New York Fashion Week takes inspiration from fast pace of media

The media world is changing and expanding more than ever, and the fashion industry is embracing it whole-heartedly. Fashion, driven by creativity, newness and now-ness, is perfectly suited to today’s fast-paced, down-to-the-second media environment.

At no time is this relationship more evident than during New York Fashion Week, which ended last Thursday. What was once a closed-off, exclusive industry event has become a joyful, cacophonous media frenzy that gives fans a peek at all aspects of the fashion world.

It seems, too, that the fashion industry is happy to share itself with these fans through many different outlets. Twitter has become a mecca where style enthusiasts­­ can follow the biggest names in fashion for real-time updates from fashion weeks around the world. The hashtag, #NYFW, for New York Fashion Week could be seen trending throughout the past couple weeks.

Likewise, Instagram feeds blew up with Fashion Week coverage. The New York Times Fashion account, whose posting was previously rather sluggish (only two or three posts per week), began churning out snapshots of runway looks and street style.

Even timelier than tweets and Instagram posts are live-streamed fashion shows. Revolutionary fashion genius Alexander McQueen was one of the first designers to broadcast his shows online. In 2010, McQueen live streamed a post-apocalyptic presentation titled “Plato’s Atlantis.” Curator Andrew Bolton explains in a video on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s blog that the live stream not only shared the show with fans, but also added to the collection’s theme of man and machine.

No designer before had used a live stream so conceptually as part of a show, but the practice has now become common. This year, the Marc Jacobs live stream had its own custom interface that included Twitter and Instagram feeds tracking the hashtag, #MarcJacobsLive.

At the Diane von Furstenberg show, an even newer technology showed up. Space-age glasses appeared amid the designer’s colorful, ’60s-inspired jumpsuits and caftans. The odd, futuristic spectacles were not a new style trend, but a cutting-edge technology called Glass by Google. Seven models, Google cofounder Sergey Brin, DVF creative director Yvan Mispelaere and von Furstenberg herself all sported the glasses at the show, according to a Sept. 11 video.

“It’s been under development for over two years now, and the goal is to really connect you to digital life without really taking you away from real life,” Brin said in a Sept. 9 Women’s Wear Daily article.

The glasses can record video and still images, receive text messages and more, according to the article. Google posted just such a video on YouTube showing the first-person perspective of von Furstenberg and her models as they prepared for and presented the fashion show.

Von Furstenberg summed up the current relationship between fashion, technology and media well in the Sept. 13 video, saying: “We live in such an amazing world. Things that we thought would be science fiction exist. Where you can reach everything at every time, anytime, and it goes so fast. But fashion, technology, it’s all about life, and it’s all about being the woman you want to be.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Overall, a symbiotic relationship is being formed between new media, the fashion industry and consumer fans. Live streams, Twitter, Instagram and other new technologies are giving the public more access to the fashion world than ever before. Media outlets are using fashion’s quick pace to keep up with demand for constant content, and the fashion world is gaining new fans and customers through direct engagement. Essentially, everybody wins.

How fabulous.


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