DMD Lab is a pilot project from DMD Insight, a full-service integrated marking agency known for its work with clients such as The Guggenheim Museum, Narciso Rodriguez, and Hunter Douglas. In a strategic decision to invest in a new generation of fashion labels, DMD Lab is providing thousands in pro bono marketing services to establish up-and-coming fashion brands and foster promising design talent with a sustainable focus.
To begin, DMD Lab leveraged relationships with fashion editors and fashion industry stakeholders to get the word out about their emerging designer competition, which resulted in about 100 applicants. The DMD Lab team then visited the finalists in their home studios, finally settling on two winners, chosen for their point of view and commitment to sustainability - principles at the core of DMD Insight and DMD Lab.
Over eight months, reclaimed metal jewelry company Alkemie and Larson Gray, the eco-conscious clothing line of Project Runway fan favorite Nora Caliguri and Rachel Porter, formerly of Chanel, will receive a full pro bono "brand bootcamp," including logo design, branding and public relations. DMD Lab is charting the collaborative process and progress through a full social media suite of tools including Twitter updates, You Tube channel, Facebook page, blog and micro-site, where followers can meet the designers, track developments and get an inside look at the process of establishing a young fashion brand.
Though the overall concept, an agency looking to grow its fashion division through a contest-based program that ends in free PR services, draws parallels to Porter Novelli's Jack & Bill pop-up agency from 2007, (more on that here and here) DMD Lab is putting the emphasis on giving access to the ongoing process of working with emerging talent, rather than on the selection process itself, sharing insight into the strategy of building these brands from the ground up. In addition, as an integrated marketing agency, DMD Lab will be focusing on overall brand strategy, marketing and web site development, in addition to PR.
DMD Lab is the brainchild of 24 year-old Melanie Bender, DMD Insight associate and DMD Lab 'Chief Scientist,' who recognized that the economic downturn was an opportunity to create partnerships with emerging designers rich in talent, passion and vision but low in resources. In October 2008 she pitched the idea to the DMD president and managing partners who gave her the green light to develop a proposal for DMD Lab, which was then approved and launched over the next several months.
Melanie is currently hard at work with the DMD Lab team, working on establishing brand identity and overseeing the web launches and media relations for both clients. Since launching in April, DMD Lab has secured PR for Alkemie and Larsen Gray in top-tier fashion media and the concept itself has been covered in PR Week and Bulldog Reporter.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates from this innovative agency, including fashion PR tips from the experts at DMD Lab, coming next week. To learn more about the winning designers, check out brand videos for Alkemie and Larsen Gray.