Style

Hallmark Signature Takes On the Runway

Hallmark’s stylish line of cards became the material during a “Project Runway” challenge.

Contestants on this season of Lifetime’s “Project Runway” were greeted with a unique challenge on last Thursday’s episode: making a garment out of Hallmark Signature cards.

Showcasing cards on the small screen—and the runway—is the latest way Hallmark is promoting the Signature collection, which was launched three years ago but has since evolved to include new products and a new fashion-focused brand strategy.

“The Signature card line is truly inspired creatively by fashion’s iconic brands. There’s a lot of talk internally about brands like Tiffany or Kate Spade and Tory Burch and just how they have a unique positioning, the way they approach it,” says Hallmark Director of Branding Amy Merchant.

Hallmark Director of Branding Amy Merchant explaining the design challenge with Tim Gunn.

Think of the collection as Hallmark’s chic, Instagram-loving younger sister. The cards feature unique papers and stylish embellishments such as feathers, gems and actual accessories such as hairpins, shoe clips and necklaces that can be removed from the card and worn.

“Given that the cards are very fashion forward, stylish, high-design, ‘Project Runway’ was a natural fit for us,” Merchant says, noting the show has a strong fan base that’s highly engaged. “Speaking with them, the project was the perfect conduit to inspire the artistic process of those up and coming designers to deliver their show-stopping garments.”

And deliver they did. The season’s unconventional challenge yielded spectacular results, including an ombre party dress, “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired separates (Merchant’s personal favorite design) and the winner, an amazing wedding dress, complete with a bouquet and accessories made out of the cards. (Watch the full episode online here.)

The winning look from the Hallmark Signature “Project Runway” challenge by designer Edmond Newton.

The “Project Runway” tie-in was just the most recent element in Hallmark Signature’s strategy to drive awareness and reach new consumers, specifically those who are fashion-focused. So far the brand has partnered with a handful of YouTube creators as well as bloggers to style looks or create look books inspired by cards in the collection. The company has also partnered with celebrities like “Project Runway” judge and Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia and E! personality Giuliana Rancic, who shared how they choose a card and thoughts on the importance of handwritten notes.

“Truly for us it’s been engaging in places and spaces that already have the fashion or style following and associating ourselves with them,” Merchant says. “Instead of just going out and saying, ‘Look at us, we’re fashionable,’ we’re leaning into that audience and the places they seek out that information.”

Up next for Hallmark Signature? The ultimate fashion stop, a pop-up shop in SoHo for New York Fashion Week in September.

More information on the cards, visit hallmark.com/signature.