The combination between fashion and technology is not new to recent fashion shows: we have seen ‘a bit of everything’ over the past few years, from Google Glass to drones, from holograms to virtual reality. Going back in time, the visionary Alexander McQueen made history in his career in spring/summer 1999 when he had two robots spray-paint a dress worn by the model Shalom Harlow. Yet, things are changing. In a recent article published on fashionandmash.com, the journalist Rachel Arthur analysed in a very interesting manner the hot topic of the moment, i.e. ‘see now, buy now‘: the possibility to buy, just a few hours after the show, garments and accessories that have just been presented on the runway. The trend has already infected famous brands such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford, Rebecca Minkoff, Topshop.
It’s still very early days with this consumer-facing movement, but it can be helpful to consider our starting point – how technology impacts fashion – and ponder no longer on the aesthetic-scenographic aspect of fashion shows, rather on their impact on marketing strategies. From Burberry’s chatbots for ecommerce to the immediately shoppable initiative, launched on Instagram, of a limited edition Rebecca Minkoff handbag, up to the visual search tool used by Tommy Hilfiger for his latest show (connected to an App, it enabled users to take pictures of the models to pull up the e-commerce link to that item): what has emerged from the latest catwalks is the creation of unique experiences tailored to final consumers. This isn’t just ‘trivial’ shopping or a short-lived publicity move, rather an approach which, through technology, offers a completely different customer experience that also extends to stores.
Thus, focus on innovation, though on the sort of innovation that matters. For instance, the combination between virtual reality and mixed reality content during the shows is dipping a toe into where the future of shoppable content is moving. The power of technology is no longer a tool to create the magic of an instant, rather an essential component which, as such, will have a wide-ranging impact on a brand’s life: from its business approach to its supply chain, from its in-store logistics to its customer experience via mobile.