When high fashion meets high-tech
After the Men Fashion Week digital digest last month, here it is how the ladies collections strike back. It’s been one of the most interesting seasons from a digital perspective and here are the future trends and creative digital ideas I spotted on the coverage of WFW in New York, London and Milan.
Main take aways:
- New channels: Pinterest, Tumblr, Viddy, Weibo, Vkontakte
- Added value to online streaming
- Democratization of the Fashion Show
- Content curation and new levels of engagement – Guest editors
Recently we heard a lot of buzzing about Pinterest and while some brands are still valuating whether it’s worth the try, others have gained thousands of followers already. Like Tumblr before it, Pinterest offers the chance to reach massive, sharing-oriented new audiences — but also requires a different, more visual kind of editorial thinking, which makes it the perfect tool to put in one place all the photo and video material during a fashion show. The best practices so far during the fashion week are by Michael Kors All Access pinboard, Dolce&Gabbana Exclusive Women FW13 Backstage, Marc Jacobs Intl: Runway Hair & Make-up and FW12 Runway Show Guests, Burberry Prorsum Womenswear. They basically use it as a container of all the official and user-generated photo material covering backstage, celebrities and runway shots.
By the time major brands decide to be present on Pinterest, most probably it wont be such a crowded space anymore. New channels and social networks come and go much faster and brands has to be more flexible with the implementation of their digital strategy across various platforms. Tumblr is not considered a new thing anymore but still is a great content provider for fashion addicted. Diesel Black Gold created a dedicated profile for their first New York fashion show on Tumblr where the fashion blogger Sweet Caroline in the City was their Guest Editor sharing pictures and thoughts on the collection.
Instead of using the good old You Tube for the live streaming, Diane von Furstenberg decided to try the new social application for a fast sharing of video content – Viddy. Basically it’s like Instagram but for videos – you can very simply upload, edit and share across all channels a video you did with your iPhone. DVF has uploaded 47 videos showing show backstage and guests interviews that can be seen also on a dedicated Facebook tab. The Washington Post also used Viddy and Pinterest during the New York Fashion Week to constantly share comments and pictures with its audience while covering the runways.
While communicating a global fashion brand, one should always bear in mind that digital habits change from one country to another. Facebook and Twitter are not tools that fit all audiences. China and Russia for example have their own social media preferences and in the same time are two big markets for the fashion industry that marketers can’t afford to “miss”. A leader in that sense is Dolce&Gabbana who provided backstage content on 3 main channels: Pinterest, Weibo (Chinese Twitter analog) and Vkontakte (Russian Facebook analog). We will see brands engaging through local digital channels even more in the future.
Added value to the online streaming of a fashion show
It didn’t take long until fashion brands realized that livestreaming exclusive event as a fashion show doesn’t have a negative impact on VIPs attendance or buyers’ interest. On the contrary, it tremendously boosts the event’s visibility and its brand power. Even more, the fashion industry is now giving fashion addicts a chance to get a full glimpse of events they couldn’t have dreamed of attending.
Burberry gave its fans a chance to even host the livestream its Womenswear Autumn / Winter 2012 collection on their own Facebook wall - and shop bags and coats directly from the runway for one week, with delivery in under 2 months. Via Burberry.com, people could watch the event, while motion reactive technology allowed them to view each look in 360 degrees. A panoramic camera captured the finale, allowing users to manipulate the view inside the show space and see the show from any perspective.
Animated GIFS were shared via Twitter (and as images on Instagram) before the models hit the runway, allowing followers to view the collection moments before anyone else and taking to a new level the traditional #Tweetwalk of Burrbery.
Many brands broadcasted live their fashion show on a mini website where users could log in with Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment while watching the show and reading other viewers’ impressions. The pioneer in that simple and effective practice was Gucci with its still running Gucci Connect where later were added also live bloggers’ comments on a separate column. Some brands’ websites (Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs) allowed fans to snapshot their favorite looks during the show and save them after.
Let’s not forget fashion show livestreaming can be used as a marketing instrument too. Dedicated Facebook apps and tabs will not only skyrocket your fans number and engagement but can can also enlarge your mailing list. In the period of excitement before the fashion show, users are more willing to do that little effort and register with their email in order to have the privilege to see the show in real time. In fact, Alberta Ferretti and Moschino (both brands part of AEFFE SPA) have used this tactic during the fashion week as both asked users to register on their site in order to see the show live.
In other words, live streaming now gives Internet users a chance to get virtual access to VIP fashion events. This is also true of press coverage, as media outlets are increasingly using digital tools to provide their readers with real-time news.
Content curation and new levels of engagement
In the sea of information online, brands has come to the understanding that content curation by an experienced editor brings added value to the official stream during, before and after the fashion show. Diesel, Calvin Klein and others took on board famous fashion bloggers as guest editors to report on all the happenings in house during the fashion week. This trend is to evolve even more in the future having in mind that covering an event like this requires really a dedicated person backstage.
We have come to a point where the main target of big exclusive fashion shows of luxury brands are their digital fans. The people who most probably can’t even afford this stuff but if all of them share it, it will inevitably reach the real buyers and it will create a great value for the brand awareness. The creative director of Burberry Christopher Bailey has recorded special videos for their facebook fans inviting them to watch the show and answering some of their questions after.
Even more, on burberry.com now you can find all models looks from the runway with detailed make-up tutorials and the beauty products that were used on them with the simple call to action: Get the A/W12 Runway Look.
In that sense Burberry lays the ground for yet another trend to follow in the future: video messages and make-up/style tutorials.
These were remarkable fashion weeks in New York and Milan. Now looking forward to Paris and what will Louis Vuitton and co. offer in terms of digital innovation. Watch this space.