Fashion business with annual global revenue of over a billion dollars, gives us a mixed feelings. On one side, we have tendency to think that fashion industry is not a serious business and we should not really bother ourselves with this topic, on the other hand we have statistics, which clearly show that with such huge revenues, it is even more than a serious thing.
We can love fashion or hate it, but no matter what we think, there is one sure thing about it – we never leave our house naked. And it all depends on what kind of clothes we wish to spend our money on – as for some of them we spend money for sure. Another story is about fashion shows, on which hundreds of people are dreaming to appear. However there will be always some voice of criticism, which percepts that such event is nothing else than a vanity fair, we have to admit that without a proper fashion show, it is hard to promote the newest collection.
In Hungary, there is an evident lack of fashion events, but the list of talented designers is pretty long. Still there is a silver lining in the dark clouds, since we have a BigBag PR agency in Budapest, which is behind the most important and successful fashion show – Toni&Guy Fashion Week Budapest.
Two weeks before the upcoming show, I met Vica Hajnal – who is an account manager of BigBag PR agency and one of the main coordinators of TGFWB.
I must admit that it was an extremely valuable conversation, during which we discussed several topics devoted to Hungarian fashion designers, sponsorships, and very captivating from my point of view – a blogger’s behavior at fashion events.
source: Fashion Week Budapest
The Spoiled Queen: Toni&Guy Fashion week is definitely a great idea to get together talented, Hungarian fashion designers. Could you tell me, how it all began? What was the first impulse to organize such event?
I think the whole idea originated from the designer Nanushka (Sandra Sandor). She came to visit us and helped organizing a show for herself, which if I remember was for her AW12 collection. When she came, she told us about having no money to pull a major, interesting and real time show for herself as there is no such fashion event in Hungary, where she could represent her brand wholeheartedly. The other impulse was the following: as we are a fashion PR agency so we’ve got clients. One of them was TONI&GUY Hair Meet Wardrobe. This client was looking for an event which it could sponsor. We finally came up with a thought to organizing a professional fashion event based on the international Fashion weeks, with a really strong image, placing in every sponsor where they belong. For example, MAC and TONI&GUY HMW are backstage, not front of the house, as they do the invitee’s hair. Therefore, we tend to be very professional by focussing on various press related materials like photos, video, catwalk perfections, backstage and the designer’s collections.
photos: Balazs Glodi
The Spoiled Queen: What is your opinion about Hungarian fashion in general? What do you like about it, or what makes you proud?
What I like about Hungarian fashion is the fact, that we have a lot of really good designers, including the young ones among them, who I really appreciate and admire. They create quality products and that’s why they already exist in the international market. Regarding younger designers, it is worth to mention that they are more eager to learn the fashion business and how things work. They can understand better, that how important is digital media and they are using it in the right way.
The Spoiled Queen: Going deeper inside this topic, how would you describe Hungarian fashion? Are there any recognizable features, which distinguish Hungarian fashion from any other ones?
What we have here is surely the well-known Matyó folklore style. Some of the hungarian designers are using this back and forth but in my opinion it is not related to high-fashion, but rather to the tradition and in my opinion it is time to forget about it. Although I am aware, that it is traditional and for many people seems to be very nice, but it’s just too much of it. Talking about positive aspects, what is surely recognizable here, is a good quality. In Hungary we have those old experts who know how to sew. A lot of up- scaled fashion brands have their production units here. It’s cheaper for them but they can be sure that the quality will always be on high standards.
The Spoiled Queen: What do you think about PR campaigns in fashion industry? Would you agree that Public Relations plays an important role and is one of the key elements of successful fashion show?
We do have some fashion brands here like Marks & Spencer, Gap,etc but Hungarian marketing professionals do not seem to recognize PR as a valuable factor, as you can not measure the sales appropriately. You can’t measure precisely the numbers behind it and for me it is really interesting when it comes to their budget, they usually cut the PR activities at first place, which is really bad. When we talk about particular fashion show, PR is of course very important. One of the key elements will be the reputation of each show. Our agency has an extremely good art director, who is quite strict when it comes to the creation and quality which can be seen during the event. This is one of the strongest elements of Toni&Guy Fashion Week because you see that this is a professional event for fashion experts at first glance, and we are trying to match it with the image and vibe of the other international fashion weeks.
The Spoiled Queen: Let’s talk a bit about the audience of each fashion show. What does the accreditation process look like? Do you select your guests carefully, or you rather try to keep open those shows for wider audience?
Two seasons ago, we started the registration process, which is similar to other fashion weeks. We are doing it primarily in a way where you can receive a press and guest list . We are selecting our audience and this year, we will be even more rigorous and precise. We might not invite even a top blogger, who did not publish about our previous TGFWB show. We shall be going through our registered users and we are going to ask them to send us the link about their last coverage on our spring/summer collections 14′. If it comes out that there was nothing mentioned, we just give an opportunity to other bloggers who covered it. It is very important for us to have people from the fashion business as this is not an entertainment event but the one, which is organized for fashion experts or fashion bloggers and press.
source: Fashion Week Budapest
The Spoiled Queen: How about buyers? We all know, they play very important role in fashion industry. Do you focus only on Hungarian buyers or you try your best to invite the international as well?
We are now getting more and more buyers for our collections. Even the journalists and bloggers somehow manage to find us online and write to us in order to become a part of the event. Unfortunately, there are not so many buyers who are based in Hungary. Maybe 4 or 5 of them.
The Spoiled Queen: What is your opinion about Hungarian fashion industry? Is it a big demand on local brands or Hungarians prefers do their shopping in stores such Zara, H&M, Stradivarius ect?
It depends, as surely there will be huge demands for local designers but as usual, it is a money issue. Lot of people buy cheaper brands, as it is easier for them to spend 1000 huf and have something new than wait and collect money to be able to buy more expensive designer piece.
The Spoiled Queen: Finally, could you tell me from a PR agency perspective, what are the key elements that create a successful fashion show?
Key elements: Setting up higher standards when it comes to the reputation of the event and the impression it creates, strictly personalized designs and excellent capable models.
photos: Balazs Glodi
During my conversation with Vica, one very important issue stood out, which could explain a shortage of fashion events in Hungary. The major problem is, as usual lack of sponsors. When in Western Europe, that’s not really an issue anymore, for Eastern investors, fashion seems still to be some supernatural phenomenon. Somehow they can’t believe that fashion business might be really profitable, and they prefer to use their budget to sponsor some other events.
Another interesting topic, which we have disused briefly, was a blogger’s behavior on such events. Maybe I should skip the part, that one of my colleague complained during one of TGFWB spring/summer shows that there were no free drinks, however when I hear such opinions, I am always asking a question – are you really that poor, that you can not go to any liquor store and buy a beer for yourself? Do you really need a fashion event for that?
Other thing, which really amuses me is a numerous of selfie taken by bloggers, which does not really show anything related to the event – no models who present the collections, no banners related to event, not even a photo with a backstage pass, just me and my outfit, preferably outside of the building where the show takes place. I don’t event mention a proper article which should be on their blog right after an event or at least some photos from the showcased collections. Bloggers love to receive goodie bags! Sometimes I have a feeling, that for them it’s more important to get free branded cosmetics than taking this an opportunity to come out with some nice article and start treating their blog as a serious issue, and not like a way to get free stuff. I am very glad that BigBag PR agency decided to cut this crap and invite people who are really having an opinion and who treat fashion shows not like an entertainment event, but as a serious business.