Fashion gets technical: when gadgets meet garments

With London Fashion Week in full swing, it’s become more apparent that designers are bringing technology into their shows and collections, with the aim of staying fresh and current.

It all began when many fashion shows were able to be streamed live, taking away the exclusivity of the runway and making it more accessible for the masses.

Now, shows are more hi-tech than ever, with apps and social media taking centre stage.

British label Burberry has partnered up with Apple to bring their 157 year old brand into the present. To promote the new iSight camera, Apple have loaned Burberry a set of iPhone 5S devices to capture the best bits from the show, from backstage antics to after show frivolities, and videos of the runway show itself. This is a clever promotional technique for both Apple and Burberry, as the iOS 7 software is not available for all iPhone users until September 18 and the iPhone 5S and 5C are not due to be released until September 20. Burberry are always one step ahead, with digital firsts such as live 3D streaming of their shows in 2010 and interactive online live videos of the shows, where you can click on the garments on the screen and purchase them directly from the runway.

Topshop are embracing new technology with a collaboration with Chirp, the latest innovation in data transmission. Chirp is an app for iPhones that allows users to send photos or 140 character messages to one another via sound. Topshop used the app to share images from the collection to attendees of the show in the event area. By walking through certain designated areas, guests could receive image transmissions to their smartphones via a birdsong sound. The images were also posted on the brand’s website. Topshop streamed their show live and made it more interactive by adding in features that allowed viewers to see alternative colour options of items as they appeared on the runway. They were also able to capture and share their favourite outfits and garments and post them to Facebook and Twitter using a ‘shoot the show’ tool on Topshop’s website.

Social media is at the forefront of fashion week this year, with Instagram, Twitter and Vine at the fingertips of the designers. Paul Smith has taken over his brand’s Instagram page, updating his followers on his LFW show and his new Mayfair store opening using the #takenbypaul hashtag. Matthew Williamson has also created a hashtag buzz with #ohMW (Oh My Williamson) on Twitter. The designer handed out props branded with the aforementioned hashtag, encouraging attendees of his show to tweet and instagram photos of themselves with the prop. The British Fashion Council is conducting live Q&A sessions on Twitter with fashion industry insiders at the shows using the #AskLFW hashtag. Each response will be recorded using a six-second Vine clip. All of these techniques to get attendees, users and consumers involved is creating an online buzz, making London Fashion Week a trending topic on all the social media websites.

So it seems that fashion has got technical. Although many complain that fashion week isn’t what it used to be, when it was private and exclusive, I think that the introduction of technology in the fashion world is a step in the right direction. Designers can now connect more with the consumers and attending the shows needn’t be a sitting down and keeping quiet sort of affair. Whether you’re on the front row or catching up on the highlights in your lunch hour, London Fashion Week has thus far proved to be interactive, innovative and a celebration of both style and software.

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