There’s no question that technology is changing the landscape of fashion. And thanks to the arrival of 3D printing, the rapid velocity at which information travels on social media, and the upswing in fashion-related apps, everything is more accessible, more efficient, and just plain faster.
For designer Vivienne Tam, that means giving a global audience an intimate look at her brand. “It’s about reaching people and giving them a more in-depth look at what I’m doing, and it increases awareness of my brand,” she tells InStyle.com. “Now they know who ‘Vivienne Tam’ is—the person behind the brand.”
How is she doing that exactly? Aside from posting images of her inspirations, travels, and behind-the-scenes activities on her social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, she has partnered with WeChat, a free interactive mobile app that features chatting and sharing functions. Her fall/winter 2014 show during New York Fashion Week saw the first instance of the two in action: Tam gave WeChat users an all-access pass to her show from the front row and backstage.
And now she’s taking the app one step further. Earlier this week, Tam announced that she’s hosting a contest on WeChat where aspiring models around the world can enter for the chance to win a spot in Tam’s spring/summer 2015 line-up during New York Fashion Week in September. “[The contest] will allow me to see faces all around the world, find the next ‘It’ girl, and discover new talent,” she says excitedly. “It’s an amazing once-in-a-lifetime fashion experience, and I’ll be there to mentor, to make her dreams come true, and to hopefully launch her career.”
Think of it as America’s Next Top Model, but without all the hoopla and Tyra Banks. More importantly, the WeChat community (along with Tam, of course) will have a say through votes on which model should come out on top. The contest is open from now until 11:59 PM ET on July 25, and the finalist will be announced the first week of August (for more details on the contest, visit wechatapp.io).
Fashion and technology have increasingly become one and the same—a fact that Tam couldn’t agree with more. Aside from bringing people together on a global scale (like with her model contest), Tam says she plans to launch Vivienne Tam tech products in the future and possibly integrate technology into her designs. “Fashion is a lifestyle, and technology is a tool to make our lifestyle more efficient and more connected,” Tam says. “I welcome innovation.”