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Fashion Weeks 2016: ‘See-now buy-now’ hits the catwalk

From London and New York to Paris and Milan, 2016’s Fashion Weeks are proving to be the most digitally innovative yet. Luxury fashion brands are employing revolutionary techniques to capitalise on the media interest surrounding their catwalk shows and create maximum buzz around their new collections with their wider online consumer audiences.

Whereas once, Fashion Week Shows were very much geared towards generating interest with fashion trade stakeholders and gaining PR in fashion publications, now social media effectively allows thousands of brand advocates to follow the action live and take a seat on the virtual catwalk front-row. This unprecedented connection between the designers, events and consumers presents a massive opportunity for brands which has resulted in a perceptive shift to how the Fashion Week Shows have been executed and promoted. This week’s spat between the formerly highly influential editorial team of Vogue and the increasingly influential fashion blogger community demonstrates just how much digital is changing the face of fashion around the world.

London

A host of brands including Burberry, Temperley London and Tommy Hilfiger caused a stir at London Fashion Week with their trailblazing see-now, buy-now collections. For the first time making pieces available for customers to buy online and instore from the moment they were revealed on the catwalk. This was a decision which many viewed as a move to court millennials, who expect the immediacy of being able to click and purchase from the moment they discover a piece which they like.

This was further amplified by a first in Fashion Week history, where a male designer took part in a female-centric London Fashion Week and closed the event in style. Oliver Spencer, took his show, originally seen at London Collections Men in January, and displayed an edit of his Autumn/Winter 2016 collection. This was run in partnership with the new social media platform Vero. The show was watched live in real-time, the app allowed in-app purchases through Apple Pay, allowing this show to stand out from the crowd in more ways than one and take ‘see-now, buy-now’ that bit further.

Temperley London also utilised the power of the latest new fashionable app; Vero. With the key to the app’s functionality, the ability to share with specific friend sets your interests, the designer was able to show its collection with various audiences, depending on engagement. Allowing for the targeting of only the most engaged and enthusiastic fans to receive their content.

fashionweek_londonCredits: Temperley London 

New York

Brands at New York Fashion Week embraced Periscope to live-stream all the action from the runway directly to followers. Twitter’s app proved to be hugely popular with brands and influencers alike with Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang all using the platform.

fashionweek_nycCredits: Periscope

Milan

Dolce and Gabbana generated a substantial amount of coverage (both in the press and via social channels) for getting their models to take selfies of themselves using their phones whilst walking the runway. These photographs were displayed in real-time around the event venue as well as being shared across Dolce and Gabbana’s official social media channels.

While selfie’s in themselves are nothing new, Dolce and Gabbana still managed to capture the imagination of audiences and press, perhaps due to the fact that they were clearly aiming to appeal to millennials and bring an element of fun to high-fashion – which often carries the reputation of taking itself quite seriously.

fashionweek_milanCredits: Dolce and Gabbana

Retail is detail, is digital

Fashion brands are changing the way they plan and execute Fashion Week shows, internationally, increasingly incorporating digital technologies into their events. Digital has revolutionised the way that consumers engage with luxury brands, and shop for luxury clothing, so design houses are having to adapt quickly in order to stay relevant and capitalise on the interest surrounding these types of events.

By utilising social media as a means of broadcasting shows to online audiences across the globe, and making collections immediately available to purchase, we can see that they are striving to meet the needs and expectations of their ever-more digitally savvy customers and brand advocates. It will be interesting to see the impact of ‘see-now buy-now’ on the traditional fashion industry calendar of seasonal shows followed six months later by products in the shops and online.