Fashionistas take on data infographics and harness the power of social media
In one of our very first data lessons of the year we were told ‘if you don’t like numbers, go and write about fashion’. Granted this was said in a tongue in cheek manner, but the fact remains that fashion world has embraced data journalism and social media with open arms.
I thought it might be a good idea to look at some examples of fashion-related infographics and ask myself, what are they doing well and what could be improved? Click on the thumbnails to open the original infographics.
Subject: The History of Fashion Week
Produced in: January 2012
What they did right: It is interesting to get a sense of the scale of the operation. Telling us some of the numbers, from how many interns were involved to how many gift bags were given out (200,000) allows you to get your head round the week’s size.
What they did wrong: The timeline bubbles are all clustered together and are not laid out horizontally. This makes it hard to determine the series of events, I ended up reading some in the wrong order. The key for the data is also particularly annoying. Despite the fact that there are 240 bottles of champagne and 50 interns, each of the categories has their own key, so it looks like there are far more champagne bottles. The layout invites comparison but the logic lets it down.
Subject: The History of Nails at Fashion Week
Produced by: Creative Nail Design (CND)
What they did right: Some nice little graphic touches here, the fashion week cities swoop across the page represented as a trail coming from an airplane and the seven drops of black polish are represented with seven little circles.
What they did wrong: Ultimately this was produced to showcase a brand and while there is nothing wrong with that in itself, it does mean that the title’s claim to show the history of nails at fashion week falls a little flat. This is a collection of numbers about one nail company largely focussed on one year, not the comprehensive history you sort of expect from the title. None of the data really grabs your attention.
Subject: High Street vs High End, who is the most sociable?
Produced by: BrandLove
What they did right: Brands like Asos and Burberry have embraced social media and the potential that if offers them to reach out to their client bases. It was interesting to see examples of different approaches to Twitter, brand building and sales focused, and interesting to see that Burberry has been so successful in a medium that you would expect would be cornered by the mass appeal of the high street chains.
What they did wrong: The axis of the graph are very faint to add to the visual impact but it detracts from the graph as a piece of data journalism. The reader is instantly able to see who has ‘won’, but the terms of engagement are far from clear on first glance.
Subject: London and New York Fashion Week
Produced by: 1000heads
What they did right: This is my favourite infographic of the three, the graphics are bold and visually exciting, the data is clearly and visually laid out and the premise of the actual infographic is interesting in itself.
What did they do wrong: If I had to be picky I suppose some of the bubbles at the top representing the most talked about designers have been cropped for visual effect, which makes it a bit harder to compare them by eye and get a sense of the scale, but in general I think this is a successful attempt.
These are just a few examples of the way that fashion is engaging with data journalism. After all, both high street and high-end fashion are serious businesses, however frivolous they might appear, and can’t afford to ignore the numbers.