Paris Fashion Week may have taken place on the catwalks in Paris temples of fashion, but it truly lives in social media, in any language. Even if I can't attend an event in person, I marvel at the ability to attend virtually, readily curate the shows and sessions of interest to me and pluck the heart of what I need to blog the event. But the greatest feat is to be perched with a birds-eye view of the whole event, backed up by social media analytics and intelligence. So in this blog, I delve into new features of NetBase Application for a front row perspective behind the scenes of the recently concluded PFW.
As I blogged last month, wearable tech was a big theme at New York Fashion Week. Both sides of the burgeoning tech-fashion wearables industry are positioning for early adopter market share, but speculation runs high as to whether and when these wearables will surmount current ugly gimmicky fashion trinkets with incidental functionality and acquire viable mass market appeal.
In a strategic move, Apple used Paris Fashion Week to distinguish itself-effectively creating an event within an event-by flexing some powerful couture fashion muscle. While wearable tech is still on the margin of fashion, Apple revealed at PFW its intention to strategically bridge fashion and tech gap by aligning with the fashion elite-launching in a Parisian exhibition salon-not New York-where tech fashion novelties and accessories made their NYFW catwalk debut, alongside Intel's MICA/Opening Ceremony prototype. By stepping outside the gadget/accessory/smartwatch fold, Apple Watch is being poised for luxury positioning, consistent with sales price speculation that it will be priced at $5,000.
The Paris Fashion Week's NetBase Crosstabs chart below, an analysis of PFW's English-language social media, registers Apple's fashion debut, riding the coattails of couture fashion houses.
Apple also hired British photographer David Sims to create a new Apple Watch campaign styled by Karl Templer in a fashion editorial setting. The Apple Watch will be featured the cover of Vogue China's upcoming November issue, worn by supermodel Liu Wen. Apple had already indicated its luxury fashion strategy when it hired high level fashion execs from Yves Saint Laurent, Tag Heuer, Burberry and LVMH (the world's largest luxury goods maker)-brands which have honed the art of trumping utility over fashion.
Although it was a big highlight, the Apple Watch event within PFW didn't overshadow the buzzy catwalk glam shows or impromptu street style promenading. The French-language social media conversation in NetBase Application focused primarily on luxury brands, as the Crosstab analysis below shows.
Interest in Parisian "Street Style" was a notable standout, both in the French and English analysis. Globally, Fashion Week "Street Style" has steadily gone beyond mere street theater, rapidly gaining a reputation as a culturally diverse urban art form, with a language of its own, transcending time and space. Street style trend spotting has become a sport unto itself.
I found another customizable feature of NetBase Application, the Topic Tuner, to be extremely useful for pinpointing topline and event under the radar fashion industry discussions. For instance, say I'm a designer, blogger or investor interested in fashion technology trends beyond Apple Watch and wearables. As I researched #technology and #trends in the Topic Tuner chart below, I discovered a string of interesting discussions on things like 3D fabric printing, leaf patterns on heat-activated fabric, sculptural suits, even 3D stiletto printing, and the like.
In terms of media reporting, predictably, Twitter is where Fashion Week lives on the runway, byway or wherever anyone wishes to strut their style, as shown for PFW in the NetBase analysis of English-language social media sources below.
While Twitter is the temporal reporting tool of choice, we are also seeing a growing trend among citizen fashionista bloggers-the growth of a new cadre of content marketers. Not only is more fashion blogging talent on the rise, but the journalism goes beyond design and style to include thought pieces on the business of fashion, global trends, sustainability, design technology, wearable tech and more.
These citizen fashionista journalists are also savvy fashion geeks with knowledge of SEO who leverage blogging platforms for optimal content distribution. As the NetBase Application chart below illustrates, traditional media channels are steadily being surpassed or matched by blogger traffic on platforms like the microblogging site Tumblr.
As I reported during NY Fashion Week, coinciding with NYFW, Tumblr announced it was joining forces with Issuu, the fastest growing digital publishing and distribution platform. Now Tumblr fashion bloggers can effortlessly create blogs that look more like rich websites, sharing space with leading global fashion and style magazines.
Significantly, the measured reach of citizen fashionista legions is now exponentially greater. The first adopters during NYFW were partners: Daily Front Row, a source of exclusive daily coverage of Fashion Week, as well as Polyvore, V Magazine, Heaven Has Heels and Bello Magazine.
Perhaps the biggest fashion revolution today is the greater transparency we're witnessing in the industry, inviting outliers into the clan. The ah-ha moment seems to have arrived in fashion, where designers and labels now understand it's the customers who "own" and cultivate their markets, giving new tone, texture and suppleness to the fabric of a notoriously cliquey industry.