Digital Innovation and Rebranding Fashion Week

1-oLsz68_56t0sKtFadaksbQParis Fashion Week wrapped up last Tuesday, marking the end of the Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Week season. Over the past four weeks some pretty wild things happened in New York, London, and Paris: Miley Cyrus displayed her curated collection of neon arts and crafts during Jeremy Scott’s show, and Opening Ceremony staged a play written by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill. North West, arguably the world’s most famous baby, sat front row at Givenchy in Paris and, of course, we (once again)witnessed Betsey Johnson’s infamous cartwheel finale. But the most innovative and exciting thing we saw over the Fashion Week season was the industry’s embracement of e-commerce and social media. With many big-name stores and designers such as Topshop, Burberry, and Rebecca Minkoff going digital, the historically ultra-exclusive Fashion Week experience was democratized and far more people experienced the events via screens than did those actually in attendance. New shoppable social media features, live streaming, and behind-the-scenes footage rebranded Fashion Week season into a digital event in which the masses could participate.

Topshop lived up to its reputation of bringing runway styles to the high street by partnering with Facebook to create “Topshop Unique Live.” The feature streamed the LFW show in real-time and allowed users to shop and customize clothes and accessories as they appeared on the catwalk. Another social media component allowed users to snip and share their favorite looks and moments from the show. Justin Cooke, Topshop’s CMO, commented on the platform saying, “it’s social, it’s commerce, and it’s entertainment all rolled into one.”

Fellow British brand Burberry also participated in the digital push by live-streaming the LFW show both online and in London’s Picadilly Circus. Burberry also teamed up with Twitter for its new “buy now” feature that allowed digitally savvy US shoppers to purchase nail polishes featured in the show.

Stateside, the growing use of technology manifested both in design and in a whole bunch of social media gold. Rebecca Minkoff’s models donned 3D glasses and the designer introduced her new Bluetooth-capable smart bracelets that double as lightning cables for USB connection. Michael Kors connected with fans via #AllAccessKors and #KorsLive, a social media campaign first introduced in Feburary 2014 that allows fashionistas to connect with each other and the brand, and get glimpses of behind-the-scenes footage from the show. It’s no wonder the brand chose to use the #hashtags again. According to the New York Times, Michael Kors was the most-tweeted-about designer of NYFW, followed by Ralph Lauren and Alexander Wang.

With the rise of wearable technology and the growing influence of social media, the question is not if the fashion industry will become increasingly digital, but how it will leverage technology to connect with consumers and in what ways this shift will change Fashion Week, and the industry itself, forever.

Written by Katy Phinick

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