The Millennial Ideology: Keynote with Refinery29’s CEO at #SMWNYC

Through the rise of social networks and smartphones, the Millennial ideology has transformed communication, making instantaneous, raw, and constant contact the norm. The ability to connect with anyone, anywhere has created a global information network and universal ideology that hasn’t existed until now and provided a unique opportunity for media companies to scale and reach a global audience at an extreme pace.

Philippe von Borries, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of lifestyle media company Refinery29, will discuss the advantages and challenges that this new landscape presents. He’ll lay out concrete examples of how Refinery29 is capitalizing on this moment through its recent global expansion plans, and how the Millennial ideology has powered Refinery29’s strategy of creating relevant, timely content that fosters deep connections with audiences around the globe.

Click here to get your pass and attend Philippe’s session. Join us at SMW New York on Friday, February 26th at 9:30AM on the FWD Stage at The TimesCenter for “The Millennial Ideology, With Co-Founder And Co-CEO of Refinery29, Philippe von Borries”.

About Philippe von Borries

Philippe von Borries is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Refinery29, the leading digital media company for millennial-minded women with a loyal following of over 25 million. The company has grown to over 300 employees and expanded beyond its style roots to speak to a broad range of topics from pop culture to health to politics across multiple platforms around the world.

At Refinery29, Philippe leads the content, product and marketing teams, and drives the company’s strategic vision including global expansion and video strategy. Click here to read his full bio, and learn more about Philippe.

Want to attend SMW New York this February 22-26, and join thousands of industry leaders across marketing, media and technology?

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Image Credit: Digiday

Attendee Spotlight: Shirley Yang, Director, Social Strategy & Product at StyleHaul, Shares Her Top Picks For #SMWNYC

With a passion for emerging technology, mobile and social media, Social Media Week attendees always strive to understand and share what’s next. This February, we’re excited to explore “Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of The Connected Class” throughout the conference, and what this theme represents from today until 2022, when six billion individuals will be connected to each other online. The sessions you won’t want to miss feature leading companies sharing their top strategies and predictions of what’s happening, and what’s to come.

To help you discover the best of Social Media Week New York, we asked a few of our attendees to share their top picks for events, talks and masterclasses taking place throughout the week. Below, Shirley Yang, Director, Social Strategy & Product at StyleHaul, gives us a look at the events she’s most excited for:

  1. Data On FLEEK: Storytelling Based on Facts
    “Data is the new key to storytelling and reporting. The traditional metrics of reach and engagement are quantity metrics, the industry needs to look deeper into quality metrics such as sentiment and consumer intent. I hope to gather additional qualitative insights from this session.”
  2. The New DIY – Drones, Makers, and Bots: A Fireside Chat with Martha Stewart and CEO of The Barbarian Group, Sophie Kelly
    “I attended Martha’s Shriek or Chic premiere last October and have never been more captivated by the inspiration she provides to the maker community. Also, how can I miss a drone jousting competition?!”
  3. Why 2015 Will be the Year of Social Video
    “Social video is a huge part of what StyleHaul does from both a brand and campaign strategy perspective. We have been experimenting with both Facebook and Twitter native video features and have seen success in driving to long form YouTube videos, which is often where our anchor content lives. Look forward to hearing effective measurement and analysis techniques for these native strategies.”
  4. Stop Calling Them Social Media Influencers: MTV’s Pioneering Efforts with New Form Talent
    “We have been working with ‘influencers’ for the past several years, interesting to see large media companies transition from working with traditional celebs to searching for talent in the social space. I look forward to compare and contrast the ways in which we work with such talents.”
  5. Bitcoin & The Future of Currency: Challenges, Strategies and Predictions
    “I’ve always been fascinated by Bitcoins and have friends who are innovators in the space. Overstock is the first large retailer to accept Bitcoins, interesting to hear how they’ve been so bullish and what impacts the virtual currency has on their platform so far. “
  6. Custom Content: How Publishers and Instagrammers Are Leading Campaigns for Brands
    “Creating branded content through social media is at the core of StyleHaul’s business. It’s very important to balance authenticity of creators and brand messaging. There are also new distribution channels to fuel this ecosystem, including native advertising. Look forward to the speakers’ take on the subject!”

Get your pass today, and join us and our partners for what will be an extraordinary week of exploring our upwardly mobile, connected world.

About Shirley Yang

Shirley heads up social media for StyleHaul’s global presence, leading social campaigns for brands and revenue products leveraging the power of YouTube stars. Previous campaigns include Destination Beauty launch with L’OREAL Paris at the Emmys, Web Therapy original series starring Lisa Kudrow aired on ShowTime with a launch on StyleHaul YouTube channel first. StyleHaul is the leading beauty & fashion multi platform network with over 5,000 channels on YouTube in 61 countries and over 19 billion network video views.

Shirley has a passion in tech and entrepreneurship, she is also a startup mentor at Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerators here in NYC. You can find Shirley on Twitter @scyshirley.

Where Fashion And Technology Collide: A Talk With Meredith Kopit Levien, New York Times

After a flirtation that lasted over a decade, 2014 was the year when fashion and technology finally got hitched. Fashion labs incubated new approaches to shopping and design and technology realized that fashion is not so superficial when it can be used to make innovations like Google Glass desirable. It’s a marriage that showcases technology in a way that takes advantage of what fashion does best – inspire desire.

On Thursday February 26, Meredith Levien of the New York Times will invite a renown CEO from the luxury fashion industry (to be announced) to discuss how fashion is putting sexy back into technology and how technology is making fashion smarter.

Check out the latest lineup of speakers and events here, then get excited to join us for a week you won’t forget. Grab your pass to get full access to SMWNYC!

The Age of the Conscious Consumer: Soraya Darabi & Maxine Bédat of ZADY Join SMW NYC

Zady, Fashion, Soraya Dorabi

Gone are the days when tech isn’t glamorous. Honored as two of the most fashionable people in tech, Soraya Darabi and Maxine Bédat are merging the two fields. Founding, they have created a shopping platform for socially conscious fashion consumers. With the goal of doing what Whole Foods has done for the organic food movement, ZADY is helping consumers know exactly where their products come from and make more informed choices. And they’re going about it pretty impressively. ZADY is the first online retailer to merge commerce, media and social media into a smooth and dynamic shopping experience. You hear the story of what you’re buying and the behind the craftmanship.

How did it come about? Soraya and Maxine have been long time friends and share a passion for socially conscious endeavors. Maxine is founder of The Bootstrap Project, where 5% of proceeds from ZADY purchases are designated to helping artisans. Maxine and Soraya merged their backgrounds to create something amazing.

Soraya has long been a strong player in the tech sector. Starting out as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, she transformed the NYT into a digital global news leader and taught journalists and chief executives alike how to best use and leverage social media. Think it’s overblown? Renowned Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credits her as being “the only reason why he has [millions] of followers on Twitter.”

Soraya also served time helping launch, followed by Foodspotting. And she’s a regular feature on the tech scene’s listicles, being included in Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Brandweek’s “Hot Digital,” Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” and AdAge’s “25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter.”

“It’s all part of the movement of the ‘conscious consumer.’ In the past decade, our collective buying decisions put enough pressure on the food industry to make major waves in revolutionizing it. We’ve opened our pantries for examination and have demanded better — now is the time to open our overflowing closets. We’ll look and feel better if we do.”

Co-founder Maxine (Kaye) Bédat is another trailblazer. Maxine brings to the table an impressive background in diplomacy and the United Nations. In addition, Maxine is the force behind The Bootstrap Project, an organization dedicated to changing the lives of artisans in developing countries. The Bootstrap Project was borne out Maxine’s experience in Tanzania for the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It was there that Maxine broadened her understanding of economic development in underdeveloped nations.

In a powerful example, Maxine shares a story from her travels in Swaziland. There, she met Thembenkile, a local craftswoman who made beautiful, meticulously carved wooden dishes. The trade had been passed down through Thembenkile’s family, from father to father to her. When Maxine inquired why she stopped passing down this legacy, the response resonated: “No one will buy my things,” Thembenkile said. “My people can only pay for plastic that comes to us from far away, so my kids don’t have a reason to learn.” Thus, The Bootstrap Project was born.

We’re thrilled to have this dynamic duo taking the stage this February. Grab your pass to join us here.

Social Style: Fashion Brands Put Their Best Digital Heel Forward

Luxury fashion brands face the challenge of maintaining a particularly delicate balance in the social space: sustaining an aura of exclusivity while simultaneously enhancing accessibility.

Social media allows brands such as DKNY and Tory Burch to reach a wider audience of not only current consumers but also brand adorers and prospective purchasers — those who might not be able to afford the products now but still deeply admire the brand and aspire to purchase in the future.

Many fashion brands are successfully utilizing social media to provide brand loyalists with rich content that enhances and extends the brand experience for both current and future consumers. Twitter and Facebook allow brands to communicate with devoted followers who can amplify the brand’s message through their own networks. Perhaps a credit to its core nature as a highly adaptive and creative field, fashion is paving the way in experimenting with more robust channels and innovative content.

Luxury brands are now leading the way in many aspects of the social space, and their efforts are not going unrecognized.

As we consider social innovation in 2012, it is worth taking a closer look at what fashion brands are doing in this space. This year’s third annual Style Coalition Fashion 2.0 Awards, which perfectly align with not only Social Media Week but also New York Fashion Week, honors the luxury brands who are getting it right in social media.

Forward-thinking brands such as DKNY and Oscar de la Renta are best-in-class examples of community building and innovation and platforms such as Pinterest and Pose (as well as some up-and-coming platforms such as Stylitics) are becoming valuable tools for engaging with brand advocates in new ways.

Social media will continue to evolve as consumers continue to expect more interaction and engagement with their favorite brands and products. The fashion industry is putting its best foot forward in the digital space. As new platforms and strategies continue to flourish, the brands that will be most successful in 2012 are those that are able to carefully select the methods, tools, and platforms that align with their brand voice, message, and consumer base.

Isabella Josefsberg lives in New York City and works in digital advertising. She also writes on social media, tech, and fashion at You can follow her on Twitter at @IsabellaRachel.


“I don’t do fashion, I am fashion!”

A quarterly catalog, advertisements in the New York Times, and socialites in the front row of fashion shows ain’t cutting it anymore and fashion brands have taken note. In order to stay relevant, brands have to go where their consumers spend most of their time, where they shop, and where they speak to their friends: online.

The title of this blog post was said by none other than the grandmother of chic, Coco Chanel. Those words are truer today then ever before. During Madame Chanel’s time fashion was a luxury enjoyed by the elite. They had the prestige, pedigree, and money to indulge in the decadent lifestyle of high fashion. The exclusivity of fashion continued well into the 21st century until social media came into the picture.

Coco Chanel

Social media has become the great equalizer of the industry. A stay-at-home mom living in the Midwest can log on to Twitter and follow OscarPRgirl (Oscar de La Renta’s Communications Director) to get the latest scoop on dresses, parties, and events just as easily and quickly as an heiress in New York City. The veil of mystery has officially been lifted.

Fashion brands have learned that they need to create a highly curated space where they are able to create their voice and personality. This space enables consumers feel that they are a part of the community and appreciated. They have created a home where new and old customers feel comfortable expressing a range of emotions from unabashed joy to complete dissatisfaction. By encouraging and promoting an open dialogue with anyone, from anywhere, these brands have the opportunity to build a relationship built on loyalty and trust.

Speaking about the role social media, the CMO of Tory Burch, Miki Berardelli, says “We’ve brought in all the content into the shopping experience so that the customer can explore and connect with the brand while they’re browsing product.” Consumers today are encouraged to embrace, connect with, and embody fashion brands. Long gone are the days when it was acceptable to look in from the sidelines and fantasize.

In today’s world, consumers from all walks of life are walking into fashions kitchen, pulling up a chair, and having a coffee and chat. Coco Chanel said it first, but today more and more woman can say it with pride: “I don’t do fashion, I am fashion!”

Can you think of any industries where social media has played the role of the great equalizer?

Sutanya Dacres is a brand consultant currently living in New York City and is convinced she was a Parisienne in a former life.

Fashion Goes Social at #SMWNYC

Orli Sharaby is a Senior Social Marketing Strategist, Lifestyle at 360i. You can follow her on Twitter @orlibeth.

The fashion industry isn’t generally known for being on the cutting edge of technology, communication and media, so it was an interesting scene at last night’s Social Media Week panel The Devil Wears Prada and Tweets About It, as well as the subsequent Digital Divas party. While undoubtedly the best dressed crowd so far (though the week is still young!), it was clear from the panel discussion and audience questions that the fashion industry is still grappling with how to adapt to today’s changing media landscape and consumption habits.

The panel and party were hosted by Emily Gannett of, Peg Samuel of Social Diva, Yuli Ziv of My It Things and Rachel Sklar of Mediaite.

The discussion was led by moderator Andrew Cedotal of Mediaite and the soon to be launched Styleite, and panelists were:

Conversation topics focused on the small (how can an aspiring designer use social to compete?) to the large (is luxury dead?) and even included a little eye rolling (was Tavi’s hat too big?). Here’s a sampling of the best nuggets from the night (note: all commentary below is paraphrased, and does not represent actual direct quotations by panelists).

On aspiring designers using social media to promote themselves:

Yuli: It’s easy for designers to build a fan base online, but fashion is not adapting to the potential of social media platforms like music has. Possibly because they still have this fear of being copied or having their ideas stolen.

On ensuring that the talented ones, and not the “Tila Tequilas,” will rise to the top:

Orli: Social media is a natural weeding system, where true talent will be recognized. Also, established design houses can and should use social to source their talent, which ensures the integrity of designers and stylists who rise to the top in this way.

Yuli: People will not last in the fashion world unless you actually have talent, and unless you are creating things that people want to buy, because fashion fans will not stand for it.

On the value of creativity and uniqueness:

Yuli: The real path to success for aspiring designers is for the designer to focus on their identity and making something unique and different.

Deirdre: Big brand days are over, people want luxurious unique design. Something with good craftsmanship. A clear branding message and identity is important early on.

Orli: Etsy is a good example of how this can play out extremely successfully, the fashion industry has yet to see major success in this area but it’s a huge opportunity.

On the changing definition of luxury in today’s world, especially as knockoffs are so readily available:

Yuli: Bottom line, brands need to educate the public on what they are buying. People are more interested now in where and how their products are made, and small and luxury designers can capitalize on that by educating consumers.

Orli: If a brand is scared of educating its customers, they have a bigger problem.

Yuli: Social is a great medium for putting yourself out there and letting consumers know exactly why luxury matters.

Deirdre: Dedicated fans talk to each other online and through this conversation they weed out the lesser quality items.

On blogger integrity and the grey line between journalism, PR and marketing:

Yuli: As a blogger, I have a new policy that I don’t accept gifts from brands. The brands need to be responsible when it comes to gifting and not make bloggers feel uncomfortable.

Orli: Traditional media, especially magazines, have been deceiving consumers for decades by not being clear about the gifts, products and incentives they receive, and by graying the line between advertisements and content. Bloggers are actually more transparent, not less.

On what is missing right now in fashion & social media, and what the current leaders could be doing better:

Deirdre: Conde Nast should invest in technology. They have the voice, but aren’t using it to move forward into social media.

Yuli: There is not currently a successful social network for the entire fashion industry and fashion consumers, which is a miss. Also, the link to the commerce aspect is completely missing from editorial.

On bloggers in the front row of fashion shows:

Orli: The recent front row appearance of bloggers at the Dior show was nothing more than a PR stunt, they did it for the news. They’re not forming authentic, lasting relationships with these bloggers which is unfortunate.

Yuli: Those bloggers were in the front row because of celebrity status, no different than inviting Penelope Cruz to sit in your front row.

Andrew: If I were a designer, it would make more sense for me to invite the blogger who’s built up a half million person a month readership from scratch, than to invite the assistant editor of a magazine with the same circulation. Obviously the blogger who’s built it from scratch is going to be better at promoting your brand.


As we look forward, 2010 has the opportunity to be a major turning point for the fashion industry in social media. With so few fashion and luxury brands having the entered the space in earnest, and so few of the major publications/media companies investing heavily right now, there’s an apparent white space just waiting to be filled. It will be exciting to see who rises to the occasion and who is left in the dust – and how that might impact what’s on the racks and in the closets of tomorrow.