Big Tech is Infiltrating Fashion Week(Vogue Business)

NEW YORK — Tech giants are making their presence known during fashion month, marking a shift in power around who funds, and benefits from, the runway.

This season, payment services company Klarna is sponsoring a set of fashion presentations at New York Fashion Week that lets customers purchase items from collections on payment plans. Thom Browne will debut a rebranded Samsung Galaxy phone in partnership with the South Korean tech giant. Last season, Google appeared during the runway return of Jennifer Lopez’s Versace dress, one of the season’s most viral moments, to promote a few of its products. Amazon Prime served as the exclusive streaming and e-commerce partner for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie show. Alibaba, meanwhile, facilitated three “China Cool” runway platforms in New York, Milan and Paris in an effort to spotlight Chinese designers.

Tech companies aren’t entirely new to fashion month — Samsung and Intel have been long-standing partners, for example — but visibility is increasing, and relationships are deepening as fashion and tech become more intertwined. The rising ubiquity of tech companies at fashion shows underscores a mutually beneficial partnership across both industries, through which tech companies can earn brand cachet and facetime with business and consumer clients, and fashion brands can milk tech’s data and toolsets.

“The brands that will be successful are those that not only partner with these companies for fashion show gimmicks but truly leverage their expertise for the digital transformation of their businesses,” says Launchmetrics chief marketing officer Alison Bringé.