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Apps Go High Tech for Fashion Week

With interactive maps and real-time synching, apps are bringing insider-only events to the masses

MODEL: STAN HONDA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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As any Fashion Week attendee worth her weight in Chanel can tell you, nothing is more essential for a successful round of shows than a well-equipped iPhone. (Apart from an inspired ensemble, that is.) But just a few years ago, uses for the now-ubiquitous device were limited. You could frantically Google venue locations, snap a few fuzzy photos and send them to your assistant, but that was about it.

In 2008, Condé Nast’s Style.com released its first smartphone app, allowing the fashion-obsessed to browse look-by-look slide shows of designer presentations, behind-the-scenes photos, and reviews—making “outsiders into insiders,” said Style.com executive editor Nicole Phelps. Soon enough, everyone was tweeting and Instagramming their every sartorial move, further linking the masses with the goings-on under the tents at the biannual shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris.

A new crop of apps has emerged to take advantage of the technological possibilities of the mobile platform—and they’re all targeted at the industry insiders themselves. “It’s made it a lot easier for people to stay up to the minute,” said Phelps.

One of this season’s must-have iPhone apps is Fashion GPS Radar, which lets users register for Fashion Week events, locate shows on an interactive map and check in by scanning their own personal barcode. The app officially launched this season (it was in beta for the spring shows) and has nearly 4,500 users. Fashion GPS is also meant to be a tool for the shows’ producers who can use the platform (also available on the iPad and the Web) to send invitations, arrange seating and keep up with editors’ and buyers’ whereabouts.

Another high-tech offering making its debut this year is Made Fashion Week, an app developed to be used at Made’s fashion show (either in person or via Livestream). Using technology developed by Sonic Notify, the app synchs with inaudible sound waves played during the show and automatically displays information about each look as models parade down the runway. Users can then share professional photos of the clothing via Twitter or email or save them for future reference.

Of course, even the most seasoned Fashion Week veteran needs a break sometimes. For that, there’s W magazine’s Front Row app, which offers a list of recommended restaurants, salons, shopping and cultural destinations in all four Fashion Week cities. The app also collects Fashion Week tweets and offers an event calendar.



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