Events such as London Fashion Week have generally been perceived as being something for only the exalted few. The rest of us have to wait to see the pictures in magazines or for the styles paraded on the catwalks to be copied or filtered down to our local high street stores so we can snap them up to our heart’s content. Not so anymore, however. With online facilities such as Google+ events such as London Fashion Week, dare we say it, could become more readily available to the teeming masses. Topshop’s collaboration with Google for this year’s London Fashion Week is a pretty high profile example of how this can work.
For Topshop’s Fashion Week show, Kate Phelan, the chain’s creative director, and Justin Cooke, its chief marketing officer, coordinated a fashion show that could be viewed simultaneously through Topshop’s own website, YouTube and Google+. This means it has been able to offer access to online viewers previously unheard of for this major event in the fashion calendar.
Models Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn wore outfits fitted with HD micro-cameras to give viewers at home a model’s-eye view of the event. Google Hang Out events, meanwhile, has even allowed watchers to speak directly to designers and fashion editors, and a ‘Be the Buyer’ app will allow users to get tips on how to put this season’s key looks together.
But will this kind of approach really bring about a sea change in the way big fashion shows are put together and marketed? Young designer Fred Butler seems to think so: “I think it is fantastic that fashion is no longer an elitist thing. What is important about the way Topshop is doing it is that the show remains central to the experience.”
Of course, it’s not just about democratising the whole experience for Topshop’s legions of eager customers throughout the world. Using Google+ and other online tools is an undeniably powerful merchandising weapon for big brands as well. As Justin Cooke says: “Consumers will be able to download the music, buy the nail polish the models are wearing and click on the clothes to re-colour them and pre-order them. This has the potential to be digital wildfire.”
Google+, when all is said and done, is a marketer’s dream, so it’s hardly surprising that we are increasingly seeing major collaborations such as that with Topshop. With over 250 million users worldwide there is very little limit to how businesses can use it to connect with their audiences – whether it’s streaming live events, inviting them to webinars , advertising exciting one-off promotions or inviting them to Google Hang Out events.