As New York Fashion Week gears up, one trend this season is abundantly clear: Going digital.
Brands and designers alike are jumping into the digital fray, with livestreamed shows, endless tweets and interactive Facebook chats, reported WWD. Efforts include shoppable runways, digital fashion shows and “social service,” in which social media outlets assist in organizing rides and provide other help for overworked buyers, editors and bloggers.
Many websites are exhibiting trunk shows on the Internet, but the real action is coming from designers and brands. Burberry was one of the first to start livestreaming its runway shows, as well as the first to create a shoppable runway. But this season, a number of others will follow in its footsteps, kicking off with Marc Jacobs on Monday.
After its livestreamed show, Marc Jacobs will offer a “reserve,” in which shoppers can pre-order the just-viewed runway pieces for both its Collection and Marc by Marc Jacobs lines.
Customers can reserve whatever they are interested in buying and receive the items as soon as they are available. Labels are able to discover the public’s favorites and receive a heads up on which colors and sizes they will need.
This year, the consumer is the big focus, said James Gardner, founder and CEO of Create the Group. Shoppers may buy from the runway while viewing a livestreamed show or just after.
“The fashion show has changed. There is a frenzy of desire to be part of this industry. It has become a consumer-facing event,” Gardner told WWD. “It’s now for consumers just as much as it is for editors and the industry.”
Gardener feels labels that take advantage of “shop the runway” efforts can receive key data from viewers and discover which items customers gravitate toward the most. This information allows fashion houses to determine the pieces that will sell the most at retail.
“This is not a gimmick. It provides consumers with insider access and a deeper relationship [to the company] and the brands get knowledge about what consumers like,” Gardner said, noting that the strategy is most appealing to the high-end shopper who wants an edge on acquiring items first.
Another popular trend for Fashion Week is pursuing the B2B platform over the B2C, especially those that harnessing digital initiatives to offer “social service.”
New initiatives are cropping up to aid those in the industry facing taxing runway show schedules. Created in collaboration with King & Partners, these programs allows press, buyers and others to access information about a certain line, such as prerecorded runway shows, high-quality images, shots of accessories, a run of show, a video designer preview, show credits and a beauty area.
The tool, however, is targeted at the industry rather than the average shopper. In fact, users must be invited to use the site.
“It’s everything you would get at a runway show in one place. We’re not looking to replace the runway show,” co-president of KCD Ed Filipowski said to WWD. ’“It’s not demanding on people’s schedules and it alleviates some of the congestion. It’s on the calendar at 11:30 a.m., and we schedule it so reviews can get in that day. It’s not available before that but it’s available any time after. Any time you log in you get the same video experience.”
The platform arose from Filipowski’s desire to be more efficient and employ digital space to “help us do our jobs a little easier.” He wanted a tool that would offer benefits to both his clients and the media.
“I was intrigued by the idea of providing journalists and buyers with all the tools they need to report, cover and be informed about a collection right at their fingertips,” he declared. “That was the big idea. We developed a way to make that happen. It took six months — and it’s been totally funded by our agency.”
Kicking off its sixth season, Made Fashion Week features a schedule of almost 50 shows this month. But part of the real excitement is the interactive app it released a few days ago. Designed to streamline all the fashion week events, the app syncs the catwalk ensembles in real time through embedded high-frequency sound waves, delivering the images to the consumer’s chosen device. With the press of a button, users can get notes, images and show credit information sent to their email account.
Another effort is Lyst, a commerce website that targets shoppers instead of the industry with its fashion week services. Consumers can utilize the Runway Tracking device to check out the collections and place their favorite pieces on a “lyst.” They are then notified when the item becomes available.