Garcia’s on Target… Ads Up at Fashion Mags… Sugar Launches Game…

Nina Garcia has signed on to be Target’s new fashion expert.

GARCIA’S ON TARGET: Nina Garcia just keeps adding on those gigs — and building her income. Now the Marie Claire fashion director, “Project Runway” judge and style author has signed on to be Target’s new fashion expert. While Garcia’s latest role has yet to be announced, she’s already appeared on the retailer’s Web site in segments about everything from fighting fashion boredom to finding the best looks for curvy customers. “I love the price; you can’t beat the price,” Garcia enthuses about a denim pencil skirt, $24.99, in one segment. The native of Colombia also does videos in Spanish. Her sign-off, as she’s leaving the store, is: “This was fun. I’ll be back. Happy shopping!” Garcia has been guest-blogging for Target’s StyleBoutique since October 2009. Her role has now expanded to sharing style news about Target fashion collections, including Mossimo, Merona and Xhilaration, offering “tricks of the trade” advice and styling tips to the retailer’s customers, creating online videos and continuing to contribute to the StyleBoutique. Garcia could not be reached for comment Monday, and Target officials declined to comment.

Whether that means there will be Target fashions in the pages of Marie Claire — or on “Project Runway” — remains to be seen, as does whether Nina Garcia Inc. can add even more roles. — Sharon Edelson

This story first appeared in the July 20, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

UP, UP, UP — AT LAST: Coming off horrendous figures a year ago, the September issues of all the major titles — Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, InStyle, Marie Claire and W — are on the climb again. Vogue leads the way, with 532 ad pages, an almost 25 percent increase from the September 2009 issue. “The endemic categories were very strong for us,” said vice president and publisher Susan Plagemann. “And we’re feeling good about the rest of the year.” InStyle is reporting 403 ad pages, up 16 percent over last year. A spokeswoman said this issue marks the first time since 2000 that InStyle’s September ad performance has exceeded 400 pages. Elle’s pages are up 18 percent to 382 and Harper’s Bazaar posted a 12 percent rise in paging, to 302 pages. W isn’t far behind, up 31 percent to 252 pages. Glamour wins for posting the largest gain during the period, up almost 58 percent to 241 pages, and Marie Claire’s September issue is up 10 percent, to 156. Don’t pop the Champagne just yet, though, given the slowing economic recovery. — Amy Wicks

THE FASHION GAME: Sugar Inc., owner of fashion search engine ShopStyle and celebrity blog PopSugar, has moved into gaming with what could, with a lot of luck, turn out to be fashion’s Farmville. PopSugar’s Retail Therapy is a mud-free place that doesn’t lack for glitzy brands. The retail game — the object is to grow an empty store into a huge retailer — is packed with seasonal merchandise from sponsors Banana Republic, Barneys, Diane von Furstenberg, Gap, Juicy, Topshop and Tory Burch, not to mention the odd bag or shoe from such brands as Lanvin and Christian Louboutin.

Could gaming save the media?

“I have this theory, which is all media companies in the future need to have diversification of revenue streams,” said Sugar founder and chief executive officer Brian Sugar, whose company also recently acquired local city guide FreshGuide. “Subscription revenue is dead, you can’t completely rely on display advertising, you need to diversify. This gets us into the virtual goods business.”

“It’s a fun alternative way to create your personal style and get to know a brand without being intimidated….In your virtual life you can reinvent yourself through the fashion world, customize the ultimate store that reflects your style or the style of your virtual persona,” said Diane von Furstenberg president Paula Sutter.

The Facebook game is free to play, but Sugar earns revenue from virtual currency, sponsorships and affiliate fees if a player buys the real version of anything featured in the game. A click on any item brings the shopper to the real store.

The game went up in beta form last Tuesday and so far has more than 1,260 fans and 700 monthly active users. — Cate T. Corcoran


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