London's Fashion week is in full swing with designers targetting fashion hungry shoppers with ''tech firsts.'' As Hayley Platt reports the British Fashion Council is keen to get all its designers online in order to boost international sales.
Front row seats at the world's main fashion shows are usually hard to come by. But in London, British retailer Topshop let the public in. With the help of Facebook and Instagram it streamed its show live. In a "digital first" - it also allowed online shoppers to buy up to six ready-made items from its latest collection immediately after the show. Topshop owner, Philip Green says using social media to connect with the customer is the now crucial to business. SOUNDBITE: Sir Philip Green, owner Topshop, saying (English): "I've actually just put a team on exactly that, on how are people shopping, how do they want to shop you know learning." Online clothing sales in Britain are set to top 10 billion pounds this year - a rise of 14 % from last year. But many of fashion's biggest brands have been slow to go that step further and experiment with digital technology. Topshop's creative director is Kate Phelan. SOUNDBITE: Kate Phelan, creative director of Topshop, saying (English): "Innovation now is sort of the buzz word that everybody's talking about. You know, what else are you going to do then just put models on a run way and I think for us it's really important to be a very democratic brand. To make the show available and visible to everybody." Another retailer bringing customers closer to the catwalk is House of Holland. It partnered 3D specialists, Metails, to allow shoppers to try clothes from its show in real time through a digital avatar. British luxury brand Burberry is also selling nail varnish featured in its show through a "Buy Now" button on its Twitter site. Model Poppy Delevigne welcomes the initiatives. SOUNDBITE: Poppy Delevigne, English model, saying (English): "People want easy access, they want to be the first to see everything and I think it's amazing that these shows can be shared with everyone so that everyone gets to enjoy it and see it first hand." London Fashion week contributes around £26 billion to the UK economy. And Britain's Fashion Council wants to boost its international business by getting all its designers online. It's making progress - 43% of fashion brands have an e-commerce site - 10% more than last year. But that still means more than half don't - plenty of scope for more social media initiatives like Topshop's.