Designer Yansi Fugel has taken on the identity of a fashion editor named Ella Branford. The character is one of three fictional avatars created as a digital tactic to promote her new travel line, Travel Jersey. In September, the avatars, including the editor, a widower, and a zoologist, will provide information on the line's different pieces and looks, as well as a travel itinerary, as inspired by the avatars' destinations.
Fugel will introduce the fantasy avatar and travel itinerary concept first in her pre-design line sheets and then live on a new e-commerce site slated to launch in February. She hopes the site will allow for cross-marketing opportunities with the businesses listed in the avatars’ travel itineraries. Currently, Fugel’s internal PR team is conducting media outreach for the concept, participating in the trade show Expose, and showing five washable looks in the Tide-sponsored Style 360 fashion show.
When asked in a recent interview how she would define the initiative in terms of marketing or PR, Fugel said, “It’s not anything that’s driven by print media. It’s new in terms of being [part of] the digital era.”
While those dipping their toes in the new media landscape continue to debate about who owns digital - PR, advertising, social media firms, etc. - it’s especially hard for the fashion folks, even those who, like Fugel, are working in the space, to hear “PR” and not associate it with the pre-conceived duties of a publicist or traditional outreach.
Fugel never directly associated the concept with PR, but she explained, “It’s about the product and what we’re doing. I think it’s interesting from a PR perspective because it’s new and different.”
It sure sounds like PR to me, even if the designer herself, as opposed to her internal PR team, came up with the idea.