In the build up to February’s most fashionable event there was a whirlwind of speculation surrounding technology’s influence on style. In 2010, London Fashion Week was put on the map digitally when it streamed shows online, and this year many suspected that wearable technology would take centre stage. Take note of Richard Nicoll and the light-up dress that was part of his Spring/Summer show in September 2014.
Credit: Instagram @nicoll_studio
Although London Fashion Week did produce some speculator shows, (Ashish was my personal highlight), it was not ‘the year of wearable tech’ that everybody predicted. Instead designers focussed on their audience and how fashion should be experienced in 2015. Gone are the days when only fashion’s elite exclusively view the latest trends.
Ocean Outdoor made a big impact during the event as they collaborated with Hunter to stream their show throughout the UK. The digital outdoor advertising company teamed with the brand to ensure that members of the public could view the show in various city centres. The viewing points were also Wi-Fi enabled which allowed people to connect their phone as a second screen, or watch the show via the brand’s website and social media channels.
Credit: Instagram @Topshop
Similarly Topshop and Twitter worked with Ocean to broadcast key trends on six screens throughout London Fashion Week. The trends were created by using real-time Twitter data and then displayed via a hashtag. To heighten engagement, Topshop encouraged their audience to tweet one of the trend hashtags, receiving a shopping list to match their trend in return.
Burberry were also keen to involve their audience via Twitter in a clever, if not slightly mind boggling, marketing ploy. If somebody tweeted Burberry using the hashtag #Tweetcam during the show a personalised photo would be taken of the catwalk and tweeted back to the individual. This might be construed as gimmicky but it shows how fashion is trying hard to connect with their audience. Other examples include Ugg Australia sending styling tips to shoppers who snapped Ugg products in their window displays, and River Island using virtual reality to bring their latest Design Forum to consumers via a Google Cardboard headset.
Credit: Twitter @Burberry
With innovations like these, anyone can feel like they are taking a seat on the front row, but will this then effect the way that we buy fashion? The evidence from London Fashion Week would suggest that it will, as sportswear designer Charli Cohen debuted her first collection and made it instantly shoppable. By using The Edit, an app that works with a swipe-to-buy function, consumers could purchase the fashion hot off the catwalk. This idea will surely be used and enhanced at future fashion events.
Forget wearable technology (for now), this year London Fashion Week was all about audience engagement.