Categories
Editor's pick Events technology

NYFW roundup: #MeToo conversations, immersive runways and supersized robots

Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show
Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show

It was a quieter New York Fashion Week season than usual, as big-name designers including Altuzarra and Tommy Hilfiger chose to decamp to other cities – Paris and Milan, respectively – to host their much buzzed-about runway shows. Even fashion week parties, which in the past provided magazine fodder for weeks to come, have also been scaled down, with the industry seemingly more subdued in general.

That didn’t stop various buzzworthy moments however, including subtle nods to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, various more immersive runway presentations, and a dash of the futuristic with Google TiltBrush and an oversized robot.

Here we highlight some of the most interesting conversations that took place, and where there was still room left for improvement…

Cultural statements

There was little direct acknowledgement of the powerful conversation around the #MeToo movement, but shows attempted to create a stage for female empowerment. For Tom Ford, the approach was literal and included models strutting down the runway donning shoulder pads and a “Pussy Power” handbag. For Prabal Gurung, which The Washington Post has previously described as the “most woke man in fashion”, it was a nod to the #TimesUp conversation as models closed the show as a group, carrying white roses.

Tom Ford AW18
Tom Ford AW18

Also alluding to the message of empowerment, designer Jonathan Simkhai presented a Suffragette-inspired collection, while Kesha’s song on speaking out on harassment, “Praying”, greeted guests.

Following the second yearly Woman’s March, which took place globally on January 20, Brother Vellies teamed up with a roster of labels, such as Clare V. and Rachel Comey, to design a capsule collection benefitting the march and Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile designer Rebecca Minkoff, who was due to give birth to her third child during the week, forwent a formal presentation, instead opting to showcase her see-now-buy-now on 20 powerful women online. That cast includes members of the Women’s March committee, as well as actress Zosia Mamet and fashion presenter Zanna Roberts Rassi. The designer also teamed up with networking app Bumble Bizz to host a speaker night titled “Trailblazers: Women who have started their own company or have forged their own way within their industry”.

The topic of diversity was ever-present during NYFW too, though perhaps rather positively it was less buzzed about as more designers included a variation of ethnicities and sizes on their runway. Designers such as Christian Siriano and one of this season’s favourites, Eckhaus Latta, enlisted models at each end of the spectrum. Meanwhile model Kendall Jenner hosted an Adidas Originals presentation that featured a colourful cast and the showcase of the brand’s first hijab.

Alternative runways

In addition to the designers whose presence was missed in New York this season, many others moved away from formal runway shows to explore new ways to engage with a new, savvier audience.

Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18
Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18

Adidas teamed up with trendy New York label and lifestyle store VFiles to host a multimedia photoshoot at the Terminal 5 venue in Hell’s Kitchen, for instance. As music played for partygoers, models stood on stage posing against white backdrops, thus partaking in a live photoshoot. The immersive event aimed to respond to a community who wants to participate, rather than watch from the sidelines, said Julie Anne Quay, founder of VFiles.

Online, Zac Posen launched his collection via a photoshoot starring actress and friend Katie Holmes. Similarly the Rodarte sisters published the “Women that Inspire Us” lookbook, which features a pregnant Kirsten Dunst and young R&B duo Chloe x Halle, among others.

Perhaps cleverly steering clear from live presentations, which have in the past not received the best of reviews, Kanye West leveraged his online fandom by releasing his Yeezy Season Six collection online, in a lookbook starring women such as Paris Hilton and actress Sarah Snyder dressed up as Kim Kardashian look-a-likes, as well as the woman herself.

The future is here?

In a week primed for entertainment and participation to take place, designers were surprisingly timid when experimenting with technology this season.

Irina Shayk and robot companion at Philipp Plein AW18

As previously reported, Rebecca Taylor teamed up with Google’s Tilt Brush to create an immersive in-store environment for customers to enjoy her collection in, while Badgley Mischka harnessed technology to better receive their immediate audience’s feedback.

Meanwhile, Nicole Miller teamed up with AI and image recognition company RevelGlam to pilot their software on her runway show. The software analyses insights from fashion shows as well as celebrity sightings and influencer activities in order to predict trends.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, it was German designer Philipp Plein who became a major topic of conversation however; giving the week a much-needed injection of futuristic tech. In a display of extravagance he has become known for, model Irina Shayk entered the runway from a spaceship and strutted alongside a giant bot with the designer’s logo plastered all over it.

In a week where most designers arguably played safe on many fronts – from not taking a truly clear stand on serious conversations to engaging with new technologies – Plein’s stunt may have trumped the collection being shown, but it simultaneously provided an irreverent and timely take on the future.

Categories
social media

Social media by the numbers: the big fashion week trends

Kim_NYFW

With the autumn/winter 2016 fashion week season now behind us, it’s time to run the numbers, crunch the stats and crown the social media winners and losers of the month.

Or try to…

Conflicting data and contradictory reports on brand statistics are published daily during New York, London, Milan and Paris, making it increasingly difficult to compose an accurate picture of exactly what’s what. But, equally they enable lots of thought around social media trends in general and which way the industry is moving with what it uses, favours and finds the most success on.

Given the hot debate currently underway around whether designers should move to in-season, consumer-facing shows or not, lots of this sort of information counts. So here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:


Instagram continued to dominate

During New York Fashion Week (NYFW), 427,000 images were shared on Instagram, generating more than 113 million social engagements (likes and comments), according to Traeger Communications. Year-on-year, this is a 47% increase in images and a 30% increase in engagements, proving that Instagram continues to be a powerful medium for brands that want to join in the fashion week conversation. Natalie Massenet, chairman of the British Fashion Council (BFC) added during London Fashion Week (LFW)’s launch that “97% of the BFC’s designers questioned in a survey were on Instagram”.


Designers embraced Snapchat to reach Generation Z

Snapchat exploded across fashion month, hitting all four fashion weeks in a big way. Social media uptake usually filters down through New York and London before reaching Milan and Paris a couple of seasons later, but the fashion industry couldn’t afford to ignore this trend. New designers joining included Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, Gucci, Dior and more. “11% of social media activity around Paris Fashion Week (PFW) was attributed to Generation Z,” reported influencer engagement platform Zoomph, pointing in the direction of Snapchat particularly. Keen to establish brand loyalty with the next generation of consumers (Gen Z is considered to be anyone born after the mid-late 90s), brands used Snapchat to reach this sought after demographic where they already live. Snapchat’s core users are 13-24 years old.


Twitter is still relevant but sees less engagement

Contradicting general consensus, Zoomph reported that 98% of social media activity relating to PFW was on Twitter and only 2% on Instagram. Business intelligence firm L2 reported a similar trend during the Tommy Hilfiger show at NYFW. The designer posted 51 images on Instagram compared to 197 tweets. Mind you, much of that may be to do with the nature of the platform – fast-paced comments versus more considered images. Backing that is the fact that Tommy’s posts converted into 920,528 likes and comments on Instagram, while the larger number of posts on Twitter only saw a total of 30,971 likes and retweets in return.


Facebook lost ground but innovative product appeals

The social media platform largely associated with Millennials continued to fall out of favour with the fashion crowd. Facebook activity surrounding NYFW has declined year-on-year since 2014 according to the L2 report. The pay-to-play nature of the platform is said to be the reason why, with brands instead opting to focus resources elsewhere. Facebook is however experimenting in new spaces in a bid to garner renewed attention. Its Facebook 360 product allows users to experience virtual content first-hand by controlling the rotation on it themselves. Refinery 29 shot eight shows at NYFW using the immersive technology.


Others opted for a digital detox

While that debate rages on around fashion weeks transforming into consumer-facing events, others have been rejecting social media altogether. This season, Massimo Giorgetti banned social media from his MSGM show at Milan Fashion Week MFW) for instance, suggesting guests simply enjoy the show instead of watching it through their smartphones. A number of others did the same including Jacquemus in Paris and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand The Row in New York. Belstaff also didn’t allow photographs to be taken of its capsule collection with Liv Tyler in London.


Luxury brands were outpaced by savvy collaborations

If they weren’t banning it, they were doing the total opposite and teaming up with celebs in order to hit the biggest numbers of social media instead. Rihanna modelling her own Fenty x Puma collection for instance caused an enormous stir with 140,000 tweets being posted about it, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence. That was nearly 100,000 more than Ralph Lauren achieved in the same time period (47,000) and almost double that of Michael Kors (71,000). By comparison, Kanye West opened NYFW at Madison Square Gardens with his Yeezy season 3 collection to an audience of 18,000. On social media that generated 800,000 tweets.


Supermodels and influencers ruled

Once again the choice of models taking to the catwalk also appeared to be just as important as the clothes on show. High-profile names including Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner shared backstage insights with their own millions of followers – the former also doing a stellar job launching Tommy Hilfiger’s Snapchat account. A shot of the duo swapping hair colours for Balmain also exploded, generating the brand 144,000 likes and 3,500 comments. At NYFW, of the top 10 Instagram images by total engagements, eight were taken by models and influencers, including models and social influencers Jay Alvarrez and Alexis Ren, as well as Russian YouTube influencer Kate Clapp, according to data from Traeger Communications.


Kim killed it… again

One step ahead of younger sis Kendall was publicity machine Kim Kardashian West – who once again topped the social media leader boards across multiple platforms. Her promotion of the NYFW official app garnered nearly 800,000 engagements and was the most-successful image on Instagram during NYFW for instance. Kim also won Paris by posting a number of throwback images from the AW15 season as well as a controversial-yet-censored naked shot of herself that commanded a hefty 1.6 million likes.

Categories
Comment Editor's pick social media Startups technology

Comment counts: How to survive SXSW. Warning! This post contains Kanye GIFs

As a bit of a SXSW Interactive veteran, Olly Rzysko of Primark, felt a responsibility to share information with festival newbies on how to make the most of the week. Cue Kanye West…

KanyeWest

I have been attending SXSW Interactive for four years now. Every year the experience improves and I learn more about navigating it in order to come back to the UK feeling motivated and more informed. I wish someone had helped me on my first visit as it was an intimidating and daunting experience, where I, like many, had travelled solo due to cost constraints.

I now feel the responsibility to share some info with other newcomers with the capable assistance of Kanye. We work in a world where success relies hugely on collaboration and this is my little contribution. This is nothing crazy or life changing but I hope it helps a few newbies.

giphy_kanye

Keep it comfy

Austin is casual, this ain’t no fashion show. You’re going to be on your feet all day, sometimes walking 30-40 minutes between venues. Invest in some real comfy trainers for those crazy days. It gets hot most years and you may end up leaving the hotel at 9am and not coming back until gone midnight. Packing is everything.These are also a VERY good idea.

giphy (6)

Stay powered up

Funnily enough, SXSW Interactive involved a lot of WiFi and battery draining demos, not to mention note taking. Pack some spare batteries for your phone. If you can buy two, leave one charging in the hotel while you take one out with you. You can pick these up at a little place called Primark. This one is only £8 / $10 and you can also pick up a multi connecting USB for around £2.50 / $3.00. Shameless plug over.

giphy (5)

RSVP, RSVP & RSVP

My biggest mistake on year one. I didn’t RSVP to things such as parties and events, in America you HAVE to do this to make sure you are on the list. Nobody likes an embarrassing wait to get into an event. Using http://rsvpster.com/ is really smart along with a few other sites such as http://do512.com/ andwww.eventbrite.com

giphy (3)

If you didn’t #, it didn’t happen

Hashtags drive the conversation and Twitter is the most important channel for gaining some insight. During the talks and events you should tweet along, track the hashtag and follow the conversation. This is great for note taking too. Screengrab the best tweets and add into your notes. I take all my notes using Evernote, which is quite handy as it keeps everything central and you can move from device to device as your battery life dies on each one.

Kanye tweet

Save the map

SXSW is a drain on your data and this makes navigating the hundreds of venues difficult. A little trick: save your area on Google Maps. Here’s a little guide on how to do that to save your data, your battery life and your mind. You’re gonna need this map from dusk til dawn. Alternatively, kick it old school and take a paper one from the hotel.

giphy (4)

Plan ahead (but not too much)

You can plan ahead by getting the app and starring all the talks and sessions you want to attend. You won’t make all of them, just be honest with yourself, not least for the fact you could be looking at a very long line when you arrive for that one key talk about the “Gamification of Hamster Wheels Using Augmented Reality in 9 Easy Steps”. So don’t get caught out; if it’s important to see a talk (i.e. Barack Obama), arrive early, get in the room and wait for your panel. Remember not to fall for click baiting talk titles like “The Best Social Media Strategy Ever” too, as some of these can often be a 15 minute sales pitch from an agency.

giphy (7)

It’s OK to have a bad day

It happens to the best of us but if you are there for a week, you will hit a brick wall where you go to three panels in a row that are awful and get a mental block. My advice is go for a walk and take a few hours off so you can clear your head. This event isn’t competition about who can go to the most events. FOMO is very 2015.

giphy (8)

It’s not all about the convention centre

Get out of central downtown Austin to see what the city is really like. The people in Austin are really friendly and welcoming considering 35,000 of us descend on them and take over every bar, public space and transport system for two weeks. So, try shopping and eating with the local businesses and not with the big chains. I recommend visiting:

  • South Congress, which is a really nice space and strip of stores and eateries south of the main city
  • Rainey Street although central is quite hidden away. This is where the party is at most nights
  • Talk to some locals and get their advice on where is good

giphy (2)

It DOES rain

They don’t tell you this. Pack a jacket, umbrella, mac whatever. Don’t be fooled by the weather reports.

kanye_disappointed

And finally, enjoy yourself

You’ve worked hard to get there, you’ve worked hard all week. Make sure you get to parties, talk to new people and make some new friends.

I’ll be at SXSW from March 10 through 16, as will Fashion & Mash editor, Rachel Arthur, who is hosting a #FashMash kick off mixer in collaboration with Decoded Fashion. If you’re interesting (and not trying too hard to sell something), we look forward to seeing you there.

kanye_gif

Olly Rzysko is head of digital communications at retail Primark. 

Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com

Categories
social media

Who won the #NYFW social media war?

yeezy

There’s a lot of data emerging to help us answer the question “who won the NYFW social media war?” Some of it’s a bit contradictory at the moment but it’s also fascinating. So what’s the answer?

Well, so far it looks like Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Coach were all winners, as well as music superstars Kanye West with his Yeezy line and Rihanna with her Fenty collab with Puma. At least that’s according to figures from marketing technology company, Amobee Brand Intelligence.

Kors managed to garner nearly 71,000 Tweets and Lauren nearly 47,000 during NYFW.

And according to data that social media search company Ground Signal gave Reuters, both Kors and Lauren were also among the big winners on other social media channels – both appearing in the top five mentioned brands on Instagram.

Yet despite such brands getting major social media traffic, interest in them was dwarfed by interest in Kanye and Rihanna’s respective fashion endeavours. They garnered 800,000 and 140,000 Tweets, respectively, Amobee said.

However, according to data from ListenFirst media, Victoria Beckham “won” New York Fashion Week. She got the most ‘engagement’ online with her show on February 14. Her digital engagement rating was 1,337,169. Michael Kors was second with a rating of 864,913, Kanye was third, and Calvin Klein fourth. Tommy Hilfiger was only seventh by this measure, although it must be said that his Instagram Pit and his use of Gigi Hadid certainly meant that his Insta-engagement was high quality, even if it wasn’t the biggest on volume.

Does any of this really matter? It certainly does. Interestingly, Ground Signal also said that a third of those posting on Instagram around NYFW were aged below 25 and it’s that key youth market that brands want to reach, even brands whose products sell at prices most young people can’t afford (remember, for every $1,000 jacket there’s a $100 diffusion line handbag or a $50 perfume).

The fact is that social media ‘likes’ now count for as much as the more wordy thumbs-ups from legit fashion critics. As Lisa Pomerantz, a Michael Kors spokeswoman, told Reuters: “We know we need to be where our customer is, and today she is on all of these platforms consuming more content more quickly than ever before.”

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Categories
Editor's pick social media

From Yoda Wintour to Karltrooper, fashion characters gets a Star Wars makeover

Stylight-StarWars-Infographic

The Minions might have taken on looks inspired by fashion’s most prominent figures earlier this summer, but now they’ve been usurped by Yoda, R2-D2 and Chewbacca.

Yes, in celebration of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this week, fashion site Stylight has once again transformed a number of well known fashion names, this time including the likes of Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and his cat Choupette, Victoria Beckham, Cara Delevingne, Kanye West, Jean Paul Gaultier and Miley Cyrus.

Each of them takes on a different lead role, with the likes of Delevingne becoming Chewbacca and Beckham assuming Darth Vader.

Stylight-StarWars-Poster-small

“Star Wars has been a recurring theme on runways for many years now. Who could forget Chanel’s A/W 2010 iceage collection with distinctly Chewbacca inspired fur onesies, Balmain’s C-3PO influenced all-gold A/W 2013 runway looks and of course Rodarte’s A/W 2015 collection which actually featured Star Wars characters printed onto flowing maxi dresses,” writes the Stylight team.

Check out each of the looks they’ve created in more detail, below:

Stylight-Star_Wars-Karltrooper
Stylight-Star_Wars-Yoda-Wintour
Stylight-Star_Wars-Carabacca
Stylight-Star_Wars-Darth-Victoria
Stylight-Star_Wars-Kanye-Maul
Stylight-Star_Wars-R-2-Gaultier
Stylight-Star_Wars-Miley-Binks

Categories
Comment Editor's pick

Comment counts: How luxury went tribal

A new luxury is emerging based on the idea of creating belonging over exclusion, says Eleni Chalmers of Leo Burnett; a world where knowledge and passion frequently trumps wealth.

GivenchySS16

Givenchy offering up 820 seats at its spring 2016 show during New York Fashion Week to whoever got there first wasn’t just a one-off publicity exercise. It was symptomatic of a major shift in the luxury sector.

Luxury has become defined by what matters to the public rather than the traditional conventions of marketers. We at Leo Burnett call this new trend “tribal luxury” because, unlike traditional luxury, which is based on what a brand can offer you to the exclusion of others, tribal luxury is rooted in belonging.

Tribal luxury isn’t just confined to new brands. Selfridges has demonstrated a real sense of democracy and inclusiveness. The 100-year-old London store has held events and activities recently showcasing its accessibility, such as its gender-neutral pop up store Agender and Bright Old Things, an initiative celebrating older innovators & influencers.

Burberry exists in both the traditional sector selling luxury high status goods, and the tribal sector with activities such as the famous Art of the Trench initiative, which crowd-sourced photos of everyday people wearing trench coats to attract a new generation of prospective customers effectively displaying their “membership” of this tribe.

Net-a-Porter’s fashion social network The Net Set shows tribal luxury at work. The site, which launched as invitation only, is now open to the public after “insatiable” demand – further proof luxury consumers love to belong.

What these brands understand is that creating inclusive communities doesn’t dilute your exclusivity – rather it fans the flames of passion for the many, which in turn, elevates the appeal of the brand to the few who can afford these high ticket items.

Inclusiveness does not reduce the aspirational appeal of luxury brands. While the skater cool of New York’s Supreme clothing brand may be available to everyone, a pair of sweat shorts will still set you back over £100. But people will still pay because getting to express your membership of the Supreme tribe is worth it.

Kanye West’s Yeezy adidas sneaker range has caused a bidding war because of limited supply, with people offering up to £8000 for a pair that would normally cost £275. Needless to say those “in the know” probably got them at the retail price.

Luxury remains exclusive, but in the new world of tribal luxury the currency is the knowledge borne out of passion, not wealth. Tribal luxury is here to stay because old-fashioned one-upmanship has morphed into something more collaborative and arguably human. Elitism has given way to the more democratic idea that knowledge and passion can enable you to experience luxury. It’s not money, but the need to belong that is making the luxury world go round.

Eleni Chalmers is luxury and lifestyle strategy director at advertising agency Leo Burnett.

Comment Counts is a new series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com.

Categories
data digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: Apple, Michael Kors, Chiara Ferragni, Crocs, Snapchat, Neiman Marcus, Gap

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

AppleVogue3

  • Apple runs first watch ads: 12 pages in Vogue [AdAge]
  • Michael Kors is getting into wearable tech [Bloomberg]
  • 10 things we learned about the business of blogging from Chiara Ferragni’s Harvard Study [StyleCaster]
  • Drones to fetch orders at Tokyo Crocs store [WSJ]
  • Luxury brands on Snapchat? Why Michael Kors is taking the plunge [Digiday]
  • Asos plots further Snapchat activity despite admitting it provides ‘virtually no data at all’ [The Drum]
  • Neiman Marcus integrates interactive tables for unbridled selection [PSFK]
  • Gap launches Instagram soap opera with Jenny Slate, Paul Dano [Mashable]
  • Nordstrom shrinks Innovation Lab, reassigns employees in shakeup of tech initiatives [Geekwire]
  • Apple stores will implement jewellery store practices to help sell the Apple Watch [TechCrunch]
  • I wore a Fitbit during fashion week [Fashionista]
  • What the tech world doesn’t understand about fashion [Racked]
  • The future of retail is the end of wholesale [BoF]
  • Will drones fly in retail? [Stores Magazine]
  • Jeff Bezos makes another push for Amazon Fashion. Will it work? [Bloomberg]
  • How Code and Theory’s Brandon Ralph gained the trust of everyone from Anna Wintour to Burger King [Fashionista]
  • Victoria’s Secret ads warm up People Magazine’s Snapchat Stories [AdAge]
  • Adidas app lets sneakerheads wait in virtual lines for limited editions [Bloomberg]
  • River Island moving IT ‘out of the back room’ with tech hub collaboration [The Drum]
  • ‘Lucky’ launches LuckyShops.com [MediaPost]
  • Face hacking: transforming our future visages with digital make-up [Motherboard]
  • How start-ups are beating Burberry to DIY fashion [Marketing Magazine]
  • How Line is turning Instagram into an e-commerce app in Thailand [TechInAsia]
  • First digital measuring tape to make online shopping less risky [PSFK]