For several seasons now, design houses ranging from Burberry to Ralph Lauren have offered a selection of runway items available for purchase online immediately after a show, sometimes on their respective websites and sometimes (as was the case several years ago with Halston) on the sites of third-party retailers like Net-a-Porter.
Creating such an experience is a challenge: First, you have to build the technical infrastructure for live-streaming and e-commerce, and then you have to get people to see it. (The latter's no easy feat – as of last year, only 14,000 people watched a live-streamed fashion show on average.) So, if you could move the whole fashion show watching-and-shopping experience over to Instagram, where you already have thousands or perhaps millions of followers, and where you wouldn't have to build anything from the ground up, wouldn't you?
That's what BCBG Max Azria and sister brand Hervé Leger are doing this season. BCBG has partnered with RewardStyle's LiketoKnow:It application to make the runway photos posted by various online influencers the brand has tapped "shoppable." Here's how it works: First, Instagram users are asked to sign up for a LikeToKnow:It account. If a user then clicks "like" on an Instagram photo with a LTK link in the caption, she'll be sent an email with a link to buy the items featured in the photo. Thirteen pieces from BCBG will be available to purchase from the runway collection this way.
Pretty smart, right? BCBG and Herve Leger have the exclusive on this experience this season, but we expect to see LiketoKnow:It deployed much more widely come fall 2015 fashion week in February. You can see it in action on Instagram during BCBG's show at 10 a.m. ET on Sept. 4, and again during Herve Leger's show at 3 p.m. on Sept. 6.
Note: This post was updated to reflect that online influencers, and not BCBG itself, will be posting shoppable photos to Instagram.