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Runway Shows: The Importance of the Experience in Today’s Media Stories

Front Row to Consumer Discover the voices driving Fashion Week in today's digital era
Julie Tsai

New York Fashion Week is officially here and as the fashion month kicks off, runway shows become the hot topic of the fashion industry. Through the power of social media, the once private, industry-only event has become a global cultural moment, attracting not only industry insiders, but also end consumers.

⚡️ @sachinandbabi ⚡️ #NYFW #CFDANYFW 📸: @lewismirrett

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To garner both audience and media attention, fashion show themes have diversified and now the show experience has extended beyond the traditional runway, aiming to convey the brand philosophy while creating an engaging, entertaining experience that translates into sales. This continuous diversification has made Fashion Week much more inclusive and consumer-focused, yet with an increasingly saturated market it has become more difficult for brands to build brand resonance and emerge through the crowd.

In the co-branded report, Front Row to Consumer: The Voices Driving Fashion Week in Today’s Digital Era, Launchmetrics and Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) highlights eight designers who saw success in generating media impact through the activation of different voices and experimenting with different runway show formats and off-runway initiatives.

One of the designers, Tom Ford, generated a total of $17.2 million in Media Impact Value (MIV), which is a proprietary audience-driven algorithm unique to Launchmetrics that measures the impact of relevant media placements on all online, social, and print channels. While Tom Ford already saw success in generating MIV through its star-studded runway show, the luxury house hosted an exclusive after-party and launched its “FUCKING FABULOUS” fragrance campaign shortly after, extending the buzz and experience off the runway, further boosting media mentions and placing them in headlines of top fashion industry news.

Indeed, while social media coverage drives a large share of media impact during fashion week, traditional media is still a powerful source for generating media value, contributing to approximately 23 to 32% of global media impact during the four international Fashion Weeks last season. With the help of technology and social media, editors now have the ability to connect with their readers through new mediums. Along with bloggers and YouTubers, this new age of influencers are bringing the runway experience directly to their audiences and giving them a sense of inclusiveness in this once-exclusive industry event.

Another prime example of a designer extending the experience beyond traditional runway shows while experimenting with innovative fashion show ideas is Tommy Hilfiger. Three seasons in, the designer continues to curate an Instagram-friendly, snap-worthy environment for both industry insiders and public devotees by stimulating and engaging them with the brand’s experiential elements such as pop-up merch booths, live performances, amusement rides and food stands. With these fun and playful elements, the brand successfully made headlines in almost every major fashion media publication, while democratizing fashion and making the exclusive industry more accessible for consumers. Evidently, the success of their see now, buy now approach came shortly after the #TOMMYNOW show at Tommy Pier. The brand saw 60% increase in sell-throughs, 900% jump in website traffic, with 70% of inbound traffic coming from visitors who never visited the site before. 

While the see now, buy now approach may not work for all designers and after-parties may not be part of the brand ethos for some, it’s clear that there has been a noticeable shift in media consumption in this industry, and being reshaped by globalization and technology, designers are now faced with new and exciting challenges to rethink the way it delivers the experience of Fashion Week and how it approaches runway shows to better fit in this digital era.

To learn more about the voices driving global Fashion Weeks and how brands are overcoming the shifts in the industry, download the Launchmetrics x CFDA Front Row to Consumers: The Voices Driving Fashion Week in Today’s Digital Era report.

Front row to consumer

Julie Tsai

After completing her Master's degree, Julie decided to continue her journey exploring the fields of fashion and tech. Apart from her interests in both topics, Julie is also an advocate of animal welfare and girls' education.

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