The fashion world is circling Snapchat.
Witness designer Carolina Herrera’s decision to launch her 2017 resort collection exclusively on the Snapchat publication Sweet last week. It showed the collection through a short video, using the 16-year-old actress, Kiernan Shipka, as the model.
The move was another step into the digital space for Herrera, whose team isn’t shy about experimenting with technology to preview collections. Just last year the company used virtual reality and live streamed Herrera’s Fall 2016 collection using 2,360 cameras to create a 360 degree video experience for viewers, which was produced by Livestream. The brand itself is also on Snapchat and has a million followers on Instagram.
“We decided to partner with Sweet because we like to be first with experimenting,” said CEO Francois Kress.. “No one in fashion has done anything significant with them and it’s the perfect cross road between publishing and social media.”
Luxury brands are at a crossroads themselves as many are forced to figure out how to enter into e-commerce, social media, and an increasingly consumer-driven push towards see-now-buy-now models, while trying to maintain the exclusivity the industry has been built on.
But Herrera has embraced the idea of going all out on digital. In April this year the brand launched a new website with a live chat component, something Burberry and Louis Vuitton have already adopted, to enhance customers’ online experience. With a click of a button, shoppers can be connected to a “style concierge” who can organize appointments or give information at any time.
“It’s live e-commerce with a human being,” said Kress. “We’re trying to inject human element into the digital world, which is so important when it comes to luxury.”
While most of Herrera’s luxury lines, like the resort collection previewed on Sweet, may be out of the price range for most of Snapchat’s millennial audience, Kress said the project wasn’t about driving sales.
“It’s about making the brand relevant and educating future customers. In luxury, everyone should know your brand,” he said. “We are enhancing the desirability of the brand, even if we think the audience isn’t available to purchase products.”
Building relevance and connecting with millennials is a move many luxe brands are trying to make. Gucci and Fendi for example have both just previewed 2016 pre-fall collections through interactive video, which in Fendi’s case offers a choose-your-own-adventure series of videos, with behind the scenes footage, aimed at making the brand feel more accessible to consumers.
“We see at fashion shows the editors are watching shows through their phones because they’re capturing video,” said Kress. “Shows need to be covered by social media and it’s not important, it is essential to launch collections through digital and social.”