The British Fashion Council’s (BFC) livestream of 46 catwalk shows from London Fashion Week resulted in a 100% increase in viewers year on year, indicating the growing demand from an online audience for real time fashion events. 

Powered by Rightster, the shows were accessible via the BFC’s YouTube channel, the London Fashion Week TV site, as well as delivered to designer and publisher Facebook communities for the first time – including the Roksanda Ilincic and Vogue pages.

The shows were also distributed to over 100 broadcast, online and mobile publishers worldwide, with sites such as Elle, Grazia and the Telegraph carrying live and on-demand video from the events. 

Plus, this year the content was placed onto tablet devices for the first time via the Times’s iPad app.

BFC CEO Caroline Rush said the organisation launched its digital strategy in 2009 to harness technology and creativity to promote British designers to a global audience.

Each season we look for new ways to unite fashion and digital innovation. With London playing such a key role on the world stage this year, we are pleased to meet the demand from a worldwide audience for London Fashion Week content.”

This wasn’t simply about views though, since the content was also monetised via integration with various advertising solutions, media agencies and brands.

Particularly clever was a feature that allowed editors to have control over when ads were triggered, so that audiences weren’t shown brand messages when the shows were running – but allowed them to ‘pad out’ a stream if a show was running late. 

Last month fashion PR and production agency KCD Worldwide announced that it would be launching a digital fashion show service to make life easier for time-crunched reporters and editors. 

Positioned as an alternative to runway and presentation formats, these are accessible by invitation only, with a password required to gain entry. The livestreamed shows include runway footage, interviews with designers and cost between $150,000 to $300,000.

Reaction to KCD’s offering has been mixed, Vogue’s Ella Alexander said that: “in one camp, a catwalk show is the ultimate branding tool and, in the other, are a costly and stressful prerequisite that would be far better reimagined online.”

While KCD’s service is most definitely intended to target a smaller audience of handpicked viewers, Burberry has bridged the gap. This season it combined a show-stopping event in-person with innovative social elements (including animated GIFs of its new line) that were distributed openly to its fans via Twitter.

Though for some designers retaining exclusivity is key, BFC’s stats are yet another example of the hunger for fashion-related video content online – and one that can be monetised at the same time as being a useful promotional tool.

Following the success of London Fashion Week, Rightster will provide a similar digital solution to other major fashion weeks throughout the year, so it’s something we’ll only see continuing to grow.