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Lookbooks are just that, books that show off your brand’s ‘look’. They are mainly used for fashion labels to visually conceptualise the idea or ‘look’ of the latest collection but more frequently they are being used by independent brands as a form of promotion.

Lookbooks are made up of styled images often using models and look as good as anything you would see in a fashion magazine. Traditionally, lookbooks were printed and sent to retailers and press to help showcase the work whilst giving a feel for the new line but many are now online or sent out with a CD press kit.

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Images copyright of Lynda Lye of littleoddforest and found here

Lookbooks can often be confused with catalogues. The main difference is that a catalogue will most likely have direct product shots, prices and product information for people to order from. A lookbook is about creating an atmosphere or showing a ‘look’ of the item in its natural setting. The aim is to create aspirational lifestyle images that your target market can relate to.

Lookbooks are all about the photos! For most small businesses however, professional photoshoots using models, locations and photo stylists are not an option so we need to be a bit creative about how we do things!

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In Honor of Design Spring Accessories Guide 2011 :: Etsy shop

  • Consider your target market. Who do you want to buy your products? What do they look like, what images do they respond to? If using a model, make it someone that your target market can relate whilst still being aspirational. When deciding on location options consider places that your target market might visit or an apartment/home/garden they can see themselves living in.


Blooming Leopold Summer 2011 lookbook :: Etsy shop

  • Minimising costs. The majority of us need to limit our business costs especially if we are just starting out. When creating a lookbook start by asking friends and family to get involved. If you need props, look around your home, ask your friends or local businesses to borrow something. Offer them a credit and the use of the photos for their own promotion. Lauren at Blooming Leopold used her friend Maria to model her vintage and handmade clothes!

  • Design. Once you have the images, the lookbook can be put together in a design program like Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator or a free program like Gimp. You need to be able to save the pages as a pdf booklet which you can then turn into an online book for visitors to your website to browse through. Issuu is great for this. Remember a lookbook is like a supporting document. You will still need clear product photos in your online shop to work in tandem.

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In Honor of Design Lookbook Images

  • To print or not to print? Depending on your needs and budget you can either keep your lookbook as a pdf or e-book or print it out. Printing them does not have to be costly if you do it yourself. Think of creative ways to make your images into a booklet.

  • Promotion. Now you have your lookbook you need to distribute it! Put a link to your online lookbook on your website and blog. Send to influential bloggers along with a few low res images and a bit about your collection. You can also send a printed version to potential stockists or send it along with your press kit to your media contacts.