A Tale Of 4 Cities: Is Green The New Black For Fashion ?

Peter Akbar

Social analytics is an important way for businesses, news organizations, industry watchers, and others to keep an eye on what’s happening during big industry and news events. Here are some of the insights SAP took away from monitoring social media and fashion blogs during the “big four” European Fashion Weeks, which took place in February and March. 

And so the chatter starts 

The hype in the run-up to Fashion Week generated a lot of social media chatter before the events actually started. With numerous designers showcasing their collections for autumn/winter 2016-17 (AW16/17) across the four cities – London, Paris, Milan, and newly joined Madrid – the chatter elevated to an even higher state as each city raised its curtains for Fashion Week.

With data gathered and analysed by SAP, we looked into the trends with the most press and social feedback to further predict what may end up as bestsellers and, eventually, in your wardrobe in AW16/17.

A tale of four cities

As expected, Paris Fashion Week (#PFW) topped the charts with the overall highest volume of social conversations recorded. A handful of historically famous fashion houses from France and Italy were showcasing in their home countries this year, which led to a certain amount of social focus on these two cities. For #PFW, a large portion of the social activity was on 8 March, mainly surrounding the shows of Chanel and Valentino. While for Milan Fashion Week (#MFW), the most social conversations occurred on 27 February for Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander.

London Fashion Week (#LFW) had the second-highest social volume, with the most activity recorded on 22 February, mainly due to the well anticipated Burberry show. As Burberry’s creative director Christopher Bailey announced the “see it now, buy it now” runway show, in which every piece shown on the catwalk was available online and could be pre-ordered immediately. This game-changing tactic definitely played a pivotal role in increasing the brand’s exposure and social chatters.

Twitter dominated, with over 75% of the data out of all the social platforms. The most mentioned Twitter handles this season were @dior, @gucci, and Louis Vuitton’s chief designer @twngheesquiere, followed by @Chanel. Similarly, #diorshow, #louisvuitton, and #lvaw16 were the most mentioned brands on Twitter. 

most mentions during european fashion weeks

Designers: the movers & shakers

With the absence of elaborate set designs, Chanel brought everything back to basic with a gleefully “Classic Chanel” collection, which attracted large volumes of social activities, making it top of the charts across all social media platforms. Likewise, creative director Sarah Burton delivered a vision that is both gentle and poetic for Alexander McQueen’s homecoming show, earning the brand’s position just after Chanel on the most talked about. Coming up as third was Versace‘s empowering yet sensual women’s wear collection. Burberry’s glam-rock vibes attracted social buzz on both charts respectively, landing fourth on most talked about, and second place on most favoured.

According to the data provided by SAP, Chloé’s free-spirited collection is the most favoured, with Julien Macdonald’s glitz-filled fashion soiree in third place, followed by Balmain’s curvaceous silhouettes. This clearly demonstrated that the most talked about shows among attendees and the press aren’t necessarily the ones most favoured by the wider public.

 top designers during european fashion weeks

Is green the new black?

For AW16/17, the colour black led the charts with the most social media mentions. As a timeless and versatile colour, there is always a place in the market for it every season. Metallic/grey tones, as seen on the catwalk for Topshop Unique, instigated the second highest volume of social feedback, followed by the colour pink, which was the main recurring colour for Chanel’s AW16/17 collection.

In spite of this, the most favoured colour this season goes to green, which ranged from the military-style khaki green, like the greens featured in Loewe, to vivid hues of turquoise on the runway of Gucci. Reds and oranges also received a lot of positive feedback, making them the second most favoured colours among netizens.

trendy colors during european fashion weeks

Completing the look

Shoes and belts were the most favoured choices for accessories, followed by bags. Fourth place goes to glasses, which also received the lowest sentiment score in the most favoured category. This indicates that what may appeal to the consumer does not necessarily equate to what attracts the eyes of show attendees, critics, and fashion bloggers.

The accessories category informs retailers which complimentary products to showcase with an outfit that are most likely to attract an upsell sale. By understanding the types of accessories that are the most favoured among consumers, retailers will be in a better position to bring the right product to their shelves to meet consumers’ demands.

in accessories during european fashion weeks

So, which styles are we going to be wearing?

According to SAP analytics, Work-Class styled designs, as highlighted by Bottega Venetta’s tailored shapes, were the most talked about this season. Alexander McQueen’s dream-like dresses instigated the romantic trend with the second highest volumes of conversations.

On contrary, the Sporty trend, as seen on the Versace Runway, and vintage silhouettes from Burberry topped the charts as the most favoured styles this AW16/17.

Both are contributing factors to what may actually be the biggest trends for the coming autumn/winter. Listening to the market and customers using social media will give you a greater concept of what is hot, and what is not at all times.

 leading styles during european fashion weeksOur social analysis of the AW16/17 fashion weeks provides brands and retailers with a picture of what’s going to be popular. Styles that struck a pose on the catwalk and generated the most chatter were not necessarily the most favoured, and these insights could make a real difference to retailers looking to decide what kinds of clothing lines they should present to consumers this autumn/winter.

Digital is the way fashion brands and retailers can quickly connect with customers, understand what’s trending now, and predict future trends.

Only by embracing digital technologies and becoming truly digital enterprises are fashion brands and retailers going to be able to stay relevant, agile, and keep ahead of the game. Many of the fashion retailers and luxury brands that I meet with are taking a step back, reimagining their future business models in a now digital world, and embarking on their own digital transformation journey.

For a complete look into the European Fashion Weeks, check out this infographic


Peter Akbar

About Peter Akbar

Peter Akbar is vice president and chief of Customer Officer Fashion at SAP. For 18 years, he has been successfully engaging customers and partners to generate value by creating proven scalable solutions in SAP Fashion Management, SAP Apparel and Footwear, and other applications for businesses of all sizes.