For the first time in Australia, Fashion Week is partnering with Afterpay – a technology company that has revolutionised the way we shop. Afterpay’s goal for the partnership is to “steer the event to a more modern and progressive form”

AAFW Special Content Series - PR Strategies for fashion week

While it’s an Australian first, big tech has already played a big part of Fashion Week around the world. Klarna sponsored a series of fashion presentations at New York Fashion Week that let customers shop the runway using buy now, pay later. Amazon Prime was the exclusive streaming and e-commerce partner for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie show. Alibaba facilitated three “China Cool” runway platforms in New York, Milan and Paris to highlight Chinese designers.

It’s the perfect combination – tech can leverage fashion’s cool factor, while fashion can start to make use of tech tools to better service the media, stylists, influencers and ultimately, consumers. 

Afterpay’s sponsorship is a step in the right direction for Australian Fashion Week. As Lauren Sams, Fashion Editor at AFR said to Telum, “Having a retail partner who understands technology is an important step for the event and one that will truly modernise it. “

So, how can PRs leverage technology at Fashion Week and beyond? Here’s our top tips.

Don’t rely on old-school metrics

Bums on seats used to be a great way to demonstrate the success of a show, but modern clients want to know more than who snagged a goodie bag. Tracking real engagement with your content is vital to demonstrate the success of your show and goes beyond expected column inches. Who downloaded imagery after the show? Who didn’t make it (thanks, Melbourne lockdown) but still accessed your content or requested samples*? Who are your most engaged media, stylist and influencer contacts and how can you surprise and delight them with show content that the rest of the world doesn’t get to see (yet)?

*Wanna know? Check out reports on your Flaunter dashboard, download a CSV and add your highest engaged users into a ‘VIP’ media list.

Level up your manual processes

You don’t need to manage hundreds of samples with emails, a spreadsheet and prayers any more. Tools exist (oh hey!) to streamline how stylists, editors and influencers can request samples. Utilising these tools is vital for our industry to be seen as modern and professional, so we can really demonstrate our worth, particularly in times of change.

Think beyond the physical runway show

This year, Shona Joy are showcasing a pre-recorded, digital show that will be streamed via the AAFW website. This gives them the opportunity to track attendees more closely (cookies don’t lie!), provide more targeted follow up, and have all of their assets ready to go as soon as the show goes live. While it’s a different experience than an on-the-ground runway, it buffers them from life in a COVID world where everything is just a little bit uncertain. AAFW have leaned into this, offering live streaming of a number of shows via their website.

Data, data, data

According to Vogue, “Badgley Mischka and Christian Siriano trialled an app which allowed users to provide instant feedback on runway looks and add items to a wish list for preorder. The data mined from the app can help brands base design and production decisions around consumer preferences.” With ecommerce now the name of the game, even for luxury designers, brands can’t afford to use hope as a strategy – everything can be measured, and integrating data collection into runway shows can then feed into production, merchandising and marketing strategies. 

Ana Andjelic points out in an interview with Vogue Business, Amazon and Alibaba “are going to be able to exactly tell you how many times a fashion show was streamed and how many units were sold, but that’s not something Mercedes would have told you before. That’s not the business they were in.”

How are you integrating technology into your runway shows, outreach and follow up?