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How Old-School Badgley Mischka Went High-Tech for NYFW

Badgley Mischka went high-tech for its latest runway event at New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

There was none of the high-tech spectacle, per se, that fashion shows often deliver: no 3-D-printed showstoppers, no dazzling LED accessories or other tricks and gimmickry.

But for a low-tech luxury house that relies on hand-beading, custom embroidery and other forms of old-school craftsmanship, creating an iPhone app to gather real-time audience feedback was a significant step forward.

Badgley Mischka worked with SAP, the official technology partner of NYFW, to develop an app that accelerates insights on what viewers most like—insights that could evolve the traditional buying process. In addition to those attending the show in person, virtual viewers who downloaded the app also participated and shared their “likes” and “loves” as well.


How Old-School Badgley Mischka Went High-Tech for NYFW
Photo credit: SAP

The Badgley Mischka Runway app, powered by the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, landed in the App Store for iPhone and iPad on Feb. 9 ahead of the Feb. 13 fashion show. The app also incorporates the SAP Fiori® user experience as well as SAP’s Leonardo Internet of Things capabilities.

They may not have known it, but viewers were actually looking at tech walking the runway. “SAP collaborated with Badgley Mischka to include beacon technology in each of the looks going down the runway throughout the show,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, global GM of consumer industries at SAP. “Through this beacon technology, consumers received notifications about each look when engaging with the app and received access to exclusive details including a description of the look, curated by the Badgley Mischka designers.”

The show lasted just 15 minutes, but in that time, more than 1,000 viewers across 17 countries cast votes for their top looks. Immediately after the event, SAP’s Leaderboard Dashboard displayed a livestream of the most-liked looks so that everyone could see the voting results. SAP also hosted a post-show Fashion Insider Panel entitled “Demystifying Digital: The Future of Fashion Is Now” and featuring model Coco Rocha, design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka, SAP executive board member Jennifer Morgan and moderated by Meagan Meany, global anchor of SAP TV.

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How Old-School Badgley Mischka Went High-Tech for NYFW
Pictured, left to right: Model Coca Rocha, Jen Morgan (SAP), Mark Badgley, James Mischka, Megan Meany (SAP TV) / Photo credit: SAP

“The people who are at the show are the decision-makers: the buyers, the press, the bloggers,” said James Mischka, one half of the Badgley Mischka design duo. “We get to hear what they think instead of waiting six months when we get the feedback from retailers.”

Getting that feedback faster is crucial as speed to market now can separate the winners from the left-behind in fashion. For the luxury label, time to market is the No. 1 challenge, Mischka admitted. Whereas the brand once had three seasons, now there are 12 and multiplied across the company’s six lines, that’s 72 design cycles.

“We had 170 openings last year,” Badgley said. “They came like bullets.”

Maintaining that frenzied pace requires top-notch intelligence. Armed with real-time data from the app, the fashion brand can begin to execute more quickly, ordering fabric earlier and trimming weeks off production without cutting corners on quality—and still delivering to stores on time, Mischka noted.

Fast fashion and other runway rip-offs, coupled with consumers addicted to bargain hunting and low prices, are also complicating the game for smaller retailers. “Some of the finest boutiques across the world right now are taking the labels out of the clothes when they get into the store so it makes it make it more difficult for a person to figure out whose clothes it was and where else they can buy it,” Badgley said. “It’s become such a rat race.”

For Badgley Mischka, the top-voted look was a crimson floor-length ball gown, the kind of tried-and-true number that has been a hallmark of the brand over the years, a sign, perhaps, that consumers still appreciate the classics for their clothing even while embracing digital everything in every corner of their connected lives.

“For all the Millennials out there and this high tech and the way the world’s changing, I find it amusing that probably the most classic, old-school type of ball gown like this still reigns supreme in a world that accelerates at the pace that it does,” said Badgley.

So while the clothing stays the same, for some luxury houses, it’s the way consumers want to interact it that will continue to evolve.

“The app design and live engagement during and after the show demonstrate the possibilities on rich consumer engagement using digital capabilities,” said Mitchell-Keller.