Already a source for serious reporting and thoughtful commentary on Fashion Week, the New York Times is opening up a new avenue to reach style-minded readers over the course of the next month's parade of runway shows.
On Thursday the newspaper launches "Fashion Week Now," a hub for all things fashion, which will allow the team to push out content in a manner more closely resembling real time than its current publishing schedule. The key here is that it's mobile-optimized, acting as a news digest for people standing in line at Chipotle.
Online Fashion Editor Simone Oliver explains that her team had noticed a spike in mobile traffic around Fashion Week last February, indicating that it was a good place to allocate resources and bring in more readers. They ran another test with the Met Ball in May, updating a photo gallery in real time and pushing each look out to social media seconds later. That, too, got exceptional traction.
"[Our audience] definitely has an appetite for social and photo-driven, mobile-first content," Oliver says. "We wanted to use that momentum for the next big event."
Which brings us to today. "Fashion Week Now" focuses on the conversation surrounding Fashion Week, a good option for those who don't have the time or inclination to watch the action unfold on Twitter. The site brings in content and social shares from editors at the Style section and T Magazine, filtered and given more context by Oliver's team. A bar at the top of "Fashion Week Now" indicates "What to Expect" and "What to Watch," a brief on trends and news to pay attention to and a listing of the next group of shows.
The overall goal is to reach an audience separate from those who turn to the Times for reliable fashion analysis, Oliver says — one that might not think to stay up-to-date on the runway shows but does care about the red carpet at the Academy Awards. That's where the "conversation starter" focus of the platform comes in. This targeted readership probably does care to stay informed on trending topics in fashion.
We should probably expect to see posts a few times an hour, Oliver says, but that frequency isn't set in stone. For it to be truly representative of the fashion conversation, topics do have to arise organically.