It’s that crazy time of year again when brands, agencies, photographers, buyers, editors — okay, the entire fashion industry — gets ready to strut their proudest collections during the Fashion Weeks season. This is also the time when social media users and fashion-addicts grow impatient about discovering the new trends. Live from the catwalks, guests are strumming away on their smartphones and tablets, tweeting all the right hashtags such as #NYFW or #PFW and so on. All this noise about the next few weeks has got us excited, so we’re going to follow the conversations and tell you “who is saying what” — as you know, monitoring is definitely our thing.
Brands have been getting serious about digital, and there’s no going back. So, we’ve put together 5 facts that prove that brands are evolving in the digital space. Let’s check em’ out!
1. From fashion-insiders to fashion-outsiders: live streaming for all
“Consumer expectations are changing, everyone feels they have this right to luxury” – Jean-Noël Kapferer, co-author of The Luxury Strategy.
And it’s not all about millennials! Technology evolves and processes become faster. Meanwhile, the costs and difficulties of organizing a live streaming event are lowered significantly. Now, the world of fashion and luxury don’t see the Internet as a threat any more, but as strength. There is no longer the worry of ruining the veneer of exclusivity of fashion shows. Many dedicated platforms broadcast hourly live shows such as nowfashion.com and liverunway.com, to name a couple. Some brands even have microsites devoted entirely to live replay like Michael Kors or Hugo Boss while others organize special events on their social networks like when Vuitton streaming on Facebook in 2010 – what a game changer!
Online broadcasting has become an integral part of communication strategy for many brands, to such an extent that it’s not only limited to live streaming, backstage videos are also produced and broadcasted. Thanks to live streaming, fashion shows go from being inaccessible to attainable: brands get the consumers closer to their universe and, in return, they peak consumers’ interest and strengthen the emotional attachment with their brand.
Live streaming fashion shows on the catwalk internationalizes audiences, allowing unprecedented and instant access to the to a world that was once “closed.” Cutting out the middle-man, brands reach the final consumer on their own!
2. From showcasing collections to engaging people: the role of social media
Once the prerogative of communication and PR teams, Fashion Month has now also become a marketing affair! And fashion brands are proving that they are very good at digital communications. We don’t even need to mention the digital-ground-breaking brands like Burberry or Marc Jacobs and their excellent and inspirational social media actions. Today, almost all brands are on social media. While it the message they want to deliver depends on their brand’s DNA, many of their tactics are the same:
- Teasing: sneak peeks posted on different social media in different content formats with models wearing their collections, etc.
- Dedicated hashtag: a relevant hashtag to generate engagement about a new line is something that communication and PR teams never underestimate.
- Microsites: and easy way to broadcast the show, encourage purchase on E-commerce platforms and live a unique and experience online.
- Exclusive content: from exclusive backstage passes to behind the scenes interviews with models and designers.
- Front row pictures: to share on social media channels and increase visibility of a collection.
I’ve already talked about the importance of social media on catwalks when talking about some brands’ social media strategies from last year. If you want to see some more examples, read this article for more details. So, what are brands up to this season? I’m definitely excited to find out.
3. From journalists to fashion bloggers and influencers
As the media landscape has fragmented, so has the front row. Today we see editors, fashion bloggers and celebrities sitting side-by-side. The amount of new decision-makers is increasing and the future of a brand is now in the hands members of the digerati — let’s call them influencers.
Since fashion bloggers have started to be invited to fashion weeks, the debate has spread. It’s an love or hate thing: journalists and editors (kind of) hate them, while brands flatter them with free samples and gifts. In her controversial and critical article, “The Circus of Fashion”, Suzy Menkes said the following about fashion bloggers:
“I am stunned at the open way bloggers announce which designer has given them what. There is something ridiculous about the self-aggrandizement of some online arbiters who go against the mantra that I was taught in my earliest days as a fashion journalist: “It isn’t good because you like it; you like it because it’s good. Slim chance of that idea catching on among the fashion bloggers. Whether it’s the sharp Susie Bubble or the bright Tavi Gevinson, judging fashion has become all about me: Look at me wearing the dress! Look at these shoes I have found! Look at me loving this outfit in 15 different images!”
The response from bloggers wasn’t long in coming. Leandra Medine, from The Man Repeller, focused on the evolution of fashion shows: the industry no longer belongs only to a privileged few. It’s open to all.
A substantial reshaping of the figure of journalists is going on, especially when they clash with this (not so new) cultural and controversial trend of fashion bloggers.
In my opinion, it may be true that fashion influencers don’t have the same cultural background as editors, but their “raw” education is their strength. They have destabilized the traditional order, forcing the traditional fashion system to change. At the end of the day, fashion shows are all about innovation and maybe fashion bloggers are making sure fashion continues changing and evolving as well.
4. From buyers’ exclusivity to public accessibility: click-to-buy collection
Fashion Weeks are much more than a show, immediacy becomes a great asset for a revenue-oriented strategy. Live tweets, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and other platforms offer brands a maximum exposure level, while allowing them to remain highly selective on the front row. Fashion Month is also about financial results! How have brands leveraged revenue creation while keeping the “physical” show “exclusive”?
Burberry, our favourite game changer, did it for the first time in 2010. They allowed handpicked customers to buy the Prorsum Spring-Summer 2011 collection, right after the fashion show.
Another remarkable example is Topshop’s “click to buy” collection.
Vídeo: Topshop’s Social Catwalk with Instagram + Facebook
On Sunday 14th September at 3pm GMT Topshop Unique reveals it’s most social catwalk show yet. http://bit.ly/XMknEbIn a fashion week first, we’ll be presenting looks from the Unique SS15 collection not on the runway but exclusively on Facebook immediately after the close of the show. What’s more, it’s our very first click-to-buy collection, allowing you to own a piece of the runway instantly while watching it live on topshop.com. Plus, we’re getting some insta-love! This season five handpicked instagrammers will be reporting live from the Topshop showspace giving you a completely unique view of our SS15 show.Near Oxford Circus? Head to our flagship store to watch the show live streamed in our window and see yourself appear on screen by sharing your look with hashtag #TopshopWindow.Music: Losing on You by PeaceBuy the track: https://itun.es/i6gG6bY
The brand got major conversions, relying on its live stream on topshop.com to enable order in real-time of Oxford Circus store collection. A shopping experience that offered customers three different ways to consume: via the website, via mobile or on-site.
5. From traditional shows to tech-oriented ones
Luxury is all about exclusivity, craftsmanship and hours of meticulous work, but the game is changing: fashion and cutting-edge technology are converging.
Last season, Ralph Lauren offered a spectacular 4D holographic projection for their classic Polo line — something that has never been seen during a Fashion Week.
Vídeo: Ralph Lauren Polo in 4D NYFW Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear
Full runway show of Ralph Lauren Polo in 4D, New York Fashion Week Spring 2015.
And virtual reality seems to be the next big thing. Dior launched its virtual reality helmet, called “Dior Eyes,” which will provide access to all ready-to-wear shows. So how does it work? A video clip takes users right into Dior’s universe, where photographers, models, makeup artists and Raf Simons actively prepare for the show. The objective is to offer a glimpse into the inner and exclusive world of the brand.
Other brands are getting the hint, such as Rebecca Minkoff, that is doing something similar. I can’t wait to see the result… streamed live! So, as you can see, digital is changing fashion shows in countless ways. And you better stay connected to make sure you don’t miss out.