Despite Fashion Week’s glamorous reputation — the impeccably-dressed editors, the celebrities sitting front row, the herds of models — the event is, let’s be honest at its heart a trade show, albeit a very, very exclusive trade show that you need the right job or connections to attend.
Fashion Week began as a way for store buyers and magazine editors to preview new collections, but now, the event has ballooned into a matter of international interest. It’s even become an entertainment source that people can buy tickets to.
As Fashion Week has grown in popularity, it’s become much more expensive for designers. Space rentals can cost as much as $750,000, and that price doesn’t even include hiring a stylist, a band or DJ, a lineup of models, and hair and makeup teams — plus, some labels also pay celebrities (either in clothes, transportation, or actual money) to attend shows.
Now, the internet is making this previously-private event accessible worldwide. These days, if you have a computer and a Web connection. you can view every single look from most shows on portals like Style.com and watch live-streamed video of the actual event (pictured: the Lacoste live stream, which played on the brand’s Facebook page).
Most bloggers (unsurprisingly) believe that the shift to global Web fashion access is a positive one. Cheryl of Cheryl Shops thinks that, “live-streaming will draw even more attention to fashion shows. Take sports, for example. Professional sports teams televise every single game, but people still love to attend them in person. Watching something on a computer or on TV is a completely different experience from seeing it live, and as long as fashion editors, buyers, and celebrities attend fashion shows, they will always have that glamorous cachet.”
Izzy of Racked NY believes that the new tech, “makes a huge difference, and it’s totally in keeping with the way the Web has democratized fashion in the past couple years. Live-streaming lets the public into what was once a forbidden space. It also speeds up the fashion calendar because once people have seen the spring clothes on the runway they don’t want to wait six months for them to arrive in stores.”
What does all this mean for the future of Fashion Week? Well, it’s no longer just an industry event — these shows are now being produced for huge audiences both in-house and online. The Internet is turning each show into a brand extension. When Gareth Pugh “livecasted” his Paris show last year, fans tuned in to what resembled a music video. In effect, technology is democratizing Fashion Week and turning it into a public spectacle.
Still, given what we know about how the industry operates, we’re sure that many events will remain ultra-exclusive. After all, what is fashion without a bit of mystique?