In recent years, social media has become a strong marketing tool, providing brands with opportunities to increase brand awareness. In the fashion industry, it acts as a platform for emerging designers to connect with a wide range of audience, to express their creativity and to build a distinct brand identity.
Social media has allowed for the ease of direct communication between brands and their customer base and is also used to study and analyse trends or predict fashion behaviours by social media agencies.
For this article, we sat down with the 19-year-old founders of streetwear fashion start-up 1ONE (@1oneclothing_). The twins Ezra Israel, who is the Creative Director, and Farielle Israel, Digital Media Strategist, explain how social media has played an instrumental role in their business.
Tell us more about your brand.
Ezra: 1ONE is a sustainable streetwear brand based in Amsterdam. Our mission is to spread the message of unity, diversity and inclusivity through fashion. We felt that a sense of unity was needed, during the pandemic where the world was divided against a backdrop of political tension, divisiveness and polarization. This is why all our products are designed in a way to spread this message of “oneness”.
Alongside the business, we also help support the community around us. Proceeds from our sales go to Syrian refugees in the Netherlands and supporting young athletes. We also contributed to the ‘UNICEF share a meal’ programme where we donated over 500 meals to kids.
Because of our campaigns on social media, we were noticed and got invited to participate in the International Fashion Week Dubai, in March 2021. We took this opportunity to launch our 3rd season on the runway, using 100% sustainable and organic materials. Our products also have the fair trade stamp, to ensure the labourers making the garments are treated fairly and ethically.
To our surprise and amidst strong competition from around the world, we won two awards: one for ‘Best Streetwear’ and one for ‘Emerging and Young Designers’.
Wow, so much has happened in such little time.
Ezra: Yes it also took us by surprise! But it came with a lot of hard work. 1ONE has since managed to build a loyal following base and a distinct identity in a very crowded market space. Through the power of social media, our products have a global reach and several influencers and celebrities have also posted our products on their instagrams.
That is really amazing! So how exactly has social media helped kick start your brand?
Farielle: As a brand started in the pandemic, social media has played a tremendous role in allowing us to reach a wider audience. With users spending most of their time online, our goal was to create engaging and impactful content which captivates audience attention and interest. And we first had to focus on the right target market, and then to understand what kind of content would attract them.
Ezra: I wanted our brand to be distinct, where I had the vision of merging fashion with music to provide a whole new customer experience. Fashion and music are both unifying forces, so I thought why not merge the two together?
Farielle: So by analysing trends, we selected music that represents the culture in streetwear today. Our website has autoplay music, in order to let the customer immerse themselves in this experience. We believe that we can use music and our unique designs to go hand in hand to create a whole image and vibe that 1ONE represents.
Wow, that is really cool! I have also seen that you have gained a lot of social media attention, with constant reposts in several countries around the world and good engagement. Tell us more about your social media strategy and how you keep your audience engaged?
Farielle: Alongside the help of our friends who help promote our brand on their social media pages to gain traction, it is very crucial to understand trends and to use it as inspiration for our content.
Digital and social media itself is not static and keeps transforming – so you need to be on top of it to capitalise on customer engagement.
For example, we are currently focusing on reel content as Instagram is really boosting it right now. We have switched from normal posts to reels. Leveraging Instagram’s or any other social media platform’s changing algorithms is very important. Digital and social media itself is not static and keeps transforming – so you need to be on top of it to capitalise on customer engagement.
Another key strategy I explored is to try to get our audience involved. I wanted to make our customers part of the co-creation process as we also want their buy-in of the products we make. We use interactive features like polls and Q&As to do so. We put up stories asking our audience to help pick a colourway for our next design, vote between designs etc and this has resulted in driving a huge amount of engagement. When we finally dropped this design, it ended up being one of our best sellers. To me this was validation of our co-creation and engagement strategy with our streetwear community which resulted in higher sales. I also find this is a good way to get feedback and learn how to improve your brand or content ideas.
The learnings we get in exploring various social media strategies is so useful for a small company like us. We don’t have big budgets like the big brands do. Everything we do is by ourselves and we work till the wee hours of the morning to get things done, and when things don’t go well, we quickly adapt. We also have a lot of learnings from the mistakes we make! Not everythings works out well! So we learn as we go along, and try to improve bit by bit.
Farielle, you study the Bachelor’s programme in Communication Science at UvA right? Has this helped you in any way for your business?
Farielle: Absolutely! One of my favourite courses is corporate communication and it really gives me insightful details into how businesses use communication strategies to achieve certain goals, maintain a good reputation etc. This is how I try to apply the theory of what I learn to practice. Combining school work with business is a real challenge but we really love what we do and that keeps us going.
So nice! So do you have any final tips?
Farielle: Yes! Keep trying, keep innovating, take risks, make mistakes and more importantly learn. This whole process is learning for us. Trying to understand social media trends, customer behaviour is proving important for us. Making content that you can use interchangeably on multiple media platforms is key as I find that you reach a variety of audiences and increase brand awareness. For example, videos we make on TikTok will also be posted on reels. So keep exploring new things and try to innovate instead of following.
Ezra: And lastly, it is important to keep true to your brand values and the message you give. Like Farielle says, keep innovating – we keep our style and designs unique and meaningful. Our brand has a purpose, and we will continue to design to the best of our abilities – Beautiful products!
Thank you for taking your time to talk with Medium. This was a very nice interview for us to get to know the brand, and get informed about marketing, social media. Have a nice day!
Cover: Courtesy of 1ONE
Edited by: Sophie Kulla