Fashion Looks Forward to Gaining More Digital Presence in 2011

Given the amount of stories we’ve covered on the subject, 2010 was definitely the year of e-commerce. And while some designers have yet to embark on the prime real estate that is the internet (John Galliano recently stated he’s not a fan), companies like Burberry and Chanel have embraced the concept whole-heartedly, launching their own respective mobile applications. In fact, Burberry took it to the next level during their spring/summer 2011 show at London Fashion Week: On September 21, select visitors in their 25 worldwide flagship stores experienced “Burberry Retail Theatre“—a live stream of the fashion show followed by the ability to purchase the collection directly from the Burberry iPad app (pictured).

Burberry’s goal to provide consumers with as much access to their products as possible is exactly where the rest of the fashion world should be placing all their chips. Today, it’s all about instant gratification—if consumers want it, they want it now. This flows into media as well; standard television isn’t even fast enough for us anymore, especially now that there’s a host of digital entertainment devices like Apple TV and Boxee that provide the ability to watch TV shows on-demand, YouTube videos, and browse social networking sites. The introduction of the iPad has been a game-changer too—especially for those of us constantly on the go. Just like the old cable box has been abandoned by the savvy tech-inclined, designers who neglect to deliver information to their consumers fast enough are taking a gamble on both the final sale and their consumer’s loyalty as a whole (except for old-school devotees of brands like Hermès, but hey, even they have an iPhone app).

A recent article in The New York Times discusses the ever-growing trend of e-commerce and how designers are now tapping into social networking to connect with their fans even further. Cathy Horyn writes: “Probably the most important accomplishment for Web-resistant designers was to recognize that their customers talk to one another online; they want girlfriend advice and they want designers to listen. As a result, many more designers this year began using Facebook and Twitter.” A quick Google search can tell you that almost every designer you look up has a Twitter account, with corresponding Facebook accounts slowly beginning to build. As you can see on Alexander Wang’s Facebook page, designers utilize the Facebook page to communicate company highlights, latest collections, sales, and overall progress. Essentially, the platform allows the designer to become their own publicists, communicating what they want, when they want, 24/7. And the fans are listening. There’s a reason why Facebook has generated over 500 million fans; we’ve become total information junkies, but given the capabilities of today’s internet, who wouldn’t be?

The NYT article also introduces next February’s launch of Moda Operandi—a new e-commerce site by Aslaug Magnusdottir and Lauren Santo Domingo that will sell various runway looks from 40 to 50 high-fashion designers by way of flash sales. While there is no discount and items will be sold at full retail price, the goal is to provide access to designs to high-fashion consumers who are otherwise out of luck when a designer decides not to place their favorite runway look on the market. The first batch of designers said to participate include Calvin Klein and Thakoon. Moda Operandi is the first of many web-based initiatives we’ll be seeing in 2011—especially now that the fashion world is beginning to realize that all we want is more.

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