The supermodels are missing from the ramp. Retailers are cutting back on buying. The guest lists have become shorter. Shows have got canceled. Recession has not spared the fashion industry. It is time to get creative… beyond designing. To reach out to their market, designers have added the Internet to the spring collection’09.

According to the figures provided by the Internet Advertising Bureau, the spending on online advertising in the United Kingdom rose by 21% in the 12 months ended June 2008. The significance of this rise is enhanced by the fact that the advertising industry as a whole declined during the same period. The ‘entertainment and media’ sector is one of the top three categories boosting this growth.
However, the Internet wasn’t always that popular. In 1998, the novel idea of an online fashion retail enterprise came up in the form of With the listing of labels as Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren, user-friendly functionality and a virtual shopping experience, the venture looked strong. However, one of the major reasons behind the failure of the concept was that it was ahead of its times. The website troubled visitors because of its speed… who would want to twiddle thumbs while waiting for the next dress to load?

But, 2009 is different. The way in which domestic broadband has proliferated strengthens the case for online advertising. The need to download software for viewing products has been eliminated.

Catherine Malandrino, a French designer based in New York, has recognized ‘accessibility’ as the key to successfully market fashion. Her online store exemplifies how she has attempted to make the shopping experience as customized as her designs. Online fashion magazines can be effective tools for building a brand. Besides, web catalogues are also a cost-effective advertising solution. With online catalogues, the expenditure is reduced to two-thirds of that in print medium.

Chanel is one of the first luxury marketers to embrace new media. One can go for a virtual tour to the designer’s apartment in Paris to check out the Coco Mademoiselle perfume line. Partnership with fashion blogs to advertise the latest from their labels is another tool that fashion designers are putting to use.

From FAQs to fashion designers personally answering questions and from catwalks to customizations, it’s all happening on the Internet. The high level of interaction afforded by the social media is changing fashion advertising. Traditional media is continuously losing ground to the convenience, economy, personal touch and networking that the Internet or new media offers. Despite the recession, the fashion fraternity seems to be saying, “The Show Must Go On.”