This article first appeared on Mashable
Twitter’s new video-sharing app, Vine, took off in a big way at New York Fashion Week. Designers and editors alike logged in to Vine to capture and share six-second scenes from the shows.
London Fashion Week (LFW) attendees are poised to pick up where New York left off. Design houses including Burberry, Jonathan Saunders and Paul Smith, as well as the British Fashion Council, are all expected to use the app to bring followers behind the scenes and front of house.
It’s Matthew Williamson’s feed, however, that’s the must-see. The designer, known for his intricate, handcrafted garments, will use Vine to showcase details up close during Sunday’s show. As the looks hit the runway, backstage shots by photographer Sean Cunningham (of Burberry Tweetwalk fame) will be posted to Twitter, magnifying the embellishment and beadwork in a bid to bring followers a more detailed view than those available to the front row.
The initiative takes its inspiration from Williamson’s #MatthewMagnified campaign on Facebook, which makes use of the Pic Jointer app to show catwalk images alongside close-up detail shots of the fabric work. Vine will see them in motion, as introduced by the designer below:
— Matthew Williamson (@MWWorld) February 14, 2013
Rosanna Falconer, head of digital for the designer, referred to the idea as “Cinéma vérité,” a French term for true-to-life documentary filmmaking. “I love the way it’s such raw footage. Rather than being a final polished campaign image, it’s about what’s going on right now, live from backstage,” she says. “We’re trying to give our followers better-than-ever access with a real, up-close quality. In many ways, it’s like a digital version of the go-see, which are the appointments made by press and buyers after the show to view the collection in greater detail. It’s the beadwork, the detail and the craftsmanship of the product right there.”
Up close and personal
This idea of a digital go-see, or bringing fans and followers even closer to the Fashion Week action, is also part of Topshop’s plans for the season. As part of a partnership with Google, the British retailer will be providing viewers with live access to every aspect of its show using dozens of cameras, capturing fittings, “red carpet” arrivals and the show itself from multiple points of view. The aim is to offer the experience of what it’s like to be the model, the buyer, the makeup artist or even the designer.
Central to this is its model-cam, which will see Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Rosie Tapner and Ashleigh Good all wearing real-time, HD micro cameras so followers can see the show from their perspective. Pre-stitched into the clothes and bags, these cameras will show detailed footage from the runway as well as backstage. They have been developed with satellite broadcasting company, SIS Live, and make use of the “Hawkeye” technology from major sporting events like Wimbledon.
Justin Cooke, Topshop’s chief marketing officer, says he expects it to steal the show. “The models will become the protagonists. Viewers will search for ‘Cara on the runway,’ and their content will get propelled around the world,” he says.
In addition to Topshop, a new partnership between the British Fashion Council and YouTube will serve up live streams of 20 shows through the LFW channel at youtube.com/lfwtv. A further 13 will also be streamed at londonfashionweek.co.uk/live.
Topshop is adding to its event with pre-show coverage also live-streamed through a customized YouTube page. Hangouts will air from the red carpet, backstage and the front row. “We’re using it as a live broadcast, like the Oscars, like a live behind-the-scenes documentary,” says Cooke.
Catwalk countdowns and live Q&As
Last season saw a big focus on visual diaries in the build-up to London’s shows, and the same goes for the Autumn/Winter 2013 shows.
Julien Macdonald returned to London Fashion Week following a two-season break, and in so doing shared preparation images over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram leading up to his show on Saturday. There was also a time-lapse video of the show space being constructed.
Peter Pilotto, meanwhile, who arrived on Twitter just last week, is likewise posting images in the buildup to his Monday show in what he’s calling his “Catwalk Countdown.”
Back at Topshop, the four aforementioned models will all be featured in a “Road to Runway” digital diary on Google+, documenting everything from their first fittings to the moment they hit the catwalk. There’s also a Google Hangout inviting viewers to see behind the scenes at Topshop’s headquarters ahead of the show and ask the design team questions as they apply their finishing touches.
Expert Q&As are also a go-to for the British Fashion Council again this season. Twitter sessions will this time be held with British Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman, designers Manolo Blahnik and Henry Holland, and blogger and DJ Bip Ling, using the #AskLFW hashtag.
Personalization meets pre-orders
There’s much in the way of shoppable activity set for London this season, too. House of Holland has developed a capsule collection exclusively for eBay.co.uk, comprised of a dress, an oversized slogan t-shirt, an iPhone cover and a pair of tights, each emblazoned with the signature House of Holland Autumn/Winter 2013 “rave wave” print. The micro-line is available for purchase until Sunday, Feb. 24, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.
Burberry, meanwhile, has rebranded its “Runway to Reality” shoppable concept as “Runway Made to Order.” Still a pre-order service for early season delivery on coats and accessories, it will also offer fans a personalization element with nameplate engravings available on each item. The rest of the brand’s show plans will be announced closer to showtime on Monday.
Topshop is enabling followers to buy straight from the catwalk again too, offering items from the collection for pre-order as well as makeup and nail polish for instant delivery. Its “Shoot the Show” and “Customize the Catwalk” initiatives from last season are continuing also, this time refined and modified according to people’s behaviors, i.e. how they interacted with the features during the Spring/Summer 2013 show.
In addition, Topshop and Google have developed a “Be the Buyer” app on Google+ that will allow fans to create moodboards of their favorite items from the runway while seeking video advice from Topshop’s own buying experts, as well as those from department stores Selfridge’s and Browns. The results, says Cooke, will help feed data back to Topshop on what items or colors are the most popular, cleverly shaping its decisions about what to put in store.
Such movements are proving that digital innovation at LFW aren’t solely about gaining fans and building awareness of current collections, but are an opportunity for getting consumers to help determine what will actually hit the shop floor. It doesn’t get much more personal (and for the retailer, efficient) than that.