There have always been two great passions in my life. Two things which move me and cause my heart to stir. Things which captivate me and send my thoughts alight.
In many ways they are intrinsically linked. From pouring over Vogue magazine transfixed by the sumptuous clothing in an array of rich fabric and the articles profiling the lives of the famous, eccentric and the inspiring; I’ve always been moved by clothing and storytelling.
My childhood is littered with trips to the oriental plaza, Joburg’s material mecca, with my mother and grandmothers. It was here – amongst the fragrant scent of spice and fried dough – that my affinity for rich fabrics and clothing begun. As I navigated the heavy rolls of material I was captivated by the idea that clothing could transport you and communicate the essence of who you are. At age 5, it meant that I could be a princess in a tulle gown. At age 18, it meant that I could have a matric dance dress made from the finest chantilly lace that would make me feel beautiful.
And even now, every time I look at a garment I have to touch the fabric – to feel it’s weight and texture. To connect with it.
These days my childhood love of storytelling has morphed into a professional connection and zeal with the world of content marketing, where the creating and curation of relevant content for audiences is key to engaging with consumer behaviour.
It’s the magic of self-expression that both clothes and creating content give me. Both have a transformative power and catalyse so many different parts of who I am. But fundamentally – both are informed by a need to communicate.
As the world changes, so to is the field of fashion. Last week luxury brand, Burberry, announced that from September 2016 it will make its runway collection available for purchase immediately after the show at stores – a radical departure from the traditional model of showcasing clothes six months before they appear in stores. Burberry understand that smart phones have democratised the fashion industry, thus allowing us mere mortals the opportunity to view the shows at the same time as industry experts through live streaming and content platforms like instagram and snapchat.
It’s here that I’m excited to see storytelling and clothing intersect. Retailers understand that we, as people are deeply connected to how we present ourselves to the world. This is where content marketing becomes more powerful as storytelling becomes intrinsic to communicating who we are to the world.
One such brand which exemplifies this for me is American e-commerce store, Zady. Discovering Zady has been a breath of fresh air as I’ve slowly begun to tire of the world of fast fashion and begun to think more about issues of suitability, through veganism, and how my choices as a consumer directly impact the environment, animals and people.
At it’s core, Zady is a brand built on sustainability and quality. Bucking the trend of fast fashion, Zady embraces slow fashion and honours the craftsmen behind their clothing and the natural fabrics that they use. Their timeless approach means that their clothing is less likely to fall apart on the third wash and with fewer pieces of clothing ending up on landfills. It’s refreshing. It’s honest.
Better still, Zady are one of the few retailers to understand their customer’s need for interesting content which resonates. They publish captivating stories about each garment on their website, investing the customer’s interest in the piece even further.
I love that my passion for story telling is gathering momentum in the retail space, with more brands understanding that ‘content is becoming the new retail store‘ as said by Amaryllis Fox, Mulu Media CEO; and thus compelling customers to buy from them.
It’s a fascinating time to not only invest in clothing, but to engage with it through experiential storytelling. As the worlds of quality content, sustainability and fashion continue to collide; I’m excited to see what comes next.
Images one, four, five, six & seven courtesy of Zady.