Luxury Fashion Brands and APP’s
The past weeks I have done a lot of research to find out how digital involved the fashion industry is. Hereby I am solely concentrating on Luxury brands and their digital involvement. How are luxury brands using new media? Every week I am doing a little case study to find out how digitally involved this industry is.
In my first blog I did a case study about live-stream fashion shows. To find out more about the possibilities of live stream and which brands are incorporating new technologies like 3D and holograms. In another blog I tried to find out how luxury fashion brands are using social media and with what goal they are using social media.
To continue my digital fashion investigation I would like to concentrate in this blog on Luxury brands and fashion App’s.
Firstly I asked myself what does the term APP means? Wikipedia gives the following explanation: ” An APP is an abbreviation for application. App may also refer to a lightweight application, tailored to a device’s form factor and input-output interfaces (key pad, touch pad, remote control, display, etc). Devices may include such things as a mobile phone, a TV set, a cable or satellite receiver, a tablet PC, a printer – any device whose features can be extended through software’.
Secondly I would like to answer the question why Luxury brands are creating app’s and on which platform. On Luxury daily I found the following answer: “Luxury brands are developing mobile applications because they are already aware that a complete marketing strategy requires mobile marketing. Most luxury brands have a mobile application available for just Apple. One reason is that research has shown that Apple consumers typically have more disposable income. Another possible reason is that Apple has pioneered application stores for the rest of the smartphone industry.”
Now that I have this information I can start my little case-study and try to find out: Which luxury brands are creating App’s? What kind of App’s are they creating?
With what goal are these App’s created? To answer these questions I simply began searching on the www and I found out that there are hundreds of fashion apps available for mobile fashionista’s. For my research I want to concentrate only on luxury brands and what they create for their admirers. I found out that almost every label nowadays has an app. The most important thing luxury brands offer with their app is the streaming of their new runway show collection. The runway show has recently become more available via the internet, providing users with previously unimaginable access to the artistic vision of the houses they most admire. Once the exclusive domain of celebrities and industry insiders, the catwalk has now become the visual province of legions of connected fashion devotees across the World Wide Web. This increase in accessibility has, in turn, afforded portability through mobile devices, allowing audiences a glimpse into the previously unattainable, without regard for time or space.
In this blog I will introduce some app’s that I thought were interesting and progressive. As I digged deeper in the subject it become clear to me that app’s by individual designers are roughly the same. Each generally offers runway video footage and photographs, a slideshow of the current season collection, a news feed, some background history about the designer and most important a store locator. Chanel is an example of a label which offers this basic informational app. Digital runways where fashionista’s can look at the images and a store locator where they can find their nearest shop and buy everything they want from their favorite brand. Diana von Furstenberg goes a step further which allows costumes to shop digital trough the app.
But there are also some brands who offer more exciting app’s. App’s where consumers can interact, play, lean and communicate with each other and the brands. Louis Vuitton for example offers fans something different. They created a digital little booklet with information about their famous handmade trunks. An app with information about the heritage of Louis Vuitton, 100 pictures of trunks and an interview with the chief Patrick-Louis Vuitton.
Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Gucci
Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Gucci go even a step further by adding interactive elements. Donna Karan for example includes a few novel elements and enables the costumer to book appointments with personal shoppers, the option to read interviews and pursue Donna Karan’s answers to style questions.
Ralph Lauren offers their costumers a design app. ‘Rugby Ralph Lauren Make Your Own’ where costumers can design, share and purchase their own designed rugby shirt, polo shirt or sweater.
Gucci offers their clients an application for iPhone and iPad named ‘Gucci Connect’ where admirers can receive exclusive LIVE access to the Milan fashion show through their mobile device. Besides the Live runway and behind the scenes footage are viewers able to chat live (through Facebook and Twitter) with other virtual guests. Hereby Gucci ties Social and Live elements to their events.
Furthermore Gucci offers interactive games that celebrates the children line, where children can assemble looks ad paint new photo’s on blank canvas. They offer music applications like “Gucci Live’ and the “Gucci Music Channel’ where fans can buy music through iTunes that creative director Frida Giannni recommends. Besides they offer subscribers the chance to stay up to date of upcoming brand events an feature article’s. Lastly they offer the famous Gucci ‘Little Black Book’ where the brand recommends the hottest restaurants, nightclubs and hotels in various cities around the world. Thanks to these app’s not only customers but also admirers of luxury brands have the opportunity to engage and interact with their favorite brands.
Finally I wanted to find out if Burberry made an app. “As the most innovative digital luxury fashion brand” I expected a lot from them. But what surprised me is that creative director Christoper Bailey argued during last spring/summer 2011 collection “ I really resisted doing an app. I don’t want to get into checking boxes. I tell people we should focus on who we are.” Pretty weird for such a progressive director to neglect app’s. A year later Bailey must have changed his mind because two weeks ago he created an app and launched an new concept for only invited consumers, pushing the retailer into a new level of consumer engagement whereby it changed the relationship with only its core customers. Still weird that he created an app for only his core costumers. Because Bailey wanted to make Burberry progressive, digital and available for everybody. Connecting the average with the elite and the customers with the admirers. “It is the most widely followed fashion brand on Facebook.” Despite that he created in 25 flagship stores worldwide a ‘Retail Theatre’ where invited consumers got the change to watch the Burberry show live streamed from London’s fashion week. In-store consumers had the ability to browse the entire Burberry collection on the iPad while watching the London Fashion Week show, which was streamed onto 10×10 foot screens with surround-sound. Meanwhile thanks to the Ipad they where given the chance to engage and place orders via the Burberry Ipad application.
In this blog I mainly focused on the apps created by Luxury brands. Most of the app’s are created for costumers and admirers, to give them more background information, show them the new collections and offer a store locater where they can buy whatever they like. Luxury brands are creating app’s to keep their digital costumers satisfied and connected by keeping them entertained, informed and offer them advice, styling tips and the opportunity to shop online. Most app’s are open to be used by whoever is interested, furthermore they are mobile and digital so they can be used everywhere.
Apps have the possibility to make luxury fashion more available and open for everyone who is interested. Hereby fashion has the possibility to lose it exclusiveness. It is not only something for customers and the elite but also for admires and fans who want to stay connected and up to date. Thanks to the digital involvement luxury brands can become more mainstream. Weird is that Burberry is an extreme stimulator of making fashion available for everyone, but still they created an app only available for their core customers. Burberry decided to make an app that was only available for the elite, an app that was available only in Burberry’s flagship stores.
I am wondering if maybe in the further more luxury brands will make a distinction between app’s for admirers and app’s for their consumers. To still keep an division between the luxe/elite and mainstream. Inviting their core consumers for digital events and let their admirers enjoy these events on their digital devices by providing them with backstage images and video’s.