NET TILL THE DO US PART

Harper's Bazaar (India) - - BAZAAR -

To those in the know, there is no deny­ing that what be­gan as a tepid courtship be­tween fash­ion and the so­cial me­dia, is now a full­blown af­fair. It be­gan with the small-time blog­gers who hit the big time with their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of run­way shows and street styles, their In­ter­net chron­i­cles read­ily lapped up by the public and me­dia alike. Then came the ad­vent of e-tail busi­nesses, pro­vid­ing lux­ury at ev­ery­one’s doorsteps with on­line shop­ping por­tals. And now with the in­flux of Web 2.0 tech­nolo­gies, so­cial me­dia por­tals, and the more re­cent smart­phone apps, the on­line voice of fash­ion has pro­lif­er­ated ex­po­nen­tially.

Through it all how­ever, the sto­ried brands tended to main­tain a stoic si­lence, for a long time torn be­tween a num­ber of per­ti­nent ques­tions— would it take away from the brand’s as­pi­ra­tional qual­i­ties? Would more ac­ces­si­bil­ity mean dis­so­lu­tion of lux­ury? Or would jump­ing on a pop­u­lar band­wagon seem un­o­rig­i­nal? Through it all, though, one thing was cer­tain —love it or hate it, you couldn’t ig­nore the draw of the In­ter­net.

Seem­ingly com­ing to terms with this over the past three years, fash­ion brands have opened their eyes to the enor­mous po­ten­tial of the In­ter­net, and those who recog­nise this are clearly mov­ing away from tra­di­tion and set­ting new dig­i­tal boundaries and mile­stones. So whether its Alexan­der Wang’s live-stream­ing shows to lo­cales be­yond the ex­clu­sive con­fines of fash­ion week venues, or Diane von Fursten­berg and Proenza Schouler con­stantly up­dat­ing their Face­book and Twit­ter ac­counts, the In­ter­net is gain­ing a luxe, new clien­tele. Louis Vuit­ton’s Am­ble is a new and in­ter­ac­tive travel guide ap­pli­ca­tion for phones, while Valentino’s on­line 3D, in­ter­ac­tive e-mu­seum al­lows one to ad­mire all the clas­sics in all their glory. There are tablet apps, e-com­merce web­sites, and on­line-shop­ping por­tals that al­low one to cus­tomise cloth­ing. The play­ing field is truly vast and end­less, the ter­ri­tory prac­ti­cally un­char­tered. Lead­ing the charge are also Burberry, Diesel, Ralph Lau­ren, Gucci, and Thakoon that are now grab­bing eye­balls with their on­line an­tics, and own­ing a piece of vir­tual space.

Hence, this sec­tion cel­e­brates fash­ion’s en­try to the dig­i­tal realm. Read about the best of lux­ury e-tail as on­line shop­ping booms, or if you’re con­sid­er­ing start­ing up your own fash­ion blog, there are tips ga­lore as well. For some E-fash­ion 101, there are also In­dia’s finest de­sign­ers tweet­ing their views on In­dian fash­ion. And last but not the least, see how brands are rais­ing the dig­i­tal bar with their new apps for smart­phones and tablets. So get with the cool few who have tied that undy­ing knot with the dig­i­tal realm.

Fash­ion at a click

Clock­wise from left; Valentino; Os­car de la Renta; Michael Kors.

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