ImageMove over fashion editors, your coveted front row seats on the fashion runways now belong to the video-cam.

If there ever was any doubt left that the dust has been swept off the world’s iconic fashion labels, Belstaff’s Fashion Week show has become the social media marketing bellwether. 

Proof positive is the British heritage label Burberry, founded in 1856, which has witnessed a meteoric rise from certain oblivion to edgy “stealth-wealth” cache—showing how Big Data from the runway can predict consumer style preferences, even purchasing behavior.  

Belstaff’s incursion of strategic Big Data during this past New York Fashion Week resulted in driving almost 50% of the live-stream viewers to their site, coupled with approximately 50% higher online purchases than an average day—for last season’s lines. Belstaff raided Burberry to fuel its brand and went full throttle, winning over Martin Cooper, the change agent designer known as a master of repurposing and sharpening the blunt edge of British heritage brands.  However, ultimate credit for Burberry’s digital innovation genius and resurgence is CEO Angela Ahrendts, ranked by Forbes 45th on its list of power women, recognized by her industry peers for “infusing the classic clothier with Silicon Valley tech savvy.”

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According to B Productions, Fashion Week live stream producer for several years, viewership is up 20-40% for those runway shows who are live-streaming. Increasingly sophisticated live stream runway show productions have enabled researchers and marketers to leverage robust natural-language processing platforms—helping them accurately monitor and measure not only the level of audience engagement, but also sentiment and emotion during specific runway moments; thus, creating Big Data fashion gems to predict consumer behavior.

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Fashion has come of age in social media marketing and analysis—outside the tents, and globally. More and more brands are adopting digital listening and analytics tools to track and monitor consumer data points emanating from runway live streams at Fashion Week on language supported platforms like NetBase. Trending fashion data can be used  as research to identify and segment by country and city conversations about their brands; in turn, the golden lining for predicting consumer preferences and, significantly,  purchasing patterns, as well as competitive trends from global market to market—even locally— the “holy grail” of reliable Big Data. 

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Other such luxury brands, including DKNY, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta and Tory Burch, today are successfully crafting social media campaigns that incorporate and utilize listening strategies. During this past New York Fashion Week, for example, the Marc Jacobs brand saw a Twitter spike for its luggage-handle bags and was immediately able to inform buyers. 

Further, retail fashion sites such as Lyst and Moda Operandi are evidence that social media even has impacted fashion production lines. These sites allow the brands to track early consumer orders, and help to predict demand and inform production. Some luxury brands such as Burberry allow preorders directly from the runway. Other sites such as Digital Fashion Week offer exclusive global Fashion Week coverage.  

Designers now are weaving Big Data into the fabric of fashion, and intrusion backstage at Fashion Week no longer is considered “unwelcome.” With the advent of more accurate social intelligence, Fashion Week also is no longer only an industry event. Social listening and analytics tools that speak your brand’s language and reliably identify localized global trends and patterns in global or local consumer attitude and sentiment are shaping the conversation. And luxury fashion brands are listening. 

As more and more brands discover the value of social listening and analysis to weave new marketing energy into their labels, it’s not just sitting on the sidelines.  Social intelligence is leading the runway pageant. 

Image: Syaheir Azizan / Shutterstock.com