Social Media: The New Front Row of Fashion

Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Rodarte among the brands that will live stream their shows.

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Nicole Miller’s Twitter page.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Style Coalition has spotlighted the designers who are “doing it right” with the first annual Fashion 2.0 Social Media Awards, sponsored by Ideeli and Lucky Magazine. Garnering the most nominations, with four categories each, were Chanel and Diane von Furstenberg; followed by Dolce & Gabbana with three, and Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin and Tory Burch with two each. The winners were revealed on Feb. 10 and included DKNY for Best Twitter.

There are also a few fashion pioneers who are going beyond social media and embracing other innovative technologies. Vivienne Tam collaborated with Hewlett-Packard for the fourth time, setting up a live blogging station of TouchSmart computers for the third consecutive season. The TouchSmart notebook replaced standard clipboard check-in, and a selection of bloggers received notebooks to view the run-of-show, e-mail their comments, and upload images and videos directly to their blog during the presentation. The invite list for Tam’s presentation on Saturday included 200 bloggers or 20 percent of the total press invited. An LED tower at Tam’s SoHo boutique also displayed a live feed of the presentation.

Norma Kamali is using ScanLife technology throughout the exhibit at her flagship during fashion week. ScanLife is a system that allows users to scan a two-dimensional barcode on clothing with their camera phones to receive information on the look on their mobile device. Kamali will also makes sure brand updates are sent through all viral venues, including Facebook and Twitter, and views bloggers as very important.

Then there is Marc Bouwer, a self-declared pioneer of digital fashion shows. The Halston alum was the first American designer to host a virtual show of the collection in 2007. According to Bouwer, his fall runway show was taped Feb. 5 in a studio with model Candice Swanepoel against a green screen. The video will launch on the Web on Feb 18. When asked what caused him to switch to a digital show format, Bouwer said, “At first it grew out of frustration with getting a really great time slot during fashion week at Bryant Park…You sometimes get lost in the shuffle, and the cost of shows is rising and rising.”

As a cost-effective solution, Bouwer said, “The future was totally obvious: going on the Internet.” He continued, “You have to understand your new audience and how they are getting their information and go with that. There was a much more useful and intelligent approach to marketing ourselves.” According to the brand, Bouwer’s spring show this year got 42,000 hits on YouTube.

Temperley London is another designer that has embraced a digital installation format over the last two seasons instead of showing on a traditional runway, and will do the same for its fall collection on Tuesday. The tech-savvy brand is blogger friendly as well, and its guest list for the installation consists of nearly 40 percent from the online set.

Reem Acra will also embrace a digital-only format for her show on Wednesday, in place of a in-person live show. “I have so many clients overseas. I have so many people who want to be part of [the show],” Acra told WWD on Thursday.

Rachel Roy had live backstage video of her Sunday presentation on Twitter and Facebook. The designer said this was to “give people a more 360-degree view of my presentation. It lets people feel like they are on this journey with me and creates excitement and anticipation,” said Roy. “Access is important. I want my presentation to feel inclusive rather than exclusive and bloggers help add a level of intimacy and access to my collection. The Rachel Roy woman is everywhere — not just in New York.”

Nanette Lepore started a diary blog on Feb. 8 that chronicles everything going on in the 10 days leading up to her fall runway show. There will also be live-tweeting from the show. “I think a lot of people don’t know what goes into the production of a show,” she said.


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