Four MA Fashion Design Management students recently collaborated with Argentinian brand animaná, as the emerging sustainable luxury brand prepares to enter the UK market after opening a Paris boutique.
After animaná opened their first European branch in Paris last year, the brand has been looking to expand into the UK, and wanted to collaborate with London College of Fashion students to conduct research and run a social media campaign. The brand wanted to work with LCF students because of their excellent market knowledge and understanding of London’s fashion trends.
The brand asked Jenn Poage, Gerda Micke, Karolin Wilkens and Iciar Bravo Tomboly to recapture the tradition of Patagonian artisans and develop the local economy in a sustainable, ethical way. They worked on the working on their brand manual, marketing communication strategies and brand voice creation with story telling elements. LCF News speaks to the group to hear how they got on.
How did the collaboration come about, and have you found it easy communicating from different countries?
Gerda, our project manager, was considering doing her Master’s thesis on Argentina, and during some research she learnt about animaná. We were later assigned a group project with an industry partner this term, she approached us in class and asked if we were interested in working with emerging markets and sustainability. This was one of the main reasons why we all wanted to come and study at London College of Fashion. We all wanted to collaborate with different nationalities and learn a diverse range of international management approaches. The company was very accessible as Mateo Zambruno, who is animaná’s co-owner, is based in London, so we had regular meetings with him, as well as some Skype chats with their internal graphic team in Argentina.
What have you been doing for animaná during the four month collaboration? How has the brand changed or grown during that time?
During our collaboration we consulted brand image, company voice with a storytelling element, and social media marketing strategy. We also ran their Facebook and Instagram accounts for a one month, with a balanced focus on the luxury and sustainability aspects of animaná. We wanted to present a coherent brand message about sustainability. All the photoshoots and styling were also made by us, including the writing the strategy, marketing guide and messaging. We’ve had a great response from the animaná team and other consultants they use, who were all very happy with the new brand image we helped portray. We also increased their social media status, and collaborated with sustainable fashion organisations like Fashion Revolution and Provenance.
Has it been easier or tougher than expected?
You receive what you give! It was tough as we put in a lot of work, effort, and love into it, but at the same time it was extremely rewarding as we got to experience first-hand the brand growing. They were so welcoming to us and pleased to have a collaborated with LCF. They really made us feel like part of the animaná family.
What sort of response have you seen from the audience and the brand itself?
We’ve received compliments from the brand and their consultants, our efforts were very professional, creative and always responsive. The co-owner has even talked to us about working on a new animaná campaign for this winter. It was a great for us and them as a start-up company. They don’t have a huge budget for marketing communication as an SME, so we had a great opportunity to put our degree into practice. It was a win-win situation. The company was very receptive to our ideas and trusted our judgement, which in part came from a respect for LCF’s standards and our knowledge of the subject area.
Did studying your course help you prepare for the takeover and strategy?
It was a great opportunity to apply the theories and models we’ve learnt while also getting support from tutors throughout the term. The most important thing we learnt was research, make sure you research everything as it gives you a firm structure on the project and target. Our projects with industry partners have allowed us to apply our business knowledge in real life situations, balancing them with design elements. MA Fashion Design Management has taught us about collaboration, the importance of observing your target audience, and problem solving with a consumer-centred attitude. The Fashion Branding unit with the course has been the foundation of research, visuals, voice, mission, vision, and finding the identity and personality of the brand. The Managing Fashion unit has guided us through the project, and helped us to create the brief, manage time, and adapt our process when needed, and to evaluate the results.