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February 11, 2013

The Digital Age of Fashion

By Ashley Caputo, TMCnet Web Editor

The Internet has caused a domino effect on every industry, where selling and operating has changed for every business thanks to various developments made in the digital world. One industry that seems to be lagging behind, however, is the fashion industry, which most press representatives and marketing advertisers will attest to.

The digital world has presented many opportunities for the fashion world, just as it has done for healthcare, education, retailers and all businesses alike.

 With the wonders of such things as video conferencing and live streaming, fashion shows that editors could not be present at because they were in cities around the world – such as Rome, Milan, London and Paris – can now be attended digitally. This comes just in time for the some of the year’s most highly-anticipated events, such as Fashion Week. And with the economy shrinking in the editorial area, where magazines have downsized their writing staff drastically and have taken to using freelance work, this new revelation has relieved the financial burdens most fashion magazines face.

Furthermore, the cost for fashion designers to debut their clothing collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion week, which will run at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center until February 14, is very expensive. Stylists who put together the looks for the show charge $5,000 to $20,000 a day, teams of make-up artists and hair stylist can charge $5,000 to $100,000 per show, and the four different runway locations cost from $15,000 to $50,000.

Although the prices may range, for up and coming designers, this can be a make or break factor for their fashion collections, as Fashion Week is undoubtedly where designers receive the most coverage for the season. Instead of giving up, designers have chosen a less expensive, but just as newsworthy, route: digital runways.

Along with being a more attainable platform for new designers, as all consumers already know, digital platforms reach a wider audience overall.

For example, Rachel Roy, a fashion designer who launched her first line in 2005, has chosen to release her collection in a digital runway show to stream live on Facebook (News - Alert).

"It just really seemed like the right thing to do," said Roy. "I always want to think outside the box, to do something that is new and fresh, and I think part of my job is to bring newness to fashion. Part of doing that is showing to as many people that love fashion, that want it, making it accessible to them."

Another fashion designer, Radhika Perera-Hernandez, chose to go digital because "it is the smartest way for a start-up line to get their name out there.”

The digital platform has not only replaced runways, but showrooms as well.

Another way that fashion designers market their clothing lines is in showrooms, which can be costly to rent. POPmarket is a new marketing platform where fashion designers can set up a digital showroom to merchandise and promote their brand.

As the fashion industry begins to catch up with the developments the digital world, designers, press representatives and marketing companies are going to have to replace the traditional platforms with the new ways of the future; just as the young designers have already begun to do. Otherwise, the industry is going to continue to lag behind in this technological revolution.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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