MA Fashion Journalism student Manica Pathak discusses the masterclass series for postgraduate students in collaboration with the Condé Nast Data Research team. Exploring qualitative project lifecycles, understanding the importance of audience and quantitative research methods, students were tasked to collaborate on a 5-hour project in groups by forming their own research teams.
Partnering with the Condé Nast Data Research team, the overall aim of the masterclass was to focus on material development, fieldwork and analysis of the industry, followed by the final delivery of the task through focus group one-on-one interviews, and online surveys.
Learning: To hone and put skills into action, to execute the system around the fieldwork of qualitative and quantitative researches.
Participation: Active involvement of every team-member in the decision-making process and task execution.
Time-management: Complete the allocated tasks within the Time Frame.
Project brief facilitation by the Conde Nast Data Research team
The first session on Qualitative Project Cycle was facilitated by:
The second session on Quantitative Project Cycle was facilitated:
- Andrew Wakeford – Research Manager, Condé Nast
- Irene Sciamanna – Research Operations, Condé Nast
- Veronica Mart – Research Manager, Condé Nast
Encouraging collaboration and staging research groups
Students were divided into 4 teams and assigned to their specific break-out rooms; each team with an individual brief to work on. The first few minutes of the project allowed the students to interact amongst themselves with an ‘ice-breaker’ before dwelling on the assigned tasks for the rest of the day that included: building hypotheses, creating discussion guides, collecting feedbacks followed by the final presentation. The outlined teams commented on the following topics:
- Anna: What makes a Brand ‘Luxury’ in 2021?
- Edward: Fashion Students engaging with Fashion During Pandemic.
- Emmanuelle: Role of Influencers and how it has evolved.
- Mitsuko: What do Fashion Students want from Vogue Editorial Content during/Post COVID- Era?
Qualitative and Quantitative Research Findings
The outcome of the team’s finding from both the researches concluded that Luxury in itself is an ‘experience’ that revolves around quality and being a part of the heritage.
Further probes revealed that the pandemic has witnessed a major shift to ‘realness’ and that it is becoming of luxury brands to hone such opportunities and sensibly collaborate with Artist/Brands.
There was a unanimous belief that churned out from the interviews and surveys that it was a collective need for Brands to engage with Social and Environmental issues like Sustainability and delivering not just their Heritage but also the way they will be shaped in the future.
The team members discovered that people had resorted to social media as their main platform for consumption of news, political Issues, and even fashion updates. The seamless experience of shopping provided by platforms like Instagram due to the pandemic had urged people to shop more. This provoked people to ponder over the fact that they might be shopping online out of boredom and not because of necessity.
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The team members illustrated the insights gathered around the role of Influencers and their evolution. Aspects such as ‘inauthenticity and ‘ false beliefs’ seemed to froth out amongst all the participants. Results reflected that the audience resonated more with authentic beliefs and avert from unattainable portrayals of lifestyles. With the pandemic highlighting needs for authenticity, consumers appreciate when influencers stand for social and environmental causes and promote smaller brands that truly want to make a difference in the world.
As a beacon of trust and credible knowledge, Vogue binds its readers together as a medium of inspiration and is acknowledged as a ‘trendsetter’. Interviews and surveys began to see the daylight when respondents had similar views regarding the initial Hypothesis that revolved around keywords such as education, entertainment, and engagement. Audiences seek engagement through educational and diversified topics such as mental and physical health, social and environmental issues, etc. Among the most popular opinions, digitalization was perceived as a medium that can be harnessed by using different platforms.
Concluding the informative experience with industry experts
To summarise it all, the results built a profound sense of Awareness that the Pandemic has ushered. Keywords like sustainability, authenticity, digitalisation, diversification, and innovation took up the bulk in all of the topics. It urges Brands and People to take a moment and create a manifesto around the new world that the Pandemic will bring in and how we could participate in changing it.
By Manica Pathak, MA Fashion Journalism