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Designers, Sponsors Bring Fashion Week to the Masses

  |  September 13, 2011   |  Comments

Event is far less exclusive than in years past, thanks to online photo sharing and live streams.

Fashion Week in New York has been less exclusive than in years past, thanks to fashion brands and sponsors.

Their efforts on Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites have provided glimpses previously reserved for top magazine editors and industry names, leveling the playing field for aspiring designers stuck at home.

Badgley Mischka, Donna Karan, Elie Tahari and Tracy Reese are among the designers sharing photos of their collections and behind-the-scenes prep. Charlotte Ronson, for example, asked fans to tag themselves in an image or inspiration collage "that shows your take on fashion, art or personal style" for a chance to help backstage at her Spring 2012 show. The brand also asked fans to tweet @charlotteronson with their favorite fashion moment or to submit an inspiring fall image to Charlotte Ronson's Tumblr.

Others, like Custo Barcelona, have installed countdown timers or, like Michael Kors and Vera Wang, created invites and events to remind fans of their shows and participation in last Thursday's Fashion's Night Out, when stores stayed open late to encourage shopping.

Lacoste created a Fashion Show app on Facebook allowing fans to invite friends to access exclusive coverage of its show and to recommend the show on their walls.

fashion-week-2011Cynthia Rowley announced on her Facebook page that she has teamed up with Band-Aid Brand to "fix your fashion emergencies" while celebrating the launch of a designer collection of bandages. As a result, a mobile "Glambulance" will be on the streets of New York during Fashion Week, equipped with a hair stylist, seamstress, make-up artist and fashionable first-aid supplies for any aforementioned fashion emergencies.

Rowley is also live-streaming her show on the YouTube channel, Live From the Runway, which is sponsored by Fashion Week sponsor Maybelline.

Live From the Runway will feature live streams of more than 20 shows, including Luca Luca, Jill Stewart and Vivienne Tam. It enables users to add upcoming shows to their Apple and Google Calendars and features a stream of live tweets about each show as well as viewer polls and videos.

In addition to YouTube, other designers have live-streamed their shows on Facebook. They include Betsey Johnson, Perry Ellis, Tommy Hilfiger, and Theyskens' Theory.

A Perry Ellis rep says this is the brand's third season with a live webcast.

"Livestreaming the fashion show is a more democratic approach to fashion. It's anti-elitist in a way, allowing everyone to see the show and the collection in its truest form," the rep said.

More than 3,000 people have tuned into the live-stream in previous seasons. The capacity for Perry Ellis' show at Lincoln Center is approximately 850.

Facebook says Michael Kors saw an 111 percent increase in page views between fashion seasons in 2009 when it first began live-streaming shows.

But Fashion Week attendees need not feel snubbed.

In honor of its Perry Ellis Black Collection, Perry Ellis is launching the Perry Ellis Black Car Service from September 10 to 12. The rep says the fleet of cars will be available free of charge for consumers, fashion editors and influencers. The cars will be located near Lincoln Center, Milk Studios and Union Square and can be flagged down on the street if spotted.

The rep says interested riders can track the cars by following @PerryEllis and #PerfectRide on Twitter. The car program will end shortly before Perry Ellis shows its Spring 2012 collection at Lincoln Center on September 12.



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Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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