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More brands are turning to social media in place of events to launch products – an approach that has been called ‘social unveiling’. Saluting the ability of social media to reach a wide audience quickly, designers and brands are choosing platforms such as Pinterest (a pinboard-style photo-sharing website) and the Snapchat photo messaging app to debut new goods. This approach is creating an incentive for online engagement with brands and generating media attention. Meanwhile, this very contemporary approach to promotion optimizes campaigns for sharing.
Several fashion brands choose the recent fashion week season to debut their new looks online. Accessories and leather designer Rebecca Minkoff, for instance, previewed looks from her New York fashion week show via Snapchat, the app most-known as a launch pad for selfies. Minkoff snapchatted looks for just ten seconds or so a few minutes before they hit the runway. The designer told tech website Mashable: “The consumer has a voice and say in [our] brand, they should get special perks even if they can’t attend the show.”
Meanwhile, dedicated followers of the J Crew fashion house on Pinterest were lucky enough to be the first to see the new autumn 2013 catalogue – and this medium offered fans a quick, easy to read and view summary of new pieces and the option to immediately pin their favourites.
Amazon’s Collections feature, introduced in summer 2013, has been described as a Pinterest lookalike. Much like the online pinboard, Amazon Collections enables users to collect lists of items they would like to purchase. When browsing the site, users can add a ‘Collect’ button (resembling Pinterest’s “Pin It” button) to their bookmarks bar to easily grab items to add to their lists. Clearly, this is a more dynamic way to make image-rich wish lists, making it easier for shoppers to visually curate Amazon products alone, without having to leave the website.
In September 2013, photographer Michael O’Neal collaborated with Vogue to debut an Instagram fashion shoot which had all the photos taken and uploaded with a smartphone. September’s #VogueInstaFashion series, using only an iPhone, was the first high fashion shoot on the photo-sharing app . This shoot featured models in New York locations and combined couture with accessible technology for a wider audience. Writing in the UK’s Observer newspaper in October 2013, Eva Wiseman says: “This is how we see fashion now – on palm-sized screens, double-clicking with thumbs. We see the details on couture gowns the second they’re presented, the shoe of the season before the season even starts. Fashion today is designed to be seen on screen – colours that
will pop, make you pause. Accessories that look unusual and kitsch enough to be regrammed across phones, cities, countries.”