Periscope is the it app for brands during Fashion Week

Fashion brands are going ga-ga for Periscope.

According to SocialBakers, NYFW designers have shared 47 Periscope live streams since the start of the shows on Friday. So far, BCBG shared the most with 13 live streams so far, followed by Desigual with four — both brands had shows on the first day of Fashion Week. Tommy Hilfiger, Jeremy Scott and Carolina Herrera are among brands that are also Periscoping their runway shows. And Ralph Lauren is expecting 10 million people to tune in when it shows on Sept. 17.

“The fashion community was one of the first to embrace Periscope when it launched, and now for fashion week, we’re seeing designers, fashion brands and models creating a multitude of engaging Periscope broadcasts to bring fashion closer to their fans,” said Rachel Dodes, head of fashion partnerships at Twitter, which has actively been working to get more haute couture brands active on Twitter and Periscope both.

Brands like Perry Ellis and Nautica both used the application to stream runway shows and for backstage peeks for Men’s Fashion Week earlier in the summer. But this is the first major fashion week where 6-month-old Periscope has existed. While brands have used Periscope for the past few months, “for fashion, this is the first NYFW for which the new live streaming channels will be a major play for brands,” said Tim Dunn, director of strategy at Isobar U.S.

The content on these streams varies: Some have straight shows — model after model strutting down the runway. Others will have pre-show events, or take a tour of the A-list front-row audience. Some brands will combine both of those and also have streams touring the designers’ ateliers before or after the show happens.

About 40 years’ worth of videos are broadcast on Periscope every day. And Twitter says fashion is one of its most popular categories. Experts say that typically, runway shows act as shop windows for potential buyers, who then wait weeks or months to see the wearable versions of those clothes appear. Dunn said that now, they are direct-to-consumer channels — and live streaming acts as advertisements for that.

Periscoping also changes how brands approach the idea of exclusivity. “Trying to hide behind a magic curtain of mystique no longer plays so well now that younger generations of luxury buyers are used to access-all areas,” said Dunn.

This year, Twitter is making Periscoping part of its NYFW strategy — along with custom emojis every time you tweet #NYFW, designers and fashion editors are encouraged to show backstage and shows via live stream. And most of the content on @TwitterFashion is about designers’ Periscope events.

Live streaming at fashion week isn’t new: IMG, which puts on the show, told Racked that streaming is a very important part of the brand’s NYFW presence — some of the earliest brands, like Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs, did it as far as back as 2009 and 2010.

Alexander Wang, for example, had a live stream of its NYFW show last week on its website, available as an embeddable video. Ralph Lauren is putting a live stream of its show on its website and also on giant billboards in London so those in the U.K. can get a front row to its New York shows. And the NYFW app lets people access 51 shows.

“Periscope presents brands and designers with a whole new way to share video,” said Dodes. “Watching a video on Periscope is unlike watching a video on any other platform, because it’s live and the audience can engage and, in some cases, influence the outcome, which is powerful.”

But setting up your own live stream is expensive — one agency put an estimate at $20,000 a show, at least, whereas Periscope is free. But data that comes from streaming can be used for real business decisions. Periscope, which lets users comment on streams right then and there, can also be used as on-the-spot market research to see what consumers are liking and what they’re not. As one buyer, who did not want to be named because she wasn’t authorized to speak for her company, said, “I don’t have to wait to find out what people thought of those pants.”

Homepage image via BCBG