Tag Archives: LFW

Forget Instagram: what has happened to fashion week commentary on Twitter?

28 Feb

This post first appeared on Fashionista.com

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Is it just me or has Twitter become much less inspiring during fashion week season? I say that as an avid user – both personally and profesionally. I peruse posts day to day, and particularly once the shows hit London, Milan and Paris, when I’m watching via livestream from New York. I scroll through my own feed, I consume via social dashboards attached to designers’ websites, and I go back and search using hashtags and brand names afterwards, too.

What I’ve always enjoyed is the live commentary that you gather from those in the front row, but there seems to have been very little of it for the past couple of seasons, and I for one really miss it. Not the tweets that tell me what show they’re waiting for, the fact the first model has appeared/the last model has walked out, or even what color they’re seeing. Those still exist, and I can gather all that from home.

No, what I really want back, is actual commentary. I want to hear from the editors –- the experts no less — about the 1930s theme emerging at Prada and the influence Miuccia drew from film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, or the details of the new Bloomsbury-inspired, hand-painted florals at Burberry Prorsum. I want to know what is sashaying down that runway that, from my own 13-inch screen, I can’t quite see.

The images that are posted can be nice, of course, and on occasion insightful (if not blurry, but that’s another issue). But what happened to a wonderfully descriptive annotation along with it? Or better yet a real-time opinion, a review-on-the-spot even? Here are some of the highlights from the Lanvin show Thursday:

Lots of pictures naturally, but did you gather much about the line really? Navy, white and feathers. It’s a start.

Now it’s not that everyone has put their smartphones back in their handbags to focus on the clothes as they come out of course. So what’s going on?

First up, quite obviously: Instagram. During London Fashion Week there were a total of 266,767 mentions on Twitter, and 316,359 posts on Instagram, according to Bell Pottinger, a British public relations and marketing firm. So arguably, much more time is being spent there.

It goes without saying there’s huge benefit in that space of course. But when someone is at at home watching a livestream, or has access to high-res images in near real-time — not to mention backstage ones from the brand themselves — Instagram shots from the front row don’t necessarily offer all that much. They’re a nice-to-have, and for a feel of fashion week in general, a fantastic stream to follow. But for those really wanting to know about the collections themselves, there’s still a gap — an information gap.

The skill of an editor who has worked in the industry for 10 or more years is to be able to quickly deduce what a collection is about, to analyze its importance for trends, to bring contextual knowledge of its applicability to the commercial market and to offer a clear understanding of the technical side (i.e., garment construction and fabrications).

Portraying that over Twitter is no mean feat. I attempted it as a guest Tweeter on behalf of my employer, WGSN, for the @mbfashionweek account during New York at a number of shows and it’s entirely consuming.

But I don’t think the fact few editors or publications seem to be offering anything like this anymore comes down to just not having the time. With social media now reaching maturity, there’s inevitably becoming a greater push in terms of strategy for organizations and individuals alike on what to do and what not to do to achieve audience engagement.

So here’s my question: Is this lack of Twitter commentary as simple as editors just becoming more obsessed with Instagram? Or is there actually a direct decision being made not to give away too much there and then? (The knowledge of these men and women is a valuable commodity — why hand it out on a free platform, when you can rather store it up and post it on your own site for traffic generation later?)

Then again, maybe it’s just as simple as the fact we’re also all just a little bit over it. Or overwhelmed. Or lazy. Still, I’d like it back.

Digital snippets: Burberry, Calvin Klein, Moschino, Saks, M&S, Primark

27 Feb

A round-up of all the latest stories surrounding fashion and tech…

 

  • Burberry reveals ‘digital innovation’ partnership with WeChat to strengthen social presence in China [The Drum]
  • Calvin Klein asks fans to snap selfies in their skivvies for #MyCalvins campaign [BrandChannel]
  • Fast-fashion: Moschino offers fans the ability to shop its McDonald’s-themed show live [Dazed Digital]
  • Saks recreates in-store beauty tutorials with six-second videos on Vine [LuxuryDaily]
  • Marks & Spencer launches new website to replace Amazon platform, after three years in the making [The Telegraph]
  • How Primark achieved 1.7m Facebook Likes in just six months [Econsultancy]
  • Former GQ editor Lauren Bans comes out as @CondeElevator Tweeter [Fashionista]
  • New privacy website lets you opt out of tracking in retail stores [AdAge]
  • Ebay buys virtual fitting room start-up PhiSix Fashion Labs [PC Mag]

Digital snippets: Michael Kors, Rebecca Minkoff, Vivienne Tam, Marc Jacobs, Zac Posen

17 Feb

From New York to London, and everything in between, here’s a mega round-up of all the latest stories surrounding fashion and tech…

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  • Rebecca Minkoff gives inside look at fashion week with Keek app [Mashable]
  • Vivienne Tam’s WeChat partnership delivers NYFW front-row access [Jing Daily]
  • Marc Jacobs opens fashion week pop-up that accepts Tweets as payment (as pictured) [Fashionista]
  • Zac Posen curated a Spotify playlist for his new lookbook [Styleite]
  • Alexander Wang showed colour-changing clothes during fashion week [Technical.ly]
  • Warby Parker tops list of top 10 retail innovators [Fast Company]
  • London Fashion Week: Nokia and Fyodor Golan create ‘world’s first’ smart skirt [Marketing]
  • Net-a-Porter puts its fashion sense on paper in new print magazine [BrandChannel]
  • Miu Miu unveils ‘Spark and Light’ short film [WWD]
  • Sass & Bide launches 360-degree shoppable ad [PSFK]
  • Bloomingdale’s hosts live-styling event on Instagram to drive interaction [Luxury Daily]
  • The new Moda Operandi app is like Tinder for designer clothes [NY Observer]
  • Instagram is shaping up to be the world’s most powerful selling tool [Forbes]
  • Seven ways retailers are embracing tech, from body scanning to digital wallets [AdAge]
  • What’s so alluring about a woman known as Man Repeller? [NY Mag]

Hunter uses Instagram video as second screen to #LFW show

16 Feb

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Hunter might be the new kid on the block this London Fashion Week season, but its show and accompanying social media coverage was as slick as the best of them.

The famous wellington boot brand introduced its new Hunter Original line with models parading along a catwalk covered in water. Under the creative direction of Stella McCartney’s husband Alasdhair Willis, this was a stylish line of practical outerwear, not to mention numerous new footwear pieces, fit for the current UK weather.

But for those watching online, it was the Instagram video posts that particularly stood out. In a sea of thousands of #LFW tagged images, not to mention endless blurry runway Insta-videos, Hunter took to the platform with a series of high quality, pre-produced clips.

Created as part of the wider #beahunteroriginal social media campaign, each one was designed to “capture the inspiration behind the collection and allow a deeper insight into what is being seen on the runway”. What that actually meant was quite abstract, creative work.

Overlaid copy set the theme – “If you’re born a pioneer”, “Forged by the desire to discover” or  “Take the path that others dare not take”, from one to the next. Graphics spliced in then showed a section of a boot, a close-up on a fabric or an original sketch, as well as a series of autumnal outdoor scenes nodding to the heritage of the brand.

Willis said: “Born out of a passion to innovate, a pioneering spirit has always been at the heart of the brand. This spirit is key as the future vision for Hunter is developed and the reason for leveraging Instagram in this way. We are delivering a unique experience for the Instagram community, in real time, providing a deeper insight into the story of the collection and the world of Hunter Original.”

Hunter referred to the Instagram move as its LFW “second screen experience”. See each of the posts below…

Twitter Mirror arrives at fashion week with Matthew Williamson

13 Feb

twittermirrorMatthew Williamson is introducing the Twitter Mirror backstage at its London Fashion Week show this season.

Already becoming a regular feature of events such as The Grammys, The Oscars and even NBA games, this is a tablet usually positioned off-stage that enables celebs to snap selfies and autopost them to the event in question’s Twitter feed.

This will be the first time it is used at a fashion week. Williamson will have it set up for models to interact with in the build up to Sunday’s show. Each shot will be placed in a bespoke frame by the designer that reflects the new autumn/winter 2014/15 collection and its inspiration.

According to the brand’s head of digital, Rosanna Falconer, the aim was to give fans of the brand access behind-the-scenes in much more of a natural way than ever before. In previous seasons, Williamson shows have seen Vine used to reveal the details of the collection in real-time. Without intending to be, the best ones have always been when the models wearing the looks have been a little cheeky.

“This time we wanted to strip away the camera and the photographer, so it was just the models left, and see what we ended up with,” said Falconer.

Vine will be used during the show itself, with three posts revealing key pieces in full narrative – from sketch, to beading and final look. The brand will also continue its #ohmw campaign, handing out props branded with the hashtag to encourage attendees to similarly tweet and Instagram photos of themselves.

Why Topshop is focusing on shoppers in-store with virtual reality #LFW experience

12 Feb

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What’s interesting about Topshop’s digital plans for London Fashion Week this season, is its focus primarily on the store – on shoppers rather than showgoers.

The British retailer is partnering with a company called Inition to offer consumers a virtual reality experience from its Oxford Circus flagship. Specially commissioned Oculus Rift-based headsets will enable individuals to see its catwalk event taking place in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall on Sunday, February 16, through a 3D virtual world – from VIP arrivals and backstage sneak peeks, to the Unique collection show itself. The telepresence technology will make them feel as though the models are walking in front of their eyes, and the celebrities sat right beside them.

This is substantially more advanced than Burberry’s 3D streaming to customers in its stores in 2010. Wired has a great write-up explaining why: “Those wearing the [Inition] headsets – incorporating headphones and the Oculus Rift – will be able to see the live catwalk unfold if they look straight ahead on one virtual screen as well as the celebrities they are sitting ‘next to’, thanks to an 180-degree wide angle on the stream. If they look behind them at a second virtual screen they’ll get a view into the backstage area, where models will be having their hair and makeup done. If the wearer happens to look up, they will ascend into a higher level, where they will be able to see the rafters and a number of 360-degree images of, for example, celebrity selfies. All around the virtual screens and other elements, the environment has been designed to look like the Turbine Hall, with concrete and large girders.

“On top of the live stream will be built a number of animated elements that reflect the theme of decay that characterises the autumn/winter collection. So there will be leaves, flowers and crows that fly around on top of the space. Tweets using a specific hashtag will emerge in the virtual world as petals dropped by the virtual crows.”

Andy Millns, co-founder and creative director of Inition, said: “Virtual reality is the ultimate interface to the digital world with the power to transport the user to another place as soon as they put on a special display. This unique technology has the potential to open up fashion shows to the consumer at home and we believe this will be the first of many executions of this kind.”

Last season, Topshop partnered with Chirp, a start-up that enabled the sharing of content via sound. It was a cute idea, and was fun to play with for those who tried, but the truth is (according to those involved) it wasn’t all that successful. Very few people at the show actually downloaded the app you had to have, let alone then had it open ready to collect the specific sounds emitted as the show took place. The Chirp Garden hosted in the store was no doubt a smarter move in terms of engagement. That said, it led to content shared, rather than an immersive experience.

The headsets for this coming weekend, as abstract as they might look and feel to wear, go back to what opening up show access is really about: making consumers feel involved. And not just via the web or social media, but in the brand Mecca that is the flagship store. Topshop Oxford Circus is arguably one of the best global examples of this – a tourist destination, an immersive consumer experience, and a space that has played host to all sorts of other campaigns; a shoppable Pinterest wall, a series of talks and events for those interested in the industry, a Tweet Shop for Halloween and more.

The one downside with this virtual reality initiative of course is that it’s restricted to just a few. A competition is being held in the run up to Sunday’s show via social media, which will result in five winners who will be the first to experience it. The installation will then be available to further visitors – we presume those who sign up, or queue for it – on-demand, for three days.

But as mentioned, that’s only at the Oxford Circus location, and not any of the other 400+ Topshop stores – directly owned or otherwise – around the UK and the rest of the world.

And that’s part of the issue with in-store tech innovation at present. It’s a costly move, it’s also an experiment most of the time, so it tends to be limited to one place. This campaign specifically is quite a unique example, and undoubtedy one best suited to the flagship on the basis it’s the theatrical homeland of the brand. With most other initiatives, however, the technology – no matter how far away from being a gimmick it is – won’t become more than a PR story if the majority of consumers don’t ever get to see or experience it.

Topshop is referring to this virtual reality installation as not just transporting the viewer, but providing an insight into how we will consume media in the not so distant future. This fashion week, it’ll still largely be an exclusive experience, but the potential is there.

SHOWstudio captured and remixed the sound of four SS14 collections being made

17 Nov

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I’m somewhat obsessed with the idea of the fashion industry working out how to nail audio branding. I’m not talking about just straight up music partnerships or even the sounds associated with a brand when being in-store, but the noises that personify the clothing or accessories in particular and whether they have the potential to subsequently be owned by an individual label. Food for thought…

It’s for that reason though that I love this initiative from SHOWstudio called The Sound of Clothes: Studio Sessions. The creative editorial site founded by Nick Knight, captured the sounds of Mary Katrantzou, Sibling, Piers Atkinson and Matthew Williamson’s collections being made ahead of their spring/summer 2014 shows this past September.

From the noise of the knitting machines and crochet needles being used, to beads and gems rustling, jersey being ripped, the pattern cutters in action, zips fastening and even models’ heels clicking during fittings, everything was collected, edited and then remixed into four musical tracks (as below) said to give “a unique audio take on the collections and capture the diversity of London Fashion Week”.

Sound artist Stu Sibley worked on the initiative, stretching and manipulating certain sounds so they seem like beats or instruments, while leaving others exactly as they were recorded. Each track is accompanied by abstract 3D visuals based on the runway collections themselves. Concept and direction was by Lou Stoppard and Neal Bryant. 

There’s also a wonderful essay by Maria Echeverri alongside the project that charts the history of sound through dress: “The various instances of sound in dress ranging from the Renaissance to present day hint at the untapped potential of resonant dress, for ultimately, the act of making and hearing noise is implicit in the experience and interpretation of clothing. And by understanding the enlivened dexterity of sound through its past, we can begin to imagine, and hear, its future.”

Key fashion week trend: social media quality

16 Oct

There’s a lot to be said for the level of quality our industry is producing over social media these days, and rightly so for a world that prides itself on luxury. Whatever it is – better cameras, bigger teams, more budget – it’s working.

Take a look at some of the content highlights from the most recent round of fashion weeks:

Burberry_SS14ToryBurch_SS14Chloe_SS14Prada_SS14DolceGabbana_SS14

In order: Burberry, Tory Burch, Chloé, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana (as highlighted individually last season), all with beautiful executions across multiple platforms.

In terms of cameras, partnerships with tech companies for Burberry and Tory Burch have undoubtedly helped. The former, as reported at the time, teamed up with Apple (ahead of the news this week of CEO Angela Ahrendt’s move to become Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores) to exclusively capture its social media content using the new iPhone 5S iSight camera. This meant incredibly high res images, not to mention benefits including auto image stabilisation, a new ‘burst’ mode that allows users to shoot 10 photos per second, as well as an option for slow-motion.

Tory Burch on the other hand partnered with Sony to shoot its show using the F55 professional 4K camera, resulting in content with four times the resolution of standard high definition video. A detailed view of each and every look was hosted at runway.toryburch.com.

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing those in attendance at the shows sharing higher quality imagery too. Yes there are still blurry runway shots, but better smartphone cameras are of course at the root of this improving. That said, there are two other factors helping this along too:

The first is down to designers increasingly creating scenes for the crowd to want to capture. As Elizabeth Holmes of the WSJ reported: “Designers have a few tricks – falling under the heading ‘Instabait’ – to create moments that even hard-to-impress fashion week veterans can’t help but click and post.” These vary from elaborate set designs and props, to celebrity showcases.

The BoF covered this during the menswear shows in July too, writing: “In recent seasons, it’s become increasingly common for fashion shows to end with a tableau of models, perfectly positioned to be snapped and shared on social media. But at the most recent round of Paris menswear and couture shows, the staging of these instantly sharable moments rose to a whole new level of sophistication.”

A second factor that might begin shaping this lean towards quality all that much further, was hinted at by Tommy Hilfiger this season. As previously covered, it offered up a service that delivered assets – pictures through to collection information – upon request to showgoers over email in real-time. The aim was to “allow the industry to curate and share a new layer of exclusive, customised content on their own digital platforms for their followers during the show”. Doing so however cleverly put Tommy Hilfiger back in charge of the look and feel of its brand in the social space, ensuring its quality was as on-brand as possible throughout.

It might be a week for talking about technology, innovation and where the two cross with fashion thanks to that news from Burberry and Apple, but it’s important to ensure nailing content and quality likewise gets the attention it deserves. Overall the result is undoubtedly a better experience for the consumer so long may it continue. And for once, long may other industries be inspired by just how well (and by that we mean beautifully) ours can do digital.

Belstaff launches new Legends campaign portraits by Scott Schuman, starring Beckham

8 Oct

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Belstaff hosted an elaborate event that played on its motorcycle heritage this London Fashion Week to celebrate the opening of its new flagship store in the capital.

With David Beckham as host, the British-born brand closed off part of New Bond Street to welcome a parade of 50 authentic bikers.  They were wearing both new and vintage pieces from the brand, but as its supposed to be worn, on the road and getting dirty, which is exactly what the team wanted to capture.

As a result, they hired Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist to do so. The well-known street style photographer shot a series of intimate portraits of some of the bikers, seven of which, as well as one of Beckham, are now live on the Legends section of Belstaff’s website, which is also home to images of its oldest jackets and the icons who have worn them.

Each of the stars – David Parr, Nate Petre, Josh Wasserman, Hugo Jezgabel, Mark Phillips, George Barden and Pat McAteer – features alongside a mini interview saying who they are, what bike they ride and where they find their inspiration. Collectively they are referred to as the “modern legends of Belstaff”. (Clicking on their pictures leads to the corresponding product page too).

I’ve also been privy to an early cut of a video set to launch in a couple of weeks time documenting the bikers travelling from the historic Goodwood Estate to Mayfair. It’s a beautiful testament to both Britain and the brand. Look out for it.

Beckham will also front Belstaff’s spring/summer 2014 global advertising campaign. It will be photographed by Peter Lindberg and inspired by the late Steve McQueen, a long-time fan of  Belstaff. Further pictures of Beckham at the opening of Belstaff House in London are below:

Belstaff House - Opening Event Belstaff House - Opening Event

 

Anya Hindmarch unveils astrological #whatplanet campaign at #LFW

17 Sep

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Anya Hindmarch launched a cute digital campaign alongside its London Fashion Week show today tied to the collection’s planetary theme.

“What Planet Are You On?” allows fans to create personalised charts based on their date of birth. The resulting content (as per the below sample), features astrological facts and quips ranging from your ruling planet to your age in dog years or the amount of energy the candles on your next birthday cake would produce. It also says how many seconds you’ve lived for, which celebrities you share your birthday with and what date you were conceived.

“Boldly go on an astro-biological journey to discover your universal truths, astro-facts and space oddities,” reads the write-up.

Guests at the show were each presented with their own chart, while online followers are invited to visit whatplanetareyouon.com to create one too. The content is being shared over social using the #whatplanet hashtag.

The initiative follows on from last season’s Anyagrams campaign, which invited fans to generate anagrams from their own names.

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