- Robyn Turk |
Fashion runway shows are no longer exclusive events reserved for industry figures and celebrities. Since the advent of social media, consumers have been given the opportunity to experience runway events in real time. This has evolved to a point where almost every brand live streams their new collection showings for viewers at home, and now some brands are using new technologies to involve their consumers further.
Badgley Mischka has been partnered with live-audience feedback application Runway by SAP since 2013, allowing users around the world to interact with runway shows in real-time. Using IoT, beacon technology and machine learning algorithms, the app automatically recognizes Badgley Mischka’s looks as they go down the runway. Users can interact in with the collection by Liking or Loving items, as well as adding items to a wishlist or pre-ordering.This feedback in turn provides real-time data and analytics to the brand. The app also allows users to access detailed information on specific items in each runway look.
Christine Currence, Badgley Mischka’s president, told FashionUnited that the brand is using Runway by SAP to gauge consumer interest in specific pieces to help inform business decisions. “We're getting real-time feedback of what viewers are reacting to and not only in the room of the runway event - the app has been downloaded in over 23 countries. We're still getting feedback now on the last spring collection, which will soon be in stores.”
Consumers can continue to use the Runway by SAP app to identify pieces of Badgley Mischka’s collection even after the runway show. A user can hold the app up to a Badgley Mischka piece seen online, on TV or in a store and immediately recognize the style, providing details including price, sizing, availability and description. The app can also show the user how the piece was styled on the runway.
Badgley Mischka utilized user feedback gathered from Runway by SAP to work with its buyers for its Spring 2020 collection. “We’re able to use this information to tell our buyers which looks from the runway had the best audience reception and which have a better chance of having greater sell-through once they hit retail,” Currence explained.
“The collection will be delivered to the stores by the end of January or beginning of February,” she continued. “It will be interesting to see if the history repeats itself, and if consumers continue to love the same looks that they loved at the time of runway.”
Currence said that a particular look from the Spring 2020 collection - a red column gown with pink balloon sleeves - was one of the least “liked” looks among app users at the time of runway, yet the celebrity stylist community loved the style. Actress Susan Watson wore the gown to the Emmy Awards in September 2019, and the look in fact became part of a major red carpet trend that season. “It will be interesting to see if the style still a least favorite look among consumers or if the red carpet trend changed the general opinion,” Currence noted.
Technologies like Runway by SAP are reinventing the runway
The runway show’s new purpose is experience-driven. “Everyone is trying to figure out how to generate a great experience for their customers and runway is one of the best ways that we can do that now,” Currence said. “The runway show is great because you can see Mark [Badgley] and James [Mischka’s] vision come to life in front of you, and the app allows consumers to share this same experience in real time, as well as the opportunity to go backstage and discover what went into creating the collection.”
Powered by Runway by SAP, the Badgley Mischka runway not only transforms into a space for consumer engagement, but it becomes an educational platform.
“Our use of the technology keeps evolving,” Currence said. “It’s a great tool to help consumers get to know the brand further. Many people are surprised to discover the inclusivity of the price points or the sizes that we offer. We offer anything from size 0 to size 20 and there are pieces that go down the runway that are hundreds of dollars, while others are thousands of dollars. Most people assume that runway looks are not attainable for them, either it won’t fit them or they can't afford it - and that's just not the case. This app helps them to learn this.”
Along with engagement and education, the runway is given a new retail element. Even months after the show is over, the app lets consumers compare how the pieces appear in a shopping setting with how they appear on the runway and take inspiration from runway looks as a styling options. The existence of this technology like Runway by SAP has evolved the runway into a retail and marketing tool that fits into the lifestyle of 21st century consumers.
Images: courtesy of Rubenstein PR & Badgley Mischka