September 27, 2010

Fashion to the Masses

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At the risk of sounding like some fashion-crazed, shallow woman, I'm going to admit that I start counting down the days starting in July until the September issue of Vogue comes. Once I've read every single word and drooled over every amazing piece of clothing, pair of shoes and each accessory, I feel like my homework is done and I can now take note of everything that New York Fashion Week will bring. In the past, I've been able to get a decent overview of New York Fashion Week reading articles about the big shows and seeing a few photos of the most popular (or most controversial items). This year, it was so much more. I felt like I had a front row seat from the comfort of my couch.

For years, New York Fashion Week was designed for buyers and the media. As the market crashed, people started shopping less and information was more readily available online, it became apparent that to get people to actually purchase these high-end fashions, consumers needed to have more access to New York Fashion Week. Attendance to the shows is limited both due to space and cost but with the increasing amounts of technology available, every show can still be available to consumers across the world. Here's just a sampling of what they did:

User Generated Content: ALLDAYEVERYDAY partnered with Milk Studios to create Milk Made - a live chronicle of Fashion Week. Influencers were tasked with taking photo and video of their experiences at Fashion Week from events, parties and shows. This was uploaded to Milk Made where users could filter content to watch the entire week from the eyes of a single person or multiple people. Anyone attending a Fashion Week event was invited to email their photos and video, which were then uploaded to Milk Made, ultimately creating a montage of Fashion Week through the eyes of many.

Twitter: Obviously, Twitter wasn't going to miss out on this opportunity. To aggregate the immense volume of chatter about Fashion Week, Twitter (sponsored by American Express) streamed all of the Tweets with #NYFW and organized the tweets by category (beauty, designers, scene, fashion) so that it was easy to find the info you were looking for.

Live Streaming: 14 designers live-streamed shows on their respective websites so fashion lovers across the world could tune in. Most of these shows were accompanied by widgets allowing users to share their thoughts with others on the site watching the show or via Twitter and Facebook. Burberry event turned it into an e-commerce opportunity making select products available immediately following the shows. Customers were invited to come to their local Burberry store to watch a live stream of the show. Following the show, associates handed out iPads where customers could select the fashions from the show they wanted to purchase months before they would be available to everyone else.

Only time will tell if this massive investment in technology to make fashion available to the masses will pay off. After all, like the majority of average Americans, I can barely afford a sleeve of the Diane Von Furstenberg dress I was drooling over. But, at least we saw it and maybe some of us will go out and purchase the fashions we saw.

- Shannon



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