Coach to launch virtual reality show experience in select US stores

The Coach 1941 autumn/winter 2017/18 show will be available as a virtual reality experience in certain stores

The Coach 1941 autumn/winter 2017/18 show will be available as a VR experience in certain stores

Coach is inviting shoppers to experience its latest runway show using virtual reality in ten Simon malls across the US.

The initiative, running in collaboration with IMG, will see VR headsets in select Coach stores providing full access to the show in stereoscopic sound from February 17.

“Coach and IMG didn’t want to venture into this unless the technology was at a point where watching a runway show online would give you a better experience than being there in the flesh,” Mark Shapiro, co-president of WME | IMG told BoF. He said virtual and augmented reality have been a priority for the company over the last year. “We’re bringing online audiences closer to fashion. And that’s something that I think is paramount for the industry going forward.”

The aim is to use the campaign to turn buzz around the show into actual sales. Certain stores will offer a free “Rexy” dinosaur bag charm with any $300 purchase, for instance, and the Roosevelt Field location will reportedly give away 75 “Rexy” editor’s envelopes holding tickets to a future New York Fashion Week show.

The VR experience will also be extended to a wider consumer base than those visiting physical locations, thanks to Facebook 360, YouTube and VR networks.

Coach follows in the footsteps of brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Dior and Topshop, who have all used virtual reality in a bid to drive traffic into stores in the past. Usually that follows six months later as the line in question hit the shelves. This example is immediately following the runway, albeit still showing a future season (autumn/winter 2017).

The show itself (Coach 1941) took place in New York yesterday, streamed exclusively via Instagram Live, which has also been gaining traction this season.

The Coach 1941 autumn/winter 2017/18 show streamed via Instagram Live

The Coach 1941 autumn/winter 2017/18 show streamed via Instagram Live