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Should Designers Listen To Consumer Feedback When Creating A New Collection?

Nicole Alter

Instagram just hit 400 million users, luxury British fashion house Burberry released their SS16 collection via Snapchat one day before the catwalk, and #NYFW & #NYFW15 collectively reached 6.6 billion people across Twitter and Instagram between Sept 10th to the 15th, according to WWD.

The times are a-changin’. As more and more brands solidify their mobile outreach, communication via social media provides the end consumer with an empowerment never quite seen before.

“Brands are a lot more answerable than they used to be,” says Graeme Moran, fashion editor of Drapers. “The power of social media has really given everyone a voice and in that sense shifted the power. Brands have to react because something going viral can be a lot more damaging nowadays.”

Positive or negative, the public can have a strong voice, with over 39% of consumers providing organizations with feedback online, and a staggering 72% expect a response within an hour. Granted, not all feedback is negative, and savvy teams have been using data of “likes” and positive commentary to forecast trends and guide manufacturing.

The Independent recently ran an article that begs the question, will designers be swayed by consumer feedback as communication channels open? Will the essence of design change just as commerce and mobile marketing has changed? Or if we collectively curate a collection, perhaps using a platform similar to Betabrand, will it be so #basic that we are immensely bored?

As social media, consumer influence and digital fashion evolve, it will be a new skill for design to evolve alongside and independently from the crowd. There will be a fine balance between relating with your audience, such as Hermès’ deep dive research project after the Jane Merkin’s bag scandal, and maintaining authority in cool. Fashion icon Marc Jacobs epitomizes why we look up to creative designers to inspire all of us…

“But I look at young fashion and it seems like it’s all the same – the idea of what is edgy or cool. It’s style with no substance; it doesn’t really seem born of anything. I don’t see the rebellion or edge in it. It just looks like a cliche: salad oil in the hair, Frankenstein shoes and the trappings of punk and all these other things.”

Nevertheless, the power and influence of technology cannot be ignored or dismissed for good reason. The legendary Karl Lagerfeld said, “Why should we think things were better before? It was just different, as things didn’t exist. Do you remember life before the iPhone? Do you remember life without the iPad? No, and I don’t want to remember. Now we overreact, because it’s new.”

To read more about tech trends in fashion, check out our article on what was trending at the SS16 shows during New York Fashion Week.

Nicole Alter

A small person with a big appetite, Nicole is a total geek for innovation in the tech and fashion space. Nicole's other interests include social media trends, growth hacking, China, and hip-hop zumba classes.

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