The social net worth
Marbbie C. Tagabucba (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Liz Uy, international fashion’s latest it girl, celebrity stylist and erstwhile fashion editor, heads Aldo Philippines’ spring/summer campaign.

Distributed in the Philippines by retail leader Suyen Corporation, Aldo Philippines brand manager Lara Rapanan says of the partnership: “She is a top influencer, someone premium and fashion-forward and ahead in the industry. It’s the kind of branding we want to be associated with, (showing) we are premium, fashion-forward and versatile, too.”

Bench Tower’s Roof Deck, a venue once used exclusively for in-house photoshoots, was opened to the public for the first time. Manila’s style setters, the #AldoCrew, tried on the spring/summer collection in aptly named Work, Play, Chill vignettes — complete with Instagram documentation of course. (Aldo prepared a ring light for it.) A video styling session with StyLIZed Studio (founded by Uy) was the highlight. Uy and her team prepared aspirational looks to inspire the #AldoCrew and translate them into their own personal style.

“These demonstrate the versatility of our shoes and accessories, putting them in context of different occasions. It’s never been done by corporate before!” says Rapanan while overseeing the finishing touches.

Behind this brand repositioning seen from Seoul, Singapore, and now Manila is Nathan Cray, Aldo Group international general manager for Asia Pacific and India. Moving up from Aldo’s international sourcing department, tuning in to the online community provides the brand some foresight, breeding sustainability for the fast-fashion structure of the brand. For us customers, it means we’re only getting the latest trends.

YSTYLE: Handling Aldo throughout Asia Pacific and India, what are each market’s differences and similarities?

NATHAN CRAY: We conducted an extensive customer-centric research over the past four years, paying attention to what our customers were buying worldwide — we are present in 95-plus countries — and we discovered that when a style is a good style, it’s a good style. Because of that, when we think of a market, we think of our target customer and they have a similar mentality. They come from the same demographic, no matter where they are. We — and any brand — can’t be a brand for everyone. It’s a brand you connect with and that’s what you build from.

This new demographic — who are they?

We call them “Style Seekers.” They are people that pay attention to trends and follow trends. They want to be fashionable, but they also want to be appropriate. There are fashion characters; that’s not our customer. They can be bold in their statements but they want to be themselves. They seize the world as their mood board. Like me, I wake up, I’m affected by the weather and what I’m going to do today, so I dress for the weather and this interview. We want to make an impression, but not go overboard.

Liz Uy is known to post high fashion content and Aldo is structurally a fast-fashion retailer. Is the brand repositioning itself? 

A high fashion customer does not exclusively shop high fashion these days. They don’t think, “This is my box.” Aldo plays very well between commercial and high fashion, at least that’s where we see ourselves. That you can easily wear your Aldo shoes with the most expensive suit you can buy, tailor-made — no problem, but you can also wear our athleisure line down the street with shorts. That’s who we are. We want to be the link. We like to have fun and be approachable and if someone who’s into high fashion walks into our stores, I know they’ll find something they would like.

How does social media influence Aldo’s direction creatively?

Because we’re customer focused, it has. The dialogue Facebook and Instagram affords us, if you’re not learning from it, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. It has created a conversation with our customers. You see our styles on Instagram through hashtags, #aldoph, #aldocrew, it’s a great thing our customers want to communicate with us! And when we see not just our items, that’s communication, too. We get a perception about their style.

To be up to speed with social media, how does this affect operations?

Fashion is only going to get faster from this point on. We don’t have time to make decisions. Shoes, in particular, take time to craft, but now we can anticipate what our Style Seekers would like next season. We do four main releases but we started in fall last year to bring in periodic injections to freshen up the store. Every month, we have new features, new themes. Sometimes it’s a new delivery, sometimes it’s a new highlight so our customers understand that we’re keeping things fresh.

Do likes translate into sales?

Our focus on likes isn’t to build sales, but to build equity, for customers to recall our brand and understand it. The idea that one thing can lead to sales is dying. People have access to information and they interact with their friends, their brands, shopping in different platforms. If you have a marketing event like today, even a sale, there’s both the immediate reaction that leads to sales but you are also building equity. We can’t be successful without a whole ecosystem in place. We are still constantly figuring out what the formula for that ecosystem is.

What spring/summer trends would carry over to fall/winter?

LARA RAPANAN: In the Philipines, the glass trend in block heels as well as different materials are going to carry through. Prints, patches and embroidery are novelty trends, but they are also statement-making, which is the mood of seasons. As we transition over to fall, it’ll just be in darker shades and heavier materials but it’s the same look.

CRAY: Men’s loafers that have that little wink that we like, done with mixed materials and colors in dress and city styles for men. Overall, athleisure is still going strong. It’s in our early fall collection.

* * *

In the Philippines, Aldo is distributed by Suyen Corporation nationwide in 30 locations: Abreeza; Shangri-La Plaza; Alabang Town Center; SM Aura; Ayala Cebu; SM Cebu; SM Seaside Cebu; Robinsons Place Manila; Bonifacio High Street; SM Lanang; TriNoma; Centrio; SM Mall of Asia; Eastwood Citywalk; SM Megamall; Fairview Terraces; SM North EDSA; Glorietta 2; Greenbelt 5; SM Southmall; Harbor Point; Solenad 2; Lucky Chinatown Mall; UP Town Center; Robinsons Galleria; and Uptown BGC. Standalone Aldo Accessories shops are in Bonifacio High Street; Robinsons Place Manila; Fairview Terraces; and TriNoma. Follow @aldophilippines or the hashtag #AldoPH.

LIZ UY
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