Particularly when they command big audiences, bloggers play an important role for companies who want to connect with their customers. While online journalists have long been targeted by publicists looking for exposure for particular product lines, they now play an increasingly key role in the actual creative process undertaken by fashion companies and the like.
Last August, plus-sized fashion bloggers were vocal with their disappointment when they discovered that Target would not be making plus-sized clothes easily available in their latest line. Target has often had a somewhat contentious relationship with its plus-size customers—with notable negative instances including the company’s website describing a plus-size dress as being available in “manatee gray.”
In the aftermath of the temporary boycott, three leading bloggers–Gabi Gregg, Nicolette Mason, and Chastity Garner Valentine—were contacted by Target, and asked if they were interested in helping critique a new range of plus-size clothes. During a visit to Target headquarters, they had the opportunity to comment on the new plus-size clothing line, called AVA & VIV.
“The second part of the day was spent with the designers, touring their space, and getting a physical introduction to AVA & VIV, which has [its] own dedicated design team,” Valentine blogged earlier today. “During that time I viewed the part of the collection that was ready … Although the spring line was already completed, I was still able to give feedback with hopes that it would be considered for the fall pieces as the line progresses. The feedback was well received. I’m very up-front when people ask me to give my feedback. I triple check to make sure they really want it first.”
While it’s definitely possible to view Target’s move as strictly damage control to appease opinion makers, it’s also great to see companies engaging with the online community in a constructive way. Hopefully this trend will continue.