The city of London has always known how to push the style boundaries. How to shake up the establishment with new ideas, fresh thoughts and sometimes rebellious statements. From Vivienne Westwood’s punchy punk looks to Alexander McQueen’s strikingly theatrical runway shows that sometimes shocked and consistently surprised.
This London Fashion Week was no different. As the catwalks closed for another season on Tuesday, we were left with a striking mix of diverse looks. Emerging iconoclasts like Richard Quinn, who recently received a prestigious design award from the Queen, were showcasing highly original creations that grabbed attention, while iconic fashion houses like Burberry made headlines with key changes in their style direction – in the case of Burberry for example, throwing leopard print skirts and gold chains on trench coats into the brand’s classic fashion mix, while banning celebrities from the runway show, removing fur for the first time from the catwalk, and completely redesigning the brand’s logo. A change of direction that has surprised many. But London Fashion Week has always shocked and surprised, and this is its inherent beauty – its ability to challenge convention, its ability to do something different and its ability to experiment with new ideas.
“The city of London has always known how to push the style boundaries.”
Innovation and Reformulation
London’s fashion eCommerce landscape has also done this in recent years, with many eCommerce players reshaping and innovating when it comes to how fashion-lovers shop in a constantly online world. Key brands are embracing technology to radically shift the consumer experience to new levels of inspiration, delight and ease. Advancements like artificial intelligence are powering many fashion brand websites, using data and speedy algorithms to serve up relevant products to customers at the touch of a button as they browse. By understanding the way that customers are shopping online, machines are now helping to tailor the shopping experience to customer needs and wishes, influencing what they will view online and what they may purchase in the future. Burberry has pioneered in this respect by gathering customer data through loyalty and reward programs that appear on in-store iPads, allowing the brand to recommend products online in a personalised way.
Luxe Pioneers: Burberry constantly develops its offering, from the catwalk to the shopper journey
Other companies like Thread, a personal styling service, are combining AI-driven algorithms with the human ingenuity of their personal shoppers to deliver personalised styling services to customers that resonate with their style preferences. ASOS is also shaking things up by using AI-powered chatbots to solve customer queries and offer advice on their website – something that would probably have been considered pure fantasy or something from a science fiction film if you were to mention it to someone a few years back.
The London Look
Retailers are also utilising technology to redefine customer experiences in-store by merging online and offline worlds – high-street giants like Topshop are embracing augmented reality in their stores by introducing interactive mirrors to allow customers to virtually try on clothes. Ecommerce pioneer Farfetch.com is also taking the in-store experience to the next level by developing a ‘Store of the Future’ to bring experiential retail to life – think in-store mannequins with digital screens attached and fitting rooms with fun photos booths inside. The brand is also experimenting with customer mobile apps that track how customers browse products in store – these apps can populate personal product wish lists based on the items that a customer is picking off the hanger in-store – something no other brand has done before as yet.
London Fashion Week: The epicentre of shape-shifting style
Such shifts demonstrate the way that fashion retailers are eagerly looking to innovate and reformulate their offerings in today’s fast-changing fashion space. They are looking to the future with the customer in mind and taking the best bits of technology to drive new experiences that will astound and impress. London seems to sit proudly at the heart of this trend, with designers that are prepared to challenge convention, and with retail brands that are taking the fashion shopping experience to the next level.
As a company, we are proud to support some of these London-based labels with our innovative technology, from iconic luxury brands to edgy eCommerce leaders. Such brands will no doubt continue to redefine the fashion status quo, both at London Fashion Week and in the online high-street, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for future fashion seasons. Watch this space; it’s an exciting place to be.