Last Saturday I wrote a column about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the way he dresses, looking at his decision to stick with the hoodie uniform even as he becomes part of the establishment, and ever since it was published letters have been pouring in, at least half of in his defense (even though, to be fair, I never criticized how he looks; I simply noted it).  

It never rains but it pours (and in Brooklyn, where I live, it just hailed). After the Gap on-line logo hoo-ha at the end of last week comes a report from the Stern business school at New York University and the think tank L2 entitled “Digital IQ Index: Luxury,” looking at how 72 luxury brands are handling themselves on-line, on their websites, social media, digital marketing and mobile apps. Guess what? They’re stuck in the mud!


It’s a truism that high fashion brands have been slow to embrace the internet, and the reason they’ve been slow is that engaging in such a democratic medium means they ipso facto loose some control over their image. In a dialogue with lots of unknown consumers, those consumers can say anything! And then, other consumers can read what they say! And what they say might be not be what brands want other people to hear. And what they say might be not be what brands want other people to hear. Well, there’s a conversation currently going on in cyberspace that’s like their worst nightmare come to life — though (hear the sighs of relief) it has to do with a mass market company.