London Fashion Week is over for another year and fashion editors across the capital are breathing a sigh of relief as they slip their feet into some flats after a week of tottering from show to show in high heels.
Some things about fashion week don’t change – the uncomfortable footwear, the skinny models, pictures of Kate Moss looking fabulous – but fashion’s relationship with social media is evolving all the time, with this year showcasing a trench of innovations. And any brand can take lessons from what the high-end fashionistas are doing
London Fashion Week has always been ahead of the curve in terms of its use of technology. In 2010, it was the first ‘fashion week’ in the world to grant access to the masses by live streaming the runways on its official website.
Fashion brand Burberry also embraced live streaming early on and lead the way in customers being able to order the garments straight from the catwalk and has its own social media site, Art of the Trench. This year it partnered with YouTube that allowed online viewers to experience the shows for themselves.
The power of vlogging
Brands have also been savvy about tapping into the ongoing popularity of vloggers – the young video bloggers who pull huge numbers of subscribers to their YouTube channels with accounts of their latest shopping ‘haul’ or make up tips. British vlogger Tanya Burr, 25, who has almost 2.5million subscribers to her YouTube channel, sat on a number of front rows, including Julien MacDonald’s catwalk show.
Stores such as Topshop flew in influential vloggers from around the world: Russian-born vlogger Sonya Esman, 19, has more than 800,000 subscribers to her English and Russian channels. These vloggers are ambassadors of street style and are now endorsed by brands (some reports suggest they are paid up to £100,000 a year to talk about certain stores) who recognise the power of tapping into their network.
This year Topshop also shared key looks from the show on Facebook before they appeared on the catwalk and the fashion brand also gave five Instagrammers unique access to the shows with their pictures appearing on Topshop’s channels and in the window of its flagship store in London’s Oxford Circus.
Commercial benefits of social media
However, social has moved on from simply expanding a brand’s reach. Increasingly, it provides an instant way to create revenue. Twitter announced at the beginning of the month that it would begin publicly testing a ‘buy’ button imbedded in Tweets to allow users to buy products in a couple of clicks instead of following a link to a third party site (Facebook began trialing a ‘buy’ button in July).
Twitter launched a ‘click to buy’ button with Burberry to coincide with the Prorsum show on 15 September. Through a Google Hangout app it developed last year, Topshop made clips from its Topshop Unique 2013 show swipeable so that users could create a wish list of the things from the runway they wanted to see manufactured. Not everything from the catwalk makes it to the manufacturing stage – Topshop was able to mine information from the app to bring the most popular things to the store.
Brands have been asking the ‘ROI’ question about social media for a while now – perhaps the instant buy buttons are part of the answer. You’d expect fashion brands to know a thing or two about tapping into current trends but it doesn’t mean that kind of innovative thinking is restricted to a single industry. What could a new social media approach do for your brand?