I've never spent much time obsessing over fashion, but lately I can't get enough of it. While I have little regard for the chosen length of 2012 hemlines, or why the utilitarian coat will be this spring's must-have item, I am fascinated by how leading designers are leveraging social media like never before.
Let's start with Tumblr – or for the fashionistas out there – Oscar de la Renta. The designer isn't necessarily someone you'd associate with technological innovation, but at this year's Fashion Week in New York, he showcased his upcoming collection live on the popular micro-blogging site. Fortunately for his team, they didn't have to do much posting. It was as easy as using the tag #odlrlive for front-row bloggers and virtual fans to push their images to the web in real time, creating a photo-based online show of sorts. But Oscar de la Renta wasn't the only one embracing the live web, as one site reported . More than 30 designers are now streaming from the premier fashion event in New York.
U.S. designer Norma Kamali also created a stir by unveiling her spring collection via an 8-minute 3D film. With special cat-shaped 3D glasses, fashion fans can view the mini movie, featuring models playing instruments and other 3D surprises. When the film premieres online Thursday, the final product pages will allow shoppers to view the designer's clothing and play a game to win prizes. To receive the special glasses, just head to Norma Kamali's Facebook page and join the thousands of fans who have already signed up.
Social media and 3D technology doesn't stop at Fashion Week, however. Simply browse any app store to see hundreds of downloads dedicated to fashion newbies and veterans alike. From Fashism, which is a download to take a photo of your outfit and get instant feedback from friends, to Netrobe, which gives you all the tools you need to properly photograph and archive every piece of clothing in your closet, you won't be disappointed with the endless creativity of this industry.
Last but not least, augmented reality is also playing a starring role in the fashion world. Look no further than U.K. retailer Banana Flame's website to meet the ' Social Shopper.' No, it's not a person, but a high-tech web cam that allows you to try on clothes at home. With your own web cam, just position yourself four or five feet away from the lens and adjust the garment of choice on your body. In seconds, you can see how the clothes looks and get instant feedback from friends online. Sure, it might not be as accurate as trying something on in person, but technology like this is getting us closer, and opening up more opportunities to make virtual shopping an everyday reality.