More marketers strutting their stuff at L’Oréal Fashion Week

Every show this week is kicking off with a model clad in a revamped UPS uniform - and that's just one of the ways 'butch' brands are sharing the limelight this year.

When an event promises attendance of at least 30,000 over a week of glamorous, in-crowd activities – plus copious TV coverage – it shouldn’t be a surprise to find major marketers getting in on the action. Still, it is a bit of a shock to find UPS, ParaPaint and Ford cheek by jowl with skinny models in scanty outfits.

When this year’s semi-annual fashion extravaganza L’Oréal Fashion Week got underway yesterday in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, it didn’t take long for a non-couture brand to make its presence known. In fact, the first designer’s show kicked off with a model strutting in a UPS uniform – albeit a version revamped by a fashion star. Every subsequent runway session was set to follow suit.

Why did UPS choose this kind of brand exposure? Company communications manager Cristina Falcone tells MiC its LFW sponsorship ‘is part of a larger initiative of other fashion sponsorships that span the globe. As the company responsible for bringing together hundreds of thousands of yards of fabric to the fashion industry, UPS understands the importance of shipping and supply chain management to the fashion industry.’ UPS is Fashion Week’s official courier.

Additionally, Falcone says, ‘UPS is also the sponsor of Canadian designer Common Cloth. At its Oct. 24 show, an installation will promote the UPS brand, products and services, using customer examples to showcase our key role in the fashion industry and global trade.’ She adds that UPS commercials are being featured on outdoor and indoor screens during Fashion Week.

And then there’s ParaPaint, whose assistant brand manager, Johanna McLellan, tells us that ‘the pairing of ParaPaint with LFW makes the perfect match, since paint is colour, colour is about fashion, and ParaPaint is a leader in creating colour trends.’ She adds that her company’s ‘entire marketing strategy is based on fashion and emphasizes how paint and fashion are tied together.’ A brochure entitled ‘What walls will be wearing,’ which is being distributed at LFW, ‘plays on the connection with fashion, using cheeky, fashion language with verbiage like ‘haute peinture,” says McLellan.

Among other interactive happenings at Fashion Week is a massive canvas called ‘Who are you wearing?’ Presented by ParaPaint, it invites attendees to use six of the company’s newest shades to create a piece of art for display in future Fashion Week outings. As well, Para created and is maintaining a first for LFW this year: a completely white runway. It’s also helping enliven the event by having body-painted models distribute gifts from branded containers.

Ford of Canada’s presence marks the company’s fourth consecutive year of participation in the fashion show. ‘Ford is always looking for new and interesting ways to connect with consumers, and LFW provides this opportunity,’ explains Reg Modjeski, manager, partnerships and events.

He adds that the company is repeating the ‘Taking Style to the Edge’ contest it introduced at this spring’s L’Oreal Fashion Week, which attracted almost 4,000 online voters. Their votes determined which designers would concoct the outfits Ford mannequins are sporting this week as they host an installation featuring a Ford Edge. The contest is being repeated this time around, ‘with the Ford Edge as the muse for Canadian fashion designers,’ Modjeski explains. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and the opportunity to design uniforms for Ford to use in upcoming auto shows and similar events.