Milan Fashion Week brought back glory to much more than just low-rise jeans

Born to give buyers alternatives to French fashion during World War II, the first-ever Fashion Week was held in New York in 1943. But, going way beyond New York, Fashion Week is now the most important fashion event globally, with Milan being one of the ‘Big Four’ fashion capitals in the world. 

After two challenging years, Milan Fashion Week was back to its pre-pandemic glory last month. While we saw the old hipbone-and-belly-button-baring fame walking the runways, we also saw the impacts of Fashion Week across the city. Let’s see a few quick takeaways based on real-life behaviours.

Fashion Week continues to be an anchor for international travel 

It’s no secret that the travel industry turns its eyes to all Fashion Week capitals throughout the year. Last month, we saw Milan Fashion Week back to its pre-COVID splendour: global press, celebrities and street-stylers have all jetted to Milan to see the next autumn/winter fashion trends. 

On average, the number of foreign visitors traveling from other European countries and the United States to Milan has increased since the week before the event. Visitors coming from these locations take Fashion Week as an opportunity to enjoy Milan for a little longer: the week that precedes  Fashion Week saw more than twice the number (126%) of American and European travellers compared to the prior week. During Fashion Week, this number increased a further 75%.

Perhaps not surprisingly, French visitors rank first in the share of visitors coming from Europe and the US, accounting for 25.5% of foreign visitors during Fashion Week. Americans accounted for 18% of foreign visitors, followed by British visitors (12.8%).

Fashion Week stay-cation  

Fashion Week is not only about extended international trips. Fashion Week also gives Italians a reason for that quick trip to Milan. The number of visitors coming to Milan from other Italian cities increased by almost 30% during Fashion Week. 

Fashion Week gives brands a unique opportunity to find and engage with additional target audiences that would otherwise be unavailable. Brands can, and should, use events like this to tap into real-world consumer behaviour to drive people to buy in-store. 

Location data can reveal an immense pool of potential customers based on particular patterns so that marketers can increase loyalty based on accurate location data. During Fashion Week, for example, advertisers can target customers who’ve been at a fancy restaurant within the last two weeks by serving them an ad with a slight discount to drive them back in later. Or a vegan restaurant can show an ad inviting people to visit. 

I bet you’re asking why I’m using a vegan restaurant as an example…

What does Fashion Week have to do with veganism? 

It was expected, although not taken for granted, that high fashion store visits would increase during Fashion Week – in fact, we saw a 16.8% increase in footfall compared to the previous week. However, let’s not forget that Fashion Week is also a massive driver for other industries. Looking at how fashionistas behave in real-life, we can understand their preferences and find unexpected ways to connect with them based on their lifestyles and preferences. 

Comparing an average visitor with fashion stores’ visitors during Fashion Week, the latter are almost seven times more likely to be interested in luxury services, shops and facilities and 2.5 times more likely to use public transport. Fashion brands’ visitors are also more likely to visit vegan or vegetarian restaurants – and the same goes for organic food shops.

Since the pandemic started, the psychological context has significantly affected behaviour. Consumers are increasingly becoming more selective in what they do and where they go based on their feelings. Therefore, on a day-to-day basis, brands trying to tap into transactional moments need to use more direct, concise and instructional messaging. 

Milan Fashion Week is one of those quality-of-life moments where consumers are out and about socialising. That gives brands an opportunity to deliver conceptual ideas that bring the user on a journey – that’s what they are looking for. Understanding categories with high crossover can help guide the entire brand strategy, from creative concepts to audience targeting and media buying. 

Milan will host Fashion Week again in September, and whilst I’m not so sure that low-rise jeans will still be a thing, I’m confident that real-life interests revealed during this last Fashion Week can define whether a brand will be in vogue or not. 

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