Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Gets Technical

“Along with a glamorous new location and a bigger-than-ever Fashion’s Night Out opener, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is getting another upgrade this year: technology.”

Technology is becoming integrated in and opening doors for opportunity within all industries but it appears to have taken a longer time to become a part of the fashion world. This may be down to the two opposing demographics of the techno wiz’s and the fashion conscious, but the two are now starting to merge together. Technology has become a part of seating plans, guests lists, look-books etc. The industry is evolving into the 21st century and Fashion GPS is owed credit, due to its web-based event-planning and inventory-tracking system which has helped simmer down the potential chaotic environment surrounding fashion week. 2010 was the first season Fashion GPS was introduced into the real world through specialised systems within Fashion GPS catered to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week designers showing at Lincoln Centre.

“In 2010, we feel technology should play a very very active part in how the shows are run, besides being broadcast,” Levy says. “The idea is to have people not be inconvenienced for doing what they are doing, which is working.”

Peter Levy is the senior vice president of IMG Fashion and he is a theoretical endorser for involving Fashion GPS alongside other technological advancements being made within the fashion industry. Fashion GPS is helping organise the system into a more simple and structured procedure for all involved within the industry from stylists to designers to those working behind the scenes of a catwalk show.

RoseTinted will also be helping those involved within fashion events as it helps them monitor the tasks at hand and the time each of them must be completed by along with other functions available. Glass however helps push RoseTinted into a more specific and useful category as Glass itself is the USP of being there when you want the technology but also unobtrusive at the same time, allowing for the wearer to carry on the tasks at hand without being interrupted. Whereas Fashion GPS is currently only available on iPad, Tablets and mobile phones and therefore would require the person using the app to leave the task at hand to explore what Fashion GPS is instructing them to do.

Fashion GPS usually costs $350 a month per user but they offered a free subscription for the designers involved within the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Offering free subscriptions for a limited time will allow designers to access and use Fashion GPS and all of its qualities enough to organise their show as well as get used to the idea of owning it. Therefore, once the show has ended along with their subscription they would be tempted into investing into the app which helps them easily navigate and organise their company. Fashion GPS may of made a small loss at the beginning with offering free subscription but the possibilities of designers sighing up afterwards as well as the advertisement offered by Mercedes-Benz will, in the end, help them make the money back and then some.

“We figured out that designers send out these books after the fashion show, they send out these books and it takes forever, and then the publications look at the books and they do the requesting. We thought, “Maybe we should digitize all this, along with the tracking.” And that really has been a big hit for the company.”

Eddie Mullon describing the arrival of Fashion GPS.

Eddie realised that the fashion industry wasted vast amounts of time, materials and money sending and losing both samples, look books and designs off around media publications, buyers and celebrities and therefore envisioned this all becoming digitalised to help smooth over the process. He had currently been working alongside designers such as Dona Karen helping them track their samples and helping them save money through this, but he stretched out the companies functions by exploring where in the industry needed to be developed. He found the niche market in 2003 but it took the Industry till 2010 to embrace the technical concept of Fashion GPS as well as the company to understand the fashion industry.

“I think [our value] has become apparent in the industry now; it was a lot harder four of five years ago for us to show our product as a company, because they didn’t really understand the value of it. Paying $400 for a brand is not that much at all.”

It has taken the fashion industry time to accept the usefulness and possibilities within technology but now that they have the influence it makes will grow rapidly, Fashion GPS have taken the first largest steps and it will undoubtedly have other companies, either bigger or smaller following in them. In relation to the costings of Fashion GPS, Eddie states here that $400 will not create a large dent in some designers bank accounts and even for those that it will, it is a profitable investment.

“The value for the PR is not to spend more time focusing on administration but more time focusing on the brand and how to communicate with editors and media. And then it applies to the fashion business–they can do more in the back office.”

Eddie is pointing out that now PR employees don’t have to input data for hours at a time because it is all readily available at a click of a button because of Fashion GPS. Now the company is spending wages on employees who can embed themselves in tasks that is much more profitable and effective for the brand. Through a personal opinion, the PR employee who previously had to sit and input all the data by hand is now feeling acknowledged as an employee through tasks which will now offer a more rewarding outcome. Once again insuring that the investment made is beneficial in other aspects of the company.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahelliott/2010/09/02/mercedes-benz-fashion-week-gets-technical/

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