Milan Men’s Fashion Week starts today and I’m pretty sure that some designers would once again use the internet to their advantage. How, you ask? Before the internet’s heyday, broadcasting various events was a task that was usually designated to a camera crew, a satellite dish, and of course, a television (yes, I might be oversimplifying this but you do get my point). People would rely on these as their way of witnessing different happenings across the globe as they occur.
Of course, much has changed ever since the so-called Age of the Internet began. With the internet, you get to watch whatever major event in real-time with more ease than you do with a conventional TV set. For one, there are less commercials. We all know how incredibly annoying it is for those 15-second-or-more clips to interrupt a live broadcast. Another reason is that you get to watch programs without having to pay extra to your cable TV provider; it also saves them the trouble of having to launch a new channel just for you. In the Philippines, pay-per-view is something that we have yet to experience after all. The internet somehow gives you more freedom to choose what you want to watch.
Going back to the subject of (the business of) fashion, labels have found a new way of engaging people to appreciate their brand. It is by livestreaming. By broadcasting fashion shows over the internet as it happens somehow generates more hype among fans of the brand. Among the pioneers of this phenomenon was Victoria’s Secret. In 1999, the lingerie giant announced a 72-hour countdown to the live webcast of their annual fashion show, which resulted in over 2 million internet viewers. Despite the attempt having some trouble due to the unexpected viewer turnout (the now-defunct web host Broadcast.com famously crashed), it worked well for the brand since the publicity that was created was tremendous. For any company or business, the public’s intensified interest over their merchandise would put them a step ahead of their competitors. It is truly advertising and marketing at its finest (not to mention, dirtiest).
Lately, it seems a lot of designers have jumped on the livestream fashion show bandwagon, namely: Burberry (they will be streaming their men’s Spring-Summer 2011 show live for the third time later tonight in 3-D), Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, among others. Some have even gone the extra mile in providing a live-chat box beneath their video players so as fans can interact with each other during the course of the show. It must be noted that McQueen’s last women’s runway show prior to his suicide in February of this year, entitled “Plato’s Atlantis,” was livestreamed on SHOWstudio.com. This was to coincide with the premiere of Lady Gaga’s single “Bad Romance.” Like what happened to Broadcast.com ten years ago, the site crashed because of the sheer number of fans of both Gaga and McQueen rushing to the site. It hasn’t stopped others from following suit though.
Nowadays, more and more showss are being aired live on the internet; everything from Oprah to internet porn are streamed live via the web. However, it has yet to provide hi-def quality images that cable TV manages to show. Also, servers still need to work on how to handle so much internet traffic going into their broadcast. Nevertheless, we should be happy of how the internet is slowly championing the idiot box as our source of visual entertainment. It means that the television experience is no longer exclusive to just television sets. That is, of course, good news for the person whose eyes never move away from his computer screen. In short, “Yay for me!”