Milan Fashion Week Needs Better Technology Integration

By Monica Gleberman February 23, 2012

Fashion today has become a global industry with many designers relying solely on their fashion show performances and world of mouth to get their designs in major department stores. As users begin posting more rapidly to social networking sites, designers can get instant feedback on their designs and use followers as a database for invites, comments, and to improve popularity. However, experts say that Milan, which boasts one of the largest fashion bases in the world, is behind in the area of fashion technology.

“Milan is always really ahead of everyone in fashion but behind everyone in technology,” said Fashion blogger Olga Rink after attending a Guccis show during Milan Fashion Week.

Milian is considered Italy’s fashion capital. Most of the older Italian couturiers are in Rome. However, Milan and Florence have become the cities to see the most important up-and-coming fashion statements for the year. The problem Milan faces is the lack of technology integration.

For example, popular cities such as New York and London have integrated with social networking sites, smartphones, and tablets to create a fully integrated user-friendly show. Users can download apps that allow them to register for events, post comments with other fans about the fashion, and see a list of all the upcoming shows or venue changes. These technological advances help users and attendees plan their events and feel like they aren’t missing a single show.

However, Milan hasn’t yet formed the same collaboration with technology. “I’m sure they will catch up eventually, but this isn’t New York. Milan is slow, graceful. People here take their time,” said Rink.

Another issue is invitations. For New York Fashion week, press and other attendees can register online. Once approved, they will receive email invitations of shows designers would like them to attend. If any invitations are available for purchase all of those can also be done online. However, things again are not the same in Milan.

Jennifer Jann, Director of Global marketing at the New York-based firm, said in Europe, people prefer things the old fashion way. “In Italy, they all prefer paper invitations,” said Jann.

Salvo Testa, a Professor in Fashion Management at Milan’s Bocconi University, disagrees with both Rink and Jann saying Milan is catching up. “They may have been slow to realize it, but social networks and blogs are not the biggest area of investment. Videos are being increasingly used to create a strong emotional link with the brand in a more viral and cheaper way than standard advertising. The revolution has made it to the heart of the industry, brands now see the Internet as a powerful way to reach millions and build a loyal ‘one-to-one’ following,” said Testa.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing Writer

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