See Now, Wear Now

Once upon a time, in the magical land of Fashion Week, those who scored a front row seat could be seen waiting with notepads ready to write reviews and posing for the camera, to be featured in Women’s Wear Daily. Now, smartphones have replaced those notepads and cameras, with attendees snapping their favorite looks and selfies with fellow A-listers.

Thanks to a change in the way brands, editors, bloggers, and socialites make use of their social media, one doesn’t even need a ticket to experience a Fashion Week show. Nowadays, being “fashion forward” not only means keeping up with clothing trends, but also keeping up with technological evolutions.

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Sometimes it’s hard to see the face behind the iPhone screen sitting in the front row of the runway show. Photo Credit.

As designers create a collection that is largely consumer-driven, the presentation of said-collections must align with that mindset.  Wes Gordon went literally all in when incorporating digital media into his Fall 2016 show by having people view the collection via Instagram installments. Gordon felt this way of storytelling was refreshing and the best method of presentation for his collection. 

The structure of fashion is changing, as digital media allows clients to instantly buy a design on the runway, instead of the traditional method of setting up personal shopping appointments. The first season of the Tommy x Gigi collection was described as a “digital fairground” as show goers could purchase looks on digital shopping whiles, while at the same time other consumers could purchase on the collection’s website. Tom Ford also made his collection immediately shoppable with the philosophy that, “In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection, four months before it is available to customers, is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense.”

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“With Instagram, we gave 4 million people instead of 40 the opportunity to sit front row,” Gordon said. Photo Credit

Brand websites and social media platforms aren’t the sole places broadcasting these shows and collections – attendees are taking to their Instagram Live and Snapchat Stories to give access to all. As mentioned in my previous blogpost, editors are becoming increasingly frustrated with bloggers, as they are posting looks from the collection immediately, making it less likely that the same person will read an article covering the story a few hours after the show.

There is even a new phenomenon called “Digital Fashion Week”that fully embodies the changes that are redefining fashion weeks all around the world. These “runways,” incorporated in Singapore Fashion Week, use technologies such as live streaming and feeding and 360 virtual reality to bring coverage from all aspects of fashion week. This fresh perspective not only covers the show, but also rehearsals and backstage broadcasts. Though predominantly practiced in Asian countries, Digital Fashion Week’s marketing techniques and strategies are spreading to the Western Hemisphere.

Social media and technology have caused a shortened attention span and have created a sense of immediacy that has trickled into the fashion industry, and is revolutionizing the four glamorous weeks that celebrate fashion. With this trend becoming dominant, I would say the catwalk shows are endangered as simple presentations, either completely digital or with digital components, are becoming the norm.

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