By Florence van Bergen
The millennial consumer has to be tech savvy to stay clued up with the fashion world. Being glued to phones for fashion blogs and online shopping is a staple in the day-to-day life of a fashionista. A great example of how this is being facilitated by the fashion industry is 2014’s London Fashion Week (LFW), which went above and beyond with its digital endeavours! LFW enlisted the help of outdoor broadcasting company Outdoor UK to drive innovation through digital means. Is this a taste of what’s to come for the fashion industry?
LFW was able to bring fashion to the people in one of the city’s most iconic urban environments – on the tube. From the 13-17 September, Maybelline used a network of cross-track projection screens to show daily video highlights from the fashion shows which tube travellers could watch while waiting for their trains. This was a completely new way of communicating with the public during the fashion week.
This digital approach to fashion also opens up a world of opportunity for how we experience shopping. For fashion retailers there are huge possibilities here to ramp up our high street shopping experience by a couple of megabytes. In 2011 Topshop tested out an ‘Augmented Reality’ virtual changing room in Moscow in which you stand in front of a camera kiosk. You then drag and drop a virtual version of the garment you want to buy and superimpose it on the image of yourself. Whilst this was technologically impressive- there wasn’t much demand for what you would ‘virtually’ look like.
More currently however, London’s famous shopping destination – Regent Street – is the first in Europe to pioneer a shopping street mobile phone app. This creates an entirely personal, digital shopping experience for its users- the app provides event information, promotions and secret ‘invitations’ from the user’s favourite brands.
The future can only hold more impressive and exciting technological advancements. Already in the pipeline, retailer C&A has initiated a campaign that sees the online and in store worlds combine. ‘FashionlLike’ is a logical progression for shops that gain large revenue from their online store. When a customer ‘Likes’ a garment online, the ‘Like’ total for that garment is displayed on a small screen on the coat hanger. This way the customer can decide if they want to purchase a more or less ‘liked’ item.
These days it’s clearly not enough to just ‘like’ an item as you walk by, soon you will know also who virtually ‘likes’ it too. The future of the fashion industry and our local high street is definitely set to encounter some exciting developments. Digital innovation strategies harness the technology we all use in our day-to-day lives, and retailers will be smart to use it to change the way we experience fashion for the better.
Nikki is a director and co-founder of Fourth Day