NEW YORK As a "trend analyst" with particular expertise in fashion, Tom Julian said 2006 clothing styles will move away from "over-embellished, beaded and speckled clothing," to a focus on the quality of fabric, its cut and detailing.
Julian's fashion insights coupled with his connections to Hollywood (he's a commentator for Oscar.com) are among the assets that made him an attractive hire for Interpublic Group's McCann Erickson, where he starts Feb. 1 in the new position of svp, strategic director of trends for its U.S. clients.
A Pittsburgh native, Julian, 43, will continue to be based in New York, where he has lived since 1986, first as a spokesman for the Men's Fashion Association and then as a trend analyst for Publicis Groupe's Fallon in Minneapolis since 1994.
While other agencies have similar guru-types (e.g., JWT's Marian Salzman, Euro RSCG's Schuyler Brown) to augment the planning function, Talent Zoo's Amy Hoover said she's not seeing an increased demand for such specialized services.
"Agencies are more willing to just poach from competitors instead of having to think of the details in what they want from a planner," Hoover said.
McCann U.S. president Brett Gosper said that with the agency's research tools and well-stocked account planning department, he had not thought of the need for such a position until someone introduced Julian to him. After some discussions about his experience, processes and laser focus on cross-marketing celebrity, beauty and fashion, Gosper made him an offer.
"His expertise is fashion, beauty and entertainment," Gosper said. "Tom is particularly good at managing properties through Hollywood. That's something we don't yet have a good handle on."
One of Julian's most recent executions was an online effort for Nordstrom in which 1980s videos "were updated with modern fashion sensibilities" from the upscale retailer.
Gosper said Julian's skills would come in handy for clients such as L'Oreal and Kohl's to start.
Julian said one of his first successes at Fallon was in 1994 when he arranged for then-client Timex to be a title sponsor for New York's Fashion Week, which helped it achieve No. 1 status in brand recognition in its category in a WWD survey. A year later, its then Lee Jeans client was the featured sponsor during Julian's red-carpet coverage for Oscar.com.