Fashion world embracing smartphones and tablets more than ever
Fashionistas used to insist on having a BlackBerry by their side, but this year's must-have fashion accessory is the iPhone or iPad, if the catwalks of London and New York are anything to go by.
"iPhone and iPad are changing the way people consume fashionm" says Uzo Oleh, a fashion photographer who has worked for brands such as Burberry and MTV. "Five years ago pictures had to look great on a desktop computer because that's what the majority of people used. Now it's the opposite, more people make decisions based on pictures and websites seen from their iPhones or iPads."
While professional photographers are unsure of the destructiveness in capturing the moment with Instagram, that isn't stopping the trend for Instagram-inspired filters and the shift back towards the instant days of Polaroid.
Fashion is re-embracing the square images in favour of the TV and desktop-loving widescreen shots. Ideas can be shared immediately through iPhone and iPad, as well as, Android - something BlackBerry users miss out on.
"Anyone can be a photographer now; iPhone is like a pen and paper - it's inexpensive and ubiquitous and most importantly available instantly, and the camera is just ridiculously good," says Oleh.
But it's not just about snapping a picture with you're iPad, as many cringeworthingly do. Fashion followers have taken to drawing what they see on the catwalk too.
At New York Fashion Week, Paper, the beautiful drawing app on the iPad, had artists sit at the end of the runways and sketch the models before sharing with those who wanted it.
The app, used by Pocket-lint internally, allows you to jot and sketch ideas in mini notepads and then export pages or the entire book as an image or a pdf. Users can use their finger, or as is normally the case, a stylus.
It's a trick Samsung used to promote its Galaxy Note 2 at New York Fashion Week. Leveraging the Galaxy Note II’s accompanying stylus New York-based designer Alexander Wang used the phone-come-tablet to co-create a print inspired by crowd-sourced sketches from friends, stylists, photographers also using the Galaxy Note II.
The print, still in the making, will appear on a limited-edition bag that will be sold around the world to raise funds for Art Start, a nationally recognised charity that uses the arts to nurture the creative talents of at-risk children.
“I am most inspired from my everyday life and the people that surround me, so the idea of a co-creation with the people that I admire and respect the most is very exciting,” said Wang on the project. “This collaboration represents a new way that technology and style can come together.”
And if you think the Devil Wears Prada's of this world are still BBM-ing, think again. HTC seeded a number of One X+ and One S smartphones to the fashion teams in the UK from titles including Stylist, Grazia, LDN Fashion, Fashion Foe Gras, Abi Marvel, Fashionista Barbie and Coco’s Tea Party so they could snap photos quickly using the phone's Burst mode and edit video on the go before uploading catwalk footage straight to their publications’ YouTube channels.
Then there is Fashion GPS Radar. According to its developers, 92 per cent of fashion editors are using the app that allows fashion editors to share approved images and select lookbooks for potential editorial directly from the runway.
Trying to be an Eventbrite for the fashion industry, the app also organises all the invitations received, so editors have all the information they need on their iPhone and helps event organisers seat attendees at events so everyone ends up in the right place.
If it's not watchers, it's the companies themselves looking to embrace the iPhone, iPad and technology in general.
Burberry - a long time supporter of technology in its flagship Regent Street, London, store - has announced its new Burberry Runway Made to Order service which offers custom-made outerwear and bags, with personalised engraved nameplates.
"On contact with a touchscreen device each piece unlocks a unique video experience, charting its artisan production – including original sketches, runway edits, craftsmanship and personalisation," says the company, although it hasn't gone too much into how that will actually work. In store and those custom videos will welcome customers on huge video displays with a full fanfare.
Burberry also used Twitter-owned video service Vine to tease followers of its Twitter account with 6-second reveals of the new collections up close.
"Online viewers around the world will be able to experience the show instantly through video, imagery and music across multiple Burberry platforms including Burberry.com, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram, in addition to Chinese platforms Sina Weibo and Youku," Burberry told Pocket-lint.
And it's not just Burberry using iOS-only apps to promote its new collections. Matthew Williamson also used Vine and other platforms to spread the word beyond the editors and spectators in the room for his London show.
"For Autumn/Winter 2013, Matthew Williamson will be using digital innovation to bring his social media audience even closer than the front row," his PR agency told Pocket-lint ahead of show.
Snapped by International backstage photographer Sean Cunningham the photographer used the video service to "zoom in on the intricate detail of key looks" on the day sharing snippets of the new collections.
Meanwhile high-street chain Reiss has just deployed iPad to every retail store (more than 100 worldwide) and, for the first time, launched its collection online a day before the collection went it store.
Following Nike and Apple's example, Reiss now lets you order an out of stock item from the iPad in store and either have it delivered to home or collect it. All of a sudden, the store has become a showroom for its online service rather than something separate.
Online and Marks & Spencer is also looking to Apple customers to help it succeed. It is about to start testing a new service in house that will allow users to pay securely with their iPhones, saving them the boring task of entering their payment details every time into the shopping cart. The service, called Paddle, and created by a Cambridge-based company, is due out at the end of the month on the iPhone.
Those looking to try it can turn to another online fashion store; MyWardrobe.com. It works by getting users to snap a QR code that appears on screen during checkout before approving the purchase with their phone. Safe and secure, the company hopes many retailers will sign up for the service.
Back on the high street, and even TopShop is enjoying the boom. It reports that it has seen “exponential” growth through its iOS app, even claiming it is the most successful retail app in the UK today.