Nanette Lepore: How These 20-Somethings Are Shaping Her Fashion Label

Posted Wednesday September 25, 2013 4:50 PM GMT

Nanette Lepore isn’t taking the usual route when it comes to branding her company. She’s putting it in the hands of 20-somethings.

The Ohio-born designer relies on what she calls a “Brand Squad” to give her fashion label a voice in the digital world. While some CEOs might be wary to trust a young team of "ragtag employees" to spearhead the conversation surrounding a leading name in contemporary American fashion, not Lepore. She recognizes the influence social media has in the 21st century, and generation Y as her ticket to the next level of success.

“I can’t keep up with what’s happening on the Internet and with digital media,” she admits. “But I understand that in order to be pertinent to this world right now, you have to have an online presence.”

By enlisting a team of “kids” who already “speak the language,” she hopes to forge a cohesive message via social media that sets her brand apart from its competitors..

We went inside the design studio to talk with Nanette about her fashion-forward approach to digital media, and caught up with the Brand Squad to find out how they’re shaping the face of Nanette Lepore in cyberspace. Watch the video below and read on for highlights from the interview.

Nanette Lepore on the start of her fashion label:
When I started my brand over 20 years ago, every single item of clothing I made had to have something really special about it, even if it was just one tiny little detail. I felt like everything I did had to have an element that made you need it because it didn’t look like anything else you had.

Nanette Lepore on the Brand Squad:
The Brand Squad is a group of sharp, great, younger employees that I put together in order to create cohesion in the branding, and to really bring it into the 21st century. A lot of what I perceive of 21st century branding has a lot to do with feeling very hand-crafted, so we’re keeping it in-house and amongst some great young employees to feel that it has that crafted Nanette stamp on it.

Jimmy Lepore Hagan, Director of Digital Media, on the make up of the Brand Squad:
There’s this new thing going on — everybody knows it’s happening — but it’s very, very difficult to identify. The people who can really identify it are the ones who speak that language. Our Brand Squad is a ragtag group of kids and it consists of a social media phenom, an 18-year-old blogger from India and a rising star in the digital media world, an earthy Oregon expat artist, a put-together PR professional, and an art history dude taking Instagrams — that’s me.

Jocelyn Mak, Director of Public Relations, on 21st century branding:
Designers used to care mostly about print and TV placements. Now it’s about Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest — all these social media channels really play into how girls get to know your brand, recognize it and keep it in their minds. Who better to take charge of this than the people we’re going after?

Nanette Lepore on social media:
You can get your message out — you don’t have to wait for a certain magazine to pick you and put you in the 'wow' stories. We have more options and pathways to getting our message out to people, and this is what I find is so exciting about this whole new world of digital media.

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