I say, “Fashion Week.” You think, ‘stark white runways, celebrity appearances, clothes’ — and you’re right. Even up until recently, fashion week was about two main things: who wore what and who sat where. But, what many people don’t think about when it comes to the bimonthly spectacle is that there are publicists and designers hunching over the same table, trying to figure out the mechanics of their shows: how many people can attend? Who gets to sit where? And, most importantly, who gets the sit front row? It’s a delicate choreography with hurt feelings and severed connections at stake.
With this in mind, however, fashion week has been experienced a major shift as technology becomes more and more integrated with the industry.
For example, English label Rag + Bone, known for its ready-to-wear jeans, teamed up with Uber to bring users of the app to a secret show. Earlier in this season’s fashion week, Misa NoNoo set up an “Insta-show” where followers could view select pieces from her collection before they went live on the runway. In an organization that had originally been a private affair, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week seems to be closing the gap between industry insiders and potential customers through its use of phone apps and drones.
Technology as an aspect of not only fashion week, but also of the fashion industry as a whole, that is seeing an increase in importance. Before technology became synonymous with innovation, most of the business of fashion occurred immediately after the show. Merchants and buyers were eager to purchase and many placed orders at the show. Fashion is fleeting; things go out of style as quickly as they come in, and fresh trends become the newest coveted look for that season in a blink of an eye. Technology is expediting that whole process.
With all this change occurring in the industry, it is inevitable that the clothing itself changes as well. We can see this in fashion as designers are shifting their focus from ready-to-wear to more dramatic and avant-garde designs.
Between a drone live-stream at Fendi’s AW14 show, apps to secret shows and early access views, technology has given designers and companies new channels through which they can showcase their ideas. While the increased use of technology has inadvertently resulted in greater inclusivity, an intended effect is publicity. Designers, brands and companies are leveraging technology as a means to reach out to the younger, more technologically savvy demographics.
It seems as though this season’s fashion week was set up with inclusivity in mind. Is this a forecast for even bigger changes to come? Only time will tell. But until then, you can keep yourself occupied with show livestreams and apps.