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New York Fashion Week embraces social media

While the most influential fashionistas have descended upon New York for the start of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 9 (local time), social media will be helping fans feel as though they are sitting in the audience of their favourite designer's show.

The sight of celebrities, stylists and industry personalities furiously typing on their smartphones while sitting in the front row of a show has become somewhat commonplace – and they are usually Tweeting or posting photos to blogs or Facebook.

According to founder and chief executive officer of Createthe Group James Gardener, social media platforms are helping to enhance the runway experience.

"The fashion show has changed. There is a frenzy of desire to be part of this industry. It has become a consumer-facing event," Gardner told Women's Wear Daily yesterday (February 9).

"It’s now for consumers just as much as it is for editors and the industry."

Prominent Twitter personalities monitoring the eight day event include model Alexa Chung (@alexa_chung), online publications Women's Wear Daily (@womensweardaily) and Style.com (@styledotcom), as well as Harper Bazaar's editor at large Derek Blasberg (@DerekBlasberg) and designer Jason Wu (@JasonWu).

Several leading US fashion labels have also turned to microblogging site Twitter to debut their Spring/Summer 2012 collections.

Tommy Hilfiger will be following in the footsteps of Burberry by Tweeting images of its runway looks seconds before they go hit the catwalk, as well as giving fans a chance to win a pair of shoes by retweeting its photos.

Video footage has formed the basis of fashion label Diane von Furstenberg's social media strategy, instead partnering with mobile video app Viddy to shoot and distribute 15- to 30-second videos of looks backstage.

While some designers have taken an individual approach to providing live video content, many will be featured on a designated YouTube channel.

More than 25 runway shows from designers such as Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson and Vera Wang will be streamed live on the video sharing website, with a mobile-optimised version also available for fashionistas on the go.

Posted by Elise Ferrari