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Sustainability and diversity shape conversation around fashion weeks

Published
Jan 29, 2020
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According to a new study from data analytics firm Launchmetrics, sustainability and diversity are two of the biggest themes currently driving the changing conversation around fashion weeks, as formats and front rows continue to evolve.


Christian Dior - Spring-Summer 2020 - © PixelFormula


The latest of Launchmetrics’ annual “Data on the Runway” reports uses the firm’s propriety machine learning algorithm to calculate Media Impact Value (MIV) and quantify the impact generated by different brands during the fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris for the Fall/Winter 2019 and Spring/Summer 2020 seasons.
 
The report highlights Christian Dior as a brand that was able to tap into the ongoing discussion about sustainability in the fashion industry with its SS20 runway show in Paris, when it teamed up with botanist group Coloco to fill its show space with trees for a message on biodiversity.

The move helped drive the brand’s MIV up 57% to $13 million, compared to the $8.6 million generated by its show for FW19.
 
Gucci and Burberry also addressed the sustainability conversation by hosting carbon-neutral shows for SS20, a decision which helped create buzz for both brands and pushed Gucci’s MIV up to $9.6 million, a 40% increase compared to FW19.
 
And it’s not just the major players that are benefitting from aligning themselves with sustainable issues: one of the strongest gains was seen at Gabriela Hearst, whose carbon-neutral show – an industry first – helped drive the brand’s MIV up 258% from FW19 to SS20.
 
In terms of diversity, Launchmetrics singled out the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya show in New York as having one of the most diverse and inclusive runways of the SS20 fashion week season, a fact which the analytics firm credits with pushing significant improvements in the brand’s MIV, which totaled $10 million.
 
Ultimately, Tommy Hilfiger generated the third highest MIV of any brand during New York Fashion Week SS20, and the eighth highest across all of the big four weeks.
 
Embracing diversity off the runway also pays off for brands, as shown by the fact that two of the most impactful influencers at London Fashion Week SS20 were drag queens and Ru Paul’s Drag Race alums Miss Fame and Aquaria.
 
Miss Fame sat front row at the Erdem show and generated an impressive MIV of $319,000 for the brand with 10 publications, while Aquaria contributed an MIV of $207,000 to the Matty Bovan show she attended with just two publications.


Tommy Hilfiger - Spring-Summer 2020 - © PixelFormula

 
In turn, these contributions reflect wider changes occurring on the front rows of fashion shows. Although media still dominates the conversation, providing 47.5% of total MIV across New York, London, Milan and Paris in FW19, and 50.3% in SS20, influencers continue to be an increasingly important presence at fashion shows.
 
Indeed, 100% of the top social posts during SS20 came from influencers or celebrities, with the total MIV generated by said social posts increasing to $415.2 million, compared to $250.9 million in FW19.
 
Picking the right celebrities and influencers to invite to shows is therefore an important decision and brands will need to take new factors and perspectives into account as the landscape of the luxury sector evolves.
 
India, for example, contributed the third largest MIV of any country to Michael Kors’ FW19 show, thanks in large part to the interest drummed up by Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who generated the most buzz out of the event’s guests.
 
As countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and particularly China became increasingly important markets for the luxury industry, it’s clear that brands will need to be aware of the voices that can help them reach these new consumers.
 
Overall, of the big four, New York Fashion Week saw the strongest increase in MIV between FFW19 and SS20, as the figure more than doubled from $117.7 million to $257.5 million season over season.
 
Launchmetrics attributes this impressive gain, at least in part, to the new format of the event, which was cut down from nine to five and a half days following the appointment of Tom Ford as the new chairman of the CFDA, leading to a more focused and intense experience.
 
In terms of brands, the top three MIVs for FW19 were achieved by Chanel ($9.2 million), Dior ($8.6 million) and Gucci ($8.3 million), while Victoria Beckham ($8.2 million) and Burberry ($7.9 million) rounded out the top five.
 
For SS20, Versace snatched the top spot with an MIV of $21.7 million, pushing Chanel ($19.7 million) into second place, followed by Michael Kors ($16.5 million), Balmain ($16 million) and Dior ($13 million).

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