Instagram Live is becoming a breakout star at New York Fashion Week.
Fashion designers and brands gave been increasingly turning to the platform since it launched in December 2016, either using it as an addendum to platforms like Facebook Live or as a means to connect with different demographics of social media users.
Thakoon was among the brands that dabbled with Live early in the week, sharing several behind the scenes moments leading up to its spring 2017 collection debut, including a look at fittings and hair-and-makeup tests the day before its February 9 show. It also posted backstage preparation and moments from the runway show itself to its nearly 100,000 followers.
An image from Thakoon’s Instagram Live
Instagram Live also allowed consumers and fashion enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of runway looks from Raf Simons’ much anticipated debut collection for Calvin Klein. Calvin Klein’s 8.1 million Instagram followers had access to the live stream, which was also shared on Facebook Live. In addition, the show generated a significant amount of buzz on Twitter, with 800 mentions in one hour alone.
Tibi promoted its Instagram Live experience by sharing a traditional Instagram photo with details on when to tune in for its February 11 show. Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee, said brands also benefit from the additional push notification sent to Instagram users when someone they follow goes live. It creates an added sense of urgency, especially since live posts are not accessible after they air.
While several fashion publishers — including Allure, Marie Claire, Refinery29 and Esquire — have been experimenting with Live since it launched, brands have been slower to jump aboard. Much like fashion’s foray into Snapchat, Instagram Live requires fashion brands to eschew pristinely curated imagery, a move that doesn’t always come easily in a market where aesthetics are everything, said Wong.
The benefit of brands using Live during New York Fashion Week is that, not only does it tap a critical mass of existing Instagram followers, but it also allows brands to share an unfiltered, insiders’ look at their shows. With the entire world focused on NYFW, now is an opportune time to experiment
“With Instagram Live, it’s less about pure production value and more about authenticity and storytelling capabilities,” Wong said. “A reason why that’s so challenging in the luxury space is that this an industry that’s very controlled when it comes to [what represents] brands and having high-quality production value.”
Though other brands like Christian Siriano also used the Live platform, Wong said the reason fashion labels aren’t necessarily clamoring to use it just yet is that many lack the manpower or digital teams to handle live video on top of the other demands of fashion week. Additionally, some designers are opting to stick to other platforms — like Michael Kors, who will be streaming his show on Twitter. “The challenge to producing this amount of content is that you have the staff in-house to do it,” Wong said.