Fashion meets technology ... model, Cara Delevingne.
Fashion shows are changing. In 2013, big brands will need to live stream, social share and go viral to keep up with the competition.
This weekend British label Topshop will stream its latest collection live from London across YouTube, Google+1 and its own website. The partnership with Google allows fans unprecedented access to every aspect of the creative process taking them backstage, front row and directly onto the runway.The word 'Topshop' is searched more than 25 million times a month across Google. YouTube has 800 billion visits per month and Google +1 has more than 500 million users globally. "Integrating all these platforms translates to a massive audience," says managing director of Topshop Australia, Hilton Seskin. "It gives Australian customers a chance to be part of a global experience – it's lifting the elitism on fashion and giving everyone access".
Firmly on the frontline, Topshop will also debut the use of technology similar to that used in sports broadcasting. Aptly named Model Cam, a series of high-definition micro-cameras will be stitched into the clothes and handbags of key models monitoring their every move at the show, staged at London's Tate Modern museum. "The girls on 'Model cam' will be the stars of the show. We've invited everyone into our world to see how it all comes together," says Kate Phelan, creative director, Topshop.
A mock up of the store window.
The use of technology isn't new in the world of fashion. Luxury label Burberry pioneered live streaming and, in 2011, was the first brand to harness social media by sharing collection looks on Twitter before the clothes appeared on the runway. Now hashtags and handles are commonplace in spreading a brand's message through a collective viral voice. "The consumer is more important than traditional media when it comes to sales," says Seskin. "We can track it. News spreads very fast on sharing platforms and we see certain products sold out in a day as a result." Locally, we have a way to go. Department stores Myer and David Jones only moved to live streaming their collections last year and L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival introduced app technology to allow consumers to shop the runway directly from smart devices.
This year, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia plans to introduce more digital integration. "The audience has broadened beyond the guests in the showroom and the consumer audience is hungry to see what goes on inside the exclusive invitation only event," Elle Persson, director of Brand & Strategy Development with IMG Fashion.
"Digital will play a huge part in 2013 - we are working on two digital innovations to ensure that we are delivering the excitement of the front row to audiences at home via computer, tablet or mobile," she says.Even elite and established names like Tom Ford are reluctantly relaxing their anti-technology stance. Since the launch of his eponymous label in 2010, the designer has kept his shows small and exclusive, even confiscating mobile phones at the door. All photographers and many journalists were left off the guest list. Now, Ford has changed his values to embrace viral media telling UK Vogue: "This season is going to be 500 to 1000 people - photographers, bloggers—a regular, real show".
* Topshop Spring/Summer 2013 will stream on Sunday at 3pm (Monday 18, 2am local time)