From Grindr to Apple TV: How Tech is Changing the Way Brands Communicate

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Burberry Apple TV Us
Image source: Burberry

The most-liked Instagram post of 2015 featured Kendall Jenner lying on the floor with her hair shaped into hearts, wearing a lace gown by Zuhair Murad. In fact, much of Jenner’s success in cracking the fashion industry can be credited to the social media following she has amassed as part of a growing pack of ‘Insta-models.’

As our increasingly digitised society sees print media sales drop year after year, traditional advertising campaigns are falling flat, fast. Today’s fashion-hungry consumer digests everything through technology – be it by reading fashion blogs, shopping online, or monitoring Jenner’s style on Instagram. So how is this changing the way that fashion brands communicate?

On January 11, Burberry launched its own Apple TV channel by using the platform to stream its A/W 16-17 menswear show. For a brand that has famously embraced new technology, it’s an obvious next step. However, Burberry will not be offering in-app purchases – instead, the channel will be used for marketing purposes, live-streaming the heritage brand’s runway shows and giving fans access to beauty tutorials, archived runway footage and exclusive sessions with British musicians.

Last weekend, J.W. Anderson’s decision to exclusively live-stream his A/W 16-17 show on gay dating app Grindr raised a few eyebrows across the fashion community. Grindr users received a secret code on the day of the show to gain access, while those who missed it were able to watch an edited recording afterwards. The young British designer dubbed his decision to partner with the app a “no-brainer”, telling the New York Times: “I think fashion is a sexy platform as well, ultimately.”

This week also sees the announcement that Diesel, under the artistic direction of Nicola Formichetti, has also taken to dating apps to flaunt its wares. The Italian label will be advertising its new underwear range this spring on Grindr and Tinder, as well as websites Pornhub and YouPorn.

While J.W. Anderson may be the first to live-stream a runway show on Grindr, Diesel will become the first to advertise on the dating app. “I want to go where people are,” Formichetti told i-D magazine. “Tinder, Grindr and Pornhub might appear a little left field, but it’s Diesel – we can do it, we’re not scared of these places.” With Pornhub being the 64th most-visited website in the world and Tinder sitting at number 72 in the App Store’s top free app chart, Formichetti might be on to something – perhaps 2016 will be the year that fashion takes on dating apps.

Finally, of course, there’s Instagram, which was once dubbed by Eva Chen, the company’s head of fashion partnerships, as the “water cooler” of the fashion community. Brands like Michael Kors, designers like Olivier Rousteing and models like Gigi Hadid have built up huge followings on the social media platform – but it has also created a democratisation of fashion, giving new designers and tastemakers the potential to broadcast to anyone, anywhere.

Now, some brands are pushing Instagram’s potential even further, with exclusive fashion shows, ‘Insta-shoots’, and behind-the-scenes access from the likes of DKNY and Misha Nonoo. This week, Saint Laurent finally joined Instagram (@YSL). When a brand helmed by someone as elusive as Hedi Slimane jumps on the social media bandwagon, it’s certainly a sign of the times.

Reported by Grace Howard