DIGITALISING FASHION: SS17 NYFW

Last week SS17 fashion week kicked off in the city that never sleeps, we wanted to keep an eye on this season’s digital trends.

It’s clear that the Fashion world dictates the latest trends and styles for the season ahead. Yet, the events are not just centered around clothing, this is also a valid point of resource for digital marketers.

Fashion week presence on social media has evolved over the years. In it’s infancy, live streams became the norm and we witnessed models adopting basic social tactics, such as the use of phones on the runway.

Brands are constantly competing against one another on the runway to become recognised as social fashion innovators. There is so much potential for brands to execute clever social strategy with the catwalk already being an immersive and theatrical occasion.

‘What is usually deemed to be an unaccessible industry, is now more accessible through social.’

In 2016, digital exposure now allows luxury fashion to get much closer to the consumer. What is usually deemed to be an unaccessible industry, is now more accessible through social. Platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram see brands become publishers, showing behind the scenes content through exclusive catwalk stories.

Designers seek new methods to convey the physicality of a collection on social. An effective way to get involved is to digitalise traditional terms with a tech-inspired phrase. Take note from Tommy Hilfiger who added an ‘Insta Pit’ (2016) to their press pit or Misha Nonoo (2015) who hosted an Instagram fashion show on a separate account. This year she’ll be collaborating with Refinery 29 on Snapchat for a ‘live lookbook.’

In a bid to keep up with the latest digital opportunities, brands are also looking to get collections out as quickly as an Instagram post. Designers such as Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger are regular supporters of the shoppable runway. Last week Tommy Hilfiger made the show all about the consumer by selling tickets to fans via NYCgo for their Tommy x Gigi Hadid collection.

‘Brands are also looking to get collections out as quickly as an Instagram post.’

The ‘I’ve seen it, I want it now’ mentality is perhaps a reflection of the social media pace and the need for instant access and purchase. Similarly, the short attention span of millennials challenges consumer demand, which makes wholesalers more desperate to satisfy those who won’t wait.

Effective social success comes from those who do things a little differently and challenge the norm. A step further than digitalising common phrases is those who completely change the original format of the show. This year American designer Rebecca Minkoff invited a set of influencers to model her collection on the runway.

Spanish brand, Desigual used Mac Cosmetics to recreate Snapchat style lenses on the faces of the models for their SS17 Global Traveller collection. They were adored and captured by those on the front row who posted them back on social media — oh the irony! Incorporating feature elements from specific platforms ensures multichannel marketing and merges physical and digital campaign strategy.

Brands must consider each channel’s purpose and plan wisely. Snapchat invites consumers to experience fun elements of fashion week. Comical snippets from backstage are often published there. Instagram should narrate a slicker story with perfectly practised boomerangs and stylised models.

Like all fashion trends, social media is short lived and fast paced. Next season, there will be new platforms available, with more opportunity for designers to break the social mould. Let’s just hope the clothing on the runway remains luxurious, aspirational and classic. It should still be designed for the sake of fashion, not social media engagement.