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Editor's pick Events technology

7 tech activations that stood out this fashion week season

Brands are constantly evolving their approach to tech during fashion week. This season we saw designers reinvent the show space yet again by using tools including artificial intelligence, LED sets and mixed reality powered by 5G to create memorable (and shareable) experiences for their guests.

Here are seven of the most interesting ways brands did so…

Rag & Bone’s AI guest
Rag & Bone’s “The Last Supper”

Rag & Bone decided to throw a fashion week dinner with one very special attendee: an artificial intelligence system designed by artist and creative technologist, Ross Goodwin. At “The Last Supper”, guests sat at a U-shaped table while their conversations and actions were filmed and analyzed by a series of cameras. Towards the end of the event, the guests were treated to a video that showed the AI’s view of their dinner party interspersed with models wearing Rag & Bone’s new collection.

Central Saint Martin’s mixed reality show powered by 5G
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show

Mixed reality animations illuminated looks designed by MA students from Central Saint Martins university for their annual showcase during London Fashion Week. Imagine lightning bolts, skulls and even tiger heads beaming/ moving around the models. The university teamed up with mobile network, Three, and creative agency, Rewind, to bring the animations to life. 10 attendees, including Jourdan Dunn and Natalie Dormer, sported Magic Leap’s One mixed reality headsets, while others could see the animations on screens around the catwalk. “The future of design and fashion is intrinsically linked with the evolution of tech and we are seeing more and more disruptive and innovative technologies shaking up the way the design and fashion industries operate,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins.

Gucci and Saint Laurent’s LED runways
Gucci’s Fall Winter 2019 Fashion Show

LED bulbs decorated the runways of two major shows: Gucci and Saint Laurent, this season. As an experiment in futurism, both hosted mirrored LED runways that further illuminated their colorful garments. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele installed more than 120,000 LED bulbs to cover the walls around the 100-meter long circular runway for his Milan fashion show. The kaleidoscope of lights created a dramatic and theatrical experience for show-goers. Meanwhile, Anthony Vaccarello turned the Saint Laurent showspace into a runway rave in Paris. Wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes and garments, models strutted down the catwalk alongside hundreds of pulsing bulbs and infinity mirrors.

Real-time shopping at 11 Honoré
11 Honore fashion show
11 Honore NYFW show

There are always new ways to innovate even when using long since established technologies like QR codes.The luxury, size-inclusive ecommerce retailer, 11 Honoré, created the ultimate see-now-buy-now experience for its New York Fashion Week debut, enabling guests to shop the runway through a lookbook distributed to them containing QR codes. Using their phone to scan the codes, attendees could then purchase looks in real time. This was part of a partnership with Shopify, which wanted to showcase yet another functionality for mobile shopping.

Christian Siriano’s crowdsourced feedback
Christian Siriano RTW F19
Christian Siriano RTW Fall 19 show

To make fashion more accessible, designer Christian Siriano decided to take advantage of crowdsourcing and let the audience vote in real time on the looks on his New York runway. To do this, he partnered with SAP technologies to create an app that allowed both attendees and remote viewers to select if they “liked” or “loved” the looks. Powered by machine learning, the app was able to identify looks regardless of show order changes because the design team had uploaded stock images of each one into the app prior to the event. This created a more direct connection between the customers and the designer. According to WWD, the SAP runway app was previously piloted by Badgley Mischka, and there are potential plans for further rollout during September’s fashion week season.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Instagram Stories templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with mobile app Unfold on an Instagram Stories template collection that was released during the brand’s show for Paris Fashion Week. To spice up their Instagram Stories, users could choose from 15 limited-edition templates when uploading photos and videos. Designs included variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2019 TommyXZendaya collection, which features 22-year-old actress and singer Zendaya.

Rebecca Minkoff’s audience-driven social campaign
Rebecca Minkoff Runway SS19
Rebecca Minkoff Spring/Summer 19 show

With social sharing front of mind, Rebecca Minkoff’s New York show saw guests able to be part of a digital collage created by artist Rosanna Webster, who designed the brand’s female empowerment campaign “I Am Many”. As a way to incorporate them into the campaign, guests took selfies with a camera that worked as a portable photobooth. These photos were then worked into a collage that appeared in a mini-video inspired by Rebecca Minkoff’s brand campaign. The experience was meant to promote brand awareness and generate ROI. According to the designer, fashion shows aren’t just about posting pictures, but also a way for the consumer to embrace the experience. “Today, the [fashion] landscape isn’t about commerce; it’s about experience and standing for what you believe in; consumers want to be in a tribe,” Minkoff herself said.  

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more. 


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Editor's pick product Retail sustainability

Courregès ends iconic use of vinyl plastic with countdown pop-up

Courregès Fin du Plastique
Courregès Fin du Plastique

Courregès has opened a pop-up store in Paris that aims to make a statement about ending its use of plastics from here on out.

The Fin du Plastique initiative, as it’s called, marks the brand counting down its stock of shiny vinyl, a plastic it has been renowned for using for over 50 years.

Numbered products made from 6,000 meters of the stuff, are on sale until the material runs out. There’s a mix of current fall/winter 2018 pieces, as well as some archive looks revived by the brand’s new artistic director, Yolanda Zobel.

A colourful plastic bag print also features, with the words Fin or The Future is Behind You, on it.

“I have millions of meters of this amazing vinyl, and as it’s the iconic fabric of the house, I cannot dismiss it – it’s inspiring. I love the vinyl, its shine, but you can’t say hi to the new without bye to the old,” Zobel, said.

From here on, she will aim to source sustainable or recycled versions instead. “There’s no better world coming if we don’t take actions today.”

Courregès Fin du Plastique
Courregès Fin du Plastique

That comes as the industry at large starts to assess it use of plastics, as well as an aim for more circular materials across the board.

Brands like Stella McCartney has long been experimenting with such aims – exploring recycled plastics, more sustainable viscose, regenerated cashmere and more. Invites to her next show, which takes place on Monday in Paris, say: “Green is the new black.”

Yesterday Courregès sent a new collection down the Paris Fashion Week runway, which similarly made a statement about ending its use of plastics from here on out. “Fin du Plastique” and “The Future Is Behind You” were phrases extolled throughout as Zobel explored a post-plastics collection, using up more of the remains in the house and promising to invest profits from the brand back into developing an alternative material for the future.

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Editor's pick product

Lacoste replaces famous crocodile logo with endangered species

Lacoste x Save Our Species
Lacoste x Save Our Species

Lacoste has replaced its iconic crocodile logo with endangered species in an exclusive collection of 10 polo shirts in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Lacoste x Save Our Species line sees embroidered appliques of the Anegada Ground Iguana (only 450 left in the wild), the Sumatran Tiger (350), the Saola (250), the California Condor (231), the Cao-vit Gibbon (150), the Kakapo (157), the Javan Rhino (67), the Northern Sportive Lemur (50), the Burmese Roofed Turtle (40) and the Vaquita (30).

The quantity of shirts available to buy corresponds to the numbers of how many of each breed remains in the wild. All proceeds of the sale of the shirts will benefit conservation efforts for the species worldwide accordingly.

Lacoste x Save Our Species
Lacoste x Save Our Species

The collection, which was developed with creative agency BETC Paris, launched alongside the brand’s runway show at Paris Fashion Week yesterday, which also referenced a tree development project first established by Rene Lacoste and his wife at the start of World War II.

The initiative protected a dozen forestry workers in France from being sent to labor camps during the German occupation, and saw 50,000 trees being planted. That served as inspiration for the new season’s main collection, as well as the endangered species polo shirts.

As the brand’s current designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista said: “This is our way of planting trees in 2018.” It marks the start of a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Categories
Comment Editor's pick technology

Is technology going out of fashion? Why it’s quieter than ever on this season’s catwalks

Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger's LA fashion week show  - technology innovation
Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger’s LA fashion week show

Despite some connected clothing here, a spot of mixed reality there, there’s largely been little in the way of technology in action this fashion week season. Not literally of course – behind the scenes, tech is working harder than ever to push the latest shows out to a widening consumer audience – but the role of innovation has made a serious shift away from big tech hits in recent times.

Over the past few years, tech has been the way to grab attention – we’ve seen everything from drones, holograms, virtual reality, wearables and more making their way down the New York, London, Milan and Paris runways. Who could forget Google Glass at Diane von Furstenberg, virtual reality windows at Topshop or the holographic Polo Ralph Lauren show? And that’s before you think about the likes of Burberry pioneering the way with endless partnerships with tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Such a focus wasn’t brand new (the infamous robotic spray-paint scene from Alexander McQueen takes us back to before today’s connected age – nearly 20 years ago to spring/summer 1999), but it exploded in the social media era, becoming the defacto way to draw headlines, whether it was for the first live streams or indeed those big budget campaigns.

But in the centre of all that, in some instances because of it, the very notion of fashion week has changed. Today, the industry is battling with an event series that has become consumer facing while it’s still set up to deliver primarily to a trade (wholesale) model. What appears on the catwalks is generally speaking six-months ahead of it hitting stores. The result is supposed consumer fatigue, greater fast fashion copycats and more pressure than ever on turnover, margins and more. The big question now is not only whether that should change, but how. Enter the “see-now, buy-now” movement from those able to be more agile in their production timelines, including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford, Rebecca Minkoff, Topshop Unique and more.

Burberry's February 2017 LFW show  - innovation technology
Burberry’s February 2017 LFW show

But the follow-up question that then brings, is if we start selling to consumers now what does that mean for how things are marketed in real-time?

The simple answer, really, is to step away from the tech-for-tech’s-sake stuff; the attention grabbing initiatives without any substance behind them. That concept can still be achieved in other ways – with set designs, with political statements, with genuinely incredible collections. Today’s focus instead seems to be moving to conversion rates – to selling. And importantly, less on gimmicks.

It’s still very early days with this consumer-facing movement, and we’re just bedding in with the first iterations of it, let alone have any true measurement to compare. But, as one big British brand told me off the record this London Fashion Week: “If you have a line to push immediately, your efforts and budgets are going to go to that – to directing consumers into how to shop, not in something else that’s merely a brand move.”

What we did see in technology this season was accordingly driven by what would indeed impact the end shopper. There were chatbots once more from the likes of Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger. There was also an immediately shoppable initiative on Instagram from Rebecca Minkoff in partnership with LiketoKnow.it.

“Our customers love when we create unique experiences for them. More than just shopping, they get to be a part of our brand and we get to know them in a more meaningful way,” said Minkoff. “Collaborating with LiketoKnow.it empowers us to take that to a global audience by giving them immediate access to the same content and products that those attending in person are seeing, and that’s a very powerful opportunity.” She also introduced connected handbags to draw in certain shoppers to a unique experience of the show via a digital ticket.

The new connected #AlwaysOn Midnighter handbag from Rebecca Minkoff - innovation technology
The new connected handbag from Rebecca Minkoff

Tommy Hilfiger then introduced a visual search tool with Slyce – an app called Tommyland Snap:Shop that enabled users to take pictures of the models to pull up the e-commerce link to that item.

Both Minkoff and Hilfiger, who each showed in LA this season, otherwise focused heavily on the idea of full consumer entertainment as well as a significant influencer plug-in. The recognition here is that it’s about getting in front of the right consumers, and spending money to do it.

And this isn’t just a fashion week move. You can see the same with social media. It’s not about gimmicky campaigns anymore – when was the last time you called something on Facebook an innovation? It’s more about integration. It’s about decent budgets and shifting the needle on ROI.

It’s a similar story at retail, with fewer campaigns focused on technology in the store. That doesn’t mean there’s actually less tech in-store – but there’s a redirection towards the sort of tech that matters.

Speaking at the recent Commerce 2020 summit in London, Malcolm Pinkerton, VP of e-commerce and digital retail insights at Kantar Retail, said: “[In recent years] we’ve seen stores flooded with technology hoping it would digitise the experience, but it was hard to do and expensive to maintain. Now we’ve realised we can build solutions around what people bring in with them – mobile.”

Sabinna's LFW show was shot for mixed reality - technology innovation
Sabinna’s LFW show was shot for mixed reality

Innovation today is happening in that somewhat quieter fashion. Chatbots might still be nascent, but it makes sense they’re being experimented with – forget drones on the catwalk, why not offer personalised access to it through an AI-enabled smartphone experience? It’s for that same reason we’re seeing virtual reality and mixed reality content continuing during the shows – dipping a toe into where the future of interactive (and shoppable) content is moving.

The fact is, technology shouldn’t be a “brand move” anymore. It needs to work for who your customer is, where she is, and when. On that basis, it shifts from a headline, to a standard part of what you do. All year round.

That’s not to say there’s no place for innovation anymore. Far from it. It’s perhaps more necessary today, than ever. In this sort of market, the question increasingly becomes how do you stand out – especially if you don’t have Tommy Hilfiger-size budgets? And even if you do, how is that sustainable? On that basis, it’s about shifting the very fundamental underpinning of the business, not just the press release topline.

It’s about truly keeping ahead of the curve by disrupting the way you’ve always operated. Innovation today isn’t necessarily about the flashiest moves, but the smartest. Innovating in the supply chain, in the personalised customer experience via mobile, even eventually more and more through the fabrications themselves, is where we’ll start seeing real movements.

So is tech going out of fashion? No, but the thing to remember is that innovation is no longer just a marketing play; it’s an entire business mentality.

Categories
business Comment data e-commerce Editor's pick

“Data Center Chanel” observes the most important aspect of luxury’s future at #PFW

Data Chanel PFW
Data Center Chanel at Paris Fashion Week (Image via Chanel)

Chanel has long been known for bringing elaborate set designs to Paris Fashion Week. Tapping into a sense of Instagram-ready curation, Karl Lagerfeld has introduced everything from a supermarket to an airport terminal and casino in recent seasons. In other words, backdrops that the audience will love to capture for the sake of social media, almost irrespective of the collection itself.

Today was no different, except this time there was an extra layer to the proceedings, arguably a metaphorical one about the future of luxury.

“Data Center Chanel” was the theme, with a series of data storage units (a supercomputer if you will) acting as the set for the spring/summer 2017 collection.

Multicoloured wires sprung from the machines, replicated in both the invitation to the show – which saw the interlocking C’s formed from cables – as well as some of the detail in the clothing line itself, a reworking of the brand’s traditional tweed. The flashing green lights from the data farm were even mirrored in LEDs that appeared on some of the brand’s handbags.

Meanwhile, “bots” walked the runway too. Two models opened the show wearing a headpiece largely reminiscent of Pepper – the small humanoid robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank, which has been working in various retail stores this year. Other coverage also referenced the idea of Storm Troopers or even virtual reality headsets.

Data Chanel fashion PFW
A bot walks in front of the Data Center Chanel setup at Paris Fashion Week (Image via @SusieBubble)

The big focus was on hardware, but it was of course a greater nod to all things digital. On the one hand, the entire setup could have been a narrative on modern consumers’ lives – the idea we’re all ruled by data; an awareness of just how much we individually share, a tangible replication of the servers behind our connected worlds. As Robin Givhan, fashion critic at the Washington Post, tweeted: “We’re all just bits of data.”

Perhaps it was also a more conceptual thought about all of us operating like bots in the screen era too, or even that bots themselves are becoming more prevalent in our communications and beyond – the algorithms shaping our lives. It was a look to the future some might say, and indeed a reflection on current day.

But there seemed an even greater underlying reference, and that was around the idea that Chanel’s roadmap lies in becoming itself just a series of data. And this is where the future of luxury comes in.

Any brand thinking about long-term growth strategy knows that data is at the very heart of finding that success. But data must fundamentally come from e-commerce, for which many luxury brands are still a stranger – Chanel included.

For many of them, this has been because they could find growth elsewhere, notably in China. As Luca Solca, managing director of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, told me for a story for the Business of Fashion last year: “[With a slowing China market] e-commerce is one of very few ways luxury goods companies can now grow.”


A video posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

The numbers make sense to do so: from 2009 to 2014, online sales of luxury goods grew four times faster than offline sales. In fact, in 2014, nearly all luxury market growth came from e-commerce, up 50% from 2013. And yet that figure is still only at 6% of total sales demonstrating how much space digital still has to grow. McKinsey expects it to triple to 18% by 2025.

Chanel has previously promised it will launch its e-commerce site by the end of 2016. For the same BoF story, Lindsay Nuttall, CDO at advertising agency BBH, which has worked with brands like Burberry, said going direct-to-consumer in a bid to have control over customers’ online data is essential. “The fact [many luxury brands have] given part of their supply chain away to third parties like Net-a-Porter could prove an increasing problem over time. It can affect really practical things, like their margins, and really huge things like their route to the customer. By not collecting data on them, you don’t understand how they’re evolving,” she explained.

In short then, the Chanel show really could be a precursor to the fact it’s finally about to go headfirst into e-commerce. It’s a true nod to the future of luxury and to a much more integrated, customer-first and data-led strategy, enabled by a final push into online transactions.

Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

What you missed: luxury data, Mr Porter and Apple TV, the store of the future

Mr Porter Apple TV fashion digital data
Mr Porter on Apple TV

On to Paris Fashion Week and things have certainly been quieter on the digital and technology front. The furore around bloggers and editors continues (yawn), while a little ray of hope shines through in Intel’s partnership with Hussein Chalayan.

On top of that this past week has been everything from why the store of the future doesn’t want to actually sell anything, the new Mr Porter x Apple TV app launch, and the fact even Chanel and Hermès are struggling in the current climate.


TOP STORIES
  • Private data is the ultimate luxury good [Motherboard]
  • Mr Porter launches ‘first of its kind’ shoppable Apple TV app [The Drum]
  • Intel brings wearable technology to Hussein Chalayan’s Paris Fashion Week show [Forbes]
  • Why the store of the future actually doesn’t want to sell you anything [LeanLuxe]

BUSINESS
  • Ralph Lauren maps out ‘way forward’ for global growth [BrandChannel]
  • Even Chanel and Hermès susceptible to current climate [BoF]
  • ASOS investigation claims to expose the ‘true cost’ of fast fashion [Huffington Post]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How Garance Doré and the street style revolution upended fashion with a camera and a blog [Wired]
  • This Snapchat game from Under Armour turns you into a NFL star [AdWeek]

ADVERTISING
  • Kevin Hart and David Beckham take a fun, disastrous road trip for H&M [AdWeek]

RETAIL
  • More than 50% of shoppers turn first to Amazon in product search [Bloomberg]
  • New York is full of shopkeepers who swear by cash registers that are little more than glorified adding machines [WSJ]
  • How marketing automation can help your omni-channel strategy [The Industry]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Every Fossil Group designer wearable launched in 2016 so far, including Michael Kors, Kate Spade and more [Wareable]
  • Long Tall Sally creates mannequin based on 3D scan of actual customer [The Industry]

START-UPS
  • Where to invest in fashion technology? [Luxury Daily]
  • Armarium and Net-a-Porter team to pair clothing rentals with purchases [Glossy]
Categories
Editor's pick technology

Intel brings wearable technology to Hussein Chalayan’s Paris Fashion Week show

Intel Hussein Chalayan wearable technology
The Hussein Chalayan and Intel connected accessories on the runway at Paris Fashion Week (Image credit: Intel)

Technology isn’t normally the first thing you think about when it comes to Paris Fashion Week. The home of the most traditional of luxury brands, it remains the slowest on the uptake of much in the way of both digital and technical innovation, instead sticking with more conventional collections and catwalk shows.

Unless you turn to Hussein Chalayan that is.

The Cypriot-British designer has long experimented with the relationship between his garments and the role technology can play. He has introduced looks that changed shape thanks to microchips and animatronics, dresses embedded with 15,000 LEDs to recreate a pixelated screen and even a coffee table that turned into a skirt.

“Only with technology can you create new things in fashion. Everything else has been done,” he has previously said.

Turn to today then, and he’s partnered with Intel to bring something new in the shape of wearable tech to his spring/summer 2017 fashion week show. Head over to Forbes to read all about it.

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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
Editor's pick social media

Milan and Paris love Snapchat too, here are the highlights

snapchat_milanparis

While anything new in social media normally hits New York and London fashion weeks first, taking several seasons to finally get to Milan and Paris, Snapchat seems to be bucking that trend.

Yes the platform launched back in 2011, and yes it has been used at fashion weeks before too, but if there’s one thing the past month has proved, it’s how many more brands have willingly taken the plunge.

New York saw new accounts launch from Tommy Hilfiger (in partnership with supermodel Gigi Hadid) and Marc Jacobs, as well as two dedicated stories from Snapchat shared throughout the week. London meanwhile, also saw some exciting work, with a dedicated story created by Burberry for the channel, and further new accounts from the likes of Mulberry and Mr Porter.

Once we hit Milan, much of the same continued, with some great insights behind-the-scenes from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci particularly. Over to Paris, and H&M used the platform to get its viewers to help choose which shoes from its show should be sold in store in September (inviting them to take a screenshot to vote). Balmain was also on there documenting its bevy of supermodels and their new hair colours, Stella McCartney playfully added lots of emojis, and Valentino handed the reins of its account over to blogger Bryan Boy.

Dior was a bit of a surprise with its launch – providing another behind-the-scenes tour with further emojis splashed on top (who would have thought it!) And for all those wanting more, Snapchat provided yet another dedicated catwalk story throughout as well.

Here are some of the Milan and Paris brand highlights:

H&M:

HM_snap

HM_snap2

Gucci:

GucciGhost1

Guccighost5

Dolce & Gabbana:

dolcegabbana_snap

Balmain:

balmain_snap

Dior:

dior_snap1

dior_snap2

Stella McCartney:

stella_snap1

stella_snap2

Valentino:

valentino_snap

Categories
mobile social media

Vogue started a Whatsapp group for fashion news, aka a broadcast list for its stories

whatsapp_vogue

In what seemed like a really smart move, British Vogue announced during February it was introducing a Whatsapp group.

Sound like an opportunity to be front and centre with what’s going on in the fashion industry at the drop of a hat in a group with other fashion people? As Vogue put it: “Joining our group means we’ll message you as soon as the creative director of Dior is announced, or the Chanel catwalk pictures go live, or the Oscars dresses land on the site: no more scouring Twitter or relying on tabloids for your latest fashion fix.”

Slightly punchy comments there (note both channels will definitely still be used) but, it does make an enormous amount of sense as a media entity to push the instant message route. I’ve been tracking how such closed networks can be a wonderful means for communicating directly with fans and customers on the brand and retail side – the power of Whatsapp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger means there’s growing expectation for personalised communications, the issue really is just being able to get in front of customers in the first place.

To do it on Vogue’s Whatsapp doesn’t actually mean in a “group” per se as there’s no conversation going on. Which is actually a real shame. Control worries aside (this is Vogue), being able to strike up a dialogue on the feed about whatever news is coming in seems like a far more appealing and native use of the platform.

Instead, this is about Vogue creating a broadcast list. To turn to the Whatsapp explanation: “A Broadcast List allows you to create, save and message a list of contacts instantaneously. Recipients receive your broadcast message like a regular message – directly in the individual chat. Recipients also do not know who else received the message and do not know that it was sent as part of a Broadcast List. When they respond, they only respond to you individually. In this sense, it works like the bcc (blind carbon copy) function in an email. In order for specific contacts to receive your broadcast message, they must have your phone number saved in their address books. This allows our users to control from whom they wish to receive broadcast messages. We work hard to curb spam in WhatsApp so that everyone has a positive messaging experience.”

Of course, the publicity around Vogue’s plans means it’s phone number was pushed out so creating a weighty broadcast list must have been fairly straightforward.

I finally joined it yesterday morning, and over the course of the day got three messages:

  1. “JUST IN: See every look from this morning’s Chloé AW16 show here: LINK”
  2. “JUST IN: See the Balmain #AW16 show – complete with corsets and model hair colour swaps LINK”
  3. “Introducing British Vogue’s April 2016 cover girl – Rihanna: LINK”

Note every comment comes with a link meaning it does indeed feel very much like broadcast and not so much the personable messaging tone you’d expect on Whatsapp. Considering it’s landing in my app – otherwise a very personal space – it feels out of place, cold and not very different to what you’d see on Twitter. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting move, and one that could easily be adapted over time to better suit the audience it’s targeting. If Vogue’s sensible, it has those links set up as trackable so it can at least see just how much traffic the platform is driving.

As an aside – whoever is running this channel is always online. Always. Got to imagine it’s pretty likely they’re also running their own personal Whatsapp convos on the same handset (work phone or not) as a result, which could make the endless requests to join the group pretty tedious. If you’re keen, the number is: +44 7481 340261.