Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fashion Industry Weighs Pros and Cons of Social Media Use during Runway Shows

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Fashion Industry Weighs Pros and Cons of Social Media Use during Runway Shows

Article excerpt

Does social media help or hinder runway shows?


TORONTO - As lights dim before the start of each runway show, attendees scramble to ready their smartphones and tablets.

Long gone are the days when fashion week spectators relied solely on notepad scribbles to document the finer points of new designs. But even as tech tools help streamline the way in which images from runway shows are captured and distributed, one fashion label recently opted to dial back the digital clock.

MSGM streamed its recent fall-winter collection on its website, but reportedly asked press and buyers attending the women's runway show not to post images on social media, according to Women's Wear Daily.

On the Italian brand's official Instagram account, images of icons for Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram were posted with red slashes through each one, accompanied by the message: "Disconnect to reconnect. #FW16 is the time to take a step back from overexposure." MSGM representatives did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

"I think the reality is social media is part of the fashion industry, and certainly part of the fashion presentation and show experience," said Ben Barry, associate professor of equity, diversity and inclusion in the school of fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto.

"The question really for designers and brands is: how do you effectively integrate it? My thought is getting rid of social media or banning social media really would show a brand is out of touch with the reality of the fashion industry, and also consumers.

"Given that fashion shows are... more and more targeted to consumers as much as they are towards industry, restricting social media access alienates your consumer, tells your consumer you don't want them to participate in your show, you don't want them to be a part of your brand."

Canadian designers participating in Toronto Fashion Week say they recognize the benefits of social media for their labels, but also lamented how the platforms have changed the lens through which shows are seen.

"It's amazing in terms of the reach. I just wonder if there's so much communication, so many visuals out there, will it resonate? …

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