As designers start to shy away from traditional runway shows, they’re turning toward digital platforms like Instagram to debut their new lines.
J. Mendel debuted its spring 2017 collection on Instagram Stories, sharing looks from its line from its showroom at The Standard East in New York City, where brand representatives were conducting private appointments with buyers and media. The effort comes on the heels of similar ventures from designers like Misha Nonoo, who last September shared her line exclusively on Instagram and this year partnered with Refinery 29 to debut new styles on their Snapchat channel.
The move also comes after fellow designers jumped on Instagram Stories very early on, including Rebecca Minkoff, Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu, using the new offering to share behind-the-scenes looks or glimpses of their personal lives leading into New York Fashion Week.
However, this is the first time a brand has used the ephemeral, Snapchat-like component of Instagram to exclusively share a new line. The brand teased the Instagram Story show with a photo posted early on September 14 that depicted model Ondira Hardin with the caption: “Get ready to be blown away by Spring 2017. The collection will go live on stories at 10 am EST.” It then shared a series of images from the new line.
In tandem with the Instagram Story, the French fashion house also released a film on its website, which was directed by the agency Supsect.tv, Luxury Daily reported.
Mariana Rittenhouse, director of brand strategy at Dash Hudson, told Glossy last month that Instagram Stories provides an easy way for brands to tap into an already engaged audience in a way they aren’t able to do with Snapchat.
“Brands were trying to convert their fans to Snapchat for a while but Snapchat is difficult from both a discovery and a strategy perspective,” Rittenhouse said. “Now they can directly tap into their already established audiences on Instagram to do the same thing, and the analytics make it even more of a draw.”
Nonoo, who referred to her fall 2015 effort as an “Instashow,” told Glossy that while runway shows are an important part of the industry, thinking of unique, innovative ways to share designs resonated more strongly with consumers.
“Fashion shows are a relevant marketing tool, but only if you can enliven them with something that’s fresh,” she said. “You really have to put the customer first, and think about what they want, not what the fashion calendar says.”
As designers like J. Mendel grapple with the transition to “see-now-buy-now” fashion and its implication for the fashion calendar, avoiding the traditional runway show may become more of the norm. Designers like Tom Ford renounced the runway altogether, debuting an instantly shoppable line at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York. Others, like Alexander Wang, announced capsule lines like his Adidas Original collaboration, that was available via pop-up trucks in Manhattan after his show.