March 17, 2010

What's next for Runways?

Alexander Wang's FW '10 Collection streamed on a Times Square Billboard via: WWD

As mentioned several times already, technology is the driving force of our society. And along with technology is immediacy. It is apparent in the fashion industry as more runway shows this season were streamed live, allowing anyone from anywhere to join as if sitting front row. No longer does the rest of the world need to wait the next day to see the latest collections. Everything is available in real time.

As we live in a culture where everything is about technology and the now, the purpose and pertinence of fashion shows has been a hot topic. Although runway shows are available for viewing faster than ever, is it still relevant if the collections don't hit the sales floor until months later?
Neiman Marcus' Karen Katz and Ken Downing certainly disagree, stating, "it keeps the dream alive." Katz further comments, "it keeps the mystique of the great world of fashion, and that continues to be so important to the consumer, especially since we're in a time where there is so much reality TV and everyone knows everything about everything."

Although we do not see runway shows disappearing anytime soon, we do foreshadow a change in how runway shows manage its' presentation and accessibility. With the advancement of 3D technology and live streaming, runway shows have the potential to enhance and change the viewers' experience so that it is more modern and exciting. Although the use of social media and the Internet will continue to rise, such factors should not compete with the applicability and function of a runway show, but only enhance it. In the past, runway shows were largely viewed only by celebrities and fashion insiders. But as many designers are live streaming their shows, we can anticipate runway shows making a larger impact on a brand or designer as it can influence a much wider audience. For example, Alexander Wang's latest collection was not only streamed on Nick Knight's website SHOWstudio, but also projected onto a Times Square billboard. As New York is his brand's inspiration, Wang wanted to "bring [the show] to the people of New York and make it part of the landscape." Attracting a wide audience of tourists and people of all ages, Wang is one of the first to take fashion and technology to another level this past season.

As Olivier Zahm of Purple Magazine states, "The fashion show is a really important moment. It's a ceremony, and it's also still five to ten minutes of pure fashion, free from everything, free from commerce. I mean, we have to preserve this little moment, this psychological concept of potlatch, where you spend money for just feux d'artifice, fireworks. We celebrate, and we only celebrate and we spend the money away because we celebrate our love for fashion."

Because we live in such a technologically advanced society, people are always in anticipation of what's next. New products and experiences are released in the market faster than ever, and our culture is much more eager to adapt and change. So yes, fashion shows are here to stay; it is an integral and exciting component of our industry. But as long as technology is advancing, it's platform will certainly evolve as it continues to be explored through various mediums. As Nick Knight, fashion photographer and Director of SHOWstudio, states, "I see the future of fashion weeks around the world as not only a physical schedule of shows, but also as a digital calendar of fashion experiences online, which bridge the industry and consumer experience." So although Fall 2010 Fashion Week has just come to a wrap, stay tuned as we are already on the lookout for what the next season has in store. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post -- I follow your blogs and always find them interesting and very "au courrant"! Thanks for sharing.


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