Thought Leader: Tech-led fashion: what can event profs learn?

Laura ChalcraftBy Laura Chalcraft, Operations Director, Sledge

We can gain a lot of inspiration from industries other than our own, especially those that champion creativity and push conventional boundaries, like many of us event professionals consistently strive to.

One particular sector that has been leading the charge of late, is the world of fashion. In many ways, brands are taking traditional modes of marketing and injecting them with a whole new surprise and delight factor.

With this in mind, below I delve into three key examples of this approach, and explore how each can be applied to events.

Democratisation through gamification

From Balenciaga’s Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a video game set in 2031 that was tied to the launch of a new collection, to Net A Porter’s ‘fantasy island’ within Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons game, many fashion industry leaders have looked to gamification in recent years.

They recognise – and leverage – the power of collaboration to raise awareness of their brand and their offering, and by providing consumers with access to their pieces and their headquarters, they invite all of us to experience their wares via experiences that place fun and play at their core.

When it comes to live events, it presents us with opportunities to similarly consider creative and strategic partnerships that reflect our clients’ industry, values and objectives, and explore ways to bring these virtual gaming experiences to real world spaces.

The metaverse, but make it hybrid

Perhaps one of the biggest buzz words of the pandemic era, the metaverse has been heralded for its ability to bring people together virtually, based on their shared interests and passions. Brands from Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger, to Nike and Adidas have a presence there, and there’s even an annual Metaverse Fashion Week, which launched on the Decentraland platform in 2022.

We know that there’s nothing quite like face-to-face interactions, though, so what if we created experiences for audiences that encompass both? This can be achieved by, for example, instead of focusing on the one large-scale event each year, we develop event series’, and continue the conversation between events via the metaverse.

Finding the perfect balance between these two worlds could be the way to create and foster genuine communities, while driving ongoing brand advocacy in subtle and meaningful ways.

New ways with the humble PR stunt

Real, oversized objects floating down The Thames, popping up on Oxford Street, and appearing on the London Underground: this was once a common trend.

Now, brands such as Jacquemus with its oversized Bambino bags on wheels in Paris, to Gucci with its VAULT spotted high in the sky, are leveraging technologies such as 3D video and CGI to create viral stunts, which are then amplified via digital platforms, such as social and web.

The benefits of this approach are that it can be more affordable than producing the real thing, and there are fewer constraints around elements such as time and weather. For our industry, it’s a potentially effective way to generate pre-event buzz, as well as continue the momentum during and post-event – particularly among those who couldn’t attend.

Inspiration abounds within the fashion sector, and these examples highlight that there are many ways that we too, can weave technology throughout our events and wider campaigns to enhance the attendee experience, and grow both brand awareness and affinity.

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