As recent as 2010, the sight of a mobile phone front row of a catwalk was rare. Roll on six years later, the world’s most prestigious shows shine from a snapchat or Instagram account. “We’re all watching a show through our phone rather than our eyes” says the 26-year-old junior fashion editor Josh Newis-Simth. Josh works for Grazia magazine, and has been to loads of fashion shows and was in the middle of the most important months, September. This is when the designers reveal their collections for the following spring and summer. “Social media is now so relentless, you are spending your whole time on Instagram, Twitter, Periscope… Everything needs to be instant” Josh tells BBC news. He explains, “It’s not like the old days when it was a closed off experience. People didn’t have camera phones, so they had to wait six months until they saw February issue to see what was going on”.
This is what customers want though, they don’t want to wait six months to see what the new trend is going to be, as josh says later in the interview, “They want it at their fingertips”. Social media has played a massive role in fashion, and especially in fast fashion. Nine times out of 10, by the time designers clothes have got into store, the high street has already interpreted their look six or seven ways. Ken Downing, the fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said recently that he was showing a client a hot-off-the-delivery-van $11,000 embroidered jacket, only to have her wrinkle her nose and say, “but don’t you have anything new?”. “It arrived the day before” he observed. But it had been online since last October.
“Social media is the laxative of the fashion system” says Scott Galloway, founder and chairman of the digital consultancy L2. As he goes on to explain, “it makes everyone digest everything much faster: trends,coproduction discovery”.
“Everyone drank the kool-aid for too long, but it’s just not working anymore Ms. Von Furstenburg said a couple weeks ago. “We are in a moment of complete confusion between what was and what will be. Everyone has to learn the new rules. What does this look like? No one really knows, but everyone is attempting to experiment to find out what it looks like.
Burberry hosts its fall show in London one week later, and it will be clad in nostalgia. Come September, the brand will abandon the concept of “Spring” and “Fall” and present combined men’s wear and women’s wear show that will be panseasonal. The clothes will be in stores directly after the show.
Diana Von Furstenberg a pillar of the fashion establishment and chairwoman of the crucial of fashion designers of America decided to hold her on experience over two floors in a meat packing district in NYC. She will invite her selected guests to filter in and out over an hour to see vignettes of Karlie Kloss and GiGi Hadid, among other major models, acting out real-life situations, choreographed by Stephen Galloway,chile wearing pieces from her new collections.
This list would be incomplete without mentioning this year’s first big show in New York Fashion Week which took places the behemoth environs of Madison Square Garden which did not only Yeezy season 3 but also Kanye’s new album, “The Life of Pablo. This is a difficult event to dismiss as it sold out with more than 18,000 tickets some selling as high as $8,585 while also being played live in 25 different countries.
This is turning out to be fashion’s season of existential crisis. Suddenly designers are asking big questions about purpose and effect, as they reexamine the system on which they had been rested on. And they are doing it, in the cold, blue light of the smartphones glare. And they are doing it, arguably, because of the smartphone glare. One can not say whether snapchat or social media platforms are killing fashion. However, it’s impossible not to see the apparent change in the industry. The real problem lays in fashion fashion as it has created a situation where you no longer need to wait 6 months. Zara or H&M are able to measure how popular a piece is by how many likes it receives online and then are able to produce merely an acceptable simulacrum. Zara has an amazing chain line management and is able to produce a piece from designers to shelve in 2 weeks. This is where the problem truly is, as all the designers pieces don’t come out for another 6 months, but you could get by with something from the fast fashion world instead. This type of system really cuts out the designer and replaces it with the retailer and or the market. Many designers are now talking about adapting a consumer relevant runway which would showcase clothes closer to the time they would be a avalible in the stores.
The previous model of fashion that everyone has grown up with is changing. The fashion world everyone is used to is over. However, in this is season of change there are multiple factors which are yet to be seen as positives or negative. For example, fashion shows that were once exclusive are now open to the public through Snapchat and Instagram. Stores want a guarantee that a product will sell before they will sell it. This is only realistic with a strong online presences or selling pieces shorty after the runway. As a result of all this, I see a movement towards designers hosting their own shows over dinners or cocktails or even an album release party. I can’t help but feel an invasion of intimacy though, when I’m at a show and there are phones as far as the eye can see. Or if I try to take a picture and I only see a sea of phones. I’m excited for the future of fashion, as we look into our own self expression, the vehicle in which we drive develops as well, which is just as exciting as the change we see happening and we are experiencing.
Thomas Jordon Raybell