Ella Helps
Marketing and Events Verb Brands

This week we will be talking about some of the most striking digital trends we’ve spotted this season on the runway. From the biggest names in the luxury fashion sector to smaller but nonetheless established brands, many were taking advantage of the new digital technologies available on and off the catwalk in order to promote their new seasons wears. Today we’ll be looking at the ones which we believe created waves this season.

1. Instant access to collections

Live streaming is becoming more and more popular amongst brands. Today’s luxury consumer expects to have many more accessible channels to shop through. For luxury brands, live-streaming is an opportunity to give instant access to their collection to a much wider audience – catwalk shows and exhibitions no longer have to be invite-only. Verb had the pleasure of experiencing this first hand at our client Ports 1961’s SS19 show this September. Ports1961’s live stream showcased their collection of ‘relaxed tailoring and bohemian trimmings’ (Vogue, 2018) for customers worldwide, using their website homepage as a platform. This live stream is still available to view now post-show. Considering the brands largest market is based in Asia (Ernervino, 2017), utilising this tool can definitely be perceived as smart business.

Other designers paving the way in previous years include Tommy Hilfiger who chose to live-stream to Wechat – again another brand whose taken advantage of it’s large Asian following, utilising the most used app in China. In addition to this, consumers were also offered the opportunity to purchase the item through this channel. Forbes (2018) suggest this method of purchase is completely rewiring retail.

2. Experiential shows

Another digital trend that has captured our attention is the increasing extravagance of experiential events aided by digital technology. Brands have been able to create an unforgettable experience for their invitees. Balenciaga is a memorable example of this from the latest fashion month, using an art installation from Jon Rafman whose work echoes the ‘existential impact technology has had on contemporary life’ (Dazed, 2018). We particularly loved this clever showcase due to the combination of digital technologies and artist expression of technology. Those at the event described it as like being inside a big computer.

Maison Margiela used a similar strategy with the use of projectors. The show was inspired by their new fragrance ‘Mutiny’- a theme which they really brought to life. From the vivid projections on the walls, to the scent of the room (Mutiny, of course!), Maison Margiela were a fantastic example of the importance of consistency in marketing. However, the brand didn’t stop there. Tech was even used in conjunction with their accessories modelled on the runway. Maison Margiela truly took the definition of an experiential show to the next level.

3. Forecasting trends with AI

Perhaps the most exciting of the 3 trends we’ve seen during fashion month is the use of AI to determine industry trends. Our perception is that in some cases, luxury brands are now paying closer attention to data analysts than fashion experts. The world’s first AI service to predict fashion trends, named Heuritech, was launched in March 2018. Through the analysis of millions of interactions on social media, they claim to give an accurate prediction of upcoming trends.

‘Social media is disrupting the fashion industry , shifting the power structure that shapes and influences trends, and therefore sales, away from a few glossy magazines to millions of consumers’ said Tony Pinville, CEO of Heuritech.

Some of the first customers include luxury fashion power houses Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. These brands would have been influenced by their new-found results during their preparation for their SS19 shows.

Another company that analyses data online for the purpose of predicting trends is Editd. They have openly spoken about their strategies:

“There are two aspects to the data we collect,” KatieSmith said. “The first is social listening, like on Twitter or blogs. The second is commercial data, which we take from retailer websites around the world. It’s surface-level information, the stuff you see. So, for example, let’s say ASOS has just brought in eight new backpacks: in X sizes, Y colours, and Z prices. We update that data in real-time.” (Flanagan, 2018).

This is certainly an exciting time for luxury fashion retailers – the rich source of data providing many more opportunities that were previously unknown . We believe this tool is truly going to change the future of luxury fashion.