What better way to market clothing to teens than to get them to design their own fashions?
The girls division of Orange County-based O’Neill Clothing recently held its third-annual Generation Next, “a night of fashion and music,” this time relocated from Laguna Beach to Los Angeles.
It was equal parts Project Runway, rock concert, nightclub, and high school pep rally. Streamed live on the O’Neill Girls Facebook page, the evening featured a live performance by the retro girl group The Like, followed by the dramatic announcement of the fashion contest winner.
Consumers as Product Designers
With aspiring teenage fashion designers presenting their creations to their friends, it was a prime example of what Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and other social marketers might describe as “consumers marketing to themselves”. Others might call it user-generated content or some other fancy term.
Five finalists were chosen from local high schools and spent six months learning the business from an O’Neill mentor. Each developed a dress and accessories while learning graphic design, merchandising, manufacturing and marketing as part of the process. Their work culminated in the fashion show competition held at Avalon Hollywood (formerly The Palace) across from Capitol Records on October 9.
Voting by Texting
Based on the results of live text-message voting from the 1200 or so people in attendance, Monica Santos from Rosary High School in Fullerton won for her original dress and handbag designs. The grand prize included a $5,000 scholarship, a design internship at O’Neill, publication of her work in Teen Vogue magazine, plus a new O’Neill wardrobe. On top of that, Monica’s winning designs will be sold at PacSun stores as part of O’Neill’s Spring 2011 collection.
The evening was hosted by celebrity stylist and designer Soyon An, known for her Emmy-winning work on So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, and for Carrie Underwood.
Other contestants included Taylor Castro of JFK High School in Anaheim, Brianna Elce from Torrance High School, Alee Ramirez of El Modena High School, and Danielle Torres from Eagle Rock High School.
While the votes were being tabulated, The Like rocked the house with songs from their latest album “Release Me.” A few highlights from the show are included below. Video of the whole event, including the fashion and concert, is available at the O’Neill Girls page on Facebook.
Congratulations to Monica for her winning designs, and to O’Neill for connecting with their customers in such a compelling way.
Who else do you know who’s effectively using not only consumer-generated advertising, but consumer-created product designs?