Rakuten Marketing finds designers are leveraging online influencers to convert shoppers in the moment

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Now as high-tech as it is high-fashion, excitement around London Fashion Week is as much about the new collections as it is the innovative technologies and strategies being employed to show and promote them. While it’s now expected that designers will live-stream catwalk shows and invite top fashion bloggers to sit alongside Anna Wintour on the front row, research by Rakuten Marketing shows that some designers are making a far greater impact than others online.

With 503,404 mentions across Twitter and 113,348 images tagged on Instagram during SS16 in September, social media has emerged as the true voice of London’s leading fashion event. This year, innovative brands are pushing the boundaries even further.

Leading designers including Burberry and Topshop have announced ambitious plans to transform digital engagement for the event and deliver experiences directly to the consumer.

Topshop is evolving the livestreaming concept it pioneered at last year’s fashion week by hiring professional photographer and founder of SHOWstudio, Nick Knight, to shoot and post its runway show in real-time to Instagram and Periscope.

Meanwhile Burberry’s “See-Now-Buy-Immediately” will see everything on the catwalk available to buy online and in stores immediately afterwards, alongside live social media campaigns to accompany each new collection further driving online engagement and sales.

Leading lights

As the catwalk lights up, research by Rakuten Marketing to analyse social chatter around London Fashion Week reveals how these efforts have affected brand awareness in the run up to and during the first few days of London Fashion Week.

Leading the pack by a significant margin, Topshop Unique has driven social engagement numbers far in excess of its closest competitors, with 9,486 tweets tagging its brand and latest collections over the last four days.

The return of Mulberry, absent from the London fashion week calendar since 2013; and also the homecoming of Alexander McQueen after 15 years in Paris saw engagement shoot up for these labels with 4,561 and 8,098 tweets respectively.

Burberry has similarly enjoyed impressive engagement from the announcement of its plans to launch a see-now-buy-immediately women’s and men’s collections, generating over 6,946 tweets.

Other brands in poll position include Julien MacDonald (4,566 tweets) and Vivien Westwood (1,112 tweets).

Nick Fletcher, director of multi-channel services at Rakuten Marketing, said: “London Fashion Week remains a must-attend event for designers to showcase their collections, however it’s now becoming so much bigger than the catwalk itself. It is no longer possible to keep the catwalk separate from the online and in store experiences. Customers want to engage directly with the brand in real-time in these moments.”

“Designers have long understood the power of influencer, with many brands partnering with famous faces to front major advertising campaigns. Today, this influencer has shifted online. The designers that are making the most of London Fashion Week are inviting bloggers, models and fashion partners that have the biggest and most relevant online influence to get involved by sharing photos, video and other exclusive content from the front row and back stage – or live-blogging from home.”

The Top 10 Most Tweeted Designers at London Fashion Week

TOPSHOP UNIQUE 9486
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN 8098
BURBERRY 6946
JULIEN MACDONALD 4566
MULBERRY 4561
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD 1112
HOUSE OF HOLLAND 761
Emilia Wickstead 461
Paul Smith 307
Christopher Kane 302