21 Jan THE NEW BALMAIN APP, A STRIDE TOWARDS INCLUSIVITY
French luxury label Balmain has launched a new app on iTunes as part of creative director Olivier Rousteing’s grand plan to democratize access to high fashion and make it more inclusive. This final step has been in the works for a while as last year, Balmain reportedly opened a digital flagship in collaboration with Yoox Net-a-porter Group. 2018 was indeed a year of digital experiments for the luxury brand as they consistently experimented with virtual reality by sending key influencers around the world with Virtual Reality headsets through which they could view the house’s fashion show live, while also implementing VR elements in its new Milan flagship location last April. With this new technology underway, Balmain has launched a brand new communication strategy as well as a new monogram and new logo to redefine their latest stance in inclusivity and digital fashion.
“For too many years, the legendary ateliers, boutiques, and runways of Paris have only been open to a very lucky select few. We’d like to try to begin to change that, by inviting as many members of our Balmain Army as possible into our Balmain universe.”- Olivier Rousteing for WWD.
As a novel way to connect with the next generation and new customers, this is a laudable stride in the direction of fashion’s growth and progress. Technology has well-permeated other vibrant industries with great results and Balmain may be leading the pack of the new wave of digitally credible brands who are creating a more inclusive and participatory platform for consumers in the world of high fashion. Before now, high fashion has been reserved for a very exclusive group of consumers by these luxury brands, the very same who stay in the business of preserving their sterling reputation of class and luxury. Over time, the influence of social media and a very vibrant mainstream audience has caused there to be a flow towards market generalization and more even participation. Most brands have clearly recognized this and have sought various ways to capitalize on mainstream consumerism. This move by Balmain however, tops the rank in relativity and ingenuity and will hopefully motivate others in the league to follow suit.
The label’s couture show on Jan 23 – its first in 16 years since Oscar de la Renta designed the couture line – will serve as the official debut of the app, as customers and potential customers across the world will have access to a live streaming of the show on the app as well as additional, exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the iconic fashion house via an immersive tour of Balmain’s flagship in Saint Honoré, which is due to open mid-February. The Balmain app will be available for customers to download from Jan 19 – features a range of “insider” perks and inclusive, authentic entertainment for fans which will be added regularly; including augmented reality (AR) content that can be accessed, for example, by scanning posters which went up in key locations around Paris as part of a promotion by the brand. Similar initiatives are expected to be rolled out across Europe throughout 2019.