the future is now
In a world in which privacy no longer seems to exist, fashion brands are clamouring to keep up with the breakneck speed of the ever-changing rules. Social media can be a wonderful tool and Burberry knows full well to embrace its power. With a total reach of more than 38 million followers across 19 global platforms, the proudly British brand is leading the charge in the innovation department.
In September 2015, Burberry followers were given the first glimpses of the spring/summer 2016 womenswear collection on the popular image-messaging app Snapchat, a full day before the scheduled runway show. “With Snapchat, Evan Spiegel (co-founder and CEO of the app) has created a phenomenal platform that captures the spirit of a moment," said Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer and CEO of Burberry. “The Burberry Snapchat show (allows) a unique, real-time view of the creation of our show which will include an unprecedented collection premiere hours before it hits the runway."
Snapchat is used by over 100 million people daily all over the world, who watch more than four billion videos every day. Never before has any other brand used the platform in this way and the pay-offs were immediate. The spring/summer 2016 womenswear show content generated more than 200 million views on the app, and it cost Burberry nothing. A month later, Burberry released its first Snapchat advertising campaign. Shot by famed fashion photographer Mario Testino, it allowed followers to preview the campaign images months before they appear in print.
Under the stewardship of Bailey, Burberry has also been a patron of the local independent music scene, with young British artists such as Tom Odell, Jake Bugg and Alison Moyet allowed the chance to perform at their runway shows. In September last year, it was the first brand to get its own channel on Apple Music, featuring live performance videos from established and up-and-coming artists. This came not long after Burberry’s then chief executive Angela Ahrendts moved to be Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores.
Meanwhile, Burberry’s February shows made their debut on Apple TV, alongside live streams on Burberry.com and selected flagship stores. Burberry ’s innate understanding of what it takes to be at the forefront of fashion has also seen the heritage house make some bold moves. Beginning in September 2016, Burberry will replace its traditional four-show calendar with just two shows. Menswear and womenswear will share the same runway and the collections will be seasonless in order to cater to a global audience. In addition, the collections will be available for sale immediately following the show, so fans no longer need to wait months to buy their favourite pieces.
“The changes we are making will allow us to build a closer connection between the experience that we create with our runway shows and the moment when people can physically explore the collections for themselves," says Bailey. “Our shows have been evolving to close this gap for some time. From live streams to ordering straight from the runway to live social media campaigns, this is the latest step in a creative process that will continue to evolve."
Burberry has also amalgamated its three lines – Brit, London and Prorsum – into one, Burberry. This streamlining process will be done over the course of 2016, lessening confusion and providing clear and concise direction. In adapting to the speed of the digital era, the brand’s main advertising campaigns will also appear in key digital and print media immediately after the collections have been presented.
Along with its many challenges, the borderless frontier of the Internet age has presented the greatest opportunities for growth and progress and none have responded as quickly as Burberry. Bold, innovative and creative, the British brand knows that the biggest rewards come from taking risks. Technology is an inescapable part of fashion and those who seek to embrace it can only reap the greatest benefits.