@KennethCole: a Social Media Mastermind

Stephanie Farrell, intern, Accessories Magazine

That’s me, striking a pose at the tents!

As a new intern here at Accessories Magazine, I felt both privileged and incredibly lucky to have attended a few fashion shows during famous New York Fashion Week.

But to be given a last-minute ticket to Kenneth Cole’s first runway show in seven years (lucky for me the Fashion Editor Nicole was off covering another show at the same time and couldn’t physically split herself into two locations at once) pretty much blew my mind. When I got over my multiple celeb sightings—including Heidi Klum and Cuba Gooding Jr.—I noticed how many fashionistas around me had their smartphones glued to their hands.

As someone who is also an Instagram addict, I totally see where they are coming from and it’s not surprising that designers are finally beginning to use this new form of media to their advantage. Kenneth Cole’s show was very of-the-moment and reminded me of how important social media has become in our industry.

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Models check their smartphones and take photos of the audience at the media-savvy Kenneth Cole show

After taking such a long break, Kenneth Cole himself said, “A lot has changed since we were last on the runway.” A lot has changed, but when his show began you would have thought he’d never left.

The show titled “Social Netwalking” opened with a video that began with this phrase, “During the @KennethCole runway show, out of respect for other members of the audience, please make sure your phones and tablets are switched…ON.”The audience chuckled and happily snapped photos and followed along.

The next phrase said, “We don’t care if people love it. We just want them to ‘Like’ it” [referencing the popular ‘like’ button from Facebook]. The video then let the audience know that the show would be available live across all of Kenneth Cole’s social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Kennethcole.com and Tumblr.

Another slide told us to “Choose your weapon” in order to tweet or post along with the show. To add extra incentive Kenneth stated that for every tweet with the hashtag #KCRunway he would donate $1 to amfAR. By attempting this new approach he officially used social media in a fresh and innovative way.

As for the collection itself, it was luxurious and definitely suited the Kenneth Cole aesthetic. The ensembles were military chic and came in dark shades of gray, oxblood, green and black. While the clothes were lovely, it was obvious to everyone that the real highlight of the show was the innovative social media slant.

The finale of the show was where it became most significant. Every model was given a smart phone as an accessory and they were snapping photos of the audience, taking videos and tweeting their way up and down the runway. The use of social media made the whole production more accessible and also in a way helped the ensembles to appear more wearable. The models looked as if they were just regular people living their lives participating in social media like the rest of us, all while wearing a stunning assortment of next falls best garments.

As the last model rounded the corner, I felt so thrilled to have been part of such an exciting and original show. It really was an experience where the audience was as important as the collection and it will be really interesting to see where not only Kenneth, but all designers take their approach to social media from here.

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