Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come...

Editorial: KCD's Digital Fashion Shows

 WWD has reported that PR firm KCD is launching an online digital platform for designers to show their collections to a select audience of press and buyers. The first show being produced by KCD and King & Partners, a New York digital agency founded by creative director Tony King, is for designer Prabal Gurung. It is scheduled to be broadcast during the upcoming New York fashion week shows.

"Invited" guests will be emailed passwords that will allow them access to this "invitation only" video streaming presentation. KCD expects to charge designers in the future anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 for the production. "Every journalist will get what they need to review the show," declares Ed Filipowski. He says the shows are for the use of the fashion industry and not the public. However, an embedded video will be available one hour after the show, so it is likely Youtube will be playing it soon after.

 This project is more-or-less a scheme by KCD to make more money from those designers who do not want to produce a live fashion show. The agency is trying to sell the idea to the CFDA as a way of relieving the congestion of so many live shows going on during fashion week. But we see it as just another bad idea for several reasons. First, most designers are not going to give up having a live show because the press and the buyers want them. The live show is part of the "ritual" of fashion and being there is as important as what is shown. Even live streaming of a show is no substitute for being there. No matter what anyone says, seeing the clothes live and getting the feel of the audience response to a collection is a very important part of the review process.

Secondly, any designer can shoot a video for a few hundred dollars of his or her show and put it up online on Youtube or their own website. It will be immediately accessible to everyone or, if they prefer, they can also send out emails with passwords to only those they want to see it.

And finally, within a day or so of any major or even minor show, videos, photos and complete lookbooks from photographers who were at the show are already being posted, and reporters, bloggers, and friends of the designer have or will have already uploaded reviews and critiques. So why does any designer have to pay KCD upwards of $300,000 for what is going to be up online anyway -- mostly for free?

-Ernest Schmatolla

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