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You Can Now Shop Australia Fashion Week Live Online

IMG has launched its online boutique, which currently allows anyone to shop looks from Australian Fashion Week as they walk the runway. Here's how it works.
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Ever seen a piece walk down a runway (or online shortly after hitting the runway) that you felt you needed to purchase immediately, only to come to the sad realization that you won't be able to for another six months? IMG has come up with a solution, and it's officially up and running to coincide with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, which kicked off Sunday.

It's an e-commerce platform that lives on the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week website, allowing any interested parties -- whether they're attending the runway shows or not -- to shop looks from designers' spring/summer 2014/2015 (the equivalent of our fall/winter) collections as they're unveiled to press and buyers. It differentiates itself from Moda Operandi in that items ship eight to 10 weeks later, as opposed to several months later.

There are a few ways to shop: On, which works just like any e-commerce site and is easy to use. There's also a mobile option powered by ShopReply technology, ideal for if you are at a runway show and need to immediately purchase what you're looking at. To access that you can either tweet "SHOPTHERUNWAY" at @mbfwboutique or text it to +61 417 645 503. You'll immediately receive a reply with a link to a mobile commerce platform, where you simply check the items you want to buy and then check out.

Of course, this wasn't an easy initiative to implement, as it required that designers create capsule collections ahead of time with which to pre-stock the online shop. Participating labels include Ae'Lkemi, Betty Tran, Bianca Spender, By Johnny, Carla Zampatti, Gail Sorronda, Ginger & Smart, Hayley Elsaesser, Haryono Setiadi, Ixiah, Jayson Brunsdon, Kahlo, Leroy Nguyen, Phoenix Keating, Serpent & Swan, Suboo and Talulah.

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We like the concept and the functionality. Both the desktop and mobile versions are easy to use and provide a lot of information about the designers and garments available. There are a couple of small issues though, at least for international shoppers. The prices and sizes are both Australian, which a non-Australian would obviously find confusing. But, items do shop to the U.S., as well as Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada.

Due to increasing competition from fast-fashion brands on their home turf, Australian brands are trying to appeal more to international shoppers, which is likely why they've been quicker to mobilize on a platform that makes their wares available to consumers.

Other cities could certainly follow. The platform has been built as a component of MBFW's global site to handle multiple currencies and languages, making it easy to implement in other cities from a technology standpoint. The challenge would lie in getting designers to put in the time, resources and effort required to produce a capsule collection ahead of time. But as consumers become increasingly interested in fashion weeks, it could be worth it to do so.