Something peculiar is afoot at the world’s leading fashion shows. Gone are the days of VIP access, front row celebs and wild media scrambles; iSpyStyle charts how the web-revolution is destroying the old world order.
Kate Vandermeer is director of iSpyStyle – a website and consultancy that spies on the design and fashion industry providing trend and business information targeted to inspire, inform and connect. Follow Kate on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/iSpyStyle_Kate or subscribe to her website for free onwww.ispystyle.net
This is a fascinating time in the global fashion industry. The digital world has merged with the real one, and with it comes the breaking down of the very barriers we fashion folk have created.
The bi-annual fashion weeks (NY, London, Milan and Paris) were once VIP access only. They were easily spotted for their celebrity studded front rows, glam after parties and frantic journalists/media rushing from one show to the next and then back to their hotels to hastily pen their reviews!
These days the modus operandi has changed. Teenage bloggers are being given front row seats (pushing seasoned journalists back a row) and the speed of reviews has moved from waiting for the edit from magazines two or three months later to real time reporting via social media like Twitter.
This most recent fashion week was a case in point, first with Burberry (pictured) streaming live to a handful of cities, where buyers and press gathered together in their own countries to watch the catwalk as if in London. The brand then offered an immediate VIP waiting list opportunity to pre-purchase pieces from the collection to be delivered before it hit stores.
Then there was Marc Jacobs show, a humble affair with a stripped back aesthetic, less glossy and showy than many previous seasons and (shock, horror) with a celebrity free front row (never before seen at a Marc Jacobs show) also streamed live.
Early indications are that this change in catwalk presentation will enable a more “egalitarian” approach to fashion, a welcome one and all style giving the customer more power and media communications more direct clout than ever.
Will we look back on this era as a turning point where fashion became more about the consumer and their desires than ever before? Will we fondly recall the days when designers and media were the style makers and customers followed blindly in their wake?
We shall see, but it sure is exciting to watch it all unfold!