Most Brazilian fashion magazines are pricey, making the web an excellent alternative medium for a wider fashion curious audience. A walk around Fashion Rio and São Paulo Fashion Week illustrate the growing influence of the genre, with ever-increasing numbers of lounge rooms hosted by websites that want to nest its reporting team, receive interview guests and host sponsor parties. As the Digital Age races on throughout the world, we take a look at the revolutionary impact on Brazil.
With eight years under her belt, journalist Erika Palomino is a veteran of the medium, boasting more than one million hits on her website during the fashion weeks. Along with Gloria Kalil, they were the pioneer fashion reporters who migrated from paper to pixels early on. For Palomino, 2009 promises still greater progress. “We want to transform the website into a portal, embracing blogs and friend websites. We also want to amplify the new technologies spectrum, specially the video reports and in-motion fashion editorials, that, for me, are the greatest trends right now,” she says. Another journalist that has been monitoring and participating of the web phenomenon in Brazil is Lula Rodrigues, whose website offers the most complete archive on menswear—a passion that also evolved into a menswear almanac to be launched this year. Similarly multimedia-minded Lilian Pacce is responsible for disseminating fashion on cable TV, and recently joined the web and a lounge room in Fashion Rio.
Though not yet famous on the Rio-São Paulo circuit, Catarina is a promising independent fashion platform based in Florianópolis. The first organization to transmit the Paris and London fashion shows on an open national TV channel, Catarina now has a website, TV program and magazine, all while trying to incorporate the national blogosphere into their media. “We need to use the new media in our favor in order to communicate to an even wider audience,” says founder Patricia Lima. True to this sentiment, Catarina recently published an editorial of street style pics of people around the world sent in by the social networking site LookBook, and, during next SPFW, worldwide bloggers will post their opinions on the collections by watching Catarina’s videos. Next Up? “Heading towards mobile media and social networking,” says Lima.
In the Brazilian blogsphere, top blogs such as Fora de Moda, Camila Yahn, Oficina de Estilo, About Fashion and Hypercool gather strong content and promote deep discussion on Brazilian fashion. Cris Gabrielli and Fê Resende’s Oficina de Estilo, for instance, has an average of 50,000 unique viewers every month and is known for great styling tips as well as a monthly “Encontrinho,” an event where they meet offline with other bloggers and readers. Alexandra Farrah’s Filme Fashion is also a famous blog that’s embraced web technologies from Twitter to web videos, podcasting and flickr. This tight connection and inner-dialog gets the attention of advertisers, which can, at times, be a double-edged sword. “I don’t want to loose my independent view,” admits Fora de Moda’s Ricardo Oliveros, who created a special space for ads so as not to interfere with his posts.
Though web advertising gets a timid slice from brand budgets these days, companies such as Rexona, Diesel and Brastemp are increasing their investments in the sector. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau Brazil, the web got 3.5% of the whole advertisement budget this year. Camila Yahn’s blog was sponsored by Rexona last year, while home appliance brand Brastemp invested in a web TV show during Casas de Criadores, a new generation fashion show. The brand hired Palomino, Rodrigues and Maria Prata (fashion editor of Vogue Brazil and a blogger on her own PrataPorter) to create short web videos for Casa dos Criadores TV.
Indeed, web videos are in the plans and pages of most brazilian fashion blogs and websites. Recently debuting a lounge room in Fashion Rio, Gema TV is one of the most talked about destination sites. Created by stylist José Camarano, Gema is a creative collective that covers Brazilian and international fashion events in a light, ironic and funny way.
Radar55 is following the steps of the US’s Daily Candy. Created by Vogue journalist Juliana Mota, Radar55 offers daily newsletters with local tips for Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasilia and Porto Alegre. With an audience of 40,000 e-mails, Radar55 is starting to explore new areas and, recently, launched an e-commerce store. “We were caught by surprise and, since our start, every month the sales increased around 20%,” reveals Mota.
Such growth reflects a positive moment in Brazil’s fashion focused media and although the economic crisis still feels like the most talked about trend, the web boom signals a promising road ahead.