Photo courtesy of MBFW

Fashion Week 2016: Front row politics

Aah, Fashion Week. Where all the fashionistas and gurus gather together to watch over fifty-five designers drape their remarkable garments over dazzling models walking the runway.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (#MBFWA) saw a change in the format with the likes of Australian designers such as Aje, Bec & Bridge, Camilla, Alice McCall, Steven Khalil and Dion Lee showcasing their resort collections rather than the spring assortments of previous years. We also saw Oscar de la Renta, New York designer Cynthia Rowley and model Bella Hadid make their debut on our sunny shores.

So who generated the most publicity for these designers… The blogger, the instagrammer, the journalist, the A-list celebrity, the media or the buyer? The evolution of the internet has created immense business opportunities and who would have thought a simple selfie could generate millions of dollars for a brand. Times have changed!

Carrying on with this thought, the ultimate question on everyone’s mind is, “who is worthiest of the front row?” In my mind, it would make sense to treat the runway almost like a business in that the person worthy of the front row is likely to bring in the most income or publicity for that designer.

With the infiltration of social media and fashionista blogs, we’re now seeing a massive shift in spectators at the show. It’s no longer your typical buyer, stockist, publicist or celeb. It’s all about influencers, advocates and fashion’s best journalists who are being selected for these elite positions and heating up the politics more than ever as the industry continues to grow at a rapid pace adapting to new technologies.

Australia already has over 500 bloggers and social influencers in the fashion space, all vying for prime positions at Fashion Week 2016. Between these, combined with the international A-list celebrities and fashion royalty, the chances of gaining those hotly-contested front row seats are slim.

Bloggers and influencers alike will need to up their game to remain in the running for future Fashion Weeks. Having a huge following may not be their saving grace. An extensive engagement rate will be a significant factor in the decision making process for the heads of Fashion Week to consider.