Fashion 2.0: The Rise of Digital Flagships

Couture is (seemingly) dead, and the luxury market has gone 2.0. It was once thought taboo and ineffective to move haute fashion online, as brand marketers feared they would lose the ‘aura’ that makes up the desire for luxury and lifestyle. But thanks to Apple, Twitter, WordPress and Youtube, we now have all the tools necessary to expand our brand cross-platforms. It is fast, fluid, interactive, visual and global tool and it hits the right thumb-war tribe and Gen-Y segment.

Fashion Collective dissected the criteria’s for building a good ‘Digital Flapship’ for its industry based on:

1) Audience Engagement – What do people look for? what do their behaviors indicate?
2) Content – What material would make this interesting? What are my audiences interested in? How will I present it? How often are updates needed? Who will have the technical capacity to do this?
3) Technology – What direction are platforms headed?
4) Design – As a luxury or fashion brand, it’s important that the design convey the same level of polish, prestige and craftsmanship as their other materials. The design should feel as though it was intended to live online.
5) Social – How will I tap into appropriate social networks and provide my customers a comfort level to engage in social actions with a larger community, while staying within a branded environment?

Now, I thought this was interesting because the year of 2010 saw major luxury fashion labels going forward with e-commerce and creating the barrier and stigma of inaccessibility and exclusivity in apparel. Many are following route to successful online luxury retailers such as the Gilt Group and Net-A-Porter and tapping into the immediacy that live streaming catwalk shows provides.

Firstly, New York’s Fashion Night Out in September preempted shoppers to pre-order from the live runway during a magnificent showcase featuring more the 200 designers. Shortly after, Burberry strategically introduced their ‘Retail Theatre‘ concept of instant pre-ordering (with a seven-week delivery guarantee) after watching live streams of runway shows on the Burberry website. Gucci followed lead with a different approach by creating a VIP-experience, e-mailing invitations to the livestream viewing to a limited number of those who requested for the invitation. As part of the viewing, at all times viewers were allowed to select one of four different camera viewpoints, meaning they could get a glimpse and makeup and hair application backstage, a look at the seats filling up. Moreover one of Gucci’s unique takes on the event was showing live webcam feeds of removed viewers from across the world both online and on the runway stage in Milan, allowing the real VIPs at the show to “virtually mingle” with the at-home wannabes.

Given the current economic recession, spending patterns have instead gone up, profit margins increased for many luxury labels, while the marketing costs lowers, thanks to social media marketing tools and streaming possibilities via e-commerce. A few days ago during Paris Fashion Week, Gareth Pugh breaks the 2.0 barrier once again by eliminating the live cat walk altogether. Instead he delivered a large-scale digital presentation and film, reinforcing the sure trend that digital fashion film have been gaining momentum as an emotionally charged/cost-effective presentation format. For his new store in Hong Kong, he hopes to use the store’s LED screen to showcase his films by connecting the screen to the internet, so even after store closing it can still communicate to the audiences outside.

On the blogging bandwagon, Mr. Lagerfeld has similarly created a Chanel News Blog to post up any releases of his film creations, backstage sneak-peak photos and diary entries to break down the older stigma attached to traditional Chanel, and catering instead to the new gen of young affluent markets, while teasing onlookers with snippets of luxury products to maintain the desire and awe associated with its haute brand image. Chanel News also includes contributing posts by various celebrity guests and friends, ranging from Olivier Zahm, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker to models Sasha Pivavorova and Claudia Schiffer.

By introducing cinematographic aesthetics to the fashion world and inviting viewers to step into its cyber narrative – could fashion films be the savior for ‘luxury”s return?
2 Responses to “Fashion 2.0: The Rise of Digital Flagships”
  1. Trendland says:

    ps: dont know if the contact form is working !

    Hey Gia,

    we just discovered your site, and one article interest us, the one on Fashion 2.0
    Did you write it? its pretty good 🙂

    Would you be interested on publishing on trendland ? of course you will be credited and liked to whatever you want.

    Let us know as soon as you can !



    • gia. [K] says:

      Hi Marianne,

      Sorry about the late reply – the blog thing is relatively newer to me and I have only figured out how to check my contact form comments! In reply to your query about my Fashion 2.0 post – yes I wrote it, I did reference Fashion Collective’s article re: Digital Flagships and then put in my other thoughts – you’re welcome to use it on Trendland provided you post a credited link there 🙂 .

      Thank you for reading – and I thoroughly enjoy Trendland’s blogs everyday!


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