London Fashion Week’s digital makeover

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London Fashion Week 2015 witnessed brands lighting up the digital world, from Burberry’s use of Snapchat, Hunter Original’s use of Periscope, and Topshop’s use of Pinterest. The digital world has introduced brands to a limitless audience. The use of Pinterest and Instagram in London Fashion Week enabled brands to show their 2016 spring/summer collections to shoppers outside of London instantaneously, and tap into the network of online influencers.

London Fashion Week dominated the Twittersphere the weekend before the event, with more than 300,000 tweets. Burberry was the most mentioned brand with over 40,229 mentions, making up more than 10% of the total tweets about the event.

Burberry has been the undisputed leading fashion brand in embracing digital. 2009 saw them launch their ‘Art of the Trench’ microsite, which invited the public to submit pictures of them wearing the iconic Burberry jacket. The campaign was so successful at mixing online and offline that Apple hired the CEO in 2013. And they have yet again successfully manipulated social media to create a huge buzz and anticipation surrounding their 2016 fashion line.

On the 20th September at 7pm, one day before their runway show, Burberry’s Snapchat followers were given the unique opportunity to see the finishing touches being made to the line from the design studios. Furthermore, they released their entire runway show via Snapchat enabling its followers to see the collection in real time, and made the show a global experience. Unfortunately, all traces of the show were automatically deleted after 24 hours, but this unique strategy successfully achieved excitement and engagement for its Fashion Week launch.

Topshop generated over 7,000 mentions during their Fashion Week event. But their strong social media buzz was due to their partnership with the digital OOH (outdoor media), which offered customers a personalised shopping experience. Customers were able to shop for key trends from London Fashion Week based on real time tweets using the #LFW hashtag. This real-time data was then fed to billboards around the country, all of which were situated within a 10-minute walk of a Topshop store. This highlights how retailers can capitalise on visuals for an ‘impulse purchase’, making sure that the right people see the ad in the right place.

Periscope was another platform that was used heavily in London Fashion Week for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren, after the traction brands got from using it at New York Fashion Week.

Hunter Original used Periscope for the first time for its London show, where they streamed up and coming musicians performing on their way to the show, answering fan questions and then the actual runway show. The creative director of Hunter commented on how Fashion Week is no longer a broadcast, but an interactive experience that must go to the consumer when and how they want to consume the show. Periscope allows the experience to be taken to their device wherever they are.

Social has become a hub for consumers to discover new brands and recent updates on networks. However, the challenge for fashion labels is to make sure that they are producing engaging content to build potential partnerships, as well as long term loyalty from their customers. The adoption of the wide ranging technologies at London Fashion Week reflects the wide shift in the industry making fashion more accessible.

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