Tag Archives: BFC

London amps digital to make fashion week more public than ever

13 Sep

This article first appeared on Mashable


New York Fashion Week came to a close Thursday, heralding the return of another fashion week in London. Once again, anticipation for the week is not limited to the collections themselves: The industry and the public are equally interested in what digital innovations the top design houses will introduce during their shows.

When one fashion house introduces a new digital innovation, it doesn’t take long for others to follow — if it’s good. One need only remember that fashion shows weren’t live-streamed five years ago, nor did designers reveal behind-the-scenes snapshots over Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Today, those are a matter of course.

But what’s next? New York saw Tommy Hilfiger introduce Lytro cameras and a “social concierge” service to its show this season, while Rebecca Minkoff experimented with messaging app Snapchat to debut its collection. For London Fashion Week, which runs from Sept. 13 through Sept.17, yet another round of ideas are on their way. Here’s a preview.

Celebrating London

Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter and chairman of the British Fashion Council, published an open letter in UK newspaper The Evening Standard ahead of this season’s shows, calling for the whole of London to help raise the profile of British fashion by engaging in the excitement surrounding Fashion Week.

“All eyes will be on you as our international guests will be tweeting, Instagramming and reporting in nearly 50 countries across the world,” Massenet wrote, adding that this “will help grow our brands, stimulate exports, create new jobs and generally make us a must-visit city.” She invited the public to be their most stylish selves for the week to show their support.

Once a trade-only event, London Fashion Week has increasingly become an opportunity to speak directly to consumers. This is especially the case at the event’s headquarters in Somerset House, where an “Instabooth” has been set up to celebrate the best of the capital’s street style. Visitors will be able to print images of themselves as souvenirs as well as share their favorite looks on Facebook. Highlights will also be posted on the official London Fashion Week Instagram.

Meanwhile, a social media wall in the courtyard of Somerset House will provide running commentary on the shows, as pulled from anyone using the #LFW hashtag. Posts will be regulated to keep them appropriate, but the aim is for a visual insight into the experience of Fashion Week, whether that’s through catwalk looks, front row pics or celebrity sightings.

This consumer-facing strategy is being pushed out across the city in a year-long campaign. The British Fashion Council last week announced that every Friday for the next 12 months it will broadcast a fashion news bulletin, dubbed #FashionFridays, on screens situated on the London Underground. Beyond news and other fashion-related content, the BFC will hold competitions to encourage consumers to engage with the broadcasts using the hashtag.

The BFC is not the only one taking to the streets of London this season. Belstaff, which cancelled its New York presentation last weekend to focus on the opening of its London flagship this Sunday, is doing so with a bold statement. Playing on its motorcycle heritage, the British-born brand is closing off part of New Bond Street to welcome a parade of 50 bikers. In lieu traditional models, Belstaff is using “rugged” British guys in the parade, ones who are passionate about the brand, Emilie Hawtin, senior marketing and digital media manager, tells Mashable. “They are already wearing Belstaff; they’re getting it dirty and using it the way it’s supposed to be used,” Hawtin says.

During the parade, the bikers will perform tricks on vintage bikes, which The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman will be on hand to capture. The well-recognized street style photographer will also shoot a series of intimate portraits of the bikers before and during the ride. The resulting images will be hosted on the Legends section of Belstaff’s website, which is already home to images of its oldest jackets and the icons who have worn them.

Enhancing show experiences

When it comes to the shows themselves this season, the two big moves come from Burberry and Topshop once again. Both are partnering with technology companies, albeit ones at radically opposite ends of the scale.

Burberry is teaming with Apple to capture its Spring/Summer 2014 collection using a set of not-yet-released iPhone 5S devices. Its team will capture both photos and video of the runway looks as well as backstage, which will be shared via social media. It’s a promotional rather than an innovative partnership, a way to leverage the buzz created by Apple’s latest device.

Having partnered with more established technology players in the past, this season Topshop has sought out a young mobile startup called Chirp to create a new experience for its show. Chirp is a mobile app that transmit images, notes or links through “digital birdsong” — users post their content, then hit a yellow button to emit a unique 20-note chirp, which other devices running the app nearby can pick up. The retailer will be using the app to send out images, including prep and backstage shots, to attendees of the show via several “Chirp locations” around the event site. Its Oxford Circus store will also feature a Chirp and Twitter “garden” full of digital content for shoppers to explore.

Other content highlights

Other London designers will be sharing their collections via a variety of digital means. Twenty-nine of 58 shows will be live-streamed throughout the week, including 18 from Somerset House, eight from Topshop’s new Regent’s Park venue, and from off-site locations chosen by Burberry, Mulberry and Paul Smith. The Christopher Raeburn, Sister by Sibling and Simone Rocha shows will also be streamed directly to the BFC’s Twitter feed.

Here’s a round-up of the rest of the social content to look out for:

  • The BFC is continuing its live Twitter Q&A sessions with industry insiders, including blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble, using #AskLFW. This time, all of the responses will be recorded using six-second Vine clips.
  • Matthew Williamson is handing out props branded with the hashtag #ohMW (Oh My Williamson), encouraging attendees to tweet and Instagram photos of themselves with the prop. “We wanted a cute prop to make people feel at ease with the camera – we want to show personality and character,” says Williamson’s head of digital Rosanna Falconer.
  • Jonathan Saunders will use an app called Slidergram to showcase “slideshow-style videos” of key looks from its show, as well as backstage and close-up shots. All will be accompanied by the show’s soundtrack.
  • Paul Smith himself will be taking over the brand’s Instagram for the majority of the week, revealing pictures of Sunday’s show prep as well as the new Mayfair store opening Friday night using the #takenbypaul hashtag.
  • eBay UK has teamed up with video blogger Patricia Bright of BritPopPrincess for a series of videos focused on street style at LFW, with looks shoppable straight from eBay’s YouTube channel. eBay will also be revealing a capsule collection by designer Holly Fulton.
  • Pinterest’s fashion week hub continues in London, this time showcasing boards from the likes of Harvey Nichols, Anya Hindmarch and Mulberry.

British Fashion Council announces series of digital initiatives for #LondonCollections: Men

5 Jan LondonCollections_Men_AW13


The autumn/winter 2013/14 catwalk season kickstarts on Monday with London Collections: Men, the second season of a dedicated menswear event in the British capital. We’ve already heard about Topman’s planned interactive 360° live-stream experience, now, and as expected, comes news of a flurry of digital activity from the British Fashion Council once again

The aim, it says, is to “unite fashion and digital innovation, encouraging engagement with the menswear showcase through social media, live streaming and digital presentations”.

One particularly participatory initiative is its crowdsourcing of street style content again using the #ManAboutTown hashtag. Fans on Twitter and Pinterest can contribute to an ongoing online archive of menswear looks housed on a dedicated pinboard as well as in a Facebook album. The result is designed to present the best of British Men’s Style.

Also on the BFC Pinterest page will be diary-like contributions from menswear designer Lou Dalton and journalist Charlie Porter. Dalton is showcasing inspirations and preparations ahead of her show already, followed by backstage shots and catwalk looks as they hit the runway on Monday. Porter meanwhile, will be creating an online moodboard of his favourite collection looks, street style shots and inspiring moments.

For those in attendance at The Hospital Club in London, the home of LC:M, there are also digital windows to experience. Referred to as a life-sized catwalk installation, they will feature daily video highlights from all the shows when users scan the display with their mobile phones thanks to another partnership with augmented reality app, Aurasma.

In addition to all that, the BFC will also be showcasing behind-the-scenes images over Instagram, live-streaming all the shows from The Hospital Club via www.londoncollections.co.uk/live. and screening a variety of digital presentations and fashion films. Finally, it will also be continuing its Twitter conversations throughout the event – live Q&As will be held on the @BFC account with Tinie Tempah, Toby Wiseman, editor of Men’s Health, and model Oliver Cheshire, using the #AskLCM hashtag.

Elle UK offers top tips for successful social media profiles

4 Jul

The latest issue of UK Elle magazine includes a guide to creating the perfect social media profile.

Featuring input from the likes of model Coca Rocha, DKNY PR Girl Aliza Licht, and photographer/blogger Garance Doré, along with numerous other fashion, media and digital experts from around the country, it offers a comprehensive breakdown of how to maintain a savvy personal online presence.

Elle’s editor-in-chief, Lorraine Candy, says: “99 per cent of the time, a winning way with social media is not luck. It’s a matter of forensic control over what you put online.”

Included are tips on everything from ideal photos to interesting content. As David Slijper, fashion and Elle cover photographer, suggests: “No one wants to see your laundry basket. To take the best profile picture, stand by the window. Switch off the flash and get someone else to take the picture.”

Licht of DKNY meanwhile, is all about personality in your posts: “Authenticity is producing a runway show and then going home to vacuum your apartment.  That’s real. Life is not 24/7 glam and I try to show [mine] in its true form. Every person has unique qualities and quirks and the little details you divulge make followers feel more connected.”

Similarly, Rosanna Falconer, social media manager for the British Fashion Council, comments: “Your style has to reflect you. If you enthuse over life day to day, keep that style in your online voice.”

The full article appears in the August issue of Elle, and as a digital edition available through Apple Newsstand.

David Gandy to join Twitter Q&A line-up during menswear collections

14 Jun

Model David Gandy has just been announced as a key industry insider partaking in the British Fashion Council’s live Twitter Q&A this weekend.

A follow up to yesterday’s post about the digital innovations shaping London Collections: Men, he joins fellow members of the BFC’s Fashion 2012 Menswear Committee, designer Richard James and Esquire editor Alex Bilmes.

The public is being encouraged to send in questions ahead of time using #ASKLCM, touching on subjects as varied as fashion, life and love, as well as even beer, football and curry! Each session will last 30 minutes.

Here’s the full schedule:

Friday June 15, 11am
Richard James, designer

Saturday June 16, 11am
Alex Bilmes, editor, Esquire

Sunday June 17, 12pm
David Gandy, model

London menswear shows to benefit from multiple digital initiatives

13 Jun

London’s first dedicated menswear fashion week is focusing on engaging with consumers via digital, thanks to multiple innovations backed by the British Fashion Council.

London Collections: Men, which kickstarts Friday and runs through Sunday, will incorporate everything from live-streaming to pinning, as well as a film programme and augmented reality-enabled windows.

Here are some of the highlights:

Leading industry figures such as Jeremy Langmead, editor-in-chief of e-commerce site, Mr Porter, will share their moments from the week’s events by pinning onto the British Fashion Council’s newly launched Pinterest page. The public is also invited to participate by using the hashtag #ManAboutTown. The request is for menswear street style photos, whether taken at the event or anywhere else around the world. The resulting images will be collated on a dedicated pinboard and in a Facebook album in a bid to “provide a crowd-sourced visual collection of the best of British men’s style”.

On Twitter, @BFC is not only pushing conversation around the #londoncollections hashtag, but hosting a series of Q&A sessions with members of its Fashion 2012 Menswear Committee, including Alex Bilmes, editor of UK Esquire magazine, and designer Richard James. The live interviews can be followed via #AskLCM.

Interactive image gallery
In celebration of The Prince of Wales officially launching the event at St James’s Palace tomorrow, the BFC has published an online image gallery dedicated to his style. Within it, users can explore outfits ranging from highland tartans to Savile Row suits, discovering the origin of each and learning more about the brand that made it. His preferred London labels are also plotted on a map alongside a picture of the related garments.

Following in the footsteps of Net-a-Porter’s Fashion’s Night Out and Karl initiatives, Mr Porter has teamed up with augmented reality technology company Aurasma, to bring the windows of The Hospital Club (the main hub for the event) to life. By scanning the life-sized catwalk illustrations with the Mr Porter Style Help app, users will be able to see the latest show footage.

Film and live-streaming
There is also a screening room within The Hospital Club that will run the BFC’s Fashion/On Film programme, sponsored by high street retailer River Island. Included will be an evening hosted by Test Presents with DJ and fashion luminary Jeffrey Hinton, who will show excerpts from his 80s film archive; as well as panel member Kathryn Ferguson discussing fashion film with female menswear designers, Carri Munden (Cassette Playa), Katie Eary and Martine Rose. Every show held at The Hospital Club as well as those at the Topman Venue will also be live streamed, both online and on mobile.

Topshop releases Nick Knight film starring Karlie Kloss

17 Feb


Nick Knight has produced a film for Topshop in celebration of its 10 years of designer collaborations and 10th anniversary as sponsor of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN scheme supporting up-and-coming talent.

The spot stars supermodel Karlie Kloss in an array of looks from the high street retailer’s best designer collections of the past decade, including Richard Nicoll, Mary Katrantzou, Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane.

It launched on SHOWstudio and Topshop.com this morning, in time for the first day of London Fashion Week.

It will also be shown on the outdoor screen of LFW’s Somerset House throughout the week, in Topshop’s store windows and on London Underground station platforms.

Twitter’s guide to #LFW

15 Sep

With London Fashion Week kicking off tomorrow, there are lots of exciting digital initiatives launching all over the capital. More detail to come, but first off, here is a how-to guide for following all the action on Twitter, created by the site’s all-new UK office in partnership with the British Fashion Council:


Twitter is a great place to follow your interests. And if you’re interested in fashion now is the perfect time to check it out. With London Fashion Week coming up, UK designers and fashion industry influencers are taking to Twitter to talk about trends, share images, and bring you behind the scenes at the hottest catwalk shows. If you want to be a part of London Fashion Week but can’t be there in person – experience it live on Twitter.

Who to Follow

  • For up-to-the-minute news and live Tweets from catwalk shows, presentations and events, follow the official account of London Fashion Week @LondonFashionWk

Fab Photos

Twitter just launched its new Photo Galleries feature, which means you can see all of the pics that someone has posted on one page, in a gorgeous new layout. Try visiting the @burberry account and clicking “View All” where the images are posted. This is great way to see looks from your favorite designers as soon as they’re posted. Another great way to find pics is by searching #LFW and clicking on the images link.

Live from #LFW

  • Follow the action live and experience London Fashion Week even if you can’t be there in person
  • Search #LFW on Twitter to find all the Tweets and photos tagged with the London Fashion Week hashtag
  • Designers, reporters, and industry insiders will be using this hashtag to make it super easy for you to find out, in real time, what’s happen at the show

London Fashion Week: young designers must embrace technology or risk shutting the door

21 Feb

London Fashion Week’s young designers must use the power of technology to promote themselves, rather than taking a leaf out of Tom Ford’s book and shutting the door completely.

For a city known for emerging fashion creative talent, the news that American heavyweight designer Tom Ford was intending to show his womenswear line during London Fashion Week (LFW) this season, instead of New York where he first launched it last September, was quite a surprising one.

Before a flurry of brands returned to the UK’s capital around LFW’s 25th anniversary in 2009, there were few big designer names that chose to show their latest collections here. Even now, those that do – Pringle of Scotland, Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson – are predominantly, and quite understandably, British.

Tom Ford’s presence therefore, makes a statement. Quite simply it says that London is truly back on the international scene, holding its own against its European counterparts as a go-to destination for fashion. This is in stark contrast to a mere few seasons ago, where LFW was skipped by many press and buyers entirely.

The former Gucci designer and Hollywood film director broke the mould in New York last season when he opted for an intimate fashion show event for just 100 guests.

In an age where the catwalk is live streamed online around the world, enabling consumers to feel like they themselves are on the front row, he also 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.

“[Today] you see the clothes on the runway, and within an hour or so, they’re online,” Ford said at the time. “They’re overexposed… I wanted to pull everything back.”

It was a daring move, but it worked for him. Accordingly, he’s opted for the same strategy with his autumn/winter 2011/12 collection in London. Today, Ford will present his latest designs to a handful of monthly magazine editors only.

But I question whether his method is really suited to this city at all.

Given the current dire financial state of the country, this alternative to the lavish and extravagant productions fashion shows have become, is certainly no bad thing; it’s more Ford’s strict restrictions around any detail being released in real-time that doesn’t quite fit.

Turn to the strategy currently being employed by the British Fashion Council (BFC) for instance, and the complete opposite approach can be seen.

Aiming to reach a wider audience than ever before, the council’s dedicated digital policy will see a total of 37 shows live streamed by the end of the week as well as a series of fashion films.

And it’s not just online – an LED screen currently dominates the wall of the tent at the official home of LFW at Somerset House, which, when it’s not showing the live streams, displays daily video highlights as well as tweets from the @londonfashionwk feed.

The same is happening on various screens on the London underground – in Oxford Circus, Holborn and Charing Cross stations to name a few.

Meanwhile, later today Burberry will become the first ever brand to stream live on the Landmark 32m digital screen at Piccadilly Circus.

In doing all of this, both Burberry and the BFC are helping to pioneer a new fashion landscape where democratisation, or put more simply, fashion for the masses, is key.

“It’s about reaching out to broader audiences,” says the BFC’s CEO Caroline Rush. “Showcasing digitally is a fantastic opportunity for our designers to reach global audiences without obviously having to have those big advertising budgets.”

At a time when convincing consumers back into shops is crucial, she’s hoping the outdoor initiative will also help generate a sense of excitement about LFW with the public and eventually lead to sales too.

Ford’s argument however, as many of his counterparts would still agree, is that it goes against the notion of luxury to make yourself so accessible.

It’s for that very reason many designer brands have been slow on the uptake of digital in the first place – in some instances still not having their own websites, let alone pushing forward through social media.

But then Ford is now a big established brand, and the bulk of those on the LFW schedule are not.

“The luxury Tom has is that he’s had the opportunity to develop his name, reputation and audience through the likes of Gucci… most of the designers we have in London haven’t got that grounding and so [digital] gives them the means to reach much further,” says Rush.

Save for its hero returnees, the city remains largely a home for emerging talent. Putting a collection together, let alone producing a show, is expensive business, and having any cash left over for marketing is fairly unlikely for these small companies. In utilising technology, the very best of London Fashion Week can be catapulted around the world no matter what financial backing it has.

Only by taking advantage of the true power of technology will these new fashion designers build their future. By shutting the door to the digerati, these rising stars will jeopardise their careers before they have even taken off. Therefore I encourage them to follow more in the footsteps of digitally enlightened fashion houses like Burberry, and not, though it’s wonderful to have him here, Tom Ford.

This piece originally appeared on fashion.telegraph.co.uk

#LFW screens at Oxford Circus

20 Feb

More pics of the London Fashion Week digital screens on the underground, this time on the Victoria Line platform of Oxford Circus:

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