PARIS — A new frontier for almost all fashion brands, digital shows present a host of challenges, including how to amplify the impact of the collection unveiling. Fashion weeks, meanwhile, must showcase an array of content from Davids and Goliaths, each seeking attention.
The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode has tapped Launchmetrics, the data research and insights company for fashion, luxury and beauty, to create the digital hub for its virtual Haute Couture Week and Paris Fashion Week Men’s, running back-to-back from July 6 to 13.
The general public will be able to access brand videos and collection imagery alongside editorial content such as interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and commentary from a curated list of media, brands, organizations and cultural institutions. Professionals will have access to gated resources such as virtual press rooms and showroom sales tools.
“We’re now at the height of the digital revolution, which has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. The digitization of Fashion Week will never replace in-person events but it will largely enrich and amplify creative expression and communication,” said Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.
“We’ve proudly chosen to partner with Launchmetrics because of their undeniable industry expertise and technical knowledge. However, innovation processes require even more: a proactive attitude, openness, mutual understanding, and a willingness to bring likable novelty. All these qualities are essential for achieving demanding and quick innovation; I’m pleased to say that Launchmetrics has been the right partner for this ambitious project,” he added.
Michael Jaïs, chief executive officer of Launchmetrics, sat down with WWD to discuss its approach:
WWD: How is this platform different to the tools you were already offering to partners such as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid and ModaLisboa?
Michael Jaïs: [What] we were promoting so far [was] about having a back-end solution for the images of the brands, to manage the images and visual assets in order for a brand to push it after that to the right community. We also had the GPS Radar tool.
Here, what we are doing for the fashion week is a step beyond, because we’ve been developing a front-end workplace. Of course we’ll be integrating the back-end with it and also trying to develop access for professionals in order to really manage the amplification of it.
The idea is really to offer our customer a whole digital experience from the front-end, to the amplification part and the measurement of the impact of it.
WWD: What does this change for brands participating in Paris Fashion Week?
M.J.: It will be even more complicated for the brands.
People are going to connect, but it doesn’t mean that because they’re going to connect, they’re going to amplify it. If you’re attending a show, you post a video or a picture — that’s fine, that makes sense. But if you are on your couch and you just pick up your laptop, of course you will not amplify it in the same way.
Brands need to produce content dedicated to each audience on each channel.
That’s where having a global platform really makes sense, because it’s not only about having the big live show, very creative, with virtual reality or augmented reality or very nice detailed production. It’s also about making sure that after the show, you can share the right content with the right audience.
That’s the purpose of it: having the front-of-house, then the back-end tool that will help the brand to propose look books, social media-ready content, content for the buyers — everything.
WWD: What was the most challenging part of developing the platform?
M.J.: What was really interesting was to see, in terms of how to develop the front end, what was really attractive to the audience and also what were the requirements of the federation: how to deal with a federation that represents the interests of companies that are so different and brands that are so different, from the large LVMH brands to emerging designers.
WWD: Is there a consensus emerging in terms of content creation, or is everyone doing their thing?
M.J.: Everyone is doing their thing.
What will be super interesting is because we will be hosting all this content, we’ll have great data on what works and what doesn’t. Today, we hear and we see a lot of things, from augmented reality to gaming, so it’s hard to really understand what they want to produce. I get the feeling that this fashion week will be a test for the next one.
WWD: Will this platform be proprietary to Paris Fashion Week, or will you be free to offer it to other partners?
M.J.: We really want to try it with Paris. Obviously, the idea is to also offer it to the brands after that but of course, we are also open to working with fashion weeks.
WWD: Going forward, should we expect a mix of digital and physical events?
M.J.: It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in September.
I think there will be a lot of changes. I don’t see 50,000 people traveling from one city to another during these crazy months.
But in terms of amplification, we’re not quite sure that you can create the same overwhelming Big Bang during these fashion weeks if they are entirely digital.
Outside of entertainment, fashion is the only industry where moments like fashion week are so important. I think that brands will need to re-create this type of moment, so that’s the reason why I think that in September there will be a big push to have both physical and digital, even if the physical is not the physical it was before. But I think that longer-term, brands will try to think how to re-create some very special moments where the audience will be really listening and seeing the content of the fashion world.
If we just think about reproducing exactly what are fashion weeks today in a different format, I think that would lose a lot of the excitement and the uniqueness of it. So the question for me is how to reproduce this type of moment, maybe with different types of actors or with different combinations. I think that media has a real role to play in that: organizing moments for the brand to share their collection with the rest of the world.