Campaign of the Week – Topshop’s ‘Social Catwalk’ at London Fashion Week.
Breaking down the doors. How the fashion world is reacting to the social media age. This week, Topshop have created ‘The Social Catwalk’ at London Fashion Week.
It’s that time of the year again. When you begin to notice certain types of characters in the bars, restaurants and pavements of London. The fashionistas are here! It’s London Fashion Week.
Fashion shows across the world have historically been elite events that took place behind closed doors, shrouded in mystery with strict by-invitation-only policies. What went on inside those glamourous events every season was for only the select lucky guests to know, and for us mere mortals to be left wondering and waiting in anticipation for the latest designs to be trickled through to the high-street the following year.
Oh how much this has changed! With the development of the social media world, and now that everyone has a global reaching mega-phone in their hands, fashion shows are no longer a secret place that we can only dream of attending. The shows are now accessible to all of us. Every blogger, editor, celebrity and fashionista in the front row now races to tweet and Instagram live from the shows. The secret is out, and there’s no stopping it.
This is a revolutionary shift for the industry and a change that has taken a bit of time for fashion brands to truly understand how to harness this new-found exposure. Burberryhave led the way with identifying and understanding the new format of the fashion show, and for the last few seasons I have enjoyed a front row seat at their shows from the comfort of my own sofa. The shows are streamed live online, then transition beautifully to an e-commerce site where you can buy the exact same dress that you just saw Cara Delevingne strut down the catwalk in.
It was Topshop however who caught my attention this week, with their strategy for embracing and optimising this new and uncontrollable exposure of the industry with their ‘Social Catwalk’ campaign. As a youth brand, social media is exactly where Topshop’s marketing strategy should focus. The buzz of London Fashion Week is a global platform that they must utilise as a way to bolster credibility and popularity of their brand.
The ‘Social Catwalk’ campaign is engaging with customers in four key ways:-
1) Harnessing an already established network of the target market.
By empowering five influential fashion Instagrammers, with substantial networks of fashion-focussed followers, to document the lead-up to the show. With unprecedented access to model castings, last-minute fittings and all the backstage action at the show – @wethepeoplestyle, @anasbarros, @tilfrances, @Olivialsrand @thefashfeed
2) Encouraging user generated content.
As a customer you could upload a photo to Instagram of your own look using the hashtag – #TOPSHOPWINDOW. Photos appeared as part of a 3D digital mosaic in the window of Topshop’s Oxford Circus store and across Topshop stores globally as a way of showcasing the activity and the brands stature at London Fashion Week.
3) In store/event promotion.
At Topshop Oxford Circus on Sunday the show was live streamed in the window alongside the 3D mosaic of all users #TOPSHOPWINDOW Instagram photos. Meanwhile there were customised Instagram printers in-store so customers could instantly print off their digital images.
4) Instant e-commerce.
A collection of looks from the show were available to purchase online at Topshop.comand in-store straight after the show. Again another massive shift for the industry, when historically customers would have to wait until next season to buy the new trends – another example of how social media is revolutionising the retail landscape.
This is a solid and interactive social campaign from Topshop, it works to engage and inspire the younger customer, whilst still playing to the expectations of the ever cynical fashionista crowd.
However, I really believe that fashion as an industry still has a way to go in terms of fulling engaging with and utlising the power of social reach. The addition of social media to the fashion world has turned the entire industry on its head, and it will take some time for brands, especially those at the more luxury end of the market, to know how they can best use social platforms to propel their brands forward and bring their collections closer to their customers.
Is there another fashion brand that you think is leading the way with their social media strategy? Or equally a brand who stands out at being stuck in an offline world. We’d love to hear from you @Gertrudeandivy