T H E P O L A R I T Y PA R A D OX OF LO N D O N FA S H I O N W E E K
Fig 1: Mulberry Locks, 2012
THE POLARITY PARADOX OF L O N D O N FA S H I O N W E E K
The aim of the report is to look into rebranding Mulberry for Septembers London Fashion Week 2014 by specifically examining how technology has opened up London Fashion Week to the public. It questions whether exclusivity has been taken over by accessibility, as a consequence of social networking.
Charlotte Louise Cooper N0371288 FASH30002 Word Count: 5489 (without quotes)
Fig 2: Paris Fashion, 2012
â€˜Everywhere we look, from media and retail, to hospitality and performance, and fashion and technology, sectors are collapsing togetherâ€™ (Firth, 2014)
Fig 3: Burberry Prorsum Iphone, 2013
CONTENTS PAGE Introduction// 14-21 The Crossroads// 22-31 The History of the Catwalk// 32-41 The Theatre of the Catwalk// 42-51 As The Lights Go Down, The Phones Go Up// 52-71 Geotargeting// 72-75 Film Noir// 76-87 The New Front Row// 88-93 Fashionâ€™s Dirty Little Secret // 94-101 The Big Debate// 102-109
Fig 4: Mulberry Catwalk, 2013
Strategic Outcomes// 110-161 The Finale//
12 Fig 5: Burberry Prorsum, 2013
INTRODUCTION In a world where digital is now so widely available to each industry sector, it is allowing industries to shift from their traditional sector of segregations, to a more unconventional stance. A prime example of this is evident in the fashion industry. Just when we thought we had seen it all, we are now captivated by the changes the fashion industry are making, with Burberry in particular leading the forefront. It is now a brand not solely known for its fashion, but instead for its technology. In fact, Burberry were working with Apple at London Fashion Week to help shoot their S/S 14 catwalk with the help of the iPhone 5. Thus it is fair to say that brands are now entering into a world of what trend-forecasting agency, The Future Laboratory, coin as ‘The Polarity Paradox’. In this instance, the fashion industry ‘seems to be colliding, blurring and merging with explosive results creating a vibrant atmosphere of exuberant creativity, zero rules and new opportunities’ (Firth, 2014). What was once a concept of science fiction is now a living reality. A brand, on its own, is now simply not enough to survive. Talent is now not enough. This begs the question: what actually is enough?
‘The world of fashion retail is rapidly embracing the changes brought about by new technology’ (Oresa, 2014)
Fig 7: Fashion Week, 2012
Fig 6: Burberry Prorsum, 2013
This has led designers to open up to a world of completely different consumers, some of who previously would have been excluded. In fact “until this year, the London Fashion Week shows attracted, on average, less than 50,000 attendees: an online broadcast carried out in February, using YouTube and Google+ reportedly reached audiences of 4 million’ (Oresa, 2014). Whilst this new exposure is positive, it asks the question; ‘with this rise in demand for accessibility, how will designers preserve the exclusivity that define their brands?’ (Bautista, 2013). Although the shifts remain clear in how digital is changing online, primary research revealed that not one single fashion editor had an interactive or digital experience at a catwalk show, so, although digital is wowing other consumers, have they lost touch on who they are actually meant to be impressing?
The convergence economy we are now seeing can be highlighted during the fashion world’s most prestigious event of the year – London Fashion Week, in which brands are constantly pushing the boundaries. What was once considered a ‘normal’ catwalk where only the elite would attend, now ‘London Fashion Week has increasingly become an opportunity to speak directly to consumers’ (Arthur, 2013). This is due to the ‘digital age forcing a new democracy’ (Deer, 2014). This digital age are now embracing the full force of fashion week, by way of utilising technology and social media to its full potential.
Fig 8: Fashion Week, 2014
Whilst most luxury brands have embraced this merging economy with open arms, the brands that have not are the ones now facing the biggest challenge of all – how to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world. There is no question that this has played a role in well known brands not being able to keep up, in fact, Justin Cooke, former CMO of Topshop, ‘warned that fashion brands who fail to embrace digital trends are likely to struggle to engage their customers in the future’ (Cooke in Oresa, 2014) as ‘connecting to your audience through social media is such a vital part of being a successful designer in today’s world’ (Bautista, 2013). With these statements being made, it makes you wonder whether brands should stop it from being so exclusive, given the power that social media now holds. Fig 9: Before Celine, 2014
Fig 10: Mulberry S/S 14, 2013 Fig 11: Mulberry S/S 14, 2013
With this convergence economy being at the forefront of designer’s minds – it has now exposed the frailties of brands that haven’t embraced the merging economy. This is particularly evidenced by luxury brand Mulberry, who have been absent from the recent Autumn/Winter 15 London Fashion Week, with the chief executive recently explaining that they need to ‘become more exciting’ (Guillon in Thomas, 2014). Mulberry, it would appear, have lost touch on how to adapt this merging economy, without adopting new strategies, new ideas and most importantly, new innovation.
This is why the aims of this dissertation will focus on using London Fashion Week in order to rebrand the Mulberry image into a convergence economy with the exploration to look into whether, through social networking, it should be kept exclusive or accessible. Furthermore, it will explore the possible changes that need to be made to help re-engage the consumer viewing the catwalk. Thus, there is reason to look at the history of the catwalk and more importantly, what is now happening on the catwalk, to give Mulberry the best possible outcome of re-branding their image. A key finding showed that ‘people need to feel risk and thrill’ (Haydon, 2013) therefore indicating that the consumer wants to follow a story of emotion and excitement. This is why looking at the consumer touch points before, during and after and focusing on film, interactivity and art direction will be of the utmost most importance, in order to leave them with a lasting memory of Mulberry.
Fig 12: Mulberry A/W 14, 2013
MULBERRY Before looking directly into the history of the catwalk, it is important to understand Mulberry first, in order to know what to apply to the luxury fashion brand. Founded in 1973, Mulberry has established itself as a lifestyle brand selling accessories to both men and women, as well as womenswear, whilst remaining true to its founding principles: the English Countryside, with Mulberry describing themselves as ‘an English luxury brand inspired by the cool of the city and the craft of the countryside.’ (Mulberry, 2014). This is something that is now seen as a rarity in today’s fashion world.
‘Has Mulberry Lost Its Magic?’ (Anderson, 2014)
Fig 14: Mulberry S/S 14, 2013
Fig 13: Mulberry S/S 14, 2013
Figure 16: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
Figure 15: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
However, whilst this may be a unique selling point, in the past six months Mulberry have lost both their creative director, Emma Hill, and boss, Bruno Guillon. This has resulted in the withdrawal from London Fashion Week as well as significant profit losses. Despite the fact that it has been known for its values and fame; ‘2011 Mulberry was the fastest growing luxury brand on the planet” (Ostler, 2013), it could be argued that Mulberry has lost touch with these core principles. Whilst remaining true to their English heritage, Hill explained in 2012 ‘while everyone else is running to China, we are trying to run away from China because if you say you are an English luxury brand you have to do something about it.’ (Hill in Leitch, 2012).
Conversely, former boss, Guillon, having joined the British brand in 2012, explained that ‘he wants to turn the brand from an affordable luxury into a more highend operation targeting the affluent Chinese market in particular’ (Guillon in Neville, 2013). This is proof that Mulberry’s former niche and conservative label had been forgotten, in favour of the push to become more global.
Efforts of the brand values can be shown within their marketing sector, with Emma Hill describing Mulberry as ‘we’re not tea and crumpets and the Queen-British: we’re bonkers and crazy and craft’ (Hill in Leitch, 2012). Advertising would say differently, as can be shown in their campaigns – using taxidermy to help represent the British countryside for the past four years, shown in figure 17. Figure 17: Mulberry Campaigns, 2013
Figure 18: Cara Bag Collection, 2013
Whilst Mulberry have tried to retain their core values, they have failed to adopt new strategies, by way of implementing the same marketing strategies that have been successful in the past, for example, using model, Cara Delevingne, to be the face of the ‘Cara’ bag, shown in figure 18 and 19. Interestingly, this was launched at the same time as them announcing their absence from London Fashion Week. But, more to the point, are they not just trying to recreate their success of the Alexa Chung bag in 2009? Even Cara Delevingne explained before the partnership ‘I hate that thing where celebrities just slap their names on any old thing’ (Delevingne in Armstrong, 2014). It is safe to say Mulberry are failing to identify their true brand values and consistent identity of what makes them who they are. Figure 19: Cara Bag Collection, 2013
Fig 20: Maggie Rizer Fashion Doll, 1999
THE HISTORY OF THE CATWALK
FROM DOLLS TO DEPARTMENTS TO DAZZLING CATWALK SHOWS It is said that fashion is best shown on the body, even if it is a lifestyle mannequin. This is what the French Bisque Dolls depicted – they were used to represent a way of showcasing a particular fashion trend in the eightieth century, shown in figure 21, yet this is still referenced on the catwalk in recent times, as shown in the Viktor and Rolf 1999 Babushka show, modelled by Maggie Rizer, shown in figure 22. Whilst the fashion dolls provided fashion knowledge on trend and imagery, ‘many fashion designers influenced the fashion show development’ (Everett, 2013: pg 9).
‘The topic of fashion shows remains to find its historian’
Fig 22: Maggie Rizer Fashion Doll, 1999
Fig 21: Le Theatre de la mode, 1945
Fig 23: Viktor and Rolf Dolls, 1999
Whereas compared to now, the “shows are no longer really an event for designers to show off their wares to buyers, it is an opportunity to show off and gain press coverage” (Roberts, 2014). It could be argued that the catwalk was simply more of a business event rather than an entertainment event - something that it is so widely known for nowadays. Fig 24: Corset Shop Fashion Show, 1921
Fig 26: Front Row History, 1960
It was the 19th century when English dress maker, Lady Duff Gordon, invented the theatrical element of the catwalk, using her London store as a platform; ‘she used her knowledge of theatrical elements, such as building a stage in her shop and training her mannequins in posture and style, to make her mannequin parades memorable’ (Everett, 2013: pg 20). This was then picked up on by Dior – who has been likened to ‘changing the format of the fashion parade’ (Everett, 2013: pg 13). Instead of models simply showing off the clothes, they were actually asked to project the image and lifestyle, according to then Vogue fashion editor, Bettina Ballard, in her memoirs. She explained, ‘we were given a polished theatrical performance such as we never seen in a couture house before. We were witness to a revolution in fashion and to a revolution in showing fashion as well’. (Ballard, 1960: pg 237). Fig 25: Christian Dior Show, 1950
Fig 27: Catwalk History, n.d.
Fig 28: iPhone Fashion Week, 2013
Two centuries on and the catwalk has developed into something unimaginable, this being thanks to the technological revolution of the 21st century. Now London Fashion Week is described as a city that ‘lays the courage’ (Xinhua, 2003). Even Alexa Chung explained that ‘London Fashion Week is so different from any of the others. Compared to the strictness in New York, London seems freer from commercial constraints. Truer to the process, to street style, to a sense of humour’ (Chung, 2012). With the digital age, the question remains for designers whether to reference the past or develop the courage of what London is renowned for.
Fig 29: Fashion Week, 2014
Fig 30: Alexandra Wang Catwalk, 2014
Recent shows have adopted the latter, as Firth (2014) explains that brands are seeing the rise in panic of other competition around them and are creating affecting experiences ‘we have evolved to respond to danger with fear to motivate a powerful response’ (Gilding, 2012). This became evident in the Alexandra Wang A/W 2015 show, ‘who played on the idea of polar vortex, and took inspiration from survival skills in a future tundra. The clothes changed colour when they came into contact with the models’ skin, presenting body as a commodity’ (Firth, 2014), which simply plays on this notion of scarcity.
Fig 31: Alexandra Wang Catwalk, 2014
Fig 32: Louis Vuitton Escalator, 2012
THE THEATRE OF THE CATWALK
THE DESIGNERS WHO STOLE THE SHOW Whilst the catwalk has been a place simply for selling commodities, times have seemed to change. This could be why the catwalk has rightly been given the name of a ‘fashion theatre’, with design manager of Dubai Fashion Week explaining that ‘we don’t even refer to the event as ‘catwalks’ anymore – it’s ‘fashion theatre’, about the drama and stage production’ (Chadra, 2012). Even successful designer John Galliano explained that ‘I don’t think I chose fashion for the garments. While I appreciate artisanal merit, I don’t particularly care how things are made, what they’re made of and what that technique is called. My terminology is terrible, and I zone out when people tell me about colour codes and fabrication treatments. Fashion, to me, is about theatre’ (Galliano, 2014).
‘Shows represent a little piece of something bigger and better than the dreary reality of a boring, modest, politically correct Western society where no one believes in magic anymore’
Fig 33: Paris Fashion, 2012
Fig 34: Louis Vuitton Escalator, 2012
Fig 35: Chanel Theatre, 2012
Whilst the word ‘theatre’ is now being used to describe the catwalk – the catwalk was very much a production during the late 1980’s when BodyMap took to the catwalk, seen in figure 36, who are known for their distinctive edge and groundbreaking shows. Therefore it could be fair to suggest that what we are doing now is simply referencing the past but making it more elaborate through the use of technology. As now, whilst attending shows, ‘people don’t just want to go to a show, they want to star in it’ (Firth, 2014).
Fig 36: BodyMap, 1985
FROM CLUB TO CATWALK 44
Fig 37: The Cloth, 1985
CHANEL Chanel, like Mulberry, who have pushed successfully for exclusivity, are very much at the forefront of identifying themselves as more of a theatre production. From icebergs to supermarkets, Karl Lagerfeld certainly isn’t afraid of taking risks and creating dreams, with Lagerfeld explaining himself: ‘I saw it in my dream, put it on my paper and gave it to the man that builds my set.’ (Lagerfeld, 2014). Most recently, Chanel Supermarket, shown in figure 38, is being described as ‘his finest runway reimagining to date. For a designer who has recreated an aeroplane and an iceberg this was quite a feat.’ (Fox, 2014). The show was created to duplicate the look of a supermarket, with the ‘Chanel superstore being fully stocked with not just food, but Chanel food.’ (Spedding, 2014). It could be criticised that Karl has focused more on the set design rather than the garments, yet clearly the ‘dream element’ that Lagerfeld speaks of shows the importance of the theatrical element on the catwalk.
‘Chanel is theatre, not fashion’ (Fox, 2010)
In fact, Vogue have recently argued the point of ‘catwalk shows have a history of employing the dramatic and the spectacular. Does this enhance or distract from the collections?’ (Alexander, 2014). Fashion Editor of The Guardian criticised that the Chanel show had a “fine line between theatrics and diversion tactics” (Seamons, 2014). This seems to be asking the designer what they want to get out of a collection, is it about the clothes, the theatrical element or the engagement with the press, that Roberts touched on?
Fig 39: Chanel Supermarket, 2014
Fig 40: Linda Tol Chanel, 2014
Fig 38: Karl Supermarket, 2014
Fig 41: Chanel Celebrity’s, 2014
Fig 43: Chanel Shopping Basket, 2014 Fig 44: Chanel Supermarket, 2014
Fig 42: Karl Supermarket, 2014
Fig 45: Front Row Phones, 2013
AS THE LIGHTS GO DOWN, THE PHONES GO UP
SOCIAL MEDIA LOVE AFFAIR With the social media love affair still at the forefront of fashion week, it now seems imperative that a brand fully utilises it, with Pithers (2014) explaining that this has accounted for a 22% rise in the fashion industry, now accounting for £26 billion in the economy, compared to the mere £21 billion in 2009.
Fig 47: iPhone Bag Carrier, 2013
Fig 46: iPhone Fashion Week, 2013
It was in 2013 where we saw the dramatic shift the competition became fierce and focused on the enhancements that technology is now bringing to the fashion world. Now ‘social media strategies are becoming more integrated into fashion week month, with greater than ever focus on truly engaging consumers’ (Arthur, 2014). Where only a few years ago there were big launches, ‘what we now are looking at is the refinements’ (Arthur, 2014). This convergence economy can be easily shown through the current London Fashion Week, with fashion brands making the conscious decision on whether to go either accessible or exclusive.
Fig 48: Neon iPhone
THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS WE’RE CLOSER TO THAT ELUSIVE WORLD OF HIGH FASHION THAN EVER BEFORE Fig 49: iPhone, 2013
(ID MAGAZINE, 2014)
Fig 50: Mulberry Launch, 2014
What became apparent at London Fashion Week A/W 15 was the ever-growing focus on creating a headline grabbing campaign, ‘it was Instagram that proved the most valuable during fashion week month in terms of engagements for designers’ (Arthur, 2014). According to PR and marketing company Bell Pottinger Wired they highlighted ‘consumers are engaging with London Fashion Week 39 per cent more on Instagram than on Twitter’ (Bell Pottinger, 2014). The use of Instagram proved particular popular during the Giles Deacon show, generating 216,000 likes with the first ever catwalk video selfie, shown in figure 53. However, this contrasts sharply to the mere 15,000 likes for the unveiling of Mulberry’s new ‘Cara’ debut bag collection at the same time (Bell Pottinger, 2014). With Mulberry only using Pinterest during London Fashion Week, it could perhaps indicate the need to utilise all social media platforms. It also suggests that Mulberry is not adapting to the new technologies and social media strategies available to them, as compared to other designers.
Fig 53: Cara Delevingne Video Selfie, 2014
Fig 52: Cara Delevingne Video Selfie, 2014
Fig 51: Cara Delevingne Video Selfie, 2014
LET ME TAKE A SELFIE Fig 54: Cara Delevingne Video Selfie, 2014
#OhMW During London Fashion Week 2013, Matthew Williamson became notoriously known for using the social media platform, Vine, in order to engage with fans that weren’t able to attend the catwalk show. Thus it can be said the fashion designer was strongly supporting the push for accessibility. By using the #OhMW hashtag, fans were able to see Williamson’s A/W 14 collections firsthand. In this instance, the use of social media helped break down the barriers between the exclusivity and the accessibility of the catwalk.
There has also been a recent introduction of a ‘Twitter Mirror’ – a first for fashion week, shown in figure 56. ‘The mirror, which works like a photo booth, will be placed backstage and everyone from models to makeup artists will be able to take a snap of themselves. The images will automatically be tweeted from the Matthew Williamson Twitter page and be watermarked with the #OhMW hashtag’ (Mortimer, 2014). This means that the public can post a photo of their outfit and caption it using the #OhMW hashtag, thus prompting more media coverage.
Fig 56: ohMW Twitter Mirror, 2014
Fig 55: ohMW Tweet Us, 2014
Fig 58: Matthew Williamson ohMW, 2014
Fig 57: ohMW, 2014
REBECCA MINKOFF X TUMBLR ‘Rather than just focused on sending out comment from the audience for fans to see, several designers brought the sentiments of its followers into the catwalk arena’ (Arthur, 2013).
Fig 62: Rebecca Minkoff X Tumblr Campaign, 2013
Fig 61: Rebecca Minkoff X Tumblr Shoes, 2013
Fig 60: Rebecca Minkoff X Tumblr Campaign, 2013
Fig 59: Rebecca Minkoff X Tumblr Bag, 2013
This notion of accessibility was also supported by Rebecca Minkoff, yet she took a more sentimental approach. Minkoff teamed up with Nordstrom who set up a campaign on Tumblr, in which Tumblr users had to design t-shirts and totes by using graphics, illustrations and prints that were ‘inspired by our favourite type of women: strong and feminine’ (Minkoff, 2013). The message was powerful as it raised awareness for the need for independency and the winning t-shirt even featured in Minkoff’s show. The collaborative approach of teaming creativeness with sentimental value, coupled with the fact that the public was able to get involved in the campaign, proved to be extremely successful.
Fig 64: Catwalk Most Tweeted Celebrities, 2014
Fig 63: Catwalk Most Tweeted Models, 2014
Harry Styles at Burberry
Christopher Baily Backsage
Fig 66: Most Mentioned Brands, 2014
Fig 65: Catwalk Most Retweeted Celebrities, 2014
Marks & Spencers
Fig 67: iBeacons, 2014
IBEACON New to the app world, iBeacon, a ‘geotargeting’ app created by Estimote and owned by Apple is ‘a small, wireless device, otherwise also called a ‘mote’. When placed in a physical space, it broadcasts tiny radio signals to smart devices’ (Estimote, 2014). This helps brands look at ways of reaching their consumers via their android or iPhone, helping the consumer ‘present relevant information to your device based on the context of where you are’ (Estimote, 2014). With push notifications providing location specific information, helping trigger consumer reaction, it is being described by The Washington Post as ‘how iBeacons could change the world forever’ (McFarland, 2014) with it focusing on the concept of amplified reality.
Sometimes the biggest changes in technology have the smallest beginnings. (Hern, 2014)
Fig 69: iBeacons, 2014
Fig 70: Shelfbucks iBeacon, 2014
Fig 68: Bluetooth Smart Gadget, 2014
With this technology only recently being available in January 2014, fashion brands have already become the early adopters of this technology, such brands as Kenneth Cole, Timberland and Alex + having embraced this technology. With talks already of the iBeacons ‘changing the way we attend events’ (Solaris, 2014). This is why iBeacons could be an ideal tool to help rebrand Mulberry into a more 21st century innovative brand, helping win back and reconnect with their traditional consumer base again, as well as the wider world.
Fig 71: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
MOVEMENTS With Mulberry being renowned for their innocent shows, with Seamons explaining “it doesn’t matter how many cupcakes or dogs you put on the catwalk it doesn’t make it have a wow factor” (Seamons, 2014) it does suggest that Mulberry adopt a safe strategy when it comes to catwalk productions. In the main, they focus on trends surrounding their ethos – the countryside. This can be best demonstrated on Mulberry’s last S/S 2014 show which was themed around an English tea party, using stripes to help represent the lines shown on the fields, shown in figure 73. Whilst this is adopting a key unique selling point to align with the Britishness of their brand, they are also failing to keep up with trend movements throughout the industry. As Nichola Taub pointed out ‘the market is over-saturated with feel good comfort stories’ (Taub, 2014).
‘The market is over saturated with feel good comfort stories’ (Taub, 2014)
Fig 73: Mulberry Catwalk, 2013
Fig 72: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
Fig 74: Alexandra McQueen S/S 14, 2013
One key theme can be found in the more nuance psychological themes with dark marketing strategies evidenced in both advertisements as well as fashion film, with WGSN describing the trend as ‘the rise of dark marketing’. Whilst this trend has been on-going with WGSN explaining that ‘a sense of dark and unknown has been long seen in advertising campaigns from the industry, ranging from the vampire inspiration of autumn/winter 2009/10 feeding inspiration off the back of movies such as Twilight’. This theme has developed and we are now witnessing the trends that ‘go beyond the shock value and explore a more disturbing sense of the unknown’ (Bell 2014). Reference to this can be seen in Alexandra McQueens and Steven Klein Spring/Summer 2014 print and video campaign with reference to voyesium shown in figure 74. Stephen Chavez, Chief Executive of Anyone Collective explained ‘the point of the campaign isn’t about highlighting the collection. It’s about highlighting the consumer’s emotional reaction’ (Chavez in Bell, 2014). Furthermore, the Future Laboratory extoll that ‘people want to be challenged and frustrated, and to experience feelings that adds definition to happiness’ (Firth, 2014).
Fig 76: Alexandra McQueen S/S 14, 2013
Fig 75: Alexandra McQueen S/S 14, 2013
‘ADVERTISERS ARE SHIFTING FROM A FOCUS ON SHOCK VALUE TO MORE NUANCED PSYCHOLOGICAL THEMES IN A WAVE OF DARK MARKETING STRATEGIES.’
Fig 77: Marc Jacobs S/S 14, 2013
Fig 78: Jimmy Choo S/S 2006
Fig 79: Duncan Quinn A/W 2008
This can be seen in recent fashion films, such as Stephen Jones and art director Henry Picus ‘Wisteria Hysteria’ perfume advertisement focusing on the unknown and playing with notion of opposites. Stephen Jones’ PR associate Annika Lievesley recently explained “when Stephen launched his perfume ‘Wisteria Hysteria’ we launched a fashion film to be released at the same time as the perfume launch. It worked really well as it was another dimension to the perfume and showed a story to the fragrance” (Lievesley, 2014). Fig 80: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
Fig 81: Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in True Detective, 2014
Using the motion surrounding storytelling, dark marketing can be shown in movies too as shown in figures 81 and 82 ‘rather than just an eerie shot, we’re beginning to see real focus on storytelling. Designers are increasingly sharing their inspirations through narrative; both in clever photography and of course thanks to the rise in fashion film’ (Arthur in Bell, 2014). This is why using fashion film may be the way forward to help create this idea of storytelling in an intellectual creative way. Nick Knight founder of SHOW studio, believes that ‘fashion film is now recognised as a new medium, offering a unique platform to nurture and encourage fashion to engage with moving image in the digital age’ (Knight, 2013). A concept that could work seamlessly for Mulberry helping re-engage the consumer within the digital age.
Fig 82: Noir Films, 2014
‘Consumers are seeking out ever more extreme experiences that push them to the edge of their comfort zone and make them run the gamut of their emotions.’ (Housley in Firth, 2014).
Fig 83: Momentum: Dance The Barbican, 2014
Fig 84: Oculus Rift, 2014
THE NEW FRONT ROW
TOPSHOP AND OCULUS RIFT Topshop, known as ‘the coolest catwalk at London Fashion Week’ (Flint, 2013) teamed up with Google+ for their A/W 2013 collection, which received highly positive feedback: ‘Topshop and Google changed fashion shows forever?’ (Rickey 2014). It is safe to say that with the initiative called ‘The Future of The Fashion Show’ Topshop are pushing expectations associated with the catwalk. They are expanding their horizons when it comes to the future of the catwalk, by way of recently featuring emerging and pioneering technology; Oculus Rift shown in figure 86. This is an experience led 3D agency that offers spectators a closer look at the action than ever before: ‘the telepresence technology was supposed to make them feel as though they models were walking in front of their eyes, and the celebrities sat right beside them’ (Arthur, 2014).
‘The more virtual the world gets, the more people crave human contact. It’s now a rarefied act, and a certain context needs to be created in order to for that basic human intimacy to exist’ (Rubell in Firth, 2014)
Fig 86: Topshop Oculus Rift London Fashion Week, 2014
Fig 85: Topshop and Google, 2013
Fig 87: Backstage Casting, 2012
Topshop marketing director explained that they ‘are always focused on the customer and their experience whether that be in store or online, and this installation needed to excite and entice our digitally-savvy customer whilst also working within a retail environment’ (Sauvaire, 2014). Sir Phillip Green also explained that this new technology ‘takes the idea of the traditional fashion show to a new dimension, as we continually look for new ways to engage, excite and involve our customers’ (Green, 2014). Topshop have given both the fashion world and the consumer the best of both world approach, mixing both accessibility of London Fashion Week, whilst retaining the exclusivity of the fashion elite. Topshop have recently been referring to ‘this virtual reality installation as not just transporting the viewer, but providing an insight into how we will consume media in the not so distant future’. (Arthur, 2014). Could this be the answer to the debate surrounding the accessibility and exclusivity of fashion week?
‘How do luxury brands keep an air of cool exclusivity whilst representing themselves on free-to-all social media platforms?’ (Propeller, 2013)
Fig 88: Topshop Unique Catwalk, 2013
Fig 89: Mulberry Front Row, 2013
FASHION’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
WHO IS THE CONSUMER? Whilst the celebrity plays a big part in the catwalk invite list, and Mulberry are no exception. Indeed, it could be argued that too much focus is shown on celebrity invite. Whereas celebrity has been used to help create an aura around fashion week, it was revealed that ‘stars were paid £60,000 to sit on a fashion show front row’ (Price, 2012) In particular Burberry shown in figure 90, it could be argued the celebrity focus helps create more attention towards a collection but, conversely, it could also be disputed that using such high profile people could simply distract from the collection thus eliminating the original purpose of the show. After all, the true communicators are not the celebrities but the journalists within the audience. Such designers have recognised this, including Nicole Farhi explaining ‘what do they show you in the papers after a fashion show? Not the clothes, but the celebrities who are being paid to sit at the show’ (Farhi, 2012).
‘It’s fashion week, not celebrity week’
Fig 90: Burberry Catwalk, 2013
(Chalayan in Price, 2012)
Fig 91: Mulberry Celebrity Front Row, 2013
Fig 93: Mulberry Celebrity Front Row, 2013
Fig 92: Mulberry Celebrity Front Row, 2013
Primary research revealed Mulberry have in fact fallen into the easy option of employing celebrities to attend in order to create attention. Fashion editors have expressed there was “too much focus on the celebrity front row and not enough on the fashion” explaining that it became “pointless attending” (Seamons, 2014), with blogger Disney Roller Girl explaining that Mulberry “focused too much on the peripheral details, but not the experience of journalists reporting on the clothes” (Disney Roller Girl, 2014). Whilst this is an interesting topic of debate, one aspect both designers and celebrities hold is the common ground of both demanding as much exposure and credibility as possible. However, in the case of Mulberry, rather than finding the necessary balance, they have weighed heavily on the celebrity culture and have failed to impress the people they should be and demonstrate that celebrities are not a reliable source of authority.
‘These days, hiring celebrities is an integral part of the big labels’ marketing strategies. Whether they’re wearing your clothes on the red carpet or sitting on the front row at your show, the effect is the same. It’s expensive, but some labels will consider it money well spent.’ (Banks in Price, 2012)
THEIR FAVOURITE SHOWS Mary Katrantzou
Fig 94: Their Favourite Shows, 2014
Fig 95: Backstage, 2013
THE BIG DEBATE
EXCLUSIVITY VS ACCESSIBILITY Whilst Mulberry have been faced with a lot of scrutiny over the last eighteen months over their move to become more exclusive: ‘under former boss, Mr Guillon’s leadership, Mulberry pushed up prices in an attempt to become more exclusive’ (Davies, 2014), this has become commonplace within the industry with ‘branding strategies around the luxury market have historically revolved around one thing and one thing alone: trying to become more exclusive’. (Baumann, 2014). However, this method of trying to push Mulberry into a more exclusive market has led to the loss of the ‘company’s core customer base’, which has in turn resulted in major profit losses (Davies, 2014).
‘With London Fashion Week upon us, can we now claim fashion is accessible to all?’ (Alexander, 2014)
Fig 96: Backstage, 2013
Fig 97: Backstage, 2013
Fig 98: Tom Ford, 2013
Again, the need for exclusivity can be witnessed in Tom Ford’s catwalk shows. The fashion designer makes a point of not using social media platforms and only invites fashion’s elite to his shows, in order to retain the exclusive element. In fact his show is described as: ‘shrouded in secrecy and he barred any form of social media use. He seemed to want to get back the exclusivity of old-world fashion glamour and possibly maintain a premium standing in the fashion world by not being as accessible and available to the public’ (High Fashion Social, 2012).
A similar approach can be seen in New York Fashion Week, with the push to become exclusive. Catherine Bennett, the senior vice president of IMG Fashion Events explains the reason behind this: ‘what used to be a platform for established designers to debut their collections to select media and buyers has developed into a cluttered, often cost-prohibitive and exhausting period for our industry to effectively do business’ (Bennett, 2013).
Fig 99: New York Street Style, 2014
Fig 100: Backstage, 2013
“Sharing the show experience with our reader is why we are there” (Seamons, 2014) However, alienating consumers from something that could easily be accessible to them could have devastating effects for Mulberry, as mentioned previously. In fact, WGSN Marketing Editor Arthur (2011) questioned whether Tom Ford’s method and ‘no social media’ policy suited the city of London at all. The British Fashion Council are pushing for the complete opposite by way of ‘aiming to reach wider audience than ever before’ (Arthur, 2011) and with its digital policy streaming a total of 37 shows over the course of the week, as well as a series of fashion films, it perhaps suggests that Tom Ford’s approach to Fashion Week doesn’t quite fit in with London - a city that supposedly ‘lays the courage’.
Furthermore, designers can’t ignore the fact that ‘in the future fashion shows will finally be acknowledged as a consumer event. They used to be trade events but the consumer has been led in through the front door digitally for the last ten years. They’re right there alongside the trade watching the shows, getting inspired and wanting to shop’. (Massenet, 2014) Thus, it can be assumed that there is a potential need to embrace the accessible element, as the consumers are the future of the catwalk.
Fig 101: Street Style, 2013
Fig 102: Mulberry Catwalk, 2013
Fig 103: Mulberry Catwalk, 2013
THE COMPLETE EXPERIENCE DURING
Fig 104: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
AFTER “Too many brands isolate the runway as a moment in time and don’t consider the pre and post opportunities that they could be harnessing and leveraging across the whole season.” (Clifford in Arthur, 2013)
Fig 105: Mulberry Backstage, 2014
“THERE IS A HUGE MOVEMENT TOWARDS SHOWS BEING AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE FROM START TO FINISH” (Roberts, 2014)
Fig 106: Mulberry Catwalk 2013
In depth interviews with Fashion Editors, Bloggers, PR as well as catwalk production personnel identified key issues surrounding their experience on elements they enjoyed and those they didn’t. Using these key findings will help ensure Mulberry has the best chance of rebranding its image to the influential people within the industry.
Fig 108: Dior Invitation, 2011
Fig 109: Mulberry Gold Key A/W 2012
Figure 110: Linda Tol Chanel, 2014
THE MEMORABILIA OF THE TRADITIONAL INVITE// With the recent launch of Fashion GPS, an electronic system that provides ‘control of events with dynamic seating charts, online RSVPs, barcoded invitations, digital check-in, and reporting’. (Fashion GPS, 2014). This is now allowing brands access the easier option of helping track attendees where designers now opt for digital invitations. However, with the advent of a digital world, the use of using a traditional invite was described by Roberts (2014) as a lovely element that hasn’t been lost in the digital world yet. With primary research revealing that memorabilia was a running theme Seamons, explained she liked the invites “with a novelty and keepsake element” (Seamons, 2014). Moreover, PR Ant Waller even referenced Mulberry invitations; “Mulberry a few season ago did an invitation that was a huge gold key (figure 109) – about 2/3 feet long. That was quite memorable”. Waller continued by explaining that the invitations “are good talking points and good for pre-show social media” (Waller, 2014). This keepsake element will be key and should not be lost in Mulberry - not only as the memorabilia aspect but also to provide a ‘sneak-peak’ into what to expect from the collection.
Fig 107: Mulberry Catwalk 2013
Fig 112: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
FASHION FILM// With ‘the rise of fashion film’ (Arthur, 2014), Mulberry could really help themselves by utilising this trend. With Mulberry having experimented with fashion films in the past, Lievesley explained “I think something before during and after the show is an interesting idea” explaining that “you would have to make it really unique and different otherwise you’re seeing the same thing over and over again”. (Lievesley, 2014). This has been seen as a downfall to Mulberry who would be guilty of ‘playing safe’ in fashion film. For this reason Mulberry need to venture into a quirky theme which will be essential to contradict its innocent image and instead focus on current dark trend movements within the industry. Fig 111: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
Fig 113: Backstage, 2013
ACCESSIBILITY WITH EXCLUSIVE ELEMENTS// Fig 114: Goodie Bag’s, 2013
With the British Fashion Council opting for a more accessible catwalk event and, with Seamons, explaining “having shows live streamed and posted on social media makes it even more thrilling to be in the room” (Seamons, 2014) . And Fashion Editor of Vogue, Francesca Burns, agreeing, “I think things should always evolve to meet the demands of its audience” (Burns, 2014). This suggests the push for accessibility to help engage the audience will be key. It is therefore essential ensure the show will be made equally accessible to all audiences wanting to watch. However, the event will have to strike the balance with an element of exclusivity on who attends, yet at the same time, a limit as to the attendees –with key findings showing “too much focus on the celebrity front and not enough of the fashion” (Seamons, 2014). Mulberry are needing to impress the fashion editors on who they place their reliance on positive feedback and impressing the people on the opinions that matter.
GOODIE BAG COMPLEMENTARY// Whilst the ‘goodie bag’ has become an accepted and complimentary token to help the fashion editors, celebrities and bloggers remember the event, other contradictory comments suggested that using the ‘goodie bag’ option had become tired. Waller pointing out “gifts from designers are usually standard in the guest gift bags” (Waller, 2014). This standard element is obviously something they have become accustomed to, so whilst provision of nothing would be seen as offensive, Mulberry should consider something even more memorable to be given as an alternative.
Fig 115: Casting, 2012
AFTERMATH AND FEEDBACK// With Mulberry being renowned for their craftsmanship, using the show in a way to help promote this facet to the audience will be key. This is also the element in which Lievesley lavished praise during an interactive experience “when I get to go backstage and see the clothes in person and up close, it really makes you realise how amazing the craftsmanship is.” (Lievesley, 2014), This will necessitate the use of an element of craftsmanship to exemplify it’s USP and allow the audience look to focus upon and appreciate the craft in more detail. This would also provide an ideal opportunity to seek early feedback from the show and to gain and gauge the acceptance of the rebrand.
Fig 116: Backstage, 2013
THE RE-BRAND There has been a mixed feelings surrounding Mulberry’s previous catwalk events with it being described as “repetitive” (Disney Roller Girl, 2014). Conversely, Burns explaining that the “Mulberry show was once a hot ticket” (Burns, 2014) which directly suggests the ticket is not as ‘hot’ as it once was. It was noted “they focused too much on the peripheral details, lovely catering (figure 117), celebs, goody bag, set design, but not the experience of journalists reporting on the clothes” (DisneyRollergirl, 2014). It is therefore essential to make the show more accessible and more appealing to journalists. By no means would this catwalk show change Mulberry, but the hope would be to address and redefine the connotations associated with it being “dull” (Waller, 2014). Using the catwalk as a platform to help re-identify itself can “re-spark interest and revive brands by putting on a show or showing a collection that surprises the press” (Roberts, 2014).
Fig 118: Claridges, 2013
Fig 120: Alexa Chung, 2013
Fig 119: Teacup and Shoes, 2013
Fig 117: Afternoon Tea, 2013
Fig 121: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
Having evidenced movements that are being shown within the industry, using the method of dark marketing will be a key factor in bringing Mulberry more on trend. Using this approach will assist in removing any connotations of Mulberry’s belligerent reference to the British countryside and instead developing their own maverick and eccentric to become, what London Fashion Week is so famous for, ‘the city that lays the courage’ (Xinhua, 2003). Focusing on two opposites will help make the transition of Mulberry be kept minimal but effective into a convergence economy.
Fig 122: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
Fig 123: Wisteria Hysteria Fashion Film, 2014
THE INVITATION Mulberry’s strength has revolved around the quality and innovation surrounding their invitations; creating an invitation on trend yet retaining the Mulberry ‘edge’ will be fundamental. Previous invitations have focused on teacups, teaming up with Wedgewood seen in figure 125. This was described by the Guardian as the most ‘innovative show invitation’ and also known for topping ‘LFW buzz thanks to tiny teacup Invite’ (The Guardian, 2013). Mulberry truly believes in the concept of an innovative invite. That is why using creative gifting, shown as a trend by WGSN in A/W 2013/2014 catwalk invitations will be used in order ‘to create something truly original and inventive for guests to keep after the show’ (Clarkson, 2013). Naturally, it has the added advantage of a legacy of memorabilia that the guests desired as well maintaining the reputation Mulberry rightly deserves.
“It’s that attention to detail that you appreciate” (DisneyRollerGirl, 2014)
Fig 124: Mulberry Visiting Wedgewood, 2013
Fig 126: A/W 2013 Catwalk Invites
Fig 125: Mulberry Teacup, 2013
Fig 127: Henry Holland Cassette Tape, 2013
Fig 128: Instagram Polaroid Camera, 2014
With Henry Holland referencing the cassette tape (figure 127) for his Autumn/Winter 13/14 show, it showcased the current trends surrounding old school technology. This helped bring the heritage element to the brand via the invite, hence using the new Polaroid Socialmatic camera, shown in figure 128, which links to Instagram would have an instant effect. Referencing the past and heritage is synonymous with Mulberry, so this represents an interesting angle to adopt with a retro-Polaroid positioning with the trend associated with Instagram. In fact the relevance surround the Polaroid stems back in 2009 when ‘the entire fashion industry mourned the death of the Polaroid camera film. For an imageobsessed industry, many felt the hole left by Polaroid could not be filled by anything in digital realm.’ (Blakely, 2012). However, with the upcoming ‘Polaroid Socialmatic’ being released in late 2014, using this platform could be used as a way of creative gifting, as well are creating buzz around the new release of it. It also bravely stands by the significance that Polaroid is not dead.
‘The organic connection Instagram has made to fashion is great. And life just looks better in X-Pro’ (Riedel, 2011)
Fig 129: Instagram Polaroid Camera, 2014
HOW WOULD IT WORK?//
Fig 130: Instagram Polaroid Camera, 2014
Each attendee will receive a Polaroid Socialmatic camera, which will have been designed and personalised to the Mulberry brand shown in figure 130, in which guest will retrieve a pre-printed individual Polaroid picture in which it will invite them to their catwalk show. The beauty of using the camera is it can upload straight to Instagram and ‘with its printer, the camera will be able to print QR codes on the back of each photo - that when scanned, will direct people to the user’s Instagram account.’ (Yong, 2013). This has immediately linked each guest directly to Mulberry’s Instagram portal thus merging the traditional and the digital together. This automatically provides a platform for Mulberry to maintain contact with attendees who will be able to see a future sneak peak of the fashion film or what to expect from the upcoming show via their Instagram page.
Whilst there is a substantial cost element in using the Polaroid camera, Waller explains, “many brands do make a lot of effort with their invitations and these can often be a big part of the budget” (Waller, 2014). As previously described, Mulberry have donated a large part of their production budget on the invitations in the past given they recognise the importance of such. With Mulberry being associated with the Institute of Contemporary Art and having previous collaborations with Wedgewood the hope would be Polaroid willingly enter into a collaboration and to embrace Mulberry’s initiative – after all Socialmatic would be new and the exposure and association with a brand such as Mulberry would represent a ‘win-win’ scenario. Using an expensive form of an invite could be mitigated by not incorporating the goodie bag, seeing as the invite would be a keepsake in itself.
The invite would explain the venue, time as well as explaining on the pre-printed photo that they must bring the Polaroid along to the show and that it would be important to the experience. It would be advised not to advise the reason behind bringing the camera, as this will add to the anticipation. As Hannah Almassi, from Grazia explained “having something that grabs your attention - and that’s usually something tangible, like Henry Holland’s mixtape cassettes for example. These kind of invited do two jobs in my opinion - firstly they remind you of the show and perhaps, the date, time or even theme may already be planted in your head. Secondly, they now create ‘instagrammable’ or ‘tweetable’ material - an insight for your readers, but simultaneously it’ll boost the profile of the designer who sent them” (Almassi, 2014). Using both the method of tangibility and Instagram will do what Almassi purports; it will boost the profile of Mulberry.
FASHION FILM Whilst the invitation helps create the buzz and novelty element around the show, a fashion film will be released on Mulberry’s website as well as a shorter snippet being released on Mulberry’s very own Instagram page. This opens up the audience to those who haven’t been lucky enough to receive an invitation, thus providing the opportunity to look at what to expect from the show, therefore providing the essential accessibility element. The two minute fashion film will be inspired by Stephen Jones and Henry Picnus’ ‘Wisteria Hysteria’ fashion film – referencing the start-up trend that WGSN have coined as a ‘dark twisted fantasy (Dickinson, 2014). The film will be reflected using theatrical elements and styling, using lace, capes and monochrome clothing to help play on the sinister narrative to help add to the mysteriousness of the model.
Fig 131: Behind The Scenes, 2014
Fig 132: Behind The Scenes, 2014
Fig 134: Behind The Scenes, 2014
With Jones and Picnus’ focusing on both rococo and futuristic in their film, this will translate in the style of Mulberry and to have more of an innovative look to remove the connotations that Mulberry held before. Instead of focusing on ‘good stories’ ‘people want to feel like they are taking risks and pushing boundaries. These dark narratives provide that platform’ (Taub, 2014). The underlying theme of the film would be urging the consumer to crave more. Fig 133: Behind The Scenes, 2014
INSPIRATION BOOK Before the show starts each seat will be assigned with a personal book debuting the influences of Mulberry’s collection of the show as ‘understanding a designer’s collection begins with understanding the designer’s influences’ (Ruth, 2014). Using this time effectively will be important, as fashion editors stressed “you do often wait for a long time before the show, so a distraction would sometimes be welcome” (Almassi, 2014). This will enable an opportune time to set the theme of what is about to unfold. This method has previously been used during Phobes Philo’s show for Celine, shown in figure 135, in which it helped the audience understand who ‘Celine’ was ‘the book’s message was clear: the Céline woman does graffiti, but only through the prism of avant-garde art’ (Represca, 2013).
This aide will help the audience understand the influences that has made the collection. Whether this be art, culture or music it is a method for editors to find inspiration behind the collection “as a journalist, when you write about fashion you’re looking at a bigger picture, not just the clothes” (DisneyRollerGirl, 2014). This book would not only help the audience understand the collection more, but Mulberry brand values offering the audience a look into grass roots of a re-branded Mulberry.
Fig 136: Phoebe’s Inspiration Book, 2010
As regards the invite list before the show, celebrities will reflect the established names such as Alexa Chung and Lana Del Ray who have previously collaborated with Mulberry. However, quite critically, in terms of the front row, more attention will be drawn on the editors, PR and bloggers thus ensuring they have a memorable experience, as ultimately these will represent Mulberry’s prime target audience.
Fig 135: Phoebe’s Inspiration Book, 2010
Fig 137: Goodie Bag’s, 2011
Fig 138: Goodie Bag’s, 2011
MULBERRY INSPIRATION BOOK
Fig 140: Mulberry Inspiration Book, 2014
Fig 141: Mulberry Inspiration Book, 2014
Fig 139: Mulberry Inspiration Book, 2014
Fig 143: South China Model, 2012
THE SHOW INTERACTION To help create more accessibility to make a more inclusive and wider audience, the geo-targeting app iBeacon will be used in separate locations from where the show will be streamed. The initiative is to help solve the issue that fashion editors felt like the set design distracted from the collection, with Waller (2014) explaining that the catwalk will fundamentally always be about the clothes. This technology will stream information and will help make it easier to find out more about the collection on-demand. Just like WGSN explained that ‘identifying trends in the communications space no longer consists of radical new thinking’ explaining that ‘we are now looking at the refinements’ (Arthur, 2013) helping focus more on the quality of the product via the iBeacon.
‘Same way mobiles have become smartphones I think clothes will become smartphones if you look 5, 10, 15 years ahead’ (Solaris, 2014)
Fig 142: South China Model, 2012
MULBERRY LIVE Fig 144: Mulberry iBeacon Bag, 2014
Welcome Ms Seamons, I hope you’re enjoying the show You chose to look at our: Small Willow Tote Ballet Pink Grainy Calf £1,350 Share this
HOW DOES IT WORK ON THE CATWALK?// Given the widespread popularity of smart phones, it is quite likely attendees will arrive with their own phone or tablet on them in which they could download an app. Alternatively, a more extravagant option is to provide pre-downloaded apps via iPads to each seat – either way each audience member will have access to a device to assist in their education and fulfillment of the event. In order for this to work, iBeacons will be embedded within the models clothes discretely, shown in figure in 144, which fashion editors and bloggers will be able to transmit data from the collection onto there electronic device of choice, as shown in figure 145, which will provide more detail about the audience to establish the strong and weak points – again in real time. This method was similarly used during Google + and Topshops ‘Future of The Fashion Show’ in which the models paraded the catwalk ‘wearing real-time, HD micro cameras pre-stitched into their clothes and bags so followers could see the show from their perspective.’ (Arthur, 2013) Google explaining it was an ‘instant success, garnering hundreds of press mentions and millions of views across all platforms.’ (Google, 2013). Using this innovative method will give the audience instant information about the collection thus offering them immediate access giving them an exclusive element on the collection in which the public would not be able to obtain. Importantly, this inside information immediately gives the editors the edge over the readership.
The Willow collection celebrates timeless leather craft through shape, style and detailing. The focus of this new collection is structure and simplicity - a beautiful yet practical design finished with signature hardware and detailing. The Small Willow Tote has a removable strap and front envelope clutch that can be zipdetached and used as a single statement clutch. See more Small Willow Tote styles See the inspiration behind the product Save this product for a later viewing
SWIPE TO SEE OUR NEXT CATWALK LOOK Fig 145: Mulberry Live App, 2014
STAGE 3: TALK TO MULBERRY LIVE AND GET INVOLVED
STAGE 1: WATCH THE SHOW LIVE
MULBERRY LIVE Thank you for watching Mulberry live We hope you are enjoying the show Fig 146: Mulberry Live Piccadilly, 2014
What do you think of our current collection?
STAGE 2: DIRECT PHONE AT SCREEN AND START TALKING
Click here if you like it Click here if you arenâ€™t sure
Share you feedback with us: Facebook Instagra,m Fig 147: Ipad Catwalk, 2013
HOW DOES IT WORK PUBLICALLY?//
Whilst the show is performing and in real time, live streaming will be place strategically around London, an example being Piccadilly Circus, where Burberry have streamed previously into a tourist hot-spot. However, the iBeacons will be interacting at a different level with the public just seeking feedback on the show or individual collections, as shown in figure 146 and 148, whereas the editors at the catwalk venue would be privy to more detailed and inspirational detail not available to the public. Naturally, with Mulberry having their own flagship store, it will also provides an opportunity of an additional audience to watch the catwalk show streamed live in store and again, the iBeacon bringing the necessary level of interactivity.
SWIPE TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING LIVE Fig 148: Mulberry Live App, 2014
STAGE 4: ALTERNATIVELY, A LUCKY FEW CAN WATCH LIVE IN STORE
Fig 149: Mulberry Backstage, 2014
Fig 150: Mulberry Live In Store, 2014
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION To ensure the audience have the full experience from start to finish, after the show will feature the audience being able to get involved in the show for themselves. As Firth explained earlier ‘people don’t want to just go to a show, they want to star in it’ (Firth, 2014). This can be exemplified from the Meadham Kirchhoff show where “all the guests used the colorful catwalk set designs as background props for Instagram selfies”. This method was described as “better when the audience feels they have discovered the idea for themselves rather than feeling like you’re being forced to join in with bossy hashtags everywhere. It should feel spontaneous” (Disney Roller Girl, 2014).
With the attendees being asked to bring their invite Polaroid camera along to the show, this will allow the audience to create their own Mulberry story moments of the show via their polaroid camera, enabling the audience to take photos of the set design and posting it directly to Instagram via the camera – again all adding to the memorabilia of the show.
Fig 152: Fendi’s Pre-show Diary, 2013
Fig 151: London Fashion Week AW14
BACKSTAGE PASS AND FEEDBACK “What I would love is to be able to see the pieces up close and in motion. If you are on the fourth row in near darkness you can miss the nuance or important details of a garment. The sheer amount of work and processes that can go into the simplest of items is mind boggling, it’d be lovely to be able to appreciate that craftsmanship and design more than I can until going to a press day and be able to touch and experience the clothes first hand.” (Almassi, 2014)
Fig 153: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
Fig 154: Backstage, 2013
Fig 155: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
Whilst the catwalk has been made very exclusive in terms of being able to get close to the clothes going down the runway, especially considering the price element included in the show, this is something that does represent a lost opportunity. With Mulberry being known for its craftsmanship, this is one element that truly can’t be appreciated during a catwalk show and as the editors are there to judge the clothes, it is a hard element to look for when they are not face-to-face. (Or as Almassi stated, in the fourth row back), thus it is important to address this as it is recognised that fashion editors felt like they couldn’t appreciate the details of garments. As Lievesley (2014) explained that when going backstage and seeing the clothes in person it really makes you appreciate how amazing the craftsmanship is and this is one interactive element that she enjoyed. In fact, London Fashion Week have identified that this is an increasing problem with ‘more and more designers are choosing to show in an intimate style presentation’ (London Fashion Week, 2014) this being due to cost elements as well as designers wanting consumers to appreciate the artistry of the clothes.
Fig 156: Mulberry Backstage, 2013
Although the catwalk show is an accepted norm and more of an elaborate way of presenting collections, creating a ‘mini’ presentation salon could work effortlessly. Using this element would help shrug off the associations of Mulberry being only interested in the peripheral details, and yet go back to the core principles of what Disney Roller Girl explained “it should focus on the product and craftsmanship and make it clear why we are paying £x for their bags” (Disney Roller Girl, 2014). Given this is a rebrand for Mulberry, winning the press will be as fundamental as it will be crucial. As Seamons (2014) explained when journalists and buyers can get up close with a product, it is invaluable when building a brand, and in this case, rebranding.
MULBERRY BACKSTAGE Welcome Ms Seamons,
VIEW S/S 15 COLLECTION
I hope you enjoyied the show We would love to hear your experience from the from our S/S 15 show Tell us your thoughts:
Save for a later date Fig 157: Mulberry Catwalk Show, 2013
Although presentations run over a lengthy period of two hours, as the audience experienced the catwalk show first hand, a long presentation won’t be necessary. With Mulberry’s being the only catwalk show to being held at the prestigious Claridge’s hotel, there won’t be a need to rush the after-show presentation and with Mulberry having used Claridge’s ball room as their backstage, there wouldn’t be any need to move the audience after to another location. However, one element that does need to be taken into account is that some audience members will be attending other shows during fashion’s busiest week and with an exclusive sneak peak at the clothes up close it is something that could be missed. This is why offering attendees the option to view the collection intimately at a later date in Mulberry’s flagship store will allow the option for no one in the audience to miss out. Whilst this element of using a presentation style after the show is risky, with Seamons explaining “I think there will always be room for a traditional intimate salon show, a stripped back catwalk experience and big budget fashion theatre. The secret lies knowing what works best for the label” (Seamons, 2014). The secret might lie that using the ‘best of both worlds’ approach may work seamlessly for Mulberry.
Fig 158: Mulberry Backstage App, 2014
HOW WOULD IT WORK AFTER THE SHOW?// After the audience having fun being able to take photos with the set after the show, the audience again will indulge in the accessibility element, using their electronic device and app, the audience will be able to engage with the product up close using the iBeacon again. This affords the opportunity to look at anything they missed during the show, or wanted to find out more about, as well as being able to take their own photos on the Polaroid camera as a way of creating their own press photos. During this time, it would be a great opportunity for Mulberry to regain feedback from the industry on the show directly via the iBeacon, on what elements the press enjoyed and those they didn’t, as shown in figure 158. This may include the music used, the ambience, the collection itself, the social media strategies – making it accessible to retaining genuine and live feedback.
Fig 159: Mulberry Catwalk Show, 2013
CONCLUSION In conclusion, whilst London Fashion Week will always fluctuate between the ideas of becoming accessible or exclusive, there will be no ideal compromise to suit all. However, using the route of accessibility especially in a time when Mulberry have lost a lot of their customers would prove invaluable. Indeed, it is critical for Mulberry to reconnect so this is not a time for exclusivity. Whilst the route to change Mulberry’s connotations of the brand from being typically British to a darker marketing style can be considered risky during a period of fragility, it could be argued that no matter how exciting the show is it doesn’t determine the success of the brand. As in the case of “the last Louis Vuitton show - the first under Nicolas Ghesquiere - no bells, no whistles, just simple and a great showcase of wonderful product” (Almassi, 2014). In this case, keeping it simple was the key. However as this is rebranding Mulberry’s image, drastic changes in advertising would remain the key and as the new boss of Mulberry recently declared ‘I am confident that Mulberry has the heritage, brand appeal and products to build on what has been achieved’ (Davies, 2014)
Fig 160: Mulberry Catwalk, 2014
It was John Galliano who said ‘shows represent a little piece of something bigger and better than the dreary reality of a boring, modest, politically correct Western society where no one believes in magic anymore’ (Galliano, 2014). With most brands pushing for this in the convergence economy, this is something designers should be opting for with Seamons explaining, “Chanel show is fantastic, those are the experiences that will stay with me my whole life” (Seamons, 2014). Why should Mulberry opt for exclusivity when they can offer something magical for everyone, to help create an everlasting memory of an icon of the British fashion industry.