Lakmé Fashion Weekrecently concluded its digital-first, season fluid edition.
- For the first time since its inception, audiences were able to stream the shows live between October 21-25 on a high-tech virtual platform, LFW Hub, that was specially created for the event.
- Jaspreet Chandok, Head – Lifestyle Businesses,
IMG Reliancetells us how they pulled off the event virtually and how brands benefitted from associating with LFW this year.
This year, the virtual event was held between October 21 and 25. Audiences were able to stream the shows live on a high-tech virtual platform, LFW Hub that had been specially created for the event. And despite the event going virtual, there were ample brand activations. Moreover, the property saw its reach increase by around 40%.
We recently caught up with
Q) Considering LFW was done virtually this year, how different was the overall edition?
LFW as a platform has always endeavored to support the designers and their businesses, which we felt was an important industry input even in these challenging times.
With this digital-first edition, we were able to create a captive space that replicated the elements of an on-ground LFW event. We called it the LFW Virtual Hub, an interactive digital destination that was customized to the needs of all kinds of the audience tuning in.
To enjoy different views of the showcase, we created different vantage points that gave the viewers access to different camera angles of the show resulting in an immersive experience. Another highlight was the Virtual Showroom that allowed fashion buyers to interface directly with designers for B2B buying. We also strategically chose these dates to collide with the festive season as sales are generally higher in the season. All these factors combined helped us garner greater digital reach as well as help support designer businesses. Overall, it was a challenging yet fulfilling experience with this edition.
Q) Every year brand partnerships mean brands get a lot of visibility during LFW. Were brands able to get that kind of visibility this year?
We’ve shared a longstanding relationship with all our sponsors, and we have aimed to bring to the fore unique solutions and innovations for them every season in order to get the right visibility. In the recently concluded, digital edition too, we brought about different innovations to give the audiences new experiences.
A couple of those were:
- During every show, the virtual hub had a shop the look feature, that gave viewers Lakmé product recommendations while watching the showcases, enabling them to purchase the products immediately after the show. There was also a virtual make-up trial page where people could look at different shades of makeup on themselves.
- With NEXA, the Hub featured a 3D version of the all-new
- We were also able to create designer partnerships for sustainable fibre manufacturers R-Elan and Bemberg which were highlighted through a strong influencer campaign as well as the traditional fashion showcase.
We feel it's important to constantly innovate with sponsors especially our longstanding partners, so they keep investing in us.
Q) Can you give us a sense of whether the number of brands associating this year increased, decreased, or remained the same?
We made a strategic call to focus on our longstanding sponsors like NEXA, TRESemmé, AJIO, INIFD, Natural Diamond Council so that we could focus on delivering strong value to them. LFW’s digital edition was live-streamed on multiple platforms in addition to Voot & JioTV this season. Over 40 influencers were used to push the digital experience. In these times, with global fashion weeks experiencing a 40% decline in digital numbers, LFW has had a 30-40% increase in terms of overall reach.
Q) What were the challenges of organizing a virtual version of an event that has become such an awaited property every year?
While a large cross-section of the universe is now quite tech-savvy, any new medium requires some time before people embrace the platform. The industry itself is struggling and we felt that the investments need to be made in actions that genuinely assist the industry. This first season is seeing a lot of experimentation as designers are trying out different ways to build businesses through our platforms. Audience and consumer feedback will define what we take forward and build on.
Another challenge was the safety of all the talent involved in our shoots on-ground. We created perhaps the most aggressive bubble for a shoot/event in India with a mandatory 7-day quarantine and 7 tests over 12 days for each individual onsite.
Q) What kind of engagement did brands witness?
We have received a very positive response from all our partners with most already discussing activations in the coming season. A key action due to paucity of on-ground actions has been the ability to leverage our event for partners to create content their brands for the next few months. Our digital engagements are up 30-40% for each of the brands and some innovations have helped them generate buzz in PR as well.
Q) What were your major learnings from hosting LFW virtually this year?
Going virtual was a conscious call taken to be able to widen our horizons within the fashion industry and technology today has helped us with that to a much larger extent. We’ve learnt that a virtual experience doesn’t completely replace the experience of a physical show. The audience loves to engage in the runway experience, and we will hopefully see more phygital showcases once things start getting back to normal. However, even when we return to a physical event, all these elements will become companion actions adding to the overall product offering to consumers. We are very happy to get constructive feedback from all our stakeholders as we see this season as a pilot and will continue to develop our initiatives.