Nanotechnology – Advanced Materials in the Textile Industry

Cotton. Linen. Jean. These are some of the materials used to make the clothing you are wearing right now. Whether you are lounging around the house in sweatpants, in the middle of a swim competition, or working out in a sweat-drenched t-shirt, each fabric has their own properties to help with its intended activity. For example, cotton workout pants have wicking properties in order to “wick” the sweat away so it doesn’t pool or chafe against your skin causing discomfort. How though, does a material wick away moisture?

The answer is nanotechnology. Nanotechnology first started as an idea in a 1959 conference talk with Richard Feynman (National Nanotechnology Initiative, 2015). Later it developed into an actual process where scientists could manipulate and control individual atoms (National Nanotechnology Initiative, 2015). From here, nanotechnology can therefore be defined as the overall manipulation of atoms or molecules. Nano (a unit measure of one billionth or 10^-9 of a unit), explains the extent of the scale of which these molecules are controlled. To put this in perspective, a sheet of newspaper has a thickness of approximately 100,000 nanometres (National Nanotechnology Initiative, 2015).

This manipulation of molecules is widely recognized in industries such as electronics, health care, biomedical, and more commonly, agriculture/food. One of the fastest growing industries with the biggest benefit of nanotechnology is the fashion/textile industry. Nanotechnology can be used to alter fabric properties to create hybrid fibres, anti-stain properties, and electroconducting/antistatic textiles (See figure 1 for some examples of the applications of nanotechnology).

Figure 1: Nanotechnology Applications

nanoparticles

(Nanowerk, 2015)

During the process of manufacturing textiles, the greige (untreated fabric fresh from the looms) will typically be bleached and then dyed to a specific colour in order to be prepped for the cutting of the clothing pattern. As previously stated, certain articles of clothing have desired properties such as wicking, UV protection, or antibacterial. These properties can be incorporated into the fabric with the help of a type of nanotechnology called nanofinishing. When nanofinishing is applied to fabric, operations must include an extra step.

Below is a list of some examples of functional performance enhancements and the required extra steps that are taken during the manufacturing process:

Waterproof

Silicon is a hydrophobic material in nature, meaning that it makes the perfect match to pair with fabric in order to repel water. Nanotechnology weaves 40nm thick filaments into the desired fabric to keep water from traversing the material (Soutter, 2015). Operations such as the Coast Guard use clothing that is waterproof in order to keep the guards safe and healthy.

UV Protection

Inorganic UV blockers are typically preferred over organic UV blockers because they are more stable in varying temperatures (Patra & Gouda, 2014). Normally, 10-50nm thick rods of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are applied to cotton fabric to absorb and scatter the UV rays (Patra & Gouda, 2014). Professional watersport personnel wear UV protected clothing to save their skin from constant exposure to cancerous and harmful UV rays.

Antistatic

Synthetic fibres such as nylon and polyester absorb little water and usually buildup a static charge (Kiron, 2013). Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and antimony-doped tin oxide (ATO) filaments are again weaved into the particles because they dissipate the static charge (Kiron, 2013). This antistatic property can widely be used in the field of professional dancing where the fabric needs to “flow” and not cling to the dancers body.

Antimicrobial

Antimicrobial finishing’s have become very important in protective textiles. Protective suits worn during encounters with hazardous materials often have antimicrobial properties to stop the spread of bacteria. Chemical salts such as monoquaternary ammonium salt are often laced within the molecules to make this property (Fouda, n.d.).

Benefits 

The textile industry can greatly benefit from the use of nanotechnology. Rather than be a standard textile manufacturing company and outsource finishing’s, manufacturers can be vertically integrated with that intermediary and do everything in-house. Nanofinishing allows manufacturers to do all these finishing’s right after the required dying of the greige.

Nanotechnology in Canada is also growing. Canada has a wide research database that is available to organizations to use at their leisure (Industry Canada, 2013). Due to this, Canadian textile manufacturers have more success in meeting standards and getting products to the market for commercialization (Industry Canada, 2013).

Another benefit is reducing waste.

The versatility of nanotechnology may also mean that less raw material is needed to meet the demand for ever-changing fashions

(Just-Style, 2007)

Not only is this a benefit for the manufacturers but for the consumers/environment as well. When a product is more expensive and has multiple uses, end-users are less likely to recycle or throw away clothing items. These items are of higher quality and less likely to degrade (Just-Style, 2007). 

Challenges

Textile manufacturers are not scientists. A certain amount of chemical knowledge is mandatory especially for the dying process, but knowledge to the extent of nanotechnology is past the requirements. Adding this extra step in the textile process means that specialized personnel is needed which will increase the cost of labour (Industry Canada, 2013).

Nanotechnology is relatively expensive due to the specialization of scientists needed, so the cost of production increases, increasing the cost of the final product. This is why products with altered functional performance enhancements are significantly more expensive to the end user (Cave, 2014). This poses as a risk because manufacturing has been typically been taken oversees to Asian countries where costs are significantly lower. Due to the recovery from the Canadian recession, consumers are looking for lower prices. This reverts back to the start of the supply chain where retailers buy from intermediaries/manufacturers who must offer a low price so the end selling price can also be relatively low. This means that local manufacturers dealing with nanotechnology are competing with the lower prices of oversees manufacturers that are not as high quality.

Another challenge is the testing of nanotextiles. Standard testing of general textiles can be used to ensure quality on the grander scale, but specific testing is required to check quality microscopically. Nanoparticles must be closely regulated so that their properties are not altered (Industry Canada, 2013). A final test on the end product must be performed to make sure these properties have not been distorted.

Health and safety of employees is another challenge for these textile manufacturers (Industry Canada, 2013). Chemicals can become airborne, spilled, or not properly disposed of which poses a risk for all employees. Textile manufacturers must already have proper disposal of hazardous waste with the chemicals due from the dying techniques, but each employee must be trained on the new chemical disposal.

Anticipated Future impacts on Business Operations

The future of nanotechnology in textiles is exploding. The reason for this is the unlimited end use for the fabrics. From military to gym clothing, nanotechnology will aid in enhancing performances and activities (O Ecotextiles, 2012). A t-shirt will no longer simply be a t-shirt – it will be a t-shirt that monitors your heart rate; A pillow will no longer simply be a pillow – it will be a pillow that monitors your brainwaves as you sleep (O Ecotextiles, 2012).

The textile industry will have to continue to evolve their knowledge and scientific experimentation with certain textiles. The production of materials will become less automated and more specific. This means that less jobs will be available since a specific required skilled worker will be more valuable than 10 workers along a textile assembly line.

Costs will also continue to soar. Nanotechnology is already expensive as is today. If this continues to evolve and improve, textile businesses will see higher costs. Either they will need to adapt to this change by lowering other costs, or the end-user will take the hit with higher prices.

How Managers Can Facilitate Success

To facilitate success in the textile industry as nanotechnology advances, managers must make sure they are knowledgeable about the supply chain and any changing standards. Evidently, manufacturers must get their nano-object raw materials from other suppliers. The manager of the manufacturing company must make sure the suppliers are following protocol and standards on grading the materials to ensure consistent quality. Quality inspection and characteristic control are some supporting elements to ensure that these materials are consistent (Industry Canada, 2013).

The manager must also be aware of changing standards to health concerns for employees. New ventilation, personal protection, or waste disposal as mention may have to be enhanced to meet the industry standards (Industry Canada, 2013).

Technology and techniques for applying the nanotechnology may also be changing. The knowledge and extensive training in using this equipment will be required for any workers who may come in contact with the equipment, even if they are not using it. The dealing with chemicals is something all employees must understand and have training on in the presence of on-site production.

Exam Question

How does nanotechnology affect the textile industry now and in the future?

References

Cave, H. (2014, February 14). The Guardian. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from The nanotechnology in your clothes: http://www.theguardian.com/science/small-world/2014/feb/14/nanotechnology-clothes-nanoparticles

Fouda, M. M. (n.d.). Intech. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Antibacterial Modification of Textiles Using Nanotechnology: http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/39254.pdf

Industry Canada. (2013, July 5). Nanomaterials and their Applications in Textiles—Standards Domestic Standardization for Canadian Manufacturers and Importers and International Standardization Developments. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Industry Canada: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/textiles-textiles.nsf/eng/tx03229.html

Industry Canada. (2013, July 5). Textiles. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Nanomaterials and their Applications in Textiles—Standards Domestic Standardization for Canadian Manufacturers and Importers and International Standardization Developments: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/textiles-textiles.nsf/eng/tx03232.html

Just-Style. (2007, May 21). Nanotechnology to reduce textile and clothing waste? Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Just-Style: http://www.just-style.com/analysis/nanotechnology-to-reduce-textile-and-clothing-waste_id97379.aspx

Kiron, M. I. (2013, October 18). Application of Nanotechnology in Textile Industry. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Fibre 2 Fashion: http://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/50/4944/application-of-nanotechnology-in-textile-industry5.asp

Nanowerk. (2015). Nanotechnology Applications. Retrieved July 36, 2015, from Nanowerd: http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology-applications.php

National Nanotechnology Initiative. (2015). What is nanotechnology? Retrieved July 26, 2015, from National Nanotechnology Initiative: http://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/definition

O Ecotextiles. (2012, January 8). O Ecotextiles. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Nanotechnology in the textile industry: https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/nanotechnology-in-the-textile-industry/

Patra, J. K., & Gouda, S. (2014, May 13). Application of nanotechnology in textile engineering: An overview. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from Academic Journals: http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1379503776_Patra%20and%20Sgouda.pdf

Soutter, W. (2015, July 27). Azo Nano. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Nanotechnology in clothing: http://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=3129#3

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Meerkat VS Periscope

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Video streaming.  It’s all the rage.  If you don’t know what it is, you should.  Period. Videos are the new texting.  Conversation has evolved over time, starting with face to face, moving to the telephone, and then text messages.  When people got bored with text messaging, that’s when snap chat was born.  Sending video messages were becoming more and more popular, starting the age of live video streaming.

What are they?

Both Meerkat and Periscope are livestreaming video apps which link to a user’s Twitter account to broadcast and watch video from around the world.  “Both apps allow viewers to comment on the video they’re watching, see how many other viewers are currently viewing alongside them and indicate your approval through a like on Meerkat or ‘heart’ on Periscope” (Williams, 2015).

What are the differences?

Periscope saves your broadcasts, no matter how brief, for 24 hours, while Meerkat users are given the option to save streams to their phones, although they cannot browse a collated list of recent broadcasts (Williams, 2015).

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Periscope also offers a wider variety of features than Meerkat and it also seems that it has a smarter design which is easier to use (Ulanoff, 2015).  In the beginning, Meerkat had you follow everyone you follow on Twitter which is definitely a no-no. Maybe a rookie move, but Periscope lets you follow whoever you want through featured/popular people or your own followers.

During a live stream, you can comment and the broadcaster will see the comments. Because so few people were watching each stream, people often responded directly to me on camera. In Meerkat, every comment is a Twitter reply to the original Meerkat Live video prompt tweet. Here, however, Periscope fundamentally differs from Meerkat

(Ulanoff, 2015)

The Problems with Live Streaming

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.09.12 PMNo matter how much better one is over the other, both have problems with content and managing that.  With Meerkat and Periscope, both have been banned from the NHL.  A memo from the NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says that, “without limiting the generality of the credential language, any streaming of footage in violation of the NHL’s Broadcast Guidelines (including, for example, live-streaming inside the arena less than 30 minutes before the start of the game) and Media Access Policy is expressly prohibited” (Mangalindan, 2015).  Things like this will continue to happen.  People have already tied to lifestream movies.  Hollywood has had to crack down on that as well.  I feel like personal privacy can also be breeched with this.

Sexually charged content is another problem that Meerkat and Periscope have encountered (Mangalindan, 2015).  Meerkat has a leader board where the most popular videos can be watched.  For example, Madonna was on there one day and any viewers would be able to watch her streams.  This is where everyone could watch the provocative videos.  Periscope doesn’t have a leader board, but you can only do so much to prevent this kind of behaviour.  There are precautionary measure that each platform can take against this, but there will always be people that find ways to post and watch those videos.

So, the question of the day: Are you a Meerkat or Periscope user?

References:

Mangalindan, J. P. (2015, April 22). Periscope and Meerkat officially banned by the NHL. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2015/04/22/periscope-meerkat-banned-nhl/

Mangalindan, J. P. (2015, April 16). Hey, Meerkat and Periscope: You have a (softcore) problem. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2015/04/16/meerkat-periscope-softcore-problem/

Ulanoff, L. (2015, March 26). Hands on with Twitter Periscope, the presumptive Meerkat killer. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2015/03/26/twitter-periscope-hands-on/

Williams, R. (2015, March 15). What’s the difference between Meerkat and Periscope? Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media/11503574/Whats-the-difference-between-Meerkat-and-Periscope.html

Viral Marketing

We’ve all seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.    Both campaigns were awareness campaigns but with such different approaches.  So the questions is, if these campaigns are so different, what made them go viral?

Viral marketing is, “simply the spread of an idea that helps market your business or cause. It’s putting material out there that by its very nature attracts attention and discussion”

(Ciotti, n.d.).

Studies have been done that examine viral marketing videos, human behaviour, etc to try and figure out why certain things take off, when others have never been heard of before.  As a marketer, I would feel accomplished if a campaign I worked on went viral.  Being known and having your name behind that would be success for me.  Not only would this be a personal success, but a business success as well.  Having a video go viral can be one of the most beneficial outcomes for a company.  It increases brand awareness, directs traffic to your website/storefront, and creates conversation (Pozin, 2014).  This is a great way for a company to create some earned media and get their name out there.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there really is any special formula that makes something go viral.  It simply just has to be the right idea, at the right time, on the right channel – pretty much fate or plain old luck.  Although there is no perfect solution, there are steps an organization can take to increase the chances.

Social Perspective

No matter what anyone says, the majority of people sincerely care about what other people think of them.  They want to be portrayed as a good and likeable person.  They need to have “social proof.”  So, if somebody sees a video that will make them look good, they are more inclined to share it.  People like to share things that make them seem like they are “in the know” (Ciotti, n.d.).  Once a video has started to catch some momentum and conversation, more people will be inclined to share the video so they can keep up with society – “in the know.”

Emotion

A must have in any Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 9.17.38 PMmarketing campaign is some sort of emotion or feeling.  Both of the Dove and ALS videos sparked the feeling of inspiration which is a huge part of viral videos (Pozin, 2011).  Part of me also felt slightly guilty for not participating in the ALS challenge.  Either way, provoking any kind of emotion will increase the chances of it being shared more.  “The emotional response can be happy or sad, but the more intense it is, the more likely the story is to be passed along” (Kitroeff, 2014).

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Stories

Evidently, the campaign or video must have a story; not a complete story, but enough that entices people to come back for more or share their own.  The Ice Bucket Challenge left room for many people to tell their personal stories and share that, which caught fire and was able to catch media attention on shows such as Ellen where some stories were televised.  As for the Dove campaign, the video left plenty of room for Dove to grow their campaign and let people tell their own stories.

There are also some tactics that are better than others.  These include guerrilla, growth hacking, a viral series, and interactivity.

Guerrilla

Guerrilla marketing is “is any promotion that’s unconventional, unexpected and usually evocative of a unique, memorable reaction from or interaction with the viewer” (Mask, 2010).  This is not your typical kind of marketing.  It has many benefits, including low costs! (Sometimes…YAY).  One of the most recent is the Coke machine that dispenses a Coke when you hug it. These videos went viral and the buzz created around this was everywhere.

Growth Hacking

Growth hacking recognizes that when you focus on understanding your users and how they discover and adopt your products, you can build features that help you acquire and retain more users, rather than just spending marketing dollars

(Holiday, 2013)

There is a company called Diamond Candle which actually bases it’s entire unique selling proposition about talking to their customers.  Their customers are 98% women, so they needed a tactic to get these women to talk about their products.  The ended up including a ring in every candle.  These weren’t any cheesy rings and the packaging was made sure to be exciting and visually pleasing.  Once in a while, they also included a real $5,000 diamond ring in one of the candles to keep the audience interested and hopeful.

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Viral Series

Posting viral series is also another tactic.  For example, you’re the marketer for a blender company and they want to increase sales.  How the HECK do you get people to talk about blenders?! Check this out…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GAuhUTzNwiY

Blendtec made a series of these videos about blending iPads, Minecraft, glowsticks, etc.  Not only did it go viral, but it also demonstrated the capabilities of the blender!

Interactivity

Another one is interactivity.  The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is probably the most recent interactive video.  It allowed for people to make their own connections with it, participate in it, and try to get others to participate in it.

I’m expecting to see lots of viral videos now from everyone!

References:

Ciotti, G. (n.d.). A scientific take on viral marketing. Retrieved from http://www.helpscout.net/blog/viral-marketing/

Holiday, R. (2013, September 2). The 5 Phases of Growth Hacking. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/09/02/growth-hacking/

Kitroeff, N. (2014, May 9). Why that video went viral. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/20/science/why-that-video-went-viral.html?_r=0

Mask, C. (2010, April 18). How to Pull Off a Guerrilla Marketing Campaign. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/206202

Pozin, I. (2014, July 8). 6 Qualities To Make Your Videos Go Viral. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2014/08/07/6-qualities-to-make-your-videos-go-viral/

Marketer or Graphic Design Wiz?

photoshop-photo-effects-tutorials36Have you ever seen a digital advertisement and said to yourself, “that looks so easy, anyone could do that.” Well I’m here to tell you that it really isn’t that easy. There are many smartphone aps that make it seem easy with the choice of filters, scale of exposure, and crop tools, but like I said…the real deal is much harder, but I’m here to help and narrow it down to the most useful tools.

To do a digital advertisement, they always go through some kind of photo manipulation such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, or some other kind of adobe program. Unfortunately, I find that marketers don’t always have these basic yet necessary skills to do this. “Adobe Photoshop is considered by most web and print designers to be the end-all tool for working with photos and digital imaging and often marketing and advertising professionals need a basic understanding of how to use this complex software” (DemandQuest, 2011).

Many times in small businesses people are required to wear multiple hats. As a marketer, having this basic knowledge gives you the step up against others (Marketing Dada, 2013). It also helps stay on top of your creative game.

logo-photoshop

From my experience, I am here to tell you the most useful and important, basic necessities of Photoshop and how they could be useful so that next time your boss asks you to come up with a creative concept, you can wow them with your graphic skills.

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Toolbar

The first thing to learn about is the toolbar. Normally it is on the left hand side of the screen but you can move it to where you want while editing for easier use. Any tool found on this bar that has a little triangle at the bottom right hand, means that there are more options for that tool. Simply right click to see all the options.

Move  Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.35.19 PM

You cannot move any shapes, type, objects, etc that are on the canvas without using this tool to pick it up and move it.

Magnetic Lasso

Magnetic Lasso is part of the extra selections from the lasso tool found in the picture below.Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.35.30 PM

This is essential in selecting content that you want to remove from the background. Rather than painfully click and zoom your way around the part that you want to remove, simply click this tool, and roughly go around it. It will “stick” to the edges of what you want selected (with precautions, but normally it’s pretty accurate!).

EyedropperScreen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.34.55 PM

The eyedropper will let you chose any colour you can click on from the picture, and swap it out for another colour that you chose. It’s an easy way for matching colours so you don’t have to try and do it on your own.

TypeScreen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.35.10 PM

Type is an important part of any digital picture, especially for marketing. Words are needed to help get the intended meaning across to the audience. As the user, you can chose whether you want the type to be horizontal, around a circle, on a slant, or vertical.

HandScreen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.36.03 PM

This tool is essential in navigating around the picture. You simply just have to click and drag to navigate. Easy tool, but used all the time, especially when you have to zoom in a lot.

ZoomScreen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.36.11 PM

This key obviously lets you zoom in and out of the canvas or picture you’re working on. Clicking it will zoom in once. To zoom out, make sure to hold down the options key and click. For mac computers, I always use the keyboard shortcut which is Command + + or Command + -. This is especially useful when editing small areas of a photo.

Healing Brush

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This tool is also another drop down menu! So if you can’t find it check out the picture below.

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When I first learned about this tool, it was the most amazing thing ever. Rather than crop, erase something from the picture, then try and edit the background to look normal again, this tool does all of that. Simply circle what you want edited out of the picture from the first layer, and Photoshop will try to blend the background together to make it look as if it was never there. This is a lifesaver.

After knowing all these tools, there is something even easier. It’s like your own photo editing an app in Photoshop (except clearly all the apps were based off of Photoshop, lets be realistic here).

Adjustments

This is located on the right hand side of the screen underneath the colour swatches. This is your typical phone application. You can adjust contrast, exposure, saturation, and everything that your little heart desires.

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Layers

Before tapping into all of these other tools, the most important thing to remember and do first is create layers!

Layers will save your work in the long run. The more layers you create for every edit, the easier it is to undo and see how different edits look together. My suggestion would be to create a new layer for every different tool.

Good luck on your next design challenge!

References:

Anderson, G. (2014, March 24). Five Photoshop Basics Every Social Media Manager Must Learn. Retrieved from http://brandswithfansblog.fandommarketing.com/five-photoshop-basics-every-social-media-manager-must-learn/

Dachis, A. (2011, July 2). Learn the Basics of Photoshop in Under 25 Minutes. Retrieved from http://lifehacker.com/5753459/learn-the-basics-of-photoshop-in-under-25-minutes

Demand Quest. (2011). Adobe Photoshop for Marketing Professionals. Retrieved from http://demandquest.com/adobe-photoshop-marketing-professionals/

Marketing Dada. (2013, June 10). Should Marketers know Graphic Designing? Retrieved from http://www.marketingdada.com/should-marketers-know-graphic-designing/#

Let’s Break the Internet…

Kim Kardashian holds nothing up against Jamie Brewer.

New York Fashion Week is one of the most famous fashion events around the world; beautiful clothes, texture and shine galore, thin models, and media coverage everywhere.  When Carrie Hammer’s designs graced the runway, she defied all the limitations surrounding the rules of fashion.  Jamie Brewer, an actress (known best from American Horror Story), strutted her stuff in one of Hammer’s original designs labelling herself as the first model with Down syndrome to walk down the runway.

jamie-brewer-nyfw-1(image source : mashable.com)

This is part of Hammer’s campaign “Role Models not Runway Models.”  She wants to show the world the people that would buy her designs; real life people.  Her goal is for young girls and women to feel inspired.

I hope Thursday’s show inspires women, and helps to change the standards of the fashion industry.

-Jamie Brewer

Currently, this story has already been shared over 34K times.  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other digital media platforms are lighting up with the news.  This campaign has a great meaning behind it, especially with the increase in women insecurities and how beauty is projected.  If you didn’t know about Carrie Hammer, you sure do now so let’s not forget the brand awareness that Hammer created for her brand.  From a marketing perspective this move was golden.  She is covering print media, online media, radio and creating a buzz between regular conversations.

Take that Kim Kardashian.

References:

Petronzio, M. (2015, February 12). Meet the model with Down syndrome who just made fashion history at NYFW. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2015/02/12/model-down-syndrome-new-york-fashion-week/