Less than five years ago the International Herald Tribune "asked whether "Computerphobia" was "undermining" the fashion industry — and reported that "at least one-third of designers (and even some chief executives) are computer illiterate."
It may have taken them awhile, but fashion seems to have finally gotten with the program. Now, in addition to ecommerce websites, Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram feeds, Tumblrs, YouTube channels, smartphone and iPad apps, and Pinterest boards, brands are creating social video games that people can play on Facebook. Fashion industry trade paper Women's Wear Daily recently highlighted interactive fashion gaming as the next frontier in brand awareness and consumer spending (and time-wasting) — even as their impact remains unproven.
According to WWD, 53 percent of online gamers are women — but that doesn't mean they're engaging in buying stuff in the same way they're engaging in pretend styling outfits on Facebook. Fashion retail expert Catherine Moellering, executive vice president of the trend-forecasting ToBe Report, questions the impact of all the energy brands put into social media, including these new games. "We see stats all the time that say women are some of the biggest online gamers" she says. "But for a major retailer I'm scratching my head — is there an opportunity to translate them to sales? We're still living under this belief that if consumers are spending a lot of time online with your brand that's really positive, but I haven't seen anything conclusive saying these things drive sales or help with the brand image." In fact, Moellering says, some feedback from consumers suggests they want brands to dial the social media stuff way back.
Nonetheless, DKNY is going for it, partnering with 505 Games, Funcom, and IMG Worldwide (which runs Fashion Week) on Fashion Week Live, which recently launched exclusively on Facebook and incorporates DKNY's Twitter personality, DKNY PR Girl.