February 22, 2013

Go Global or GO HOME!

Well, it's that time of the year again...fashion week and this season it's all about online! We are moving (quicker than we realize) towards a global lifestyle and regardless of where we are sitting from around the world, we can still stay informed. Here at MBF, we are officially moving up to the cloud so we can work anywhere, at anytime.

From catwalk to computer screen, a global audience of consumers now has front row access right there with fashion's finest as we shift towards a completely virtual fashion experience. Just think about the growing number of fashion bloggers in attendance and how they have become just as important as any buyer, editor or socialite. The two fashion worlds, online and offline, are blending in full force.

photo via Mashable

Do designers finally have fashion and technology working in their favor? Live-streaming has pretty much become the status quo as we begin to forget what it actually feels like to physically be at a live show. If you remember back in the 1950's it was forbidden to even sketch the looks let alone photograph them and today, we have instant viewing while the show is still in progress like on style.com. Topshop and Google team up to take it one step further with "The Future of the Fashion Show" which allows viewers to see the show from all different points of view whether on the runway, backstage or front row. WWD has even partnered with Paper by FiftyThree to compile live-sketches from select shows at NYFW including the likes of Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, DVF, Oscar de la Renta, J. Crew, Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang. It's all about finding new ways to enhance the online experience.

photo via NY Times

Through this instant technology, designers and brands are cutting out the middleman and going straight to consumers via online platforms and social media like Twitter. Now companies like Belstaff, can use data analytics to predict what items will hit stores based on their web viewers favorite looks. They now have the ability to tap into what consumers are watching, from where, which devices and for how long as well as which looks consumers pause for. This information is also revolutionizing brands' e-commerce platforms which can now be fine tuned depending on each country's clicks and viewing preferences.

photo via Elle UK

Not to mention, through sites like Moda Operandi and Lyst, which pre-sell runway clothes as the shows are live streaming, brands have move available insight into what will sell in the future and what pieces to produce more of. Burberry recently launched a new "Made to Order" initiative which gives their global consumers the opportunity to purchase and personalize outerwear and handbags as they are shown on the catwalk. Forget buyers, agents and consulting agencies, consumers have the power to decide what's in store now!

photo via Elle

Just look at how consumer buying habits are affecting all our industries. Magazines like Elle now offer free iPad apps when you subscribe. Best Buy and Barnes & Noble are severely hurting since we don't buy tangible media anymore; we download and stream everything. Television is being replaced with online TV and web series like "House of Cards." And do land lines still exist? Barely. The computer is even disappearing as smartphones just get smarter.

photo via WWD

So what does this mean for the fashion industry? Well first of all, this access to the latest trends fuels both the fast fashion and knockoff industries even more than before. Not to mention, with growing direct-to-consumer business, will we even need sales agents or showrooms anymore? This could possibly be foreshadowing the eventual extinction of apparel trade shows or at least major updating to adjust to the fast changing industry. And now with the middleman gone, will these brands pass on this margin to their customers? As our retail business models evolve, the entire way we position our price structures is going to have to change too. While some retailers continue to focus primarily on their brick and mortar expansion, they better take another look at their strength in the online community because this is the future of fashion. We are living in it right now and there's nowhere to go but global.

What are your favorite looks from fashion week thus far? Make sure to check out some of our personal highlights from the runway on our Pinterest page and "like" us on Facebook to stay "in the know" with all the latest happenings in the industry!

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