Sunday, 25 September 2011

Brazilian fashion bloggers land in London

There were plenty of highlights during London Fashion Week this season, but I wasn’t expecting this: to meet Brazilian fashion entrepreneur Alice Ferraz. Alice runs Ferraz Moda, a luxury brand agency in Brazil with clients including Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Issa London. But we met in London last week to discuss her latest venture, F Hits*, a platform for 26 Brazilian fashion bloggers. She is now scouting for number 27 and wants this one to be from London.

“I remember being front row at Calvin Klein’s catwalk show in New York Fashion Week five years ago and being asked to move to make room for someone. I didn’t know who she was, but remember thinking that she must have been important. It turned out she was a blogger,” Alice tells me, the moment that led to the creation of F Hits*. “But it’s only really in the last two years that bloggers have become important in Brazil.”
F Hits* currently attracts 3.5 million unique users and her target is to reach 5 million by the end of the year. It’s ambitious, but so is Alice, and the criteria for a blogger to join her platform is tough. The blog needs to notch up 10,000 hits per day.
Such is the strength of Alice’s business and contacts book that she managed to get TAM Airlines to sponsor 15 of her bloggers to come to London during fashion week (pictured, with Alice in the middle wearing the floor length, printed dress). Not only that, she set up meetings for them with the likes of Net-a-Porter, Selfridges and Liberty. “It wasn’t difficult to organise,” she shrugs.
As well as the 10,000 hits, Alice is looking for “another point of view, someone different and avant-garde” in her London blogger.
And what’s in it for the blogger? A percentage of the advertising revenue (although Alice won’t tell me what that percentage is…) and exposure in a market that the rest of the world is watching.
Alice insists that her bloggers are – and always will be – free to express their opinions, regardless of upsetting a brand. “They are very critical and that’s good. They love to criticise celebrities, too.”
For Alice, the role of the fashion blogger in Brazil and technology as a whole will only grow in importance, much like the country itself, and she wasn’t all that impressed with Tom Ford's top-secret strategy at London Fashion Week, where only a handful of fashion editors were invited to his presentation. Photos, tweets and immediate reporting on the collection with product information was banned. “It’s never going to work,” she says of Ford’ insistence on protecting fashion’s traditional two-season (and arguably elitist) cycle. Burberry, by contrast, tweeted pictures of its models so that the public saw the looks from its spring 12 show before the front row - a democratic move. “He’s trying to protect [fashion] too much."