IMG_9201Emily Huggard, Lecturer on the BA Fashion PR and Communication course at London College of Fashion, spoke at the 3rd International Kiev Fashion Industry Forum, held in parallel to the 12th season of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days Kiev from 4-7 of February. A platform for discussion and dialogue on Ukrainian fashion, the topics spanned design, production, retail, marketing and digital media.

The forum presented an opportunity for attendees to network and engage with leading industry figures. Fashion professionals including Sissi Johnson of the Huffington Post, Kazbek Bektursunov of LMG Group and Daria Sorokina of STYLEBOP.COM presented keynote speeches and business cases.

Emily represented LCF from an academic point of view and also spoke to potential students who attended the events, supporting Donstream who support student recruitment to LCF in Ukraine.

Emily spoke about how fashion brands create their own digital communities. She discussed consumers valuing a sense of belonging when interacting with brands and how fashion and lifestyle brands tap into this, using social media techniques and physical experiences to create fashion communities who help foster potent brand loyalty and connection. This dialogue with customers is also taking the shape of more personal and palpable consumer experiences. Tapping into what LS:N’s Global has termed the “conviviality culture”, brands understand that consumers appreciate the excitement of offline and experiencing the magic of a live event.

The key to brand communities is to offer a unique value proposition for the customer. This can take the form of discounts or membership benefits (free shipping, exclusive offers and being the first to know about new products), the chance to debate, give tips and share information online, or in physical experiences, which allow consumers to connect with other consumers locally and experience the brand and its philosophy.