Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Twitterization of Fashion

I've noticed something this fashion season. Twitter is completely changing the way we consume and digest the runway shows and the way we interact with fashion week. Thanks to the numerous tweets from people front row and backstage, we are now privy to instantaneous updates on which models walk, what the hair and makeup look like, and what a collection is about. All of this just mere minutes after (sometime even before) the shows end in real time, and hours before collection pictures go up on all the big websites.

Last season I could feel the initial stirrings of this (r)evolution. A few blogs were live tweeting shows and we got some blurry pictures here and there. But this season things feel drastically different and I think we can chalk it up to the perfect confluence of a few external factors:

-The ubiquity of iPhones containing cameras capable of taking quality pictures.
-The development and introduction of twitpic.
-The onslaught of the recession that caused fashion magazines, and indeed the industry as a whole, to suffer from decreased revenue.
-The consequent realization that other avenues (like the internet) needed to be tapped for their growth potential.

All these things have contributed to what I call the twitterization of fashion.

To be honest, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's probably too early to tell, and things are never black and white like that anyway. What I do know is that the influx of information from twitter this season has dramatically shortened my attention span and ability to retain any pertinent knowledge about the collections. Tweets come at a fast and furious pace, and they're short since Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet. Everything seems immediate and important, yet trivial and inconsequential at the same time. The moment you think you read about something important, another tweet comes along and erases the first one from memory.

This post comes from the realization that I haven't really looked at a lot of collections that have already shown this season. In the past, while sorting through the pictures to see if my favorite models walked, I'd get to really see the vision of a particular designer or come to appreciate a previously unknown talent. I didn't feel rushed and I also think that everyone else on tFS took the time to post good pictures and appreciate the clothes. This season is all about checking tweets and then moving on to see if tweets from the next show are up. The turnaround is just so fast paced that I think the fashion is being overlooked. I'll admit that even I'm guilty of glancing at the twitpic-ed showlist, scanning for my favorite models' names, and then only going to their thread at tFS for pictures.

Twitter isn't all bad though. Thanks to it's offshoot twitpic, we've gotten some great backstage photos of Freja, and we know when she's going to be walking a show before she actually does it. I'm sure this saves all the fans from nervous anticipation and "will she, won't she" conversations. But then again, isn't that all part of the fun?

Image Credits: twitpic.com/photos/vmagazine

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