Vikram Alexei Kansara is a digital strategist and managing editor of The Business of Fashion, a London-based blog that has gained a cult following as an essential resource for fashion creatives, executives and entrepreneurs in more than 150 countries. As a consultant, Kansara works with fashion companies, publishers and agencies to deliver breakthrough strategic thinking for today’s digital world.
What’s hot right now?
A return to elegance and gentleness. Phoebe Philo’s sharp new minimalism at Céline. Surrealist photographer/conjurer Tim Walker, who has been shooting more for American Vogue. Crowdfunding fashion sites like Style Trek, Catwalk Genius and FashionStake. Matthew Stone’s performance art. Digital agencies CreateThe Group and Made by Many. Consumer-facing fashion extravaganzas like Target’s Kaleidoscopic Fashion Spectacular at the Standard Hotel. Dalston Roof Park, a new urban green space in East London. Vlas Blomme, a relaxed natural clothing line made in Japan with Kortrijk linen from Belgium.
What digital trends are you anticipating this fall?
In recent seasons, we’ve seen an explosion of experimentation in social media, with leading luxury fashion brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton creating an immediate connection with consumers and earning followers through engaging digital content like live streaming shows. But now that brands have established an immediate interface with consumers, the question becomes how to capitalize on the excitement by connecting social media to commerce. More specifically, forward thinking brands are beginning to build shopping opportunities into their streaming runway shows—it’s about satisfying that immediate impulse at the moment of heightened excitement. I think this is all part of a sustained shift towards consumer-facing fashion weeks. The internet has brought a new and alluring digital transparency to the fashion world. Alongside editors, buyers and other industry insiders, I think the digitally connected consumer is a major constituent at fashion week this season.
What’s on your list of the best fashion sites?
Without a doubt, at the top of my list is SHOWstudio, a site that’s been experimenting with transparency, immediacy and participation—key themes in digital cultureᰬfor over ten years. At SHOWstudio, Nick Knight and Ruth Hogben can also be credited with pioneering digital fashion film. But it’s still such a young medium and alongside SHOWstudio, Jaime Perlman’s TEST is a great platform for digital experimentation free from commercial constraints. In terms of brands, I like the new Hermès scarf site J’aime mon carré, which creates a playful connection between one of the company’s more accessible heritage items and the street style sites that are popular with young digital consumers—though, it must be said that the Hermès concept borrows heavily from Burberry’s Art of the Trench site, which launched last fall. I also like Net-a-Porter’s new iPad app which neatly packages commerce and content into a weekly digital magazine. And in purely visual terms, I’m addicted to Tommy Ton’s Jak & Jil blog. He has such an amazing eye for detail, and although he shoots everything on automatic, I think he’s managed to turn that into a specific aesthetic of its own. The Business of Fashion, a fashion business-focused site I work on with Imran Amed isn’t too bad either! But stay tuned, as this is shaping up to be one of the most digitally sophisticated fashion seasons yet and I expect some interesting new launches from brands and publishers alike.