Ah, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! For the the fashion enthusiast that is. Yes, fashion week (month) is upon us. Seems like it just passed. Editors, bloggers, stylists, buyers, celebrities, socialites and those lucky enough to score show invites scurry about, stamping the perfect tent ensembles, while confirming fashion week itinerary. However, the majority of us enjoy fashion week virally, living vicariously through the world wide web. In recent years, designers, having noted the growing significance of social media, have been gracious enough to stream shows, with more shows being added each season (special thanks to Burberry for pioneering the trend). So how does one know which shows are streaming and when? Wouldn’t it be convenient if there was a site that listed all show streams, times and conversions? Well, allow me to introduce you to CatwalkLive.TV, the first and only digital, live streaming schedule website dedicated to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Intrigued by the site (and a user for the past two seasons), I reached out the founder Roz for a Q&A session.
FFB: Tell us more about CatwalkLive.TV and what the site is all about.
CTV: CatwalkLive.TV is a digital live streaming schedules website, listing all known live streams for the big four fashion weeks; New York, London, Milan and Paris. It has dates, times (in four different time zones) and links to live streams of designer’s runway shows, and a reminder service for followers on Twitter so that they’re reminded 15 minutes before each show starts. It was founded just before the Fall/Winter 11-12 season in early 2011 by me – Roz.
FFB: Those that follow you on Twitter are aware that you are a major fashion enthusiast and consumer. What prompted you to start CatwalkLive.TV?
CTV: CatwalkLive.TV was born out of frustration. Every season people post links to the live streaming schedules, but every link you click only tells half the story. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York’s schedule gets a huge amount of coverage, but only has around half the live streams listed – those on their Maybelline-sponsored Youtube channel. It excludes streams by designers, Milkmade, First Comes Fashion, Metrovelvet, individual designers, and more.
With the rising popularity of live streams, this problem was only going to get worse, and it would be easy to miss shows because the schedule you looked at didn’t list all of them.
Every year I ended up compiling a list for myself; researching the different shows, converting the start times into my native time zone, working out when I needed to be at my computer… and then I thought, “why not share this with everyone else?” – and CatwalkLive.TV was born.
FFB: This is CatwalkLive.TV third season. How has the site progressed? Are there
any new site features
CTV: CatwalkLive.TV is still in its infancy, but we’ve improved the layout of our schedules so that more shows can be included, and they’re easier to read. Most of the other changes this season have been behind the scenes, such as building up a database of whether shows live stream or not, and
improving the simplicity of updating the schedules if live streaming times change.
We’re looking to make other improvements too, such as adding an “add to calendar” feature, but this is made difficult by the fact that 9am in one part of the world, isn’t necessarily 9am in another, so we need to work out the time difference problem first.
Three seasons in, and CatwalkLive.TV is still the ONLY website that lists ALL known live streams for ALL four fashion weeks.
FFB: Gathering and organizing show streams from each location must be strenuous. How does your team round up stream information?
CTV: It’s often said there’s “no I in team”, but the team at the moment it’s just I – it’s a solo endeavor currently, but to a certain extent CatwalkLive.TV does rely on Twitter followers and contributions from visitors to keep the schedules up-to-date.
Having covered two fashion months already, I have a pretty good idea of what shows will be live streaming based on previous seasons, it’s a case of verifying times and live streaming locations.
The next stage is to check designer’s websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds – as you can imagine, there are many hundreds of pages to check. Often designers don’t announce live streams until a day-or-two before their show, so I have to do this twice; once in the run-up to fashion week, and then every morning to double-check everything.
Another stage is to check forums, Google and other live streaming websites to try and find out if any other websites are live streaming fashion week shows.
Finally, websites like First Comes Fashion, Style.com, Milkmade and Metrovelvet often live stream shows. I try and contact as many of these as possible. First Comes Fashion are very supportive of our website, while sadly Milkmade and Style don’t reply, so the onus is still on me to dig and dig to find out which shows they’re live streaming.
FFB: I’m a fan of Catwalklive.tv and noticed last season that there were limited streams from Paris. Should we expect more show streams this season or have Parisian designers still not realized the importance of extending viral show invites to the general public?
CTV: I believe Paris Fashion Week is trying to maintain a bit of exclusivity by resisting live streaming. Last season, Paris actually live streamed fewer shows than it did the season before. I think live streaming is hugely important as it makes fashion week accessible to mere mortals like myself, but having said that, Paris is home to some of the largest and most successful fashion houses in the world, so for brands like Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Dior, there’s clearly a strong reason to show in Paris, despite the resistance to live streaming and social media.
New York, Milan and London really spoil us with their live stream offering. All three have their own live streaming channels, and then on top of that, designers often take it upon themselves to live stream their own shows too because that’s how it’s done. Fortunately, websites like NowFashion, which publishes runway photos in near real-time have helped bridge the gap until Paris can resist live streaming no longer.
FFB: What streams are you most looking forward to this season?
CTV: There are a lot of live streams that I always look forward to every season. I always look forward to the drama of Marc Jacobs’ shows, despite his collections not normally being to my taste. Same with Alexander Wang – I love the “edge” of his shows, and it’s one of the live streams that I always make an effort to watch. Meanwhile, in London, Burberry is always dramatic, while a lot of the lesser-known designers are often the highlight of fashion month for me. Milan’s live streams are always creative, and it’s always good to see what fashion heavyweights like Versace, Gucci and Prada bring to the table.
FFB: Where do you see Catwalklive.TV in 5 years?
CTV: I am really hoping that CatwalkLive.TV becomes the go-to website for fashion week live streams, and I really hope fashion weeks, live streaming websites and even designers get behind the idea and support it. I’m hoping that one day, there won’t be endless confusion over when and where shows are live streaming – people won’t need to ask for details on what shows are live streaming, they’ll know to visit CatwalkLive.TV.
I also hope that as CatwalkLive.TV becomes better-known, and becomes more of a community, which should mean our schedules become more and more accurate as people help contribute links to live streams themselves.
I’m sure the concept will be further refined with different ways to view our schedules, whether by email, by adding events to calendars or by social media.
I also hope in the future it can cover more of the other fashion weeks; menswear, different cities, pre-fall, cruise, resort etc – it’s like opening a can of worms, though, as once you decide to cover one, it seems unfair to not cover another. The only thing I’d say is that for the smaller fashion weeks, the live streams are normally via a single website, so there isn’t the problem of having to find live streaming information.
FFB: Tell us how we can keep up with Catwalklive.tv
CTV: CatwalkLive.TV is very much built around two principles; live streaming schedules, and live streaming reminders, Follow our Twitter page @CatwalkLive.TV, which is very much the backbone to our reminder service, whereby our #CatwalkLiveTVReminder tweets will remind followers 15 minutes before, and as each show is due to start.
In addition, our Twitter page is the best place to be kept up-to-date withlive streaming news and schedule updates. We also have a Facebook page; http://www.facebook.com/catwalklivetv which is a good place to connect with some of the designers live streaming on Facebook. We are also hoping that by next season there will be a mailing list, with a daily digest of what shows to watch.
CatwalkLive.TV is your one stop shop for all Mercedes Benz Fashion week show streams. FFB has hipped you, and just in time, as New York kicks off fashion week tomorrow! Special thanks to Roz for the interview. CatwalkLive.TV aside, for a daily dose of shoe porn, you can follow Roz on Twitter @RozFashionista.