New York Fashion Week is already underway and we can’t wait to see what designers have in store this season. Thanks to the fashion industry’s growing embrace of technology, you no longer have to wait for tomorrow’s WWD, or even until daily highlights of runway pictures and reviews are posted online tonight--all you have to do is tune into live video feeds, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., to get in on the action for yourself.
Live video feeds of fashion shows began popping up several years ago, but it wasn’t until the Fall 2011 shows that fashion houses really began to take advantage of live streaming capabilities. Spring 2012 brought even more live video feeds to fashion aficionados at home with the development of runway-specific live stream hosting sites.
Organizations such as Made (the newly rebranded MAC & Milk Studios), First Comes Fashion and YouTube’s “Live From the Runway” channel will all be streaming videos of fashion shows as they happen, down to the very last strut, giving viewers at home a front row seat (from their computers, of course). PR powerhouse KCD has launched a digital fashion show platform and will be streaming Prabal Gurung’s inaugural lCB collection for Onward Kashiyama to members of the press and store buyers, retaining a certain level of exclusivity.
In addition to live runway footage, designers have been experimenting with ways to increase the hype surrounding their shows. Last season, mere hours before their menswear show at London Fashion Week, Burberry announced that they would be doing a “Tweetwalk,” in which pictures of runway looks were posted to the Burberry Twitter account moments before the models hit the runway. Coupled with a live video feed, it was as if Burberry had given the best seat in the house to devotees at home.
This season, Diane von Furstenberg will be treating fans to backstage video clips of beauty previews and interviews with the DVF creative team, as well as the designer herself, all of which will be posted to the brand’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. As to how other designers will be playing with social media, we’ll just have to wait and see.
The fashion industry’s slow growing digital presence bodes well for those stuck at home, school or the office during the coming month. Click through for tips and tricks to give you an insider’s experience at NYFW – if we didn’t know any better, we’d think we were sitting front row!
SEE IT LIVE
As more designers have begun to stream live videos of their runway shows, the quality of said videos has improved. Gone are the days when smudges of models walked in what looks like it might be a dress with some sort of print, but could very well have been a monochromatic pantsuit. This season you’ll find high quality video footage at a number of different camera angles (barring any technological difficulties, of course).
Happily, this season presents fans with a number of live streaming options. Sign up for a free account with First Comes Fashion to see shows from Rebecca Minkoff (3:00 pm, Friday), Jill Stuart (11:00 am, Saturday), Thakoon (6:00 pm, Sunday) and Oscar de la Renta (6:30 pm, Tuesday). Registering for the site will grant you access to a custom calendar and daily reminders, ensuring that you won’t miss a show.
For a live feed hub that’s as smartphone-friendly as it is accessible, turn to YouTube’s “Live From the Runway” channel. Keep it open in a window on your computer all week to check out shows from Charlotte Ronson (7:00 pm, Friday), Hervé Léger (3:00 pm, Saturday), Diane von Furstenberg (4:00 pm, Sunday) and Michael Kors (10:00 am, next Wednesday), among others.
Marc Jacobs will be streaming video feeds on his own website, as opposed to turning to an outside hosting source. Tune in at 8:00 pm on Monday for his namesake collection, and again at 4:00 pm the next day for the presentation of his secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs.
MADE BLAZING A DIGITAL TRAIL
Coupled with MAC, Milk Studios has established itself as a digital force to be reckoned with in the fashion world. Made recently launched a smartphone app that allows those without invites to watch live footage from the palm of their hands. In addition, you’ll be able to see professional pictures of each look as the show is happening. Favorite, tweet, email, Facebook or save images that you’re particularly fond of on the spot for a revolutionary fashion week experience that makes it feel as if you’re on location, even when you’re not.
Don’t have a smartphone? Not a problem. Made has an impressive roster of live streams that will be hosted on livestream.com. Tune in to their site (or app) to see collections by Peter Som (9:30 am, Friday), Cushnie et Ochs (2:30 pm, Friday), Alexander Wang (4:30 pm, Saturday) and Erin Fetherston (5:30 pm, Saturday).
As convenient as video feeds are for watching shows in real-time, viewers are still unable to see who is seated front row, what the biggest names in the business are wearing and any other notable pre-show happenings. This is where Twitter comes in handy. Follow the editors of your must-read glossies and blogs for exclusive backstage pictures, instantaneous reviews and general observations. Be sure to check out designer Twitter feeds for potential sneak peeks and behind the scenes information, too.
A number of publications, such as Teen Vogue (@teenvogue), have streamlined the Fashion Week following process for you by retweeting commentary from their editors (including the prolific Eva Chen Bannister @evachen212), writers and assistants straight from the tents. On a broader scale, Condé Nast will be compiling tweets from their writers and editors under the handle @CNFashion. Talk about killing multiple birds with one stone (or follow)!
No fashionista’s Twitter feed would be complete without musings from the Times' Cathy Horyn (@CathyHorynNYT), whose pictures and 140-character show summaries are about as comprehensive as it gets. If you're looking for something a little dishier, we'd recommend fashion's man about town Derek Blasberg (@DerekBlasberg), his men-about-town-in training, the Brant brothers (@HarryPeterBrant), and our founding editor Faran Krentcil (@FaranKrentcil). For the funny try Twit-pin John Jannuzzi @JohnJannuzzi (or any of the Lucky Mag team, for that matter, including punny Elana Fishman @elanafishman). Alexa Chung (@alexa_chung) has a great sense of humor, too.
Fashion models on Twitter, while somewhat hard to come by, offer unique perspectives on Fashion Week and all of the mayhem backstage. Take a look at Jourdan Dunn (@missjourdandunn), Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss), Coco Rocha (@cocorocha) and Anja Rubik (@anjarubikblog) for some model musings before, during and after runway shows.
Lucky has a comprehensive Twitter Fashion Dictionary which is worth scrolling through to make sure you’re not missing out on tweets and pictures from your favorite designers, editors, models and bloggers.
And, of course, no Fashion Week Twitter feed would be complete without @Fashionista_com ;)
SHOW CRASHING 101
Warning: this next section is only for the boldest of the bold. Crashing a fashion show takes guts, but the potential payoff is undoubtedly worth the risk of (probable) rejection.
You have a better chance of being let into a show if the designer is relatively new to the scene (read: Don't even try it with Marc Jacobs). Look to lesser-known designers who are showing in sizeable spaces, as you’re more likely to be turned away in an intimate studio setting. Dressing the part can also go a long way – wear all black, sunglasses, sky-high heels and walk like you are super busy and don't give a fuck.
There are a number of ways to execute the show crash, all of which come with their respective risks. You can pretend to be someone else (pick a name, any name, from a masthead--and stick to the bottom) and hope that the PR's don't know that person's face, act huffy and say your phone died but your fashion GPS invite is SO ON THERE and you're going to be late so just 'Let me in already!' or fish a fashion GPS printout of an invite out of the trash around Lincoln Center and flash it to security guards like you can barely be bothered. For a step-by-step guide to crashing, Fashionista contributor Jo Piazza spelled it out in the Wall Street Journal and we know first hand that it's worked.
Show crashing, while risky, is the best way for an outsider to experience NYFW like a true insider. For those who aren’t in New York or don’t have the luxury of time to crash a show, live video feeds of runway shows are your best bet. Plus, the view from the computer screen will almost certainly be better than that of the last row of a tent or studio.