Page 28 - FOXTALK Fall 2012

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28
Fall 2012
Fashion Program –
Radley Cramer and Richard Kramer
Long before the lights went down and the pouty models
strode down the runway, the buzz had begun at the Marist
College 2012 Silver Needle Fashion Show.
Dozens of “tweets’’ from students working backstage flashed
on big screens, giving the full-house crowd at the Mid-Hudson
Civic Center a feel for the behind-the-scenes excitement.
“Can’t wait for show to begin!’’ one student messaged, and
the tweets kept coming. “Look at that!’’ said a spectator, point-
ing to the screen. “Very cool!’’
It was easy to imagine the nervousness among senior fashion
majors whose collections anchor the show and are judged by a
panel of professionals.
Then it was show time. Poof ! The virtual nervousness disap-
peared as the first models began a stylish parade. “Oohs’’ and
“Ahhs’’ were politely murmured.
That contrast—a madhouse insider view shared with the
calm audience—was part of the technological marketing
makeover for the 26th annual event, this year called “Fashion
Speak.’’
Fashion students always push the envelope with their de-
signs, but this time they were pushing the promotional envelope
with a social media and gorilla marketing campaign that would
rival any in the professional world.
“We’re doing the latest things. We’re ahead of the curve,’’
said Radley Cramer, director of the Marist College Fashion
Program, which has 400 plus students-plus.
The major marketing tools were Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr
and other blogs, QR (quick response) codes, a traditional “look
book’’ in print and gorilla marketing decals on campus.
Besides following fashion students, their work and updates
on Facebook and Twitter, someone with a smart phone would
walk up to a decal, scan it and instantly link to more content
like the “look book’’—glossy images of this year’s student
collections.
The social media marketing lessons learned now give
students a big leg up as the fashion industry transitions along
with technology. The advantages to new designers is incredible
because making connections and marketing without a tremen-
dous amount of money is made possible by the latest technolo-
gies, Cramer said.
“New designers can really promote their business by using
technology and when they go out into the working world, they
take this amazing skill, ‘’ he said. “As entrepreneurs they can
become very competitive and find opportunities that wouldn’t
have happened.’’
They’ve already seen an excellent example of how those con-
nections can become reality.
Just a few weeks before the show, fashion publicist icon Kelly
Cutrone gave a talk to Marist students, an event that wouldn’t
have happened had she not first been invited—via Twitter—to
a student-run fashion show and benefit for a local domestic
violence shelter.
In the case of marketing via new technology, students
sometimes are in the role of teacher—rather than the other way
around, said Richard Kramer, a fashion design instructor and
director of the annual show.
When students began brainstorming about “gorilla market-
ing”—low-cost unconventional ways to do promotion—the
ideas started flowing. And the professors were the ones with
the questions, he noted.
“In class the kids were all talking about ‘Tumblr,’ and we
raised our hands and said: Please tell us what ‘Tumblr’ is,’’ he
laughed.
For the record, Tumblr is a blog host and social media web
site. It’s mainly used like a bulletin board for images, rather
than a journal, like traditional blogs.
“We try to keep ahead, energize the students and let them
take the lead,’’ he said, leading a visitor through a fascinating
tour of the program’s quarters in Donnelly Hall.
In one room, seniors were furiously hand sewing final
touches on collections for the show, taking a few seconds to
explain their themes and inspirations.
In another, a student demonstrated how a high-end textile