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LFW AW16 Report: Putting The Consumer First

As over as fast as it arrived, London Fashion Week has left the building. As usual the event was a fanfare of exciting new trends, not just in fashion, but also in the world of tech and social media. This year, for the first time, LFW fully incorporated technological innovation into a series of live shows. Not only did this totally disrupt the way that we experience fashion, it also highlighted the importance of digital in live fashion events, reinforcing London as a world-leader in the industry.

LFW’s embrace of modern technology is pushing the once exclusive industry event to evolve into something that generates engagement from anyone in the general public. In a UK media first, the British Fashion Council have partnered with Ocean Outdoor to screen LFW on large-format digital billboards. Located at 60 outdoor locations, the footage will reach an estimated 35 million people across the UK. This consumer-focused digital approach allows an interaction between brands and their target audience online, OOH or anywhere they like!

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On top of this, social media is also reshaping the way that audiences experience the event by allowing brands to connect and interact directly with huge consumer audiences. Creativity is key for brands wanting to leave an impression, whether its giving fans a sneak peak at new collections, a glimpse backstage or even whilst using a celebrity to promote their products – the opportunities are endless.

This year Topshop evolved its innovative ‘live streaming’ concept of last year, choosing this time to hire the renowned photographer Nick Knight to shoot and post their runway show in real time on Instagram and Periscope. Apart from sharing with Topshop’s 6.2m social media followers, the show will also be broadcast to passers-by of its Oxford Street flagship store, via a 3D window installation. Initiatives like this allow brands to engage with their target audience in an instant, something that is almost expected from todays immediacy led customer.

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The IWWIWWIWI (I want what I want when I want it) generation have become accustomed to incessant purchase, enforced by things such as click-and-buy apps and shoppable magazines/ Pinterest boards. This need for instant gratification means that the five to six month gap between showing clothes on the runway to selling them in store is no longer tenable and fashion brands have to acknowledge this.

Answering this need is Burberry, who recently announced that as of September they’d be aligning the company’s fashion shows with its retail cycle. Collections will be available immediately off the runway, with live social media campaigns and changes in-store to support the new collections. This ‘see now, buy now’ approach has also been adopted by Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger. Both intend to move towards a consumer-focused show schedule, showcasing their collections in September to coincide with retail drops.

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Fashion is being pushed forward as an electrifying pace in order to meet the expectations of the modern consumer. This ability to adapt, teaches us that perhaps even more impressive than the changing trends in fashion are the changing possibilities in technology, which can help brands communicate with consumers clearer and faster than ever before.