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Fashion Week

PeopleAbinta Malik, SVP, Gap OnlineComment

Zanna Roberts Rassi, blogger Liz Nunan and her sister Jill

I just got my dream job, working with the communications team at Gap Inc. headquartered in San Francisco. I’ve got to admit, working in a company where the lunchroom is packed with fashionistas (more than 70% women) can be intimidating. So, I decided I needed to do some research so I don’t stand staring at my closet for hours each morning.

Off to New York we went… me and my sister that is.  Jill and I decided to take a little time off, take on “Fashion Week” and soak up some wardrobe inspiration.

Everywhere we went, we saw Spring trends. The barista in the coffee shop was sporting cuffed jeans that even made her apron look cool, our chic waitress paired a loose cardigan with black skinny cargo pants and some chunky heels, and almost every girl we saw was wearing black opaque tights. OK, I can do this.

Since you need to be invited to all of the big shows during Fashion Week, we bought tickets to a show featuring up-and-coming designers. Their collections were spectacular. After checking out all the designs, we had the opportunity to meet with Zanna Roberts Rassi, senior fashion editor at Marie Claire Magazine (btw – in the photo, that’s Zanna on the left, me in the middle and Jill on the right). And what we talked about may surprise you. We talked about “tech” and how the fashion industry is being impacted by the iPad. According to Zanna, the popularity of the iPad and other interactive handheld devices has given the fashion industry the opportunity to think outside of tangible glossy magazine pages and think more virtually.

For example, Marie Claire recently launched an app for the iPad that allows users to get a 360 degree view of the magazine’s storyboards so readers can see a complete view of each outfit instead of just the front or just the back. And direct click and buy makes for instant gratification. Another fun tidbit from our chat with Zanna – the most popular page of Marie Claire is “Splurge vs. Steal,” a page where M.C. editors take a “look” from the runway and show shoppers how to create the same “look” for less.  She demonstrates this on page 82 of the March issue with this Banana Republic cardigan.

I haven’t even begun to dive into all the ways my new employer is using technology to communicate, market, and sell. Baby steps. I’m still trying to figure out what to wear in the morning. And at least now, I have a bit of inspiration. Although now, I need an iPad.