Web Address up for the Occasion

if_bpMB’s Camilla and Ellen went to the launch of a new interactive shopping site this week, which goes by the name of Imagine Fashion . This site commissions and styles short films, where the models wear items especially selected for this format. If you see anything you like, you can click through and purchase said item through the designer’s website. The movies were done with style and conviction, but there was something lost in translation to web. In the setting of The Hospital Club, the crowd and champagne may have gone to our heads, but we have started contemplating the world of fashion, and how overall it’s been surprisingly slow in turning to digital.

The fashion world is a fast moving one, and a relentless one. It is an industry which naturally does not just keep up with trends, it sets and influences them. Designers go all-out to express their vision in their live shows, these are not just showcases, but full on performances. Jean Paul Gaultier released horses on the runway for Hermes during London Fashion Week last October and of course Alexander McQueen presented a decade of experimental and exciting shows. Reports on the clothes always mention who was there, what they were doing, what happened on the models as well as everywhere else. Video, performance, installations even live animals are common. There is no reason why this sense of occasion and magic should not be transferable online. Fashion is a leader and a trendsetter, it changes behaviour of millions of people worldwide and this industry should not have to compromise in a digital realm. Arguably, the younger generation attracted to digital sites are not the main target when it comes to luxury goods, due to price, but these are key influencers. The influencers want to be impressed and wowed, and they do have the power to drive traffic to your site through other unconventional means. It is just a case of creating a balance between the innovation which can translate into simple and understandable navigation when sent through to methods of purchase.

While the fashion industry catches up with the rest of the digital world there is a vast and unoccupied space for fashion to be exciting online. A main pioneer and success story when it comes to this is SHOWstudio. Established in 2000 by Nick Knight, it aims to be forward thinking and ground-breaking in the ways fashion is presented online through the medium of film and other interactive devices. They have maintained their reputation as leaders for a decade now through being confident, artistic, inventive and bold with their creations. This method has led to collaboration with the worldwide leaders of the industry from John Galliano to Lady Gaga. A number of luxury houses have begun to pioneer digital projects, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton being at the forefront. They have overcome their fears of alienating their audience, and are reaching out to a new one in the process. Louis Vuitton had a curated portal in 2010 which went under the guise of ‘Nowness‘. They have extended their relation to travel and their history of producing travel guides from a luxury perspective, to an ‘Art of Travel’ Facebook page and project involving blogger and photographer The Selby. Ralph Lauren gained attention with projection mapping of their Bond Street shop, bringing it to life with aspects of the Ralph Lauren world. 2011 will more of this with apps from Louis Vuitton with branded content, which as well as keeping up with trends will be interesting and genuinely useful for the followers of this brand.

By keeping the heart of the brand throughout, fashion can afford to experiment and set standards online, as they do pretty much everywhere else.