Long gone are the days when the only people who’d see the show were the ones whom were, you know, actually at the show, nowadays through the eyes of ‘snapchat’, ‘live streams’ and ‘instagram-stories’ it’s like you’re practically on the front row – even though you are in the comfort of your own home (pyjamas and all).
A few years ago, prior to the boom and evolution (if I may) of social media, fashion week was as exclusive as MI5 with a series of events catering to the elite of the industry – just without the weapons and instead shoes and bags – yet in today’s date you can be at the show without actually being at the show! Amazing!
I love that it is so accessible, I mean the actual seats are still exclusive to the likes of Anna Wintour and the Kardashian clan, yet anybody can watch it live! It makes it a whole lot easier for the journalists of the world to keep track of the shows as does it include all the fashion enthusiasts who weren’t so lucky to get invited and it saves you impatiently waiting on the latest ‘Women’s Wear Daily’ issue in order to see what went down on the runway and what’s new on trend!
Back in the early 00’s; before bloggers, laptops and Wi-Fi, the quickest way to get news about Fashion Week was through print industry publications like ‘Women’s Wear Daily’, which would release photographs of a select number of looks as well as a review the day after the show. Yet, with the rise of fashion bloggers, they were able to upload photos only minutes after the show!
As well as live-streams (which are frequently used backstage and during the shows), brands are producing backstage footage to share with excited onlookers via their websites and various social media platforms which helps to engage an audience and create a less exclusive atmosphere and more of an inclusive one.
Just this LFW, my instagram was overwhelmed with ‘instagram stories’ and ‘live-streams’ from loads of different perspectives; for the ‘Daks show’ I was sat front row, 3 rows back and backstage (all at the same time as being at home!) which was so cool as whilst watching the Daks show via instagram, I was also able to watch multiple other shows – which is something you can’t do if you’re at fashion week in the flesh.
However as much as the rise of social media does benefit the public consumers and to some extent the brands, there is also the idea of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, the exclusivity of fashion week worked, it created an elite cluster of guests whom the designer could specifically choose and invite. On the topic, Suno’s Erin Beatty said “We could change it up, but personally I don’t want to get my fashion from Instagram. It’s not that I don’t love Instagram, it’s just that I don’t want that to be the way we show ourselves.” Which does mean that although social media is breaking down the walls of a previously restricted audience, do the designers want the modernisation of an instagram audience?
Yet despite the hesitation towards change within Fashion Week, it’s inevitable and social media has become such a vital aspect of tracking the trends, shows and guests as well as a way of promoting a brand.
So, thanks to social media, as well as public events like ‘London Fashion Weekend’ consumers are as much a part of Fashion Week as the so-called ‘fashion elite’ and I really do think it’s something positive!
Words by Maija Lily