The Democratization of New York Fashion Week via Ecommerce


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NYFW Article Image Source: New York & Company

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is an exclusive event, holding its own among the ranks of elite, global fashion weeks in Paris, Milan and London. The “who’s who” and upper crust jet to these events, where what you wear is just as important as what the models wear. It is a chance to see and be seen, and your very presence marks your status in the fashion community. To say the least, it is not meant for the trendy, working mother-of-two from suburbia. But that’s all changing.

With the rise of ecommerce and social media, people expect instant gratification from all retailers — and that’s starting to extend to the fashion industry, too. Instead of competing for one of the few pricey tickets to a seat on the runway, taking a week off from your life, procuring a NYFW-worthy wardrobe, and jetting to New York, brands are starting to digitize the experience and inviting the everyday Jane to join in.

Fashion retailers are finding new ways to engage real-time with the customer during and after these events to make them digitally accessible in various ways. Some brands are livestreaming their NYFW runway shows, while some are putting edited runway video and digital experiences online within a few hours. Others are inviting the average customer backstage to see the whole process beyond the final runway – more than you could see as a NYFW attendee.

Showcasing their current season, some cutting-edge brands are creating digital experiences that allow customers to buy the runway products on the same day as the show via curated online experiences. While brands that are showcasing one or two seasons ahead cannot offer this instant shoppability, they are still finding ways to bring the runway experience to their customers. Showcasing the brand’s latest NYFW styles, even when the products aren’t available for purchase yet, engages customers and gets them excited for what’s to come. It’s a great example of valuable brand content that Forrester* shows increases conversions.

Formerly, only the richest of the rich could watch the runway show, but brands are realizing that bringing this experience to the masses is the future of NYFW. Depending on the season being shown, some brands are able to sell the clothes immediately after they make it to the end of the runway. It is democratizing what used to be an uber-exclusive event, and customers are responding — because it’s not just about the purchase. The focus is on the experience, which is why retailers are falling over themselves to get these immersive images and video from their runway shows as soon as possible.

Some of the best examples we’ve seen this fall at New York Fashion Week are:

New York & Company: This brand’s digital experience launched within three hours of the live runway show. It includes curated and edited video and stills from the event with music that contributes to the vibe and experience of the “Eva Mendes Salon Show,” further immersing the viewer in the runway experience. With instant shoppability, customers have access to buy every outfit the moment they watch it hit the runway.
Tibi: “Shop the Runway Look” functionality right from the banner makes purchasing easy, and Tibi takes it a step further by breaking down each runway outfit with the individual pieces that go into the look. Their experience helps to decode the trends and offers instant shoppability without losing the luxe brand on which Tibi has built its reputation.
Nautica: With backstage photos giving insight to its men’s wear runway show, Nautica rolled out a digital experience that’s all about keeping customers informed and inspired. Showcasing creative lawn game photoshoots that reflect the brand’s unique style, Nautica is ensuring that its loyal customers feel included in its most exclusive event of the year. The Spring 2017 men’s collection is not yet available, but fans still want to be included in the runway show, and see the value in these rich, behind-the-scene experiences. These experiences aren’t driving short-term sales, but they’re maintaining and increasing a sense of connection and brand loyalty.

With digital experiences like these, customers are connected to their favorite brands and cutting edge fashions in a way like never before. They are fully immersed in the runway shows as if they are sitting front row themselves, and it’s not just the elite who are shopping from the runway now; NYFW is going from private yacht to public ferry, and it’s changing the whole game.

Brian Rigney
As Zmags' CEO, Brian has over twenty years' experience leading high performing, entrepreneurial teams in launching new businesses and bringing innovative new products to market. Prior to Zmags, Brian was vice president sales and business development for CashStar, where he led the sales and business development strategy. He also is the founder and CEO of BlueTarp Financial, Inc., a breakthrough information and payments company for the construction industry. Brian has a bachelor's degree from Colby College and a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


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