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At N.Y. Fashion Week, Badgley Mischka let audience vote on designs with an app

New York Fashion Week still thrives off exclusivity when it comes to the guest lists, but social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter can provide a front-row seat to the action. While some designers have gone so far as to ban smartphones at their shows, American fashion label Badgley Mischka is embracing it with the launch of the Badgley Mischka Runway App — its first-ever iOS app made specifically for the runway. The app allows on-site and virtual attendees to vote on designs in real time.

We had the opportunity to test out the app at the designer’s Fall 2018 show in New York City. Yes, you end up watching the show through your smartphone, but the app helped us feel more immersed and connected with the the brand’s designs. Voting in real time enabled the sense that we’re not just there to watch the show, but to share our opinions as well.

The fashion industry has always been the leader in deciding what’s on trend for the season, but the Badgley Mischka app gives a little power to consumers, allowing the fashion brand to cater to its audience.

“Why would we not put the top 10 dresses that were everyone’s favorite into production first instead of the lowest 10 dresses, when there’s maybe more of a demand for the ones that were everyone’s favorite?” Mark Badgley told Digital Trends. “All of that information is helpful to a company.”

The development behind the app was spearheaded by global software provider SAP, and it worked closely with Apple.

“[Badgley Mischka] are forward thinkers, they’ve been around in the fashion industry for quite a while,” Peter Akbar, SAP’s global vice president and chief customer officer, fashion, told Digital Trends. “They wanted something that would help showcase their clothing to a wider audience, that’s one. Second, [to] understand what the audience is feeling about their clothing, about their style, and about their fashions. That’s why this app came into existence.”

“They wanted something to showcase their clothing to a wider audience.”

Once the show started, opening the app brought us two different options — “Enter the Runway Camera” and “See the Collection.” We started out with the latter, and watched the app update with each look the moment it was coming down the runway. You can tap on the thumbs up or heart icon to distinguish between whether we “liked” it or “loved” it. Being able to see outfits up close on our phones when they’re actively on the runway was refreshing, because we could take our time to analyze and appreciate the whole design. Each outfit also included details such as the exact name of the look, along with the name of the model wearing it.

With the runway models moving quickly, it can sometimes be difficult to be in the moment while simultaneously taking snapshots on your phone to post to social media. That’s where the “Enter the Runway Camera” mode comes in. It used the built-in camera on our iPhone to take videos and photos, while voting on the designs at the same time. As soon as an outfit appeared on the runway, we received a notification — just like any other — and were able to vote without ever having to leave the camera. We loved this experience, because it meant we didn’t have to sacrifice using the app just to take pictures.

Real-time results showed up on a leaderboard backstage for the designers to see. While Mark Badgley and James Mischka couldn’t see in-depth metrics backstage, they could see which looks were getting more “likes” than “loves.” The leaderboard is based on a points system — looks the audience “loved” (the heart icon) weighed more heavily than ones that were simply liked (a thumbs-up icon). The team can also see the data based on where people were sitting, and the results were also available for everyone at the show to see.

With virtual attendees voting on designs as well, it gives Badgley Mischka even more data to analyze since they’re able to see which styles different cities favor.

Even if the show is over, you can still go into the app and swipe through the collection in case you missed it.

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