Runways were once restricted to the elite few who received exclusive and highly coveted invites to shows like Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and Burberry. Live streaming Fashion Week, which has existed for years now, has paved the way for unprecedented access to Fashion Week despite what your status (or lack thereof) was within the fashion industry. And this democratization is more apparent this Spring/Summer 2012 season.
IMG has been responsible for the production of the Fashion Week for years now, which was rebranded as Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in 2009. But under the terms of a recent partnership deal between IMG and Rightster, in collaboration with YouTube, participating bloggers and publications can stream Fashion Week shows live or on-demand.
What this means, for those of us without an invitation to a show, is that you’ll be able to watch many of the runway shows from the comfort of your homes (or offices) on various participating blogs and publications. Fashion bloggers or aspiring fashionistas living as far away as Los Angeles or stuck in the Midwest like Wisconsin can watch the show live, and at the same time live blog or Tweet their critique for their readers.
You may not be sitting or standing alongside the runway in Lincoln Center, but it’s the next best alternative considering that you’re watching the same models and clothes walking out from behind the catwalk at the same time as Anna Wintour.
Democratization once sparked the same fear among the fashion elite, and in light of this, it’s an audacious move by IMG, which is contributing to the transformation of the once-elitist perception of fashion while dissipating the air of exclusivity.
We can remember when WordPress and Blogger birthed a new blogger culture in fashion. Unbeknownst to fashion editors, buyers and executives, bloggers began taking over the coveted front row seats, while fashion veterans were pushed back to the second or even third rows. It was a cause for concern among editors who felt that critiquing fashion should only be merited if he or she worked their way up through the ranks at Vogue, W Magazine, Elle or other fashion publications. Of course, over time, editors and other fashion industry folks warmed up to the celebrity bloggers like Tommy Ton, Bryan Boy and Jane Aldridge – most of who were inspired by Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist and Garance Dore – and embraced the change.
We’re witnessing the next step in the evolution of the fashion industry, and it’s exciting. With new tech adopted by the fashion elite, fashion is converging toward a trend of accessibility, which in turn may inspire the next generation of fashion bloggers, designers and editors that may not necessarily reside in New York City.
For the fashionistas out there you can watch Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 live, courtesy of Rightster and IMG, between September 6 and September 13. We’ve also included the full schedule of live runway shows from the 33 participating designers.
Francis Bea is a New York-based contributing technology writer for Digital Trends, and writes about anything that excites his inner geek. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him working on Pop ‘stache, a Chicago music blog, and other miscellaneous projects. Follow Francis on his Facebook and Twitter.