The big news from February’s London Fashion Week came from Burberry: this was the last show in which clothes would be previewed for a later season. From September, the public will be able to buy all Burberry clothes as soon as they have appeared on the catwalk. This announcement, and the discussion around it, helped Burberry to a huge share of the online conversation during #LFW16.
There were more than 80 designers showing their Autumn/ Winter lines this week so, to get a snapshot of social media activity, I compared five of the top UK designers with five up and coming labels. I used Brandwatch’s analytics platform to measure variables such as share of voice, output, sentiment and topics. Here’s what I found…
1. Unsurprisingly, the established designers held a whopping 97 per cent share of voice, with Burberry taking the bulk of that (58 per cent share in total – see Fig.1 below). The plan to sell clothes straight off the catwalk sparked some social media buzz, but it was predominantly Burberry’s beautiful show that helped generate 19,571 Twitter mentions: the bulk of these celebrating new looks such as the combination of military jackets over frayed silk.
Fig.1: Ten UK designers’ share of voice during London Fashion Week, February 2016 (graphic and analysis courtesy of Brandwatch)
2. Burberry also boasted the most start-studded audience: there were tweets about Nicholas Hoult bringing his sister while front row celebrities like Suki Waterhouse and Rosie Huntington-Whitely shared images and video on Instagram and Snapchat. Fashion bloggers Victoria Magrath (@InTheFrow) and Xenia Tchoumi (@Xenia) also helped spread the word on Instagram. An image of Jake Bugg’s performance mentioning that his recording would be available on iTunes gained 452 retweets.
3. The return of Alexander McQueen’s show to London resulted in a strong social media performance for the brand – scoring second in the group with a 28 per cent share. As with Burberry, the bulk of comments were around the design details (antique silver jewellery, butterfly embroideries and hand painted leather). The live stream on Periscope generated 280 mentions alone. (Note: #Periscope was a popular hashtag overall – suggesting many designers made use of live-streaming during Fashion Week).
4. The number of online conversations around Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith (4 per cent each) and Simone Rocha (3 per cent) were disappointing. Although these designers are well-established, they failed to generate any break-through conversations on social media.
5. Claire Barrow, 1205 and J JS Lee put on a respectable performance as relative newcomers, with 164 and 109 Twitter mentions respectively. Christopher Kane, surprisingly, showed a very low score with just two Twitter mentions picked up by Brandwatch during the whole of London Fashion Week.
6. But up and coming UK designer duo Marques Almeida (Instagram coverage pictured above) punched well above their weight with a two per cent share of voice (628 Twitter mentions). This was in spite of minimal social media input from the duo themselves over London Fashion Week (although they did run an #ourgirls campaign introducing the catwalk models on Instagram prior to the event). Commentators praised their “oversized fluorescent looks” and rainbow bright, sharp techno colour palette. A tweet of Korean popstar Sandara Park wearing the brand’s denim flared skirt gained 90 retweets. We can only imagine what might have happened if MA’s number one celebrity fan, Rihanna, had been in town…!
Why did Marques Almeida do so well? It’s all about exciting content – the duo put on a great show that naturally generated coverage – but there’s no doubt that being popular with a young, urban demographic also helps.