DO YOU ‘MELFIE’?

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How much has social media changed your life? Yeah, we thought so. This week [retail bytes] takes a look at the social media disruption in the fashion industry, and how it’s changing for the better.

 Has tech killed the fashion show? There’ll be no more “front row” as Diane von Furstenberg has given up on the traditional catwalk. For her New York Fashion Week show she simply got a bevy of top models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner to dance and party, mixing with celebrity guests and posing for Instagram “melfies” (selfie with a model). Customers seeing the collection on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter could then add the garments to a wish list and receive the pieces directly instead of waiting until next autumn to shop for them in stores.

DVF’s web store is doing fabulously and it doesn’t make sense anymore to show new pieces on a catwalk, get thousands of social media mentions and not have those items in stock right away. Instagram and Facebook created a real earthquake in fashion marketing for the first time in 2012, when Topshop Unique had the usual runway show but, instead of getting customers to wait for six months, they made a capsule collection available right away. Good to see UK fashion leading the way and transforming how collections are shown as well as the time-to-market revolution. Go Topshop!

Game over for Condè Nast? Michelle Obama’s favourite designer Jason Wu showed an inspiring dress at NY Fashion Week. It was deemed to be the winner of the day’s shows but unusually, the metric used to rank the success of the design was not the number of reviews by big name fashion critics. Instead, the number punted as revealing the dress’s winning position was the 2000 times that it was mentioned or shared on social media that day. Au revoir, Vogue! Who needs printed mags with their four-month publishing lag when you have Instagram? Before it disappears you can catch the last glimpse of Vogue’s greatness on display at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Leading the way: Social media isn’t just for fashion shows, it’s also driving a change in fashion ethics, an uneasy combination which many would say is an oxymoron. A new fashion brand, Mumbai-based Obataimu, is taking the lead in showing real-time pattern cutters and sewing masters creating their beautiful designs. Obataimu’s recent Selfridges pop-up had the brand streaming live from their studio in Mumbai, lifting the veil of fashion secrecy and bringing transparency to their creation process. Love the brand, love the concept. Periscope or Snapchat from Primark or Nike’s Asian factories next?

Let’s get moving: Talking of Nike, the static swoosh logo is rapidly becoming passé. If you want to get attention and grab some social media coverage, your logo might need to weave around your body on a t-shirt, bag or shoe, preferably in sync with your heartbeat. Meet MeU, the wearable tech suppliers that can help you stream your brand’s poetry straight from a Twitter feed to a skirt. All it takes is a small panel of wearable LEDs and a Bluetooth connection. Voila, your clothes are getting a second lease of life as the surfaces of shirts or coats and can now be used for personal self-expression. Someone had to do it…

Data hunger games: As fashion shops start live streaming and Snapchatting from stores and we can now use smart fabrics for real-time streaming on clothes, expect a major network upgrade needed to carry all this petabytes workload. When the Australian telecomms giant Telstra gave users a “Sunday of free unlimited data download”, users took it literally and racked up an unbelievable 1,841 terabytes of data. The Telstra engineers were so traumatised with users downloading an equivalent of 5.1 million episodes of Game of Thrones, synching 172 games from Steam and 25 seasons of TV doc How It’s Made that they’re considering a total overhaul of the Australian Internet architecture. Time for Internet 2.0 before the net comes to a standstill, as illustrated by the whole Australian network grinding into slow motion of as a result of last Sunday’s data feeding frenzy. People, we all share the same Internet infrastructure! Perhaps we could borrow a few physicists from the gravitational waves project to solve the minor matter of our network speed issues, if Tim Berners-Lee is too busy to pitch in?

 This week’s winner of the best social media campaign is @SoVeryBritish! Created to promote Rob Temple’s book Very British Problems, the account hit a high on Valentine’s Day with Tweets like “How the British express love? Relinquishing the remote.“ Congrats to publisher Sphere!