NEW YORK, United States — The digital arm of public relations company KCD has announced that Digital Fashion Shows, the firm’s previously industry-only, streaming fashion show platform, will offer ‘front row’ access to members of the public, starting this season. During the upcoming New York collections, the platform will present the Alexander Plokhov, Peter Som and Pierre Balmain shows. Additional clients are set to launch during Paris Fashion Week which begins at the end of February.
Originally aimed at journalists and retail executives, Digital Fashion Shows, launched one year ago allowed invited guests to watch pre-taped runway shows and access detail shots of fabrics, prints and accessories, as well as behind the scenes video content, designer inspiration and other assets geared at industry professionals. “As the fashion industry has adapted to and embraced digital, so much focus has been placed on reaching the consumer. As a PR agency our work is focused on servicing the media,” KCD co-president Ed Filipowski told BoF when the platform first launched.
Now, in a significant shift in strategy, Digital Fashion Shows will allow KCD’s clients to directly engage end consumers with the type of immersive and sharable digital show experience that’s become a powerful marketing tool for megabrands like Louis Vuitton and Burberry.
"It became necessary to respond to our client’s request to open the platform’s doors wider for greater exposure,” said Rachna Shah, KCD Digital’s managing director. But the platform will still offer industry professionals the tools they need to efficiently view collections without adding to their overloaded fashion week schedules, she emphasised: “The site retains all of the innovative tools the press needs to review and cover the shows as featured when the platform was founded.”
For the moment, the enhanced Digital Fashion Shows remains under wraps. But bringing industry and consumer audiences together under the same roof opens up some very interesting and value-creating possibilities. First of all, the presence and participation of industry insiders, though virtual, could make the streaming show experience more authentic and engaging for end consumers. On the flipside, consumer participation could make Digital Fashion Shows a more powerful industry tool. For one, collecting and analysing likes, shares and comments relating to specific show pieces could enable retailers to gather direct insight on consumer preferences, before they place orders, and thereby make better decisions on what to stock.
Let’s hope that the new platform, when it’s unveiled in a couple of weeks, doesn’t silo industry professionals and consumers, but, instead, brings them together in ways that generate greater value for all parties.
Vikram Alexei Kansara is Managing Editor of The Business of Fashion