W I D E A W A K E thoughts

fashion weak

Posted in fashion by wideawakethoughts on February 11, 2010

images of Alexander Wang’s studio courtesy of The Selby

In the frenzied lead up to New York Fashion Week, it seems there is a quiet revolution taking place behind the scenes. The conversation that surrounded Alexander McQueen and his decision to stream his other-worldy runway parade in real time over the internet has barely become a whispered memory and already countless designers are electing to stream shows of their own.

The Cut blog has reported that Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein, G-Star Raw, Rodarte and Marc Jacobs will be streaming their runways shows live from the catwalk at NYFW. As a fashion marketer and self-professed advocate of new media I feel like I should be penning each online event into my diary with excitement, but I can’t help but feel a little apprehensive.

One of the first posts I ever wrote for my blog posed thoughts on the speed of new media and its effects on the fashion industry. I wrote the post, A Reflection, in response to thoughts that crept into my mind after I saw The September Issue film, musing that the speed of new media such as Twitter is contradictory to the integrity of the fashion industry at large. I consider this discussion more relevant than ever given the immediacy of a live show stream.

backstage at Rodarte, image courtesy of Fashionista.com

On one hand, streaming their runway show on their own terms allows a designer to reclaim some control of the conversation that takes place about their brand during and in the moments after a show, without relying on those in the front row to do the tweeting. Each of the confirmed show streamers plan to do so via their own branded websites, with the exception of Alexander Wang and Rodarte (who have chosen to stream via ShowStudio.com). Showcasing the clothes directly to the masses lets the clothing speak for itself, in a language that is as on brand and as on message for the collection as it could possible be; streaming a collection live from the runway is an authentic reveal.

That said, exposing a consumer to a collection a season before it even becomes available to order, let alone touch or try on, is a dangerous flirtation. Starting a trend that can’t be bought into immediately is frustrating for consumers who have been conditioned by a culture of immediacy by the very same media channels that bring them the live stream in the first place. The time it takes for a designer to fill orders and produce enough pieces to fill the orders that pour in post fashion week is an eternity compared to the time it takes for a high street store to produce an army of replicas, and most consumers won’t bother holding out for the real thing.

There’s no doubt that new media is a critical ingredient of the fashion marketing mix, but with so much conversation still to be had, is the speed of online communication outpacing the motion of the fashion industry?


6 Responses

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  1. monika poppy said, on February 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    i prefer the rodarte shoes in ankle boots version rather than the thigh high ones


    LOVE FROM M Poppy

  2. ♥Lola said, on February 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I like the idea of live streaming 🙂

  3. lucinda said, on February 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I hear what you’re saying. Shows are getting so much coverage not just from live streaming but also front-row bloggers, street-style photographers and online news sources. I used to remember discovering collections through magazines, now every look in a runway presentation is available online minutes afterward.

    Nevertheless I still appreciate that Alexander McQueen (collaborating with Nick Knight from SHOWstudio) went to the effort to craft an exceptional show that worked for the front-row audience as well as home viewers. I may not be that eager to see the pieces hit the stores but I have an increased interest in the Alexander McQueen brand.

  4. Mez said, on February 11, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Interesting blog, you’re right about the consumer demands and the high turnover. It will be interesting to see how many more ‘high street’ brands see the shows and then ‘steal’ the styles seen resulting in them being in store in a fortnight as opposed to months. It’s already happened with the photos being shown online straight after or during a show, will a live stream really make a difference? The quick turnover for stores such as Topshop means this is highly viable for them. I guess for the demanding fashionista it’s a question of ‘why wait when I can have it now?’ where as the more particular shopper is after quality and label over supply and demand.

  5. lucy said, on February 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Hey there,

    This is a really interesting post, both in terms of impact on consumer demands and the fashion print media. I guess streaming the shows breaks down the barrier of exclusivity, allowing everyone ‘front row’ seats and before magazines can even dream of covering the trends, the market is saturated. For print media to withstand, they need to become even more innovative and progressive with how they cover the shows and trends.

    Also thanks for your lovely comment on my blog- yes I am from Brisbane, I moved here two years ago from London. I’m going to New York in June for an internship so your previous post particularly resonated with me- sounds as though you had a wonderful time! Any tips?!


  6. Beaut Vintage Australia said, on September 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Yeah, interesting is the word.
    The whole blog sphere and social media are becoming hunting grounds for the latest gossip, trends and news.
    Where will we be in another 10 years???

    Beaut xxxx

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