Fashion marketing symposium hosted at Madison College

Tara Olivia Martens, Staff Writer

Fashion meeting technology was the subject at the first annual Fashion Marketing and Technology Symposium put on by the Madison College Entrepreneurship Center on April 18 at the Truax campus. The morning program consisted of eight representatives within the Wisconsin district, including DSG Outerwear, Lands’ End, Brandi’s Bridal Galleria, Etc., Zodiac Perfumery, Tom James, Kohl’s, Shopbop and LOFT. 

Some of the fashion-based companies work primarily with local clients, while others have clients on an international scale.

Founder and designer of Zodiac Perfumery and Madison College Graduate, Kristi Moe, told the story about how she began her career in fashion. For Moe, it began by working for the largest apparel manufacturer company in the world. Though it gave Moe experience, Moe admits that she “hated it.”

Moe eventually founded Wisconsin Fashion Week which transformed business from “very corporate to very creative.” Attention was on Indy designers and her own brand- sourcing, packaging, and live sales on QVC TV. Zodiac Perfumery will open its first store in Monroe on May 5.

Fashion marketing is a quickly changing venue on social media and social media has more to do with creating customer relationships and understanding and “speaking” in the language of its audience.  The days of drawing of tempting shoppers with 20-40 percent are not as appealing to millennial clientele. The current online shopping experience is intended to show more visuals and limitless options and combinations of how their fashionable purchases can be used and reused in fresh new way.

Within Madison’s fashion marketing scene, very little surpasses ShopBop. Though the original Madison Shopbop store closed in 2014, the company is owned by Amazon and is a warehouse that ships high-end apparel to over 165 countries. 

The Madison Shopbop warehouse provides thousands of jobs related to tech services, web design and customer service. The warehouse includes an in-house studio where models are photographed for online advertisement. 
Shopbop representative Anne Ritter is a Madison College graduate who began her work at Shopbop in 2014. Ritter manages the damaged items resale store available only to Shopbop employees. Ritter describes social media as “a game changer…I used to go to the mall with friends, but now I scroll online.”

If there was one take away at the symposium, it is that fashion and marketing will continue to have an ever-changing face because of the newest forms of online marketing presence. More information about fashion marketing can be found at Madison College School of Business and Applied Arts.