Entrepreneurial Lessons: AWAYTOMARS

100% collaborative fashion. This is the goal of AWAYTOMARS, an online platform launched in 2015 by Brazilian economist Alfredo Orobio, focusing on co-creation, crowdfunding and idea sharing. It works like this: you submit an idea (don’t need to be a designer or even have the technical skills!) and receives feedback from the registered community, free to suggest any changes. With the help of a group of curators, the best works are edited and selected for the second stage: crowdfunding. From there, the design is manufactured and sold on the website, with profits split among the company, the creator and the collaborators, who earn points or bonus for the next purchase. The final step is a show at Moda Lisboa, twice a year. The first one was staged last March, presenting 25 looks.

To boost the platform growth, Alfredo was joined by 4 partners: Carlo Valentini, Marília Biasi, Paula Pinaud and Cecília Temke, who talked to me about the concept and challenges of the start-up:

Project M: What motivated the creation of the brand?
AWAYTOMARS: Alfredo Orobio, our founder, had the original idea whilst doing the research for his masters in Trends and Communication, in Lisbon. By researching and getting familiar with the world of social media, he noticed a trend of sharing different ideas, in the fashion world. People from different places were postings about their designs and inspirations, besides leaving comments in other posts with suggestions – basically improving the industry’s creative process.

Unfortunately, concepts were being lost, as the barriers to enter the market are relatively high. So, all of these pools of ideas would disappear after a while. From this, came the plan to launch a space where people could share ideas, receive feedback and, above all, taking their projects ahead. AWAYTOMARS enables creatives the chance to show their creations and follow the dream of producing and selling the pieces.

Project M:  What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
AWAYTOMARS:
AWAYTOMARS was founded in 2015 and since then we are consistently growing our user base. The platform is receiving more designs and our community is expanding. However, as in any new business, there are challenges. As a fashion and technology start-up, AWAYTOMARS needs a minimum investment to keep developing. Funding, without doubt, is a difficult task and requires patience and determination.

Besides that, production in small scale is not that simple. We had a long journey working on relationships with suppliers to ensure the co-created pieces could be made in fewer quantities. The challenge was overcome and now we have a vast network to help us turn dreams into reality.

Another relevant issue is to create brand awareness and to position ourselves in the market. These are, without question, major challenges and we are focusing on that – to promote the brand and lead consumers to see AWAYTOMARS as a culturally cool, interesting and good quality brand.

Project M: What advice would you share with those thinking about creating a brand?
AWAYTOMARS: It is important to define the brand positioning and to have clear objectives in the short and long term. It is also essential to be surrounded by high-skilled professionals and set a team with the same values and similar visions about the future of the company. Moreover, I suggest full dedication to find trustworthy, ethical suppliers for lasting relationships.

Images: reproduction

If you are interested in AWAYTOMARS, go to the website, register and start collaborating with ideas, concepts and images. Soon, your creation can be on Moda Lisboa runway or anywhere in the world!

Icon: Kate Moss

She brought a new beauty ideal to fashion, went from heroin chic muse to Playboy bunny and for over 25 years has influenced designers, brands and everybody else with her absolute cool, ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude. Kate Moss is the ultimate icon!

Pleasure to Meet: Smashbox

 

 

Smashbox has an intimate relationship with fashion and movies. The founders, brothers Davis and Dean, are great-grandsons of Max Factor, the legendary makeup artist that was responsible for the faces of all Hollywood stars and created the famous brand. Back in 1990, they created Smashbox Studios, a mix of studio, model agency and clothing label under the same roof. It was so successful that eventually they decided to expand and drinking from the family fountain seemed to be the natural step ahead. So, in 1996 Smashbox Cosmetics was born.

Obviously, the products USP had to be a ‘camera ready’ approach, such as the revolutionary Photo Finish Foundation Primer, launched in 2000, in a time no one had an idea what a primer was, the High Definition Healthy FX Foundation SPF 15 foundation and the Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder, both developed for HD cameras.  Other hits are the Camera Ready BB Cream, Be Legendary Lipstick and creamy blusher O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Color.

Since 2010, Smashbox is part of Estée Lauder Group and available in many countries. Here in the UK, it can be purchased online, at selected Boots and in the brand flagship in Fitzrovia. For me, the core value of the brand is to promote a flawless, although natural skin, perfect for HD cameras, social media filters and, of course, for real life too! Could it be more contemporary?

Wish list

smashbox-primer

Photo Finish Foundation Primer

smashbox-base

High Definition Healthy FX Foundation SPF 15 

smashbox-po

Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder 

smashbox-bb

Camera Ready BB Cream 

smashbox-blush

O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Color 

smashbox-batom

Be Legendary Lipstick

smashbox-halo

Halo Highlighting Wand

smashbox-baked

Baked Fusion Soft Lights

Archetypes: The Explorer

A person that goes on a journey to find his own identity. That’s the perfect translation of the Explorer archetype. Freedom, independence and authenticity are amongst the most important values of those who identify with the symbol, besides a great urge for individualism and to be ‘himself’.

The Explorer loathes the idea of conformity, of being one among many, and of accepting the rules without questioning. In many cases, he can be seen as a rebel but doesn’t want to wave any flags, just do things his own way and feel accomplished. From adventurer to discoverer, pioneer to anti-hero, all figures who are in search of new experiences and reject any kind of barriers around them are impersonations of the archetype.

In these times of exacerbated individualism, constant seeking for real or virtual stimulation, and tools to help show how unique we are, it’s not hard to understand what underlies brands that personify the Explorer, like Starbucks and its customized coffees that come from distant, exotic locations, and those who stimulate adventures and expeditions, like Timberland, The North Face and Patagonia, especially when environmental issues are part of the game. Brands with a sporty appeal – but not for group sports, only for ‘solitaire’ activities, are usually great territory. Another example is products that appeal for teenagers, just the time of our lives when we are creating an identity and willing to break the rules. As adolescence nowadays is stretched up until we are almost 30, there are plenty of opportunities out there…

In fashion, Levi’s used to be a good example since the jeans were an icon of the Explorer. Unfortunately, as I said before, in the last couple of decades, the brand got lost and today carries an undefined image, that doesn’t persuade anyone.

Another way to work with the Explorer is to invest in customization, and there is a great demand for it. Nevertheless, forget ostentation: no monograms engraved in bags, shirts and shoes from ubiquitous luxury brands. Focus on market niches, limited production and no logos on sight. Explorers love companies unknown by the ‘mainstream’, that are almost an ‘insider’ secret. If you thought about a hipster approach, you got it. However, keep in mind that your brand will need to keep this image of independence and autonomy even after it has grown and become ‘mainstream’. Once more, authenticity is key, as nothing can be more disappointing to the archetype than losing it.

Time for a Change: Modalogia is now Project M

If you were looking for Modalogia but saw a different logo on the top, I can explain: Modalogia is now Project M!

When I reactivated this blog last year, I was in doubt about keeping the name since it’s really hard to pronounce in English. Every time I found myself saying to people that moda’ is fashion in Portuguese and logia, logy, so, if fashion were a science it could be Modalogia = Fashionology, I thought it was pointless to go on. Furthermore, I felt like it belonged to another era of my professional life.

Then, after months searching for a name in English that also resonates in Portuguese, I concluded that Project M (yes, M stands for Mirela) was perfect to translate this new moment in my career and personal life. The blog subjects haven’t changed, thus posts are still about fashion, beauty, branding and my life in London (a reason to have the city name in the blog url: www.projectmlondon.com) and soon I’ll publish a new page with my consulting services. All social media are already changed, with updated links on the top of the page, so it’s all good to go… Project M here I come!

Wings of Desire

Who never dreamed about opening their wings and just fly around? Since this is a wish that (still) can’t be true, be inspired by some accessories that awake our inner Icarus…

From left to right: ring Stephen Webster, sandals Sophia Webster, ear rings Noor Fares, sandals Christian Louboutin,  sunglasses Jeremy Scott  and flats Ancient Greek Sandals 

Who’s Who: Ted Gibson

If you have ever seen the American version of “What not to Wear”, probably knows Ted Gibson. He was responsible for some radical makeovers on the show but the lovely and funny hair stylist has an even more impressive portfolio: besides taking care of the looks of celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyongo and Caitlyn Jenner, he charges $ 1.500 for a haircut at his New York salon. According to him, the investment is worth because you are not only getting an amazing look but Ted’s full customer service: from shampoo to blow dry he will be pampering you for a couple of hours. Yes, everything in life comes with a price…

Besides running the salon on Fifth Ave., Ted has launched different hair brands, the most recent one is a line of styling products called Starring. He also keeps doing some editorials and training at his Academy, where in a series of workshops aspiring hair stylists can learn the tricks of the trade. In his spare time, he lobbies for an Oscar for hairdos, with a little help from his connections in Hollywood.

Not bad for a shy boy who has lived in many cities due to the father’s military duties. When the family finally settled in Texas, after stints in Germany, Hawaii and Japan, he decided to pursue his dream and help making women feel more beautiful! Good for us!

Archetypes: The Innocent

Starting this week, I will talk about each of the 12 archetypes and its application to the fashion industry. Let’s begin with the Innocent!

The Innocent is the optimist who believes in kindness, in the beauty of dreams and that everything always turns out fine. He is hopeful and aspire to live in a perfect world, with a perfect house, partner and children. In other words, his basic desire is to find Paradise.

Nevertheless, in these troubled times, paradise seems to be even further whilst our lives are in fast-forward mode, with technology interfering in all aspects of our existence – from the way we work to how we handle relationships. It is not hard to realise that those who identify with it are feeling empty, abandoned and exhausted, thus, they are longing for tools to keep optimism and innocence active.

In this sense, brands that appeal to the kindness, morality, simplicity, nostalgia and childhood, and companies who value ethics and sustainability are prone to have a high connection and engagement with Innocents. From organic products to craftsmanship and local producers, everything that surrounds tradition and an idyllic past echoes with the archetype. If you are thinking about brands that pride themselves to be sustainable, like Stella McCartney and Edun, and are manufactured using as many natural ingredients as possible, like Burt’s Bees and Neal’s Yard, you are right! They are all examples of the Innocent, in different levels.

An Innocent brand expresses optimism and ethics (not only related to environmental causes) and can also invest in the craftsmanship aspect of a product, recover traditional manufacture techniques or make nostalgic connections with infancy (observe how Stella’s ads have childhood elements, from Disney characters to lettering) to ignite a feeling of safety in the consumers’ minds. Soft colours, clean lines and a visual communication that brings peace and tranquillity are other effective resources.

Keep in mind, though, that nothing will work if the archetype’s attributes are not truly linked to the brand’s values, and if tangible actions aren’t made to awake the client’s sense of comfort and recognition. The contemporary Innocent is smart and sceptical but haven’t stopped dreaming, after all, innocence is not about reality but keeping hope alive!

Icon: Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy, later Onassis knew how powerful an image could be. Her posture, smile, delicate gestures, and of course, style, were painstakingly calculated to charm. An icon that keeps inspiring us over a half century later!

Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior. Until When?

Until a couple of years ago, I knew by heart the names of the creative directors of the main luxury brands, even at those less ‘mainstream’. I really enjoyed looking at the show pictures, learning about their professional journeys and see the evolution between each collection. Nowadays, I must confess, my interest has faded, maybe because it’s so difficult to keep up with names without a quick check on Google as the musical chair is so fast as the change of looks of those street style stars during fashion weeks.

So, before cheering the official announcement of Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, I keep asking myself how long she will last there. If she goes beyond 2 years, will reach a great mark, if she makes 5, it will be like a 25 year wedding anniversary! More than that is a life contract for the current standards… The same is applicable to Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent (or Yves Saint Laurent again?), Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga and whoever I’m forgetting but was recently appointed – Raf Simons is not officially at Calvin Klein..

I’m sure Maria Grazia will be great looking after the womenswear and accessories, combining Dior codes with her romantic style, full of historical and artistic references – something that both John Galliano and Raf did so well. However, we now have a woman’s vision, which may bring a more practical approach in the end of the day. Let’s watch this space.

In the middle of this musical chair craziness, what really bothers is the brand image dilution and a certain inconsistency feeling that can hurt the luxury market. Fashion if ephemeral and disposable, but the identity is not. When it is weakened, the consumer perceives it, feels confused and a little betrayed. Sometimes, change is positive, like in Alessandro Michele’s case at Gucci. Nevertheless, Alexander Wang brief stint at Balenciaga has contributed to the lack of impact in his collections. Even Nicholas Ghesquière hasn’t achieved the level of commotion Marc Jacobs had at Louis Vuitton. I wonder if Bouchra Jarrar, at Lanvin, and Vaccarello, at Saint Laurent, will create a legacy like their predecessors (Alber Elbaz and Hedi Slimane/Stefano Pilati)? I’m probably leaving someone out of the list, but can you see where this is going? In this Snapchat times, ensuring a brand will be understood like a movie is getting more and more challenging…