Customers and designers interact to create 2010’s fashion lines

THE INDEPENDENTFriday, 18 December 2009

A new trend is emerging in the fashion world, likely to influence the way collections are conceived for the year to come: designers are increasingly calling on their followers for help.

Web aficionados Dolce & Gabbana – the Italians have both a gossipy news site, swide.com, and an e-commerce – have repeatedly asked fans for feedback on their creations or even for their own design suggestions. Apparently experiencing designer’s block while working on the upcoming ranges, Stefano Gabbana tweeted: “‘I accept suggestions on women’s collection…..(just 2day) :-)))),” and both designers have asked fans about their opinion on shoes for the next range via YouTube.

Top model Coco Rocha, who is currently working on her first clothing line, also didn’t hide her lack of inspiration when she released a video on her Oh so Coco blog, asking her followers to suggest names for the range. The post has so far attracted more than 400 responses – the winning submission has not yet been announced.

Both moves are part of a tendency of designers listening to and interacting with their customers, from made-to-measure (Prada) and customization services (Louis Vuitton) to livestreams of their fashion shows (Alexander McQueen) and open calls for them to star in their advertising campaigns (Calvin Klein).

Social media are naturally playing an important part here, with many brands launching new portals to widen their reach. Burberry, for instance, recently introduced the interactive website, theartofthetrench.com, that lets users upload pictures of how they styled their coats – which in turn is likely to influence Burberry designer Christopher Bailey’s creation process.

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