julia knolle (R) via myspace
Well last night's pre RAFW dinner was interesting in more ways than one. Last year I cancelled at the last minute because I felt a little guilty about having unleashed hell over that photo of IMG's then 13 year-old model Monika Jagaciak over at NEWS.com.au on the eve of the dinner. Vogue Australia was about to cancel Jagaciak's cover shoot and The Daily Telegraph was girding its loins to claim the story and ask, "Should Monika Jagaciak be at Australian Fashion Week?" - instead of what some might have considered to have been the far more pertinent question, "Should underage models be styled up to look like rent girls?". But back to last night's do - which IMG FASHION Asia Pacific md Simon Lock missed because, according to his 2IC Graeme Lewsey, Lock had to fly out last night for Swim Fashion Week meetings. Beyond the bombshell dropped by Rosemount senior winemaker Matt Koch, that chardonnay is the new black - or rather, white - to my mind the most interesting revelations of the evening hinged on social media.
Firstly, everywhere I turned last night, people wanted to talk about Twitter. I could not escape the topic.
Secondly, it was suggested (by stylist Ken Thompson), that given the likely volume of people Tweeting from the upcoming event, why not aggregate those Tweets into some kind of central bulletin board? IMG is currently looking into the possibility.
Thirdly, according to Koch, my tablemate, Rosemount's PR contingent recently deliberately targeted wine bloggers in Scandinavian markets - instead of traditional media.
And lastly, Scott Schuman and Garance Doré will not be the only international fashion bloggers new to the event this year.
Julia Knolle, the editor-in-chief of popular German fashion site Les Mads, is also en route down to RAFW.
Even more interesting, Knolle is being brought out under the same Tourism Australia program that is funding Schuman's visit - which, as it emerges, is called the Visiting Opinion Leaders Program.
According to Tourism Australia, Knolle's lifestyle, fashion, design and photography blog attracts in excess of 210,000 visits and 830,000 page impressions a month.
UPDATE 15/4: Knolle will now be travelling to Sydney accompanied by Les Mads writer, Jessica Weiß.
julia knolle via twitter
The VOLP is a new program that is designed to target digital opinion leaders, instead of traditional media specialists, who have previously travelled to Australia as part of TA's original Visiting Journalists Progam.
The VOLP recognises the influence of new media specialists.
According to a TA release:
"A key benefit of targeting these digital opinion leaders as opposed to traditional media outlets is that editorial output from one visitis likely to reach a far wider audience than a writer for a magazine from France, for example, by the very nature of the web and its global presence".
This is a fascinating development, especially in light of the problems that are frequently encountered by bloggers gaining access to high profile fashion events (as discussed in this month's WISH magazine).
Other bloggers travelling to Australia under the new Tourism Australian Visiting Opinion Leaders Program include UK nature blogger Andy Rouse and Chinese travel blogger Yibo FAN.