Fashion x Tech: Fashion, but not where you expected it

With an average London Fashion Week show costing around £200,000 and major brands like Chanel and Christian Dior spending millions each season, it's no surprise that many designers are now looking at new, innovative ways to present their collections. This is, in part, a result of brands increasingly looking at ways to save money, without sacrificing their reach and appeal. Previously living in fear of diluting their brand, or tarnishing its status, fashion houses are now looking at new, often unorthodox ways of reaching vast audiences.

This year has seen more high-end brands taking risks when it comes to their marketing strategy than ever before. This year 10,000 people tuned in to see JW Anderson stream their men's autumn/winter 2016 show on gay hook-up app Grindr and shortly after it was announced that global fashion brand Diesel would be advertising on Tinder and Pornhub. Diesel creative director Nicola Formichetti defended the move stating “We still advertise on billboards and magazines they’re important, but more and more we need to start advertising where people go, which is phones, iPads and digital screens, websites.”

With a combined audience of over 21 billion (Pornhub received over 21 billion hits last year, Tinder has an estimated 50 million users and Grindr 7 million) the level of exposure is astronomical, more targeted than billboards or print ads and most importantly, more cost-effective.

Leading the way for the Brits is Burberry who has long been at the forefront of digital innovation, in no small part due to the influence of ex-CEO Angela Ahrendts. Their most recent digital fusion was a partnership with Apple TV - marking the first occasion the app has live streamed a fashion show. The luxury brand used the app as a marketing channel, live streaming their fall 2016 menswear show on 11th January. Viewers were granted VIP access to runway looks, beauty tutorials, archived runway footage and a performance from British musician, Benjamin Clementine.

Expertly targeting audiences in this way is not only a shrewd strategic move, but also has become as newsworthy as the shows themselves. Arguably the reigning champion of this trend is Tom Ford, who cancelled his London Collections: Men show in favour of a small, intimate presentation of his collection in New York. Last season, in lieu of an extravagant fashion show, Ford partnered with Nick Knight's ShowStudio to release a music video starring models dancing alongside Lady Gaga. All dressed head-to-toe in the Tom Ford spring/summer collection; the video was uploaded onto ShowStudio's YouTube channel and gained over 800,000 views. Speaking with the Bloomberg earlier this year, Ford stated that he now considers the red carpet to be his "real runway". By dressing celebrities on the red carpet, his work is seen by millions in an instant with paparazzi and social media diffusing the images globally within seconds.

Global juggernauts like Burberry and Tom Ford are ultimately causing a trickle down effect – which is great news for new brands and young designers. Previously at a disadvantage for lack of financial backing, younger brands and budding designers are now aligning themselves with more established brands by presenting their collections digitally, in new, modern and cost-effective ways. Opportunities for creative minds with innovative ideas which may have never been seen because of their financial status, now have the potential to be viewed by millions of people worldwide.

An abridged version of this article is featured in Frank PR's trend report "The Peek". Read the full report here: 

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