Telegraph Fashion & Beauty goes live

Super-exciting news today as the Telegraph’s new fashion and beauty channel has gone live. One of the most beautiful sites I think we’ve ever worked on, it’s the result of a close collaboration between the Telegraph’s Digital Futures team, the fashion and beauty editorial team and Made by Many.

Two of the most exciting opportunities this project presented were to create an environment where premium brands and advertisers felt at home, and to include a new proposition: I•SPIED, the best fashion and beauty products as chosen by the Telegraph’s expertsTwo of the most exciting opportunities this project presented were to create an environment where premium brands and advertisers felt at home, and to include a new proposition: I•SPIED, the best fashion and beauty products as chosen by the Telegraph’s experts

The fashion channel is the Telegraph’s most commercially successful channel, with demand for advertising and sponsorship partnerships often outpacing supply. Yet the channel faces competition from online-only magazines, social shopping sites and online only stores broadening their appeal and growing their market share with their own editorial content and fashion collections.

Towards the end of last year, the Telegraph asked us to look at the future of fashion online and establish where they and their audience could fit into this changing landscape. We were asked to develop a new commercial proposition that would help the Telegraph take advantage of these market changes, and at the same time leverage their brand and content to create a beautiful, luxurious space for fashion editorial and premium advertising.

Workshop session

We ran several client-agency workshops where we worked as a joint project team on some of the bigger challenges of the project, one of which was how to combine product and content into one experience

Fashion has always been about product: this became the bedrock of the new commercial proposition. We saw an opportunity to redesign the site so users could seamlessly read about products, browse through them, and buy them.

We created a new section of the site called I•SPIED, the best fashion and beauty products as chosen by the Telegraph’s experts. These products are distributed throughout the site and embedded into articles and galleries. Individual photos can also be hot spotted so readers can discover what a model is wearing and then buy it online.

It’s been great hearing the editorial team talk about the new site and how excited they are to start using it. Whilst I•SPIED is often going to be used to showcase the products that end up in the newspaper and magazines, it can also be used to showcase the best products that the editorial team see in real life. Imagine, for example, Hilary Alexander (the Telegraph’s Fashion Director) being at a catwalk show in Paris and seeing a designer wearing an awesome pair of shoes that are spot on. She can snap a photograph and immediately upload the photo and product details to I•SPIED for the Telegraph’s readers to love and buy themselves.

Visually, the site needed to transform as well. The old site used the same content management system as the rest of the Telegraph news site, a design that works well for breaking news and text-heavy content, but doesn’t suit the emotive language of fashion. We reinvented the site to feel richer and more visual, like a glossy fashion magazine. It’s a design approach that has been carried through the entire site, from the home page design (shown below) to richer and more immersive galleries.

Home page carousel

The home page features a carousel that invites users to discover content in a serendipitous way.

Home page design

Although the carousel uses a template, custom mastheads and colours ensures the site feels as luxurious as a magazine design.

Together, these changes have turned the site experience around, from being solely about content to being about a mix of premium content and products recommended by experts that the Telegraph audience knows and trusts. It’s a site that curates the best of high street, haute couture and timeless classics, all presented in a beautiful, luxurious environment.

The project has been great to work on, and I’m excited to see how the site will develop over the next six months. I’ll be following this post up with some more information about how the design evolved and how we’ve all worked together on the project. And of course, my take on this season’s camel trend and men with rolled-up trousers!

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