Burberry recently announced interesting news about its upcoming Spring/Summer 21 collection. After being the first luxury brand to live-stream its runway show to a global audience, Burberry will now be the first brand to partner with Twitch to stream its show ‘Burberry in Nature’ on September 17th. You can sign up to view the show here.

Burberry acts as the perfect lens through which to explore possibilities for the wider fashion industry in the post-COVID landscape. With so many brands putting an emphasis on digital presence and ways to improve their e-commerce experiences, Burberry is a brand that stands out and innovates. On the topic of the Twitch partnership, Burberry’s Chief Marketing Officer stated:

“Burberry has always been a brand of firsts and partnering with Twitch continues this legacy. Twitch unlocks an exciting new space where our Burberry community can be digitally transported to feel like they have a virtual seat at our live show. It is an interactive experience where guests can connect with both our brand and each other whilst personalizing their viewing journey.”

The partnership of course makes complete sense. Twitch is the leader of the ever-growing live streaming industry with around 55 million monthly active users, and the collaboration would allow Burberry to continue to push boundaries in what it can accomplish during the period of lockdown. The digital collection will make use of Twitch’s unique functionality to provide an immersive, personalized experience for all to enjoy.

Hearing the news of Burberry’s partnership led me to consider ways the brand places itself at the frontier of fashion in the digital world. Burberry is an incredibly innovative brand which tries to provide engaging experiences for their community. In this sense, I wanted to demonstrate the ways in which Burberry is pioneering the Post-COVID fashion industry.

First, of course, it makes sense to look at the way they are presenting their collections, such as via live streams. Burberry was an early adopter of this idea, is the first luxury brand to live stream a show in 2010. The partnership with Twitch could open the door for a lot of possibilities, adaptation, and evolution in the way these live streams are carried out. Working directly with the leading name of the industry could be a great way to make some changes in how fashion shows are distributed. With a foot in the door, this may lead other fashion brands into live stream partnerships and eventually may even lead to a new sub-platform specifically catering to fashion content.

Another way Burberry is pushing boundaries is their methods of interacting with customers. Whilst the retail world is still recovering and most likely will not return to its former glory for quite some time, Burberry was looking for ways to engage with potential customers. This led to the creation of B Surf. B Surf is an interactive surfing game in which you can dress up a character in a selection of Burberry’s TB Summer Monogram collection and play a surfing minigame.  Upon release and for the first two weeks there were also exclusive Burberry prizes to be won such as bucket hats, surfboards, and digital rewards such as in-game characters and exclusive face filters. This has been something other brands such as Size? have also implemented during the release of the Nike Zoom Spiridon ‘Carnaby’

Although games may not necessarily translate to buying or engage online customers in the same way as the physical experience of luxury stores, it is a step in the right direction. Of course, it is unlikely we will see virtual store experiences, but adding an extra layer of interactivity to the e-Commerce experience could be a way for brands to bridge the gap between physical and digital experiences. Perhaps augmented reality may be the next step, with us being able to digitally try on a variety of items. 

Lastly, Burberry is putting an emphasis on collaboration during these times of ‘social distance’. Burberry Inspire aimed to contribute to education in an attempt to combat the impact of COVID-19, as the world turned to virtual learning. The result was a collaboration between Yorkshire and New York City artists in a virtual collaboration of art, sculpture, dance, and culture across the World.

Virtual collaboration again is something Burberry is pioneering which could have huge effects on the wider fashion industry. Using the same principle, designers and artists can connect across the World and work together. This could go hand-in-hand with the growth of fashion in live streaming; brands may work together to organize live-streamed, scheduled fashion shows.

All in all, Burberry is a brand pushing the boundaries of fashion in the digital world. The innovative way the brand harnesses technology such as live streaming, digital engagement, and virtual collaboration could hold a lot of promise for the future of the fashion industry. 

When reconsidering the fashion industry post-COVID, Burberry is a brand that is at the forefront and a brand that is laying the groundwork for what is digitally possible within fashion.