FLORENCE, Italy — In just a few days’ time, Tim Coppens will show his latest menswear collection at Pitti Uomo in Florence. And the only way to view the show remotely will be to follow it live on Instagram.
Coppens will be one of the first designers to use Instagram Live to stream his show. The feature, which launched on Instagram in early December in the United States, allows users to broadcast live, in the vein of Periscope or Facebook Live, albeit without the option to replay footage afterwards.
Once streamed, the show will disappear from the Tim Coppens’ account and will not be viewable again, something the designer describes as raw, direct and engaging.
“Now you just have your iPhone and you just stream it and boom,” Coppens tells BoF. “It’s not like [it is] produced or anything, but I think that is also the beauty of it, so that it’s right there happening.”
Instagram Live is one of several new features that the social media platform introduced last year, along with Instagram Stories, which allows users to share multiple images and short videos that disappear after a 24-hour period and places Instagram in direct competition with Snapchat. Stories has helped Instagram reach 600 million users, up by 100 million users since June 2016.
It will generate next level engagement, especially as it is considered more low-risk.
Instagram Live will help create more of a fun-orientated and casual story-telling element to the platform, says Eva Chen, Instagram’s head of fashion partnerships.
“I think there are a lot of different cool ways for people to use [Instagram] Live, it’s just going to be what fits for your brand voice, what works for your brand voice, what will your followers be entertained by and what would they want to see most,” she says.
“I do anticipate there will be a lot of people having fun with it, experimenting with it. I think it will [generate] next level engagement … especially as it is considered more low-risk because the moment you press ‘End Video,’ it’s poof — gone,” Chen explains.
While Coppens will be one of the first to use Instagram Live to stream a show, Instagram is unarguably the fashion community’s favourite social media platform, and he is not the first designer or brand to understand its massive potential for consumer engagement.
“I do think anytime something new launches on Instagram, people get really excited and the floodgates open and people are like, ‘Wait — how do we use this for our show?’ or ‘How do we use this for our party in Hong Kong?’ Everyone gets really excited,” Chen says.
Coppens’ Instagram Live stream will give users exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content as well as a front row view of his latest creations.
The designer says the decision to stream his show on Instagram Live was borne out of a desire to have a more direct approach to engaging his followers — something he wanted to focus more on in the coming year.
“For me, it’s just a really good tool to showcase my brand, and to give the right message and the right DNA of what my brand is about,” Coppens says.
“It’s a good exercise also, to explore and to see what we can do with the brand in the future.”