Kim Kardashian

Fashion’s marketing gurus have always loved the big runway show splash and the bean counters have always wondered if they’re worth all that money — up to $1 million or more for a flashy 15 minutes.

Answering the financial concerns has only become more complicated now that it’s not just editors taking in the latest styles, but also influencers preening, re-tweeters posting and brands themselves broadcasting the scene directly to consumers.

The message is getting out, yes, but to the right people and at a worthwhile cost?

To put a value to the biannual ritual, Launchmetrics teamed with the Council of Fashion Designers of America for a deep dive, dubbed, “Front Row to Consumer: The Voice Driving Fashion Week in Today’s Digital Era.” (The report is available for download from Launchmetrics’ web site).

Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA, said, “The opportunity on the runway clearly is not just the show, but the data that can be obtained from around the show and that impact, accessed and evaluated the right way can be instrumental in terms of sales, customer growth and business development.”

Alison Levy, chief marketing officer of Launchmetrics, framed the report as a way to understand a host of pressing questions: “What is the value of fashion week? How do brands really need to do it now? Who is the event for?”

The bottom line is that there is not an easy one-size-fits-all approach that will work for every brand, but the report does provide a metric — media impact value, or MIV — that brands can use as a benchmark and to measure how they rank and parse out who is being heard.

Arnaud Roy, Launchmetrics’ chief strategy officer, called it a “voice-centric approach” that lets brands “measure the input of each voice.”

The chorus of fashion week is made up, in the report, of traditional media players, influencers, owned channels (such as a brand’s blog) and consumers (who echo and amplify other voices as they post, retweet and generally add buzz to a show).

Each has its own kind of sway.

Traditional media “has the largest reach in a way” by virtue of its ability to raise awareness and convey “the feeling of the event,” Levy said. “Legitimacy is what influencers provide and they each provide a different kind of legitimacy. Every voice is important.”

And each of the various fashion weeks has its own tenor.

During the last round of shows, 36 percent of the value in New York came from influencers, while traditional media led in Paris, providing 32 percent of the value. Consumers had the biggest impact during the shows in London, 42 percent, and Milan, 28 percent.

That reflects both a difference in venues — London doesn’t attract as many media outlets — and a difference in approach. Brands in New York, for instance, focus on big-name influencers such as musicians, while brands showing in Europe favor “micro-influencers” that reach a niche audience.

“There’s no such thing as a ‘definitive’ voice for success, rather a combination of all of them, especially in an industry in which professionals speak incessantly of the importance of an omnichannel strategy,” the report said.

Brands very clearly worked the different voices to their advantage and they didn’t always hew to the overall trend of the cities they showed in.

Tom Ford, for instance, generated nearly $7 million in MIV from traditional media during New York Fashion Week, 41 percent of the designer’s total MIV. (AOL was the biggest piece of Ford’s media pie, with $1 million MIV, while Vogue was second, with $270,437 MIV). Much of that impact came from coverage of the big names at the show, including Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid and Cameron Dallas. Kardashian was mentioned in 600 online articles about the show.

And Jeremy Scott drew $2.7 million, or 46 percent of his MIV, directly from influencers. Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus and Sam and Cailli Beckerman were among the influencers at his New York show and melding well with what the report described as the brand’s “fun, playful and wild” philosophy.


The Fashion Show Amplifier

A look where brands get the largest part of their media impact value, according to Launchmetrics.

% of total MIV MIV Fashion Week
Christopher Kane 71% $1.3 million London
Erdem 77% $999,400 London
Chloé 59% $5.9 million Paris
Oscar de la Renta 68% $8.1 million New York
Alexander Wang 50% $6.3 million New York
Alberta Ferretti 45% $1.9 million Milan
Owned Media
Victoria Beckham 38% $4.5 million New York
Roberto Cavalli 37% $998,400 Milan
Michael Kors 34% $5.3 million New York
Coach 50% $10.4 million New York
Louis Vuitton 50% $10.7 million Paris
Balenciaga 47% $4.2 million Paris