Clique Brands is continuing to identify ways to use College Fashionista to poach new brands while luring Gen-Z readers to the rest of the Clique portfolio.
College Fashionista — which was acquired by Clique in 2016 — has gone from what was essentially a fashion blog to a full-fledged media site that covers fashion, beauty, lifestyle and career-related topics. For Clique, the acquisition was key to its quest to reach younger people, building upon recent investments like the social media–centric platform Obsessee.
Now, to appeal to advertisers seeking to reach Gen-Z, Clique has its sights set on events. College Fashionista just wrapped its second CF Clubhouse, a summer education and networking program for students getting into the fashion industry.
Clique CEO Katherine Power said events like CF Clubhouse have become important for brands that want to interact directly with audiences. This year, it expanded its sponsorship roster to include Bumble, Kendra Scott and Primark, in addition to returning sponsor American Eagle. American Eagle used the event to debut its new collaboration with Dormify on dorm-room products and accessories.
“Our customers are part of the College Fashionista community of college-aged global influencers that are looking for unique experiences, so the Clubhouse was a no-brainer when deciding where to launch our new AE x Dormify collection,” said Kyle Andrew, American Eagle’s CMO.
Likewise, for Dublin-based fast-fashion retailer Primark, College Fashionista is a way to expand its awareness with college students in a down-to-earth setting in the U.S., where it operates eight physical stores on the East Coast.
Amy Levin, founder of College Fashionista, said based on feedback from last year’s event, College Fashionista shortened the event from one month to two weeks to appeal to students just moving to the city or starting internships. It also included more programming about marketing and digital media, as opposed to design and styling.
Based on the success of CF Clubhouse, Levin is working on a fall conference series at college campuses that will focus on career building. College Fashionista will also continue to host its digital education program that began last fall to contributors (known as Style Gurus on the site, they’re college students who apply to write, unpaid, for the site). The effort includes career training and discussions intended to retain talent at Clique by exposing people to other fashion-adjacent editorial positions.
“It’s important to have this product which allows our clients to connect with this influential demographic and allows us to tap into it for our own products,” Power said. “These might be future customers of WhoWhatWear, or they might purchase some of our products and inform the product lines down the road.”
This year, CF Clubhouse was open to all students with a valid university ID, as opposed to just Style Gurus as it was in the past. Power said events like this and the forthcoming campus conferences are important to growing Clique’s awareness.
“We don’t even think of College Fashionista as a publishing product, but as an audience product — an IRL network of influential college students that are specifically interested in careers around fashion and beauty,” Power said. “We’re able to meet a whole new audience of young women, who may or may not be enrolled in the curriculum, and introduce them to our various brands and the brands of our clients.”