Tweet, blog, stream and flog fashion on social media catwalk

Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:53am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy and Li-mei Hoang

LONDON (Reuters) - Luxury labels demonstrated the instant selling power of social media during London Fashion Week like never before with videos broadcast live online to the world from shows crammed with tweeting, blogging designers, editors and celebrities.

Retail clothing chain Topshop reached the largest online audience for a live-streamed London fashion show on Sunday, with two million viewers tuning in from more than 100 countries to see Topshop Unique's latest collection.

According to figures compiled by the retail chain, more than 200 million people were exposed to images and content from the runway as part of Topshop's partnership with Facebook, where fans were led to Topshop's live-stream from their shopping site.

Most importantly, Topshop were able to see a direct impact from their social media coverage as people streaming online were able to immediately purchase the looks on the runway. Numerous items, including a dress that was the first outfit on the catwalk, sold out even before the show was over.

"People have been trying to figure out for some time, how do you make these 'likes' into something relevant, how does the social aspect mix with your brand, and I think we are going to be the first brand to unlock that, we're going to be the case study...(to) commercialize that social audience," Justin Cooke, Topshop's chief marketing officer, told Reuters.

In other efforts to embrace digital technology, House of Holland partnered with online bidding site eBay on a virtual pop-up shop and designer Alice Temperley showcased some of her recent Temperley London collections using "online runways".

"The traffic to the website kind of peaks when you tweet with Pinterest, Instagram," Temperley told Reuters. "It's just full-time work for a whole team of people, but it's the way things are going."

In addition to being an instant virtual shop, social media provides brands with a longer lasting forum for the online fashion communities keen to discuss every aspect of a collection, according to Lucy Yeomans, editor-in-chief of fashion retail site and former editor of UK's Harper's Bazaar.   Continued...

British heptathlete Jessica Ennis (L), British actress Romola Garai (2nd L) and British actress Joanne Froggatt are pictured in the front row during the presentation of the Mulberry Spring/Summer 2013 collection at London Fashion Week September 18, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett