5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

by Georgia Buchanan 

1.     LFW shows to be screened across the UK

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few weeks about how the structure of Fashion Weeks are changing (see our 29/01/16 Digest)… From Tommy Hilfiger’s “InstaPit" to J.W. Anderson’s live-stream on Grindr; and from Burberry and Tom Ford’s move to match their shows with consumer schedules to Ida Klamborn’s use of virtual reality robots in her front row… big changes are occurring. The latest revelation to surface this week is that London Fashion Week is set to be broadcast across the country via the British Fashion Council and media company Ocean Outdoor. Continuing the breakdown of the ‘fashion barrier’, and in an ongoing attempt to bring consumers closer to the main events, LFW will now be accessible to over 35 million people in the UK.Caroline Rush, CEO of the BFC, says “At a time when many conversations are taking place around connecting fashion weeks with consumers, this is a perfect opportunity to reach both new and existing fashion fans throughout the UK”. Daily roundups of presentations and shows from designers will be broadcast on outdoor screens all around the country, meaning that London Fashion Week is no longer limited to just London. The screens will showcase footage from February 15 - 23, and will also play last season footage in the run up to the main event.

2.     The changing face of fashion and what this means for young designers

Continuing the subject of the previous point regarding the many new disruptions to the fashion world, a question has arisen this week. Are fashion’s changes putting young designers at risk? This week we have seen fashion houses Vetements’ Demna Gvasalia and Paul Smith follow the latest trend of merging their shows and titling them by the month that they are presented, rather than AW/SS etc. But if this is going to become the norm; an idea not that farfetched considering how quickly the idea has caught on, then emerging brands may struggle. Stavros Karelis, buying director of Soho’s MACHINE-A which stocks many small brands, believes it is going to be extremely tough on them as they just cannot compete speed-wise with their big brand competitors. The production process is long and arduous and unless they can bring someone else in to take over this aspect, they just won’t be able to keep up. Added to that, there is the financial risk of creating a collection before interest and orders have been gauged. Small labels cannot afford this potential waste. However! Despite his worries, Karelis also argues that the move to combine the menswear and womenswear collections could actually be beneficial to emerging designers as it is more cost- and time-effective. It is also arguably more appropriate for todays younger more forward-thinking designers, who don’t necessarily see their pieces as gender-specific. Everyone is talking about the tectonic shifts currently occurring throughout the fashion industry, and this is just one more debate to add to the discussion. There are pros and cons to many of the disruptions happening at the moment, but overall, it has to be argued that it’s always good to re-evaluate and rethink. Innovation is what pushes us forward into a better future. Donatella Versace herself spoke up on the topic this week in WWD: "Right now in fashion, the future is all anyone can talk about. The internet and social media have changed everything. The old systems are collapsing. For many people, they find it terrifying. They want everything in fashion to stay the same, as if smartphones had never been invented. I am the opposite. I cannot remember a time when fashion has been as exciting as it is today.”“The new generation who have grown up with the internet doesn't understand why it should wait six months before it can buy what it sees online," she continued. "For me as a designer it's amazing - I love to see people react so immediately to my work. Change is happening, whether people like it or not. Seeing the passion that young people have for Versace is one of the biggest pleasures of my career. When people say fashion is moving too fast," she concluded, "I think we have to move faster and plan the future together.” Amen.

3.     Kanye West: Yeezy Season 3 x The Life Of Pablo

I didn’t think I could complete this week’s digest without a nod to Kanye. In case you missed it, yesterday saw the joint unveiling of his latest record, The Life Of Pablo, and his latest fashion collection, Yeezy season 3. We love the collaboration of creative industries, and whilst we specialise in Fashion and Tech, I’ve been hooked on the coverage of Kanye’s (characteristically) explosive collision of fashion and music today.Many fashion insiders don’t like that Fashion Week is gradually turning into more of a spectacle - with Instagram obsession, celebrity appearances and street style photographers - than they feel it should be, with less and less attention being held on the actual collections. Kanye doesn’t care about that. The event was held in Madison Square Garden, and broadcast in theatres worldwide as well as via Tidal’s streaming service. It was so extravagant it threw off the Fashion Week schedule. As always, the show, the collection and the album have people divided, as with almost anything Kanye does. He has his devout fans and his devout haters. But his disruption creates discussion and progress, just like any other innovator, and that I love. Adidas creative director, Paul Gadio, describes how Kanye opened doors of perception for them. His new collection for Adidas has “pulled us into a new place”, Gaudio told Tech Insider. He says how collaborations are a key component of Adidas’s plan for becoming a bigger part of American culture. And what better way to do this than by recruiting one of the biggest American stars in the world? Kanye brings fresh ideas, bigger audiences, and more press. Collaboration is key to innovation; whether it’s Kanye collaborating with Kanye (as only he would), or Kanye with Adidas, it can only bring great new ideas for the creative worlds.

4.     The Power of Instagram “Influencers”

We’ve touched on the power of social media in previous digests, and the majority of today’s society knows just how significant of an effect social networking can have on brand success. But I would argue that in today’s fashion world, Instagram is by far the most influential platform at a designer’s dispense. I went to a talk this week at Shoreditch House on “How to be brilliant at Instagram”. The room was packed, with people sat on any available floor space they could find; everyone keen to hear the secrets to Insta-success. Because some people do just know how to ‘do’ Instagram. There is a knack to it; to finding your niche, understanding your objective and your audience, and owning your brand. The massive fashion houses know how to do it; although with dedicated social media teams strategising posts weeks in advance, alongside an already huge and incredibly dedicated fanbase, so the fact that they can boast millions of followers is unsurprising. A-list celebrities follow the same rule. Kendall Jenner generated 1.5 million likes in 12 hours on Instagram last week for an image of herself in Calvin Klein underwear for the brand’s latest campaign. Designers know the power that these “influencers” have, and are increasingly employing them to help promote the brand name and products to a much vaster audience than the company could hope to reach on its own.Instagram is “the ideal platform for fashion because of the fact we’re a completely visual industry”, says Caroline Homlish, a digital strategist who recently launched her own agency following senior position at Chanel and Alexander McQueen. “In the past you would have flicked through a magazine to see all the editorials and the ads to know what was going on, now you just scroll down”. It is a real-time discovery tool, and influencers like celebrities, models and fashion bloggers are the ones shaping what the masses discover. It is not just the big brands that benefit from Instagram and its influencers, however. Homlish describes it as the most “democratic platform”, as a huge number of small, emerging brands have thrived on the app, blowing up into well known names, thanks to being worn or mentioned by respected bloggers and models etc. And the fashion bloggers themselves benefit from their influential standing; just like well-known celebs, they will be sent goodies from designers in return for a picture and mention on their avidly-observed Instagram page. It is not an easy thing to do, to build up a mass following from nothing on the social media app, but if you do manage it, the rewards are huge.

5.     App shoppers are the most enthusiastic and biggest online spenders

According to cross platform data (from desktop, mobile web and app data), app users are the most enthusiastic online spenders, with the average app shopper generating 2.6 times more revenue for a retailer than someone shopping from a mobile site, and 1.5 times more than someone using a desktop device.Not only do the results cement the growing need for brands to get more ‘app centric’ if they want to keep up in todays social media-centred society, but they also reinforce the notion that “shoppers have become immune to impersonal promotions. Mobile is driving results because it is the most personal way to shop online” says Poq co-founder, Michael Langguth. “New technologies that enable more targeted shopping experiences will help to significantly improve the way in which retailers engage with their customers during peak trading in 2016.” For example, the use of beacon technology within shopping apps, in which specific localised promotions pop up on your phone when you walk into a particular part of a shop, say the jewellery section in Topshop Oxford Street. Langguth predicts that campaigns that take into account contextual influences, such as location/geography/personal favourites, in 2016 will drive the most outstanding results this year. Ignoring apps is no longer an option for brands.

New Media Partner announcement!

We are very excited to announce that Fashion United will be joining FashTech as a media partner for our inaugural April Summit. Fashion United is a leading fashion platform for news, events and jobs in the industry and we are thrilled to have them on board. https://fashionunited.uk/