Guest post: Social-commerce at NYFW and LFW ensures Fashion Week is a democracy for everyone to enjoy

Guest post by occasional DRG contributor, Alison Bishop

First we had Google+ Hangouts partnering with online curation site Lyst for New York Fashion Week, then we saw snippets of Diane von Furstenberg’s show process, firsthand, through her Google Glass video. On Saturday we saw House of Holland live streamed on eBay’s Style Collective blog, boosted by celebrity and consumer commentary (plus the chance to shop an edit of House of Holland AW12 on And on Sunday we saw how Topshop has raised the digital bar even further, by collaborating with Facebook for its live-streamed ‘customise the catwalk’ Unique show where the online audience could choose key looks in a range of colours and shop the looks straight away for delivery in eight weeks.

Whoa, all this digital innovation is adding up to a new era of what we at LS:N Global call User Curated Retail and Instant Gratification. Social-commerce or shopping via all your favourite social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr etc) is fast becoming the only way to shop now, and it’s both thrilling and daunting to see how quickly brands are turning to s-commerce strategies to woo digitally savvy (not jaded) fashionistas.

What I like about the Google+ Hangouts and Lyst collaboration is that the digital giant made sure it was engaging with fashion fans around the world in a live and inclusive way. By bringing designers, editors, bloggers and the occasional celebrity together in one ‘virtual’ room it made the buzz of New York Fashion Week an entertaining and accessible experience. Fashion really is democratic thanks to Google+ Hangouts and YouTube. Via the Live Lysting tool on the shopping site, Lyst users can tap into that chic, cool factor associated with say Olivia Palermo, Elle’s Nina Garcia or Teen Vogue’s Eva Chen who shared their top picks from the Tibi and Rebecca Minkoff shows live on the site. And then they all chatted about it afterwards – fashion insiders sharing their knowledge and styling tips for everyone who cares to watch and listen.

There is something quite appealing about fashion insiders opening up their notebooks via the web. Bloggers have been doing this for a while and so editors and retailers have joined in the digital rush to share instant info with commerce as the end game. Thanks Net-a-Porter and ASOS for changing the way we consume fashion. Also added to the mix are the live panels hosted by SHOWStudio during London Fashion Week with associate editor Lou Stoppard and ‘sartorial stalwarts’ such as Camilla Morton, Imran Amed, Colin McDowell and Whistles CEO Jane Shepherdson, offering ‘candid uncensored commentary’ on their chosen shows. Fashion punditry live and direct!

As for the DVF and Google Glass collaboration, I’m intrigued. There were mixed reactions in the office, both for and against the initiative. Now don’t get me wrong I found the launch video for Google Glass a little bit scary but could see how the concept could become reality sooner than most people think. Is this early adoption by DVF a NYFW gimmick or is it actually an exciting application for how the technology can change our lives? I welcome a seamless technology meets fashion experience and am firmly in the ‘for’ camp. Plus as I mentioned earlier, it makes for a much more democratic Fashion Week experience.

So after sitting at home, wine in hand, watching all the live-screened shows, feeling like I’m part of the action, learning crucial insider intel, and being able to customise and/or shop my favourite looks pretty much instantly, I’m feeling rather smug. And we’re only half way through Fashion Month. Can we expect this digital wave of innovation to continue through for Milan and Paris, I wonder?

Alison Bishop is retail editor at LS:N Global/The Future Laboratory. Follow her on Twitter at @labishdish and @lsnglobal