Tag Archives: London

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]

Hunter uses Instagram video as second screen to #LFW show

16 Feb

HUNTER_LFW_Instagram

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.

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.”

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

8 Oct

Belstaff_Beckham

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

 

Digital snippets: Macy’s, Levi’s, Fox & Fawn, Hermès, Nars, Nordstrom, Ferragamo

25 Sep

Here’s a rather hefty highlight of recent stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital:

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  • Macy’s: marketers should defend data use but show restraint [AdAge]
  • Levi’s hacks vintage items to function as modern-day social media devices (as pictured) [PSFK]
  • Fox & Fawn proves key example of how innovative retailers are turning Instagram into an e-commerce platform [Fashionista]
  • Hermès made the smart if overdue move of creating a scarf-tying app called Silk Knots [The Cut]
  • Nars previewing Guy Bourdin collection on Snapchat [WWD]
  • Nordstrom: how to remain relevant in a tech savvy world [Forbes]
  • Salvatore Ferragamo looks to the web to lure young consumers [Reuters]
  • Fendi microsite increases brand awareness during Milan Fashion Week [Luxury Daily]
  • M&S to contact workers in Asia by mobile to check factory conditions [The Guardian]
  • Net-A-Porter bets on social commerce with new ‘Netbook’ iPad app [Econsultancy]
  • Pinterest announces first ad product: promoted pins [Mashable]
  • Olapic brings the persuasive power of user-generated imagery to e-commerce [BoF]

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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Latest Topshop innovation will see #LFW content shared via sound

12 Sep

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Topshop is partnering with a start-up called Chirp for its upcoming Unique show at London Fashion Week in order to share pieces of content via sound with those in attendance. 

Chirp is an iPhone app that refers to itself as a “magical new way to share your stuff”. Essentially it encrypts pictures, notes or links as a type of “digital birdsong” – users post their content, then hit a big yellow button to emit a unique 20-note chirp, which other devices running the app nearby can pick up.

Here’s its own explanation of how it works: “You can think of a chirp as a tiny piece of music. Each chirp lasts about two seconds. The system listens out for a couple of dozen notes played rapidly in a certain order, within a certain range, at a certain speed. The audio engine tries to decode the sequence of notes into a sequence of letters which our server understands. The server then returns a link to the user so they can go wherever the short code points: to a webpage, say. This decode all happens in realtime on your phone.” A more technical introduction can also be found on its website.

What all this means is that users don’t need to login and follow Topshop to be able to receive the content, rather by being in proximity (i.e. at the show) they will be able to simply “hear the data” when they’re running the app. The retailer will be sending out images from several Chirp locations around the site, ranging from shots of the pattern room where the clothes were made, to the collection backstage, the hair and make-up tests, and the models walking down the catwalk. It has also added a new and unique aspect to the application whereby tapping on each image will flip it around to reveal more info and extra content.

Further reading shows Chirps can also work over PA systems, as well as in YouTube videos, meaning Topshop could potentially share the same pieces of content with anyone listening from home.

Its website however will host a gallery of the images so anyone tuning into the live-stream can also see them. As below, they will sit atop additional content pulled from Twitter from both the brand’s own account and from key fashion insiders it has asked to contribute from front row and backstage.

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Meanwhile, its Oxford Circus store will feature a Chirp and Twitter Garden full of digital content for shoppers to explore (as the picture above demonstrates).

“Each season, we set ourselves the challenge to innovate and excite in a different way with the Unique show; not only in terms of our collection and show space, but also how to engage with and involve Topshop fans worldwide. The link with Chirp is fun and we love the fact that it allows people to discover new aspects of the collection and what goes on behind the scenes at Unique through creating iconic images to story tell,” said Sir Philip Green.

Topshop has of course previously made its mark in the digital space by teaming up with mega-tech companies including Google and Facebook around its collections. But it says this move is all about supporting emerging talent – taking the same approach it has with burgeoning young designers for instance, to what it believes is a pioneering new app.

Its team members told me they’re “experimenting with something that’s new”, “just having a bit of a play” and “seeing what they can get out of it”.

The brand will also be continuing its Customise the Catwalk and Shoot the Show initiatives, as well as offering followers the option to download the show’s soundtrack from iTunes and click to buy the make-up looks. Check out its trailer for the event below:

 

Video highlight: Jean Paul Gaultier talks 2014 Barbican exhibition

17 Mar JeanPaulGaultier_Barbican

There’s three types of good fashion films these days: the conceptual creative type (think features for seasonal campaigns), the product shots (more for selling, a lot shorter in length but ideally still tied to a story), and then the interview. That was an idea coined by Harriet Mays Powell of The Look Now (formerly fashion director at New York Magazine), speaking at the first Fashion Forward conference in 2011.

Her focus was that each needs investment, not just in terms of money, but in terms of a strategic approach. The better interviews for instance aren’t haphazard behind-the-scenes clips that don’t do a high fashion house any justice, but well-shot and insightful pieces in their own right.

This one (below) just released by The Barbican Centre in London serves as a great example. It captures designer Jean Paul Gaultier animatedly discussing his upcoming exhibition in its art gallery in April 2014. Set in his Paris studio, with shots of various items from his collections interspersed, he jokes about the retrospective being shown while he’s still alive, and highlights his appreciation for the city of London.

The entire video is such an enthusiastic insight into him and his brand, that when he says, “I am very lucky because I am living my passion”, at the end, the viewer truly believes him.

 

The exhibition itself also sounds like a winner. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, as it’s called, will see more than 140 garments from 1970 to today presented. Included will be the infamous conical bra from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, as well as costumes for Kylie Minogue and films such as The Fifth Element.

The exhibition will also comprise catwalk footage, music videos, films, dance performances and snippets from Gaultier’s cult TV show, Eurotrash. It will be accompanied by an events programme and film season.

It has been initiated and produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, and will tour worldwide.

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