Live streaming fashion week – a classic case of quality over quantity

J. JS Lee spring/summer 2015

Last September I wrote a piece for Mashable about the role of live streaming during fashion week today – the engagement it does and doesn’t afford, and ultimately whether the cost involved is worth it for designers.

There were varying viewpoints. Live viewership isn’t especially high, but numerous brands suggested reaching the ‘super fan’ makes it worthwhile. Furthermore, understanding the ROI is a bit of a grey area anyway – many designers record videos of their shows regardless of whether they’re streaming it, so the greater part of the financial investment live streaming requires is already there. Likewise, many have that cost soaked up as part of their show package at say the Lincoln Center with IMG in New York or Somerset House with the BFC in London.

Regardless of that fact, live streams have become so prevalent, they’re also somewhat mundane. Overall there was also a consensus therefore that a point of difference and a specific content strategy beyond just the 10-minutes or so of the show, would help too.

In New York this season, however, quite a few of the big shows, including DKNY and Diane von Furstenberg, who have live streamed for a good number of seasons in the past, opted not to. Similarly, Made Fashion Week didn’t include live streaming as standard with any of its shows from Milk Studios either.

There was quite a response on Twitter; fans complaining about the fact they weren’t getting to see their favourite shows, using choice words like ‘disappointed’ and ‘annoyed’.

The numbers may not be enormous, but seemingly the engagement of those fans that do tune in has the potential to make it worthwhile. The idea of that super fan again, is loud and it’s strong. Even if they’re not yet customers, at the very least they aspire to be.

Which is why it should be credited that the British Fashion Council is fully backing live streaming for its designers this season, with a record 90% of the schedule set to be available to watch online. Even Tom Ford is – for the first time ever – set to live stream on Monday, September 15, which is a significant shift in strategy comparative to his first show for spring/summer 2011 when he only invited one photographer (his own), turned away all the bloggers, and set a strict embargo on information about the collection so as to relate it more closely to the date the garments hit store.

The British Fashion Council estimates the LFW live streams are watched from 190 countries worldwide. Click here for the full schedule: www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/schedule

Pic: J. JS Lee spring/summer 2015