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Fashion Live: The Bloggers Were Only the Beginning

Last season, we knew bloggers had arrived. When Dolce & Gabbana seated Bryan Boy, Garance Dore, Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton next to Anna Wintour, Suzy Menkes and other established front row fashion reporters, it was obvious that brands were getting serious about staking their place within new media. While bloggers attending shows was not a new concept in and of itself, this was one of the most notable times when they could be seen front and center, not in the 4th or 5th row or outside the venue.

But that was only the beginning. The late Lee Alexander McQueen will have a place in fashion history not only for his tailoring and thought provoking designs, but likely as one of the people who shoved fashion communication forward as well. His final Paris show, broadcast live on SHOWstudio with multiple cameras, dazzling lights and clothing that would stand out in any stage production, firmly eschewed the thought that showmanship in fashion is only for a select few. While some are grappling with ways of bringing the professional trade show element of fashion week back to the forefront, if this season’s New York fashion week is any indication, we’re only seeing the beginning of fashion as entertainment for all. Proenza Schouler, who broadcast their show at 8pm tonight, are making it an even more business savvy move {Fashionologie} by selling runway bags for 24 hours after the show. This follows in the footsteps of a live broadcast, immediate sales strategy successfully employed by Burberry {Wall Street Journal}.

Alexander Wang F/W 2010 Show, Broadcast on SHOWstudio

In the past 5 days, we’ve seen the live broadcast of shows from Michael Angel, Lacoste, Alexander Wang, Men’s Calvin Klein collection, Perry Ellis, Marc Jacobs, Rodarte and G-Star. Today, Michael Kors and William Rast join the list. Tomorrow’s streams start with Marc Bouwer and Isaac Mizraahi, and conclude with Women’s Calvin Klein collection stream.

While SHOWstudio, the site which broadcast McQueen’s last show, is a pioneer in the medium of broadcasting live fashion events online, the other favorites are decidedly mass. Robert Duffy, Marc Jacobs’ CEO, tweeted live before and during the show as people tuned in online. Lacoste and Calvin Klein didn’t just broadcast on their websites, but prominently on their Facebook pages as well. Noticeably absent, is YouTube, which would seem to be an obvious choice.

Why Facebook? For Calvin Klein, “using Facebook as the platform for the live stream is appealing because of the real-time social chat functionality that isn’t possible on video-focused sites. We also think that Calvin Klein’s Facebook page offers current, relevant content, and allows our fans to engage and share it with their friends, so it makes sense to direct them there.”

And therein lies the real shift in communication. While some brands are still noticeably absent from the conversations taking place online, the walls surrounding direct communication are slowly coming down at the highest levels.

It remains to be seen if the live internet show trend continues, grows or wanes, but the trepidation surrounding being an active participant in social media seems to be outweighed by the prospect that exclusivity will result in a missed opportunity to connect with customers.

Malcolm Carfrae, Executive Vice-President of Communications for Calvin Klein, says “We continue to explore new opportunities to expand the reach of our brands and create more touch-points for our consumers to interact directly with our brands and our creative directors. We think that this is a great opportunity for us to share our collections with a larger audience. Italo and Francisco are both very excited to have so many more people experience their shows in real time.”

Live Streamed Fashion Shows

Today

William Rast in association with Sony, 7pm EST Click here to view {WilliamRast.com}

Proenza Schouler, 8pm EST Click here to view {ProenzSchouler.com}

Tomorrow

Marc Bouwer, 9am EST Click here to view {MarcBouwer.com}

Isaac Mizraahi, 12pm EST Click here to view {IsaacMizraahi.com}

Women’s Calvin Klein collection, 3pm EST Click here to view {CalvinKlein.com} also on Facebook {Calvin Klein page}

Using Facebook as the platform for the live stream is appealing

because

of the real-time social chat functionality that isn’t possible on

video-focused sites. We also think that Calvin Klein’s Facebook page

offers

current, relevant content, and allows our fans to engage and share it

with

their friends, so it makes sense to direct them there.






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