Tuesday, 24 September 2013

THE FUTURE OF THE FASHION SHOW

Image via Style.com
Since Alexander McQueen debuted the concept of a digital fashion show with the SHOWStudio live stream of his SS10 show it has triggered other brands to push the boundaries of what is capable when technology collides with fashion. His original aim was to turn what is usually an invite only event into global entertainment and in doing so he gained 3.5 million viewers for just that one show.

This has sparked a huge debate across both the fashion and technology industries which has led to a whole series of talks on the subject including one at 'Social Media Week' in London. The evening, aptly titled 'The Future Of The Fashion Show' was hosted by Native, a leading Social brand communications agency, and included a panel of speakers from Holition, Chirp, Twitter, Digital Fashion Week, The British Council and also an expert from Native.

The evening looked at how brands were actively looking to partner with technology based companies such as Apple, Twitter, Holition and Chirp. Aliza Knox  from Twitter enlightened us on the fact that approximately 2 million tweets were sent out using the #NYFW hashtag which instantly proves the global impact technology is having on the fashion industry. Of course the evening could not progress without us addressing the fact that Burberry filmed their entire catwalk show on an iPhone 5s, live streaming it to their Regent Street Store, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Not only does this go to show that technology such as the iPhone has become so reliable that multinational companies are solely relying on it to document a major event but it also shows that technology has completely revolutionised the way luxury goods approach business. Burberry have gone from being an imposing boutique nestled away in a glamorous neighbourhood to a dynamic retail business using their online presence to drive sales and their flagship store as a showroom of craftsmanship and quality service.

Topshop hired Chirp, an app that uses sound to 'sing' information from one phone to another, for their Topshop Unique SS14 show. Both Chirp and Topshop transformed Regents Park into a technological wonderland with trees and flowers in the park beaming footage from the show to attendee's phones. Once the data reached the phone then the user was able to see footage from the show and even exclusive backstage footage.
Image via Chirp.io

Holition collaborated with London based womenswear label, HEMYCA for their SS14 London Fashion Week presentation, showcasing the collection through an augmented reality experience. Models were stationed around the room wearing garments from the collection whilst guests were given ipads which when held facing the models loaded up with a 3D model of the same garment giving viewers a closer, more tactile look at the collection as seen in the video below.



Whilst all this works wonders for brand exposure, it begs the question as to what brands are really trying to achieve through these kind of collaborations. Kendall Martin-Robbins from the British Council highlighted the idea that both "digital and social are becoming huge influencers on designers in their creative process'." This in turn allows viewers to be exposed to all areas of the globe and a whole cross section of influences. Social media also allows fans of a brand access that is unparallelled by any other medium due to the real time nature of the platforms. Sales and brand awareness are the two major factors that have arisen out of the switch from analog to digital and it is only recently that fashion brands are waking up to the fact that these two factors can be the product of a digital fashion show if executed well.

Keyis Ng and the rest of the team behind 'Digital Fashion Week', which is reaching its second year in Singapore have recognised the need for an eCommerce tie in during fashion week. They have collaborated with a range of Singaporean designers as well as international brands such as Topshop to produce the first fully online fashion week where viewers can get real time backstage footage, watch the shows as they happen and shop the looks as they appear through ASOS Marketplace. The British Council are also partnering with DFW on a series of fashion films called 'Dressing the Screen' which will further strengthen the link between Singapore designers and the Uk, the place where many of them studied.

Image via Style.com
Although the collaborations between fashion and technology are only scratching the surface of what is possible, it is interesting to see the endless possibilities that have already arisen. It is unclear at this moment in time as to whether fashion shows will ever become a strictly digital affair but it is certainly moving in that direction. A thought that we were left with last night was of one big global fashion show, held in every major city across the world, united and live streamed through the web. Whatever will they think of next?

WORDS | GRACE MOLAN

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