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Why Are Designers Banning Social Media At Their Shows?

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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.
Though the first of four major global Fashion Weeks hasn't even wrapped yet, this season has already involved quite a few departures from the traditional Fashion Week format. There's the instant gratification of see-now-buy-now shows (or specific items within a collection), like at Rebecca Minkoff, Banana Republic, and Diane von Furstenberg. All signs are pointing toward a more consumer-friendly calendar on the not-too-distant horizon. Yet some designers are doing the opposite and straight up disconnecting by banning social media at their Fashion Week events.

On its Milan Fashion Week invitations, MSGM is kindly requesting showgoers not post pictures from its fall '16 show online, according to WWD. French brand Jacquemus announced earlier this month that it wouldn't permit any sharing of its spring '16 show during PFW on Instagram (an ironic medium for the news, no?). Granted, Jacquemus sort of kept its fall '15 imagery off social media when it sent topless models down its runway, making any images not safe for Instagram.
"I think it’s the right moment to take a step back from overexposure," MSGM's creative director, Massimo Giorgetti, told WWD. "If everything is out there immediately, people lose interest and everything looks so old in a second. In addition, I think that asking press and buyers to not post from the show, they might watch the clothes with their eyes, not through a screen, which is something good." Giorgetti won't be releasing any imagery of MSGM's fall '16 collection until summer, when the clothes are set to hit shelves.

The New York Times' Vanessa Friedman recently examined the smartphone's role in the demise of the traditional Fashion Week format: "After being inundated by images and livestreams from runway shows, from awards shows where the items are worn mere days after they appear on the runway, and from ad campaigns (and the making of ad campaigns), by the time these customers see the clothes in stores, the dresses and skirts and suits seem tediously familiar. Old. Over."

But social media has also allowed designers brand-new ways to share (or add a fresh aspect to a more traditional presentation format), like Misha Nonoo's first-of-its-kind Insta-Show for spring '16 or Wes Gordon's cinematic (and social-only) vignettes for fall '16. The Instagram format allowed Nonoo to connect with her large online-shopping audience — and cemented her decision to skip this season altogether in order to refocus her business.

Social media is certainly the best, speediest way for the general public to access runway images; and access (read: inclusivity) is a huge topic of conversation in the fashion industry in recent seasons. Yet, even the front row tends to watch a show through a screen, thanks to the perpetual quest for that perfect Insta shot or Snapchat story. There's a fine line between overexposure and inacessibility when it comes to social media's relationship with the catwalk.
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