readers. Flair consists of the print magazine (which comes out in both French and Dutch), plus a website, mobile site and Facebook page. "The Fashiontag page is not just a spinoff, it's something unique entirely" that doesn't just replicate other platforms, Ms. Willaerts said.
Creating the Facebook application cost less than $30,000. Mr. Janssens said he hopes to expand tagging capabilities to indicate map locations of stores where clothing items were purchased.