How To Follow New York Fashion Week Without Attending Any Shows

<p>We can thank live stream for a peak into the notoriously exclusive fashion world.</p>

I first attended New York fashion week in September 2009, when the shows were still held at Bryant Park and it was still relatively easy to sneak in. I watched Charlotte Ronson’s first show in the tents, where her brother Mark DJed and younger sister Sam caused a ruckus in the front row with her then girlfriend Lindsay Lohan. Now scanned ticketing at Lincoln Center makes crashing shows a bit more difficult, but thanks to more designers embracing digital technology, the scene’s becoming a little easier to follow.

Burberry was the first brand to live stream their show back in 2009, and the first to offer a “shopable runway” last February. Last fall, Norma Kamali screened a 3D fashion film of her S/S 2012 line in lieu of a traditional runway show, and Hussein Chalayan incorporated cameras and projections into his S/S 2012 presentation in a totally new way.

This year BCBG Max Azria kicked off fashion week with a live stream of their show last Thursday. Marc Jacobs will also live stream both his shows here—Marc Jacobs tonight at 7:30 PM EST and Marc by Marc Jacobs tomorrow at 3:45 PM EST.

Maybelline’s also sponsoring a relatively reliable YouTube stream interspersed with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage (I just saw Betsey Johnson practice her semi-annual cartwheel before catching her 60s-inspired show)—see the full list of live-streamed shows and times here, just take the timings with a grain of salt.

Also new this season, fashion PR company KCD in collaboration with King & Partners launched Digital Fashion Shows, an online platform giving press and buyers access to pre-taped runway shows, high-res imagery, and press kits, which is a dream come true for journalists. I only wish I could comment on the interface—KCD failed to respond to my emails and Tweet last month.

For editors and buyers attending the shows IRL, Made (who’s also live streaming the shows at Milk Studios) just released a free iOS app, in collaboration with Sonic Notify, that uses an audio encoding format (inaudible to the human ear, thank God) that recognizes and provides information on looks in real-time as they go down the runway. But while this app is certainly useful, its existence is kind of ironic since it filters the shows through a screen when the whole point of attending a fashion show is to see the collection with your own eyes.

I’m happy that brands are deciding to make their shows more accessible through live stream—honestly, if you have a good connection you can see the clothes better—but nothing beats the energy and rush off attending the shows in person.