While most fashion shows are highly stylized and glamorous, they typically don’t feature clothing in an accessible way. Runways don’t always reflect reality, and an outfit on a model is usually not something that consumers can realistically wear. However, that’s not the case with adidas NEO Label. The youthful, sporty, and fashion forward brand hosted a teen curated fashion show in New York City last night and gave fans the chance to be fashion influencers. After all, they’re the ones who wear the clothes so shouldn’t they have a say in the styling?
In this creative approach, teens all over the world were encouraged to create looks from adidas NEO Label’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection. They were asked to mix and match clothing and accessories and create a Polyvore collage of their favorite outfit. 20,000 teens around the world participated in this project, which tapped into their existing habits of pairing items in an inspiration board format. Then, to reward fans for their engagement, the top 30 looks were featured in the fashion show. Teen bloggers, as well as Selena Gomez, one of the brand’s style ambassadors, chose the best looks and the bloggers were flown to NYC to attend the show. These numerous strategies highlight how brands can effectively engage Millennials since they want to have a say in a company’s creative decisions and they look up to online influencers. Rather than just viewing a lookbook of the latest collection, Millennials want to be part of an experience. adidas NEO Label made its collection come to life and literally reflected the company’s new campaign to “Live Your Style.”
The actual show served as a model for how to tap into the Millennial spirit. Instead of a typical catwalk, the runway was a vertical stage where the models walked down steps and around the audience to form a closer connection with fans. Moreover, multiple screens were used to amplify this unique experience – one featured the models walking around, another showed each Polyvore collage with the items that comprised the look, and the last listed the username of the teen who curated the outfit. The teen bloggers gave input on hair and make-up choices for the show, a teen served as the DJ, and all the models were teens as well. Fans at home could follow #NEOrunway on Twitter and Instagram to see the looks in real-time, and footage of the entire show will be available on Facebook.
Marketers should pay attention to this approach since today, young adults don’t just want to be consumers, but co-creators. Companies that encourage this behavior will build relationships with fans and can secure them as official or unofficial brand ambassadors. Retailers can host in-store events, but in taking this strategy one step further, they should crowdsource the decisions or creative process. By putting the spotlight on fans, Millennials will be more engaged and interested in interacting with your brand. They’ll also be more likely to inform their friends if a brand does something that’s meaningful and relevant to them.