Designer Masaba Gupta on fashion’s new digital avatar

  • Masaba Gupta, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 31, 2015 17:48 IST
Gupta is a leading fashion designer (Photo: Colston Julian)

Call it winds of change or simply a passing storm, the fact is that technology has made a grand entry into fashion, and it’s changing everything we’ve known about the industry.

I remember being extremely comfortable saying ‘yes’ for the Instagram show at Lakmé Fashion Week 2015. As we went about putting together India’s first Instagram show, we had no reference on how go about things. All we knew was that it had to be pre-choreographed and pre-shot, without a live audience twitching in their seats, waiting for the show to begin. Half the pressure, you’d think. Except, that’s never true when you’re doing something new.

Fashion, even as we speak, is at a crossroads. With the rising tide of e-commerce, customers are less finicky about touching their clothes before purchasing them. And if you take that away, buying things online is literally a click away.

Gupta’s Lakmé Fashion Week 2015 collection premiered on Instagram (Courtesy: )

The digital shift of fashion is hardly a bad thing. Thanks to the numerous social media platforms today, labels both young and old have strong voices and communication with the customer is now stronger than ever. From Burberry shooting its Spring/Summer 2015 campaign live on Snapchat, to Hermès with its creative virtual pop-up e-stores and its MANifeste campaign, that aimed at engaging men with clothes and accessories, it’s all about having an online presence. Also, and I hate to say this, with Kim Kardashian launching an emoji app, brands and consumers, today, are on their toes.

Hermès MANifeste campaign aimed at engaging men with clothes and accessories

Even in India, we now have full time stylists on our phones. For instance, Roposo is an app that finds you options based on your recent searches and gives you suggestions on where to buy them, across price ranges. Even the big players, from Myntra to Jabong, are offering exciting celebrity collaborations: you can now dress like Deepika Padukone or Alia Bhatt, thanks to lines curated by them.

The retailers can also track everything from why a particular item is selling, to why consumers are just not picking up that T-shirt, to which competitor is selling the exact same thing better.

With more brands internationally taking to non-traditional methods of presenting new collections, and the trend slowly trickling into India, it is time to see whether this adds a new dimension to the industry or leads to fashion fatigue. The burst of online experiences as opposed to offline ones has been a game changer, but the fact is that when you have so many players scrambling for the same target, are we going to have an overdose of advertisement and choices?

Gupta is a leading fashion designer. She tweets as @MasabaG

5 hacks to make online shopping easier:

1) It’s important to note that different styles have different size sets. Find one site that you’ve ordered from and whose clothes fit you perfectly. Take note of the size and always order it from the same website.

2) Always buy from a website that allows an exchange. You can try it on in the comfort of your home and return it if it’s off.

3) Never buy lingerie/swimwear online. These are personal items that need to be tried on as comfort comes first in these matters.

4) If you’re a dodgy shoe size (in halves) never buy shoes online. Its best to try on shoes as different styles have different sizes.

5) When buying from international sites, you may think ordering more pieces is a better option. That’s not the case, as the duty on pieces shipped from abroad may be far higher than the entire value of goods purchased by you.

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