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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.

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data e-commerce

Gucci tops first hottest brands list from Lyst and The Business of Fashion

Lyst3


E-commerce player Lyst has teamed up with The Business of Fashion to introduce a new ranking of fashion’s hottest brands and biggest products.

The Lyst Index relies on information pulled from the Lyst site – which tracks 4.5 million data points per hour from over 65 million annual consumers, 4 million products and 12,000 brands – as well as Google search data. The formula takes into account search, page views (across devices), engagement, intent rate and conversion.

For Q2 of this year, Gucci comes out top, rising three places since April 2017 to overtake Yeezy and Vetements, which ranked in second and fourth place respectively, with Balenciaga rising from ninth to number three. Gucci also sees four products listed in the 10 best-selling products globally, with its GG Blooms slides topping the list overall.

The Business of Fashion puts that rise down to Gucci’s ability to connect with millennial and Gen Z consumers. The report reads: “Alessandro Michele’s maximalist-magpie aesthetic translates extremely well to digital channels, while the brand’s marketing strategies, such as the meme-led campaign for Gucci watches in March, and Glen Luchford’s recent ‘50s sci-fi inspired video have proved successful experiments.”

The Lyst Index
The Lyst Index

It highlights the fact sales to millennial and Gen Z consumers grew at double-digit rate in the first of the 2017 fiscal year, and retention is high. It also outlines that Gucci sales rose to €1,48 billion in Q2, up 39.3% year over year and beating analysts’ expectations by 7%. Operating profit for H1 was over €907 million, up 69% from about €537 million last year.

Yeezy at number two it puts down to the ongoing buzz around founder Kanye West and the fact he’s married to one of the most photographed women in the world, as well as the clever pricing and distribution strategy that Adidas has deployed.

Meanwhile, Balenciaga at number three is attributed to the streetwear attitude to couture that Demna Gvasalia has introduced as well as some clever marketing plays. But it was reportedly its inadvertent part in the Ikea shopping bag viral meme that caused its biggest search increase in the quarter.

Other brands listed in the top 10 include Givenchy, Valentino, Y-3, Prada, Nike and Fendi, while those with winning products further include Saint Laurent, Chloé, Diane Von Furstenberg, Common Projects and Comme Des Garçons.

This is the first in a series of four quarterly Lyst Index reports.

The Lyst Index
The Lyst Index

Categories
business Editor's pick social media

As digital overturns New York Fashion Week, here’s what to look out for this season

Tommy x Gigi NYFW
Gigi Hadid’s collection with Tommy Hilfiger will be unveiled at New York Fashion Week this season

“The system is broken” is a phrase oft bounced around between those working in the fashion industry these days.

In a bid to keep up with increasing consumer demand, designers are not only overworked, but ultimately creating too many collections that only tend to hit shelves once shoppers are already fed up with them (or have bought versions of them via their fast fashion knock-offs), leading to more discounted product than ever before and retail sales slipping further and further as a result.

One of the catalysts for all that: fashion week.

Once an event for those in the industry only, it has of course become a truly fanfare occasion complete with more elaborate than ever runway shows, an ongoing street style circus, and above all else: access for anyone and everyone via the means that digital provides. And yet, the collections it showcases have largely remained for preview purposes only, still only heading to stores anywhere up to six months later.

Enter then, “see-now, buy-now”; the idea that rather than having to wait all that time, we can indeed watch it on the runway and immediately make a purchase. While there’s no unanimous decision on exactly what that business model looks like (as outlined in the CFDA’s report in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group), a number of brands are trying to shake things up and give it a go in their own differing ways during the New York shows this season. That means several big consumer-facing affairs, as well as some innovative uses of social media to do it all a little bit differently.

Head over to Forbes for the full lowdown on what to look out for during the week including details on what Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff, Misha Nonoo, Opening Ceremony, Yeezy and Tom Ford are doing.

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