Before the Internet, New York Fashion Week was uber-exclusive. You had to be in The Industry to gain access to the star-studded events. But now, anyone with an Internet connection can ogle live-streamed NYFW shows from the couch wearing pajamas. And this season, thanks to a few designers' particularly innovative approaches to social media as a promotional tool, anybody could buy perfume with a tweet, request bespoke images from some events, and gain virtual access backstage. Here are a few examples of how social media initiatives are bringing the public into the fold at this year's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
No real money exchanged hands at the Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop, a pop-up in SoHo this past weekend. Instead, "social currency" was used. Customers paid for (admittedly tiny) bottles of Daisy perfume simply by tweeting or Instagramming the hashtag #MJDaisyChain and showing it to the cashier. It’s bartering in the digital age: if you help promote the brand, the designer will make you smell like daisies. Bigger prizes, like handbags and necklaces, were bestowed daily upon the most creative #MJDaisyChain taggers. The shop's opening on Thursday was as packed as the subway at rush hour (but far better-smelling), with appearances by actresses like Anna Kendrick. The stunt yielded some 8,000 tweets to the hashtag over the past week.
Last season, digitally-savvy designer Rebecca Minkoff partnered with Snapchat to send now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t sneak previews of her spring 2014 looks. This year, she joined forces with with Keek, a platform for sharing video status updates (it’s been described as the "Twitter for video.") Minkoff uploaded several videos per day to some 1500 followers, sharing her preparations for her show last Friday, including mini-interviews with her models and sneak peeks of her look book. Why Keek, though? Why not more established video platforms, like Vine or Vimeo? "As we discovered the Keek community and the videos they were wanting, the concept of ‘taking me with you on my day,' it seemed like it was a perfect fit for the platform," Uri Minkoff, Rebecca’s brother and partner, told Fashionista.
This season, Tommy Hilfiger is allowing anyone on the Web to submit requests to his "Social Concierge" on Facebook for images from his NYFW shows. Ask for whatever you want—images from the new season, shots from backstage—and the Social Conceirege will respond with a personalized image. This ingenious hype-generating tactic will, he hopes, flood the Internet with photos of his new looks, meaning more journalistic coverage and more sales.
Hilfiger has also taken to Instagram as a promotional platform by inviting 20 popular Instagrammers—the photojournalists of the digital age—to an "InstaMeet" at his show at the Park Avenue Armory today, promoted by hashtags #tommyfall14 and #nyfwinstameet.
"The industry has always been very visual, so there’s a natural connection with an image sharing platform like Instagram," Hilfiger told Fashion Week Daily. So far, over 1,400 uses of #tommyfall14 have entered the tweetosphere. Check out the Instagrams of Brian DiFeo and Anthony Danielle for more.