If you’ve been near Twitter during the fashion weeks thus far, you will have noticed the never-ending stream of blurred catwalk images shot by editors, bloggers and show goers. Take the image to the right, Instagram‘d by Grazia Live, featuring four looks from Proenza Schouler: its hard to make out the garments, or identify the models, but you get an impression of the palette and idea of the general mood. This is fast publishing on-the-go, and if the likes of Grazia and Susie Lau of Style Bubble are putting out this sort of content without worrying about image quality, there’s obviously demand for it. Indeed, Susie Lau’s Thomas Tait snap got 469 Instagram likes, despite the clothes being shrouded by smoke.
Add in the app new-comer, Vine, whose appearance at this season’s front-rows has sent off fireworks. The looping videos are recorded by show attendees, and then, thanks to the integration with Twitter (they own Vine, unlike Instagram who’ve been given the boot from Twitter feeds) sent out to the masses. The internet world loves gifs and Vine has been whole-heartedly embraced. It’s a perfect pairing for the fashion industry, clothes move and this is a fast way of uploading several looks without fussing with filters and tagging in Instagram. With media such as i-D, The Times and Elle giving the new tool a whirl, it’s got fashion’s seal of approval.
Brands have been quick to get onboard with the new plaything too; Matthew Williamson successfully shared clips from backstage of their London Fashion Week show (increasing their online following by 5.58% during the week) and Burberry responded directly to tweets with their Beauty Booth backstage at their show (scoring over 90k new followers).
And of course, you can’t refer to digital innovation of runways without mentioning Topshop, whose revolutionary collaboration with Google+ ‘The Future of the Fashion Show‘ saw 200,000 social shares in the first 5 minutes and received 4 million views within 5 days. Their Google Hangouts and hidden model-cams were nifty little details, but the big genius lies in their ‘Be the Buyer’ function, allowing consumers to curate their own collections of favourite items from the show. The power of that data to Topshop cannot be underestimated; it’s insight into exactly what their customers want to buy, before they’ve had to invest in the stock. (A concept very much after EDITD’s own heart!)
Belstaff also tapped into the power of this instant feedback, analysing Twitter during the live-streamed show at New York Fashion Week and watching how different markets interacted differently with their website. They then used this to adjust their online merchandising to suit region’s tastes.
The classicists will perhaps be persuaded by Fifty Three‘s collaboration with Women’s Wear Daily, which implements their iPad drawing app, Paper. Illustrators sat armed with iPads at New York Fashion Week and swiftly uploaded sketches of the event. Will it beat the speed of the instagrammed imagery and Vine vids? No, but its difference perhaps marks the creations as less disposable in an endless feed of content.
The industry is increasingly aware that consumers are eagerly watching in on what so recently were closed-door events. Consumers don’t care for a rigid show report, printed a month down the line, or even uploaded a couple of days later; their demand is immediate, they want real-time action, whether that’s blurred and hazy or a short loop. Image quality may be low, but this content on the whole is not being viewed on desktop screens. Fashion followers want to like and comment and share; weighing in with their opinion. And let’s face it, their opinions are the ones which count, their tastes will shift stock. So let’s keep the instant access up!
— Matthew Williamson (@MWWorld) February 17, 2013