#1 Monday 24th March 2014

After discussing with my group we decided to split the designers between us in order to narrow down and in turn reach our chosen designer for our project. My delegated designers were Ashley Williams and Marques Almeida.

Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams

Marques Almeida

Marques Almeida

I started my research on Ashley Williams first and discovered she has a huge celebrity following amongst young female celebrities. This lead me to think about the possibilities we as a group could create such as having a celebrity face for the brand or possibly doing a collaboration with Ashley Williams. Her celebrity fans include Rihanna, Harry Styles and Rita Ora.

Rihanna

Rihanna

Harry Styles

Harry Styles

Rita Ora

Rita Ora

Through the research I have compiled for Ashley Williams I believe she will be a great designer to do our project on because her collections are fun, quirky and loud.  Due to my current internship at Motel I can see a connection between Motel and Ashley Williams as they both target creative and bold young women. Having worked on creative projects such as blogging events for Motel I think I would find it easier to generate ideas for Ashley Williams than a more classic designer.

Ashley Williams also has a jewellery line with Pixie Gelfdof called FunkyOffish.

Funky Offish is also the name they use to describe their consumers. It means ‘an attitude and way of life.’ This has lead me to believe that Ashley Williams is a fun, free-spirited designer which if we as a group decide to choose her we will be able to use our creativity to create a successful PR campaign.

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#2 Wednesday 26th March 2014

Today I began my research on Marques Almeida.

Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida

Marta MARQUES and Paulo ALMEIDA

After meeting and graduating from CITEX Fashion School in Portugal with Distinctions in 2007 they moved to London and enrolled on the Fashion MA course at Central Saint Martins in 2007.

Previously working for Vivienne Westwood (Marques) and Preen (Almeida), they launched MARQUES ALMEIDA in April 2011 and showed for their first 2 seasons under Lulu Kennedy’s platform Fashion East. They have been awarded NEWGEN sponsorship from the British Fashion Council/Topshop and have shown SS13 , AW13 and SS14 on schedule at LFW.

Their signature style is raw, young, effortless and lived-in with a hint of grunge and rebellion. Their graduate collection has been described as reworked street-wear references, championing a relaxed, deconstructed, effortless aesthetic.

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Their trademark piece are the oversize, distressed denim T-shirt with heavily frayed edges. Their ideal client is quietly defiant women. Marques Almeida have recently been nominated for the Emerging Talent – Womenswear Award at the British Fashion Awards 2013.

Vogue UK, Elle UK, Vogue PARIS, Twin, Wallpaper, InStyle, Volt, Tank, i-D, Dazed & Confused have all featured their work. With Elle UK quoting Marques Almeida as the “new go to label for distressed denim.” In addition blogs The Sartorialist and Garance Dore have featured Marques Almeida.

In conclusion I think Marcques Alemida will be a difficult brand to do for our project as their collection was minimal and therefore their press events and catwalk will have to match this. This won’t give us as a group much creative movement.

 

#3 Friday 28th March

Today I met with 2 members of my group and discussed our designers. We pitched the designers we had been researching and decided to choose Ashley Williams.  As a group we discussed contacting Ella Dror PR who represent Ashley Williams, together we will put together an email to send across to her agency having got the contact information for Ella Dror through Fashion Monitor. We should aim to send this across by the first week back to term, ideally after Emily, Niamh or Sophia has looked over it.

My hope is that Ella Dror PR may be able to help us gain a better understanding of who Ashley Williams target consumer is and more information about past collections including press events and catwalks.

We have agreed to do some general research on Ashley Williams and arranged to meet before the end of half term.

#4 Wednesday 23rd April

In our first lecture after the Easter break we had a guest lecture from Martin at Fashion Scout, a platform for emerging talent, very similar to Fashion East who represent Ashley Williams. Martin went through the importance of knowing where to show your designers collection considering the mood you want to create and the best way to showcase the collection. Martin also went through the process of the seating at a fashion show, ensuring the ‘VIPs’ are seated front row and the best way to distinguish who are the VIPs.

This encouraged me to start the dream guest list for Ashley Williams. I discussed with my group the roles we can initially take and the research we can do for our meeting with Sophia and Emily on Friday. I have asked for the role of creating the guest list and sponsors for the catwalk show. Also in Emily’s seminar she showed us examples of lookbooks (leave behinds) she had been given at a PR event. Initially I wanted to create a large lookbook but decided that wouldn’t be a good idea as it will be difficult for the press to carry around and can possibly be discarded. Therefore I would love to create a A5 booklet or something on paper instead of digital media as I believe press and buyers are more likely to look at the hard copy instead or waiting to go back to the office and plugging a USB into their computer. I will need to research further into this.

#5 Thursday 24th April

Today is the press day at Motel Rocks where I intern. They had a festival theme and used different tent props as different sections of the event, such as a treat booth which was filled with goodie bags and a snack tent with a Mr Flossy on the candy floss and popcorn machines. It started with a press only entrance for the first half of the day and I talked through the current summer collection and the autumn pieces with fashion assistants from Cosmo and Daily Mail. I was initially nervous but everyone was really nice and I gained a huge amount of confidence.

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The second half of the evening was open to bloggers and press. As the event got very busy I had a chance to work in various roles from managing the guest list on the door, being photographer in their pop-up photo-booth equipped with fun props, general mixing with bloggers and finding out what their favourite pieces are. Motel had also arranged two bands and a DJ to perform, a nail artist and product donations from Fake Bake, Nakd bars, Sleek make-up plus more which we filled into the goodie bags and finally they had sponsorship from Malibu alcohol and Polaroid cameras.

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2014-04-25 18.22.00 2014-04-25 18.21.43

 

This has been the first press day I have worked and been apart of the process from start to finish. I have learnt so much in regards to who to invite, who to ask for sponsorship and working on the best theme which fits into the brand profile. Motel have a good following on social media therefore they started the #MOTELFESTIVAL which was displayed on branded posters and bunting around the room. Overall the event was a huge success and I have been inspired to use many of my experiences as part of my project.

#6 Friday 25th April

Piers Atkinson was our guest speaker today and as he is represented by Ella Dror PR it was perfect timing for our group project. Piers was very informative as to what he expects from his PR agency and how important it is that his PR work on several different opportunities and avenues in order to publicise his brand. With this he discussed licensing, press days and lookbooks. I had never considered licensing as it is something I have little knowledge of, however one of Ashley Williams key prints from her graduate collection was a kitsch american inspired print which would work great on accessories such as umbrellas and possibly even stationery. I pitched this to my group and Emily and Sophia as a possible tool we could use along with a press day and other avenues we may take. In complete contradiction to my previous thought about lookbooks, I would now like to do a digital lookbook as it better suits Ashley William’s brand. We could work on a flyer to handout with the details of a website/blog which we would create. I would really like to create an app but after some basic research I’m not sure how easy and achievable that will be.

In our group tutorial, Sophia and Emily suggested we look back on Ashley William’s past press events and coverage in order to get a stronger understanding of her brand as this will help us develop an appropriate PR campaign as well as adding to our email draft some more questions about Ashley’s past projects. With this we as a group have decided to alter the email and research further into Ashley’s previous work. We also need to look deeper into Fashion East and whether we could get sponsorship for Ashley alone or would it have to go to Fashion East. If we are unable to get sponsorship for Ashley Williams directly then we can get sponsorship for her press event which can work just as well.

#7 Saturday 26th April

Feeling very inspired by Piers Atkinson’s lecture I decided I would try my hand at something digital for my project. I was initially going to start with a blog but found that to be slightly boring and very safe. So instead I thought why don’t I try to create an app. Impossible I thought, especially trying to do it for free.

I found a website which said I could build my own app so started to think about the content myself and my group would like on there. It was important to show the AW14 collection and to have an about section, then I felt like I could be creative and show some of the brands personality which is shown across Ashley William’s social media platforms, especially Tumblr. This lead me to create an explore section full of funky, cool and nostalgic pictures, mostly from the 90s which is a popular trend for Ashley Williams and across the fashion industry. Finally I wanted to create a press release section under list (button names cannot be changed, only the page name) I managed to find the press release for the AW14 collection through Fashion East and uploaded this for the time being, as myself and the group would like to possibly create our own release or add to the existing.

So after several hours resizing images and font to fit the phone and tablet screen size I have managed to create a fully functional app. On completion of the app creation it gave me a link to the app and a QR code. I am hoping there is a simple enough way to print the QR code on the leave behind to make it easy for everyone in the presentation to view. However an alternative is for us to pay for the app to be put onto the app and play store so everyone can simply download it. As a group we will need to discuss this.

I had initially not mentioned to my group the idea of creating an app as I didn’t think it was possible but after uploading it onto Facebook, my group was amazed. This has given me a huge confidence boost that if I try my hand at something and put my mind to it I can possibly achieve something I hadn’t even thought I could do.

#8 Monday 28th April

I have started to consider the structure of my research file. I began with the idea of creating a website but as it is has to be handed in as a PDF I wasn’t quite sure how I would do that so instead opted to create a magazine. I have taken inspiration from my favourite magazines Betty and Suitcase but also considering Ashley Williams target consumer (which at this stage is thought to be young 20-30 year olds) I wanted to create something a little fun and quirky like a zine style of Pop or Love magazine.

To begin with I will profile Ashley Williams before moving onto Fashion East and Ella Dror. Then I wanted to create a double page lookbook. As for her competitors I wanted to create a spider quiz which the reader would answer the set questions to find out if they are a Ashley Williams fan or a fan of her competitors. I will need to discuss this with Emily/Sophia as the magazine is being created for a Ashley Williams reader, would it be right suggesting the reader is a bigger fan of another designer?

Moving on from this I will analyse her social media platforms and do a SWOT and PESTEL analysis (more content needs to be thought of from myself).

If the competitor quiz fails I can still think of quiz which will pick the best piece from Ashley’s AW14 collection.

I also have a concern over the font type I have used in the magazine. It fits in with Ashley Williams logo font but may be difficult to read. Again I need to show this to Emily well before submission.

 

#9 Thursday 8th May

Machine-A

Machine-A

After visiting Ashley William’s only stockists in the UK, Machine-A located in Soho, I have a slightly different understanding of who Ashley Williams’ consumer is. The manager was very kind to answer my many questions and as I had initially believed the people who buy Ashley Williams are not people who worry about how much they spend, they are both British and Asian but what was most shocking was that Ashley Williams sweatshirts and t-shirts are very often bought my men. This gave me a thought of Ashley Williams launching a menswear collection, even if it is just for those items.

Also after seeing some of the other designers stocked in Machine-A I could see they had more accessories than Ashley Williams. Again I thought that Ashley Williams could branch out her accessories range to include backpacks and scarves, especially with her iconic prints such as ‘Happy Ashley’, ‘Hands’ and her current SS13 ‘Dream Boat’ range.

alice-dellal-chris-moore_GB

Happy Ashley Print

Fashion156-AshleyWilliams3-570x427

Hands Print

dreamboat

Dream Boat Print

The manager gave me a very good idea that Ashley Williams could do a one off mid-season ‘Best of Ashley Williams’ collection again using her iconic prints, as he mentioned that many people ask if they have any past season pieces or where can they buy them from. It would include t-shirts and jumpers for both men and women as well as dresses.

#10 Friday 9th May

After finishing my individual tutorial with Emily and Johannes I have a more clearer understanding of what I need to do moving forward with my individual research file and log.

As I am currently creating a magazine themed research file I need to keep reminding myself that it’s not about the design of my work but more the content. I have to annotate and show the research path I have followed whilst trying to keep the magazine theme. To do this I will explain in as much detail as possible my journey through the project and use this reflective log as my outlet to explain where I may have gone off path and why I have chosen to include information I have.

#11 Thursday 15th May

Just returning from a group meeting where we discussed several ideas for the goodie bag, some good and some so extravagant especially for a 1st year project. We have decided to include the slap bracelets with attached USB (which is costing alot of money), cupcakes, WAH Nails nail art pen, Bleach hair product, a thank you note and press releases. We have chosen the WAH Nails and Bleach products as we would want them to be sponsors for our event and they are the best in their respective fields. I am unsure that cupcakes suit Ashley Williams as they are a very cutesy product. I thought more along the lines of 90s retro sweets but the group liked the cupcake idea as they could be personalised with Ashley Williams logo or print. I am happy to go along with this as her AW14 collection is western themed we couldn’t think of anything that suited that but the cupcakes definitely suit her previous collections.

Still working on my individual research file, which some members of the group have asked me to send to them as they are unsure how they should lay it out, this could be good as they can potentially give me some feedback on where I can improve and further develop my research.

I at this point need to complete my SWOT and PESTEL analysis which is my main priority before moving onto my target consumer. I have ideas in my head but need to allocate the time to put them down on paper. Perhaps I should create a timetable as I do tend to procrastinate at times.

download

#12 Thursday 22nd May

Finally another group meeting.

After mentioning my concern over the extravagance of our leave behinds, some members of my group has kindly offered to pay the majority of the USB slap bracelets. Working as a group we have completed what I think is a excellent in-depth SWOT analysis which is helpful for my own research file. I have thoroughly researched actual problems which could affect Ashley Williams for my PESTEL analysis from government laws to economic factors, this is more research than I have done for my previous projects.

I am still working on the idea of creating a quiz for my individual research file which is in a style of a magazine. I have to really begin work on what questions I would ask to determine the results of the quiz. I need to rummage through my magazines and online quizzes to see what questions they ask which can guide me.

I have asked my group several times now to send me the press releases they have been assigned to write but still haven’t received them.

NOTE TO SELF: Push them to send this as I need this information in order to complete the app I have worked on.

#13 Friday 23rd May

Today we had our second group presentation and crits which according to the feedback didn’t go very well. We need to establish our key messages and what we are doing that is innovative. I appreciate as a group we won’t to hold back some information in order to surprise the class and teachers when we do our final presentation but this also means we are not receiving any feedback now and allowing us time to change things which were not perceived well. I hope that for our 10 minute presentation next week we are able to discuss more of our thoughts and we do better than today.

For my own research file/magazine I have decided instead of Harvard Referencing throughout the magazine I would number reference in the text which will coincide with my full bibliography at the end of the magazine, like you see in books. I hope this is acceptable as I don’t like the idea of referencing in the text like it is an essay. Therefore I have been working on organising my numbering in numeric order and matching it to my bibliography.

Over this bank holiday weekend I need to further work on the press venues I had short-listed and decide upon one as in our feedback it was mentioned that we seemed indecisive and needed to be more certain on what we want to do and how we will do it. I had only left two venue options in the presentation as I wanted my group to have an opinion and give feedback which one would be better from the several choices I gave. I appreciate that I am very opinionated so shouldn’t expect others to be the same. Giving them just the one option would possibly work better for them whereas I like options to choose from. I just worry about pushing ideas onto someone which they are unhappy about.

#14 Saturday 24th May

Over this weekend I have been watching Mr Selfridge and feel like I have an insight into how a brand perceives themselves and what steps they do to ensure they are perceived the same way amongst consumers. For example if you want your company to be prestigious then you must ensure you are stocked in the right locations and your buyers fit your brand. With this it made me realise how great Machine-A is for Ashley Williams, however she would benefit from a stockists in East London.

Additionally as with her competitors such as Louise Gray and Ashish they are all stocked in department stores such as Browns or Selfridges. This would be amazing for Ashley as there will be more footfall passing her concession and both department stores are a hub for both emerging and established designers. Overall my aim is for Ashley Williams to do a collaboration with Topshop, I have been aware for a while now that UK designer Ashish (also represented by Ella Dror) will be doing a collaboration with Topshop which is launching on Thursday 29th May and past womenswear designers include Louise Gray, Meadham Kirchoff and  Mary Katrantzou.

ashish louise gray

meadham kirchoff

mary katrantzou

Topshop would fit Ashley Williams target audience perfectly in my opinion, they both target a young audience who like to mix designs in order to stand out and stay on trend. The pieces would be more affordable in comparison to her usual price point and would really get her name out there amongst a new audience whilst opening up further collaboration opportunities. Prices could start from £40 for accessories such as sunglasses and phone accessories to £300 for handbags and dresses. This is a wide price range meaning those with lower disposable income could still afford to purchase Ashley Williams pieces.

#15 Wednesday 28th May

After finishing our group tutorial and group meeting I am quite disappointed in the level of work we have achieved so far. I have never worked with any of my group before so don’t understand their learning styles but for myself I like to be organised and have work prepared well in advance, so for me the laid-back and relaxed approach shown by some members is quite difficult for me to deal with. With this I have learnt that whilst this is a group project you can only do so much to push others before realising the best approach is to focus heavily on my individual work and ensure I have enough knowledge of my designer to feel comfortable presenting.

On a positive note Roy has produced an amazing lookbook and invite which looks perfect for Ashley Williams. The images and colour choices are from Ashley William’s AW14 collection and when printed will be able to fold into a diamond shape. I have being learning a lot from Roy including design and layouts which are not my strong points. Whilst it may be late to use this information on this project I can certainly use it for future projects.

invitationfor print

Front of invitation

#16 Friday 30th May

Another group presentation today and I am feeling much happier than our previous one. The feedback was mostly positive and the only negative feedback can be easily changed. With this myself and Roy stayed behind to make as many changes as we possibly could. I feel more satisfied working on the presentation and being apart of the process as usually when I see it before the presentation I see many things I would want to change.

I have taken a step back from my own individual research file in order to put more time into the group work as I began to feel like I was dictating more than participating in the making of the powerpoint presentation. This was only because my laptop at home does not have powerpoint so I couldn’t change things as quickly as the others. Now I have taken it upon myself to amend the things I was unhappy with instead of waiting upon others who said they would do it. This way I can only be annoyed with myself instead of others.

After my individual tutorial with Emily on Wednesday I am satisfied and happy with the direction I have been going with. I mentioned the choice of numbering my referencing which will be referred to and correspond with my bibliography and I was told that it’s fine. Even though Emily was unable to look over the work I had produced so far I was happy with the general feedback she gave. Moving forward I need to complete my research file and have it printed and begin my 500 word reflective PPD log. For the research file I would like to print it on nice paper to give it a more luxury feel than general printing paper.

Using Piers Atkinson’s advice I will be asking 2 friends (not studying PR) to look over my work in order to ensure my research is clear even to those who have no knowledge of the PR field and that they have a understanding of my designer.