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Fashion Meets Digital

Today, London celebrates the final day of Fashion Week 2013. #LondonFashionWk is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world. The event is organised by the British Fashion Council (BFC) and funded by a number of sponsors, including Vodafone. The past week has seen over 60 different catwalk shows and a mass of off-catwalk events.
In February 2010 the BFC launched the digital schedule as part of LFW. The digital schedule is the first official LFW schedule of its kind, bringing together live-streamed shows, a selection of fashion films and the BFC Canon Cinema showing a dedicated film programme. The schedule is easy to navigate and provides ample information on every event. This has continued to run into 2013’s Autumn/Winter Fashion Week, and is a good starting point when discussing the industry’s approach to digital innovation. So, how else is digital technology being employed by the fashion industry?

The BFC’s digital innovation strategy aims to harness technology and creativity to promote British designers to global audiences. The BFC have partnered with Youtube and have been streaming live event footage to fans worldwide, giving everyone the chance to have a front row seat. You can tune in to LFW via YT by following this link. The BFC have also been live streaming to the Lodon fashion Week website. In total 34 shows - over 60% of the catwalk schedule – have been live streamed, including 21 from the Courtyard Show Space at Somerset House, 8 courtesy of Topshop from their venue at the Tate Modern, as well as shows outside the main catwalk venue including Burberry, Mulberry, Moschino, Henry Holland and Holly Fulton.

The BFC continue to work closely with Twitter to promote conversation around London Fashion Week by using the hashtag #LFW and by mentioning the official account @LondonFashionWk

The BFC have been using Vine this season as a brand new way to interact with audiences, capturing exciting moments as action unfolded in the format of six-second videos. From backstage beauty clips to the final looks on the runway, members of the BFC team have been publishing show highlights using the new Vine app.

The BFC will continue to use the official Pinterest account to upload daily content from the catwalk, as well as street style and event imagery and video footage on dedicated pin boards.

For Autumn/Winter 2013, British fashion designer Matthew Williamson has been using digital innovation to bring his social media audience even closer than the front row. International backstage photographer Sean Cunningham has been exclusively shooting the collection using Vine, in 6-second video clips which will zoom in from the full look to the minute detail, then tweeted live as the looks hit the runway. Follow @MWWorld on Twitter and watch out for the hashtag #MatthewMagnified.

Fashion blogging both in the UK and internationally has exploded; last season alone over 2000 bloggers registered to attend London Fashion week. With an average rise in applications of 25% season on season since launching blogger registration in February 2011, projected registration for September 2014 would exceed 3000 applications.

London Fashion Week is a trade event. To be accredited, bloggers must have a wide reach, influence, engagement and evidence that they support the work of British designers.

“Fashion blogging has changed the media landscape dramatically in the last few years and so it is great that the British Fashion Council recognises those changes. London Fashion Week features many young designers that really benefit from having their work showcased by a variety of media platforms, and that includes blogging and having social media presence.” - Susie Lau, Founder of Style Bubble

Many of fashion's biggest brands are still scared to experiment with digital technologies, former Topshop marketing chief Justin Cooke has claimed, warning that brands without a strong digital vision will struggle in the future.

With technology fast becoming one of the fundamental pillars of the bi-annual fashion event, the competition is on for designers and brands to bring a touch of digital to their shows. This season has seen Topshop partner with the Chirp app, which allows users to share content via soundwaves. The app lets devices connect using short soundbites, which sound a little like digital birdsong or "chirping". All types of content – from photos, to notes, to weblinks – can be sent from device-to-device within seconds, using the sound. You can hear it everywhere, the sound," said Topshop Global Marketing Director Sheena Sauvaire, referring to the brand's 'Digital Garden', where chirps were regularly sent out as attendees arrived at the show.

But why did Topshop decide to go with Chirp, as opposed to the more traditional methods of Twitter and Facebook?

"Topshop for a long time has been about supporting up-and-coming creative talent," said Suvaire. "We wanted to extend that to the tech space as well."

So has technology finally become cool in the fashion world? "Both industries thrive on being the first to market," explains Cooke. "It's all about developing trends and predicting what people want and I think it marries very well together."

Insta-Vogue

To highlight how handheld devices and Instagram have “taken over our lives” and runway shows, lifestyle magazine Vogue commissioned photographer Michael O’Neal to shoot three fashion stories using nothing but an iPhone.

With only Instagram at his disposal, O’Neal documented the stories and outfits of three models—giving each shoot a unique hashtag, which allowed users to find, share and comment on the images.

What do you think of these images? Will smartphones and Instagram be the future of fashion photography?

New York Fashion Week ‘Wraps Up’

Sandwich company Subway recently hosted a fashion show that featured models parading down the catwalk clad in ‘couture-worthy’ dresses made out of its wrappers and napkins.

Dubbed ‘Project Subway’, the fashion show was held during the New York Fashion Week and was part of the sandwich chain’s marketing strategy to get people to try its sandwiches during their September ‘$5 Footlong’ promotion.

You’ll never look at Subway sandwich wrappers the same way again.

 

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