Snapchat Lights Up NYFW

Look out, Instagram: Looks like there’s a new kid in town … for fashion week.

Snapchat made quite the buzz this week debuting its first “Fashion Week” story (story is the app’s word for video). The compilation of images and video was put together by submitted content from users, highlighting behind-the-scenes action from the shows of Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Jeremy Scott (with Miley Cyrus) and Anna Sui.

In addition, Rebecca Minkoff used the platform to preview her spring ’15 collection from model casings to accessories that would be used on the runway.

“We find that our customer likes to see what goes into putting our show on every season,” said Uri Minkoff, CEO of Rebecca Minkoff. “We’ve learned that our customer likes this sort of engagement. Chances are, she’s already on Snapchat, and getting this insider view of what goes on leading up to Fashion Week is really exciting for her. It makes her feel like she’s a part of the action.”

Complete with characteristic emoji, catchy captions and fleeting images (videos and images disappear once you’ve viewed them), Snapchat’s casual platform offers something new for fashion. It’s accessible, hits a younger audience and offers exclusivity thanks to the immediacy of the content. It also doesn’t require quite the level of production that has come to characterize Instagram.

The messaging app’s racy reputation has been fading as more brands get on board with sneak peeks of product and the ability to run contests and list jobs — in Nasty Gal’s case, the company promoted internships to more than 100 million users. Brands from Taco Bell to NPR and Audi jumped on the bandwagon early, and notable fashion adopters include Rebecca Minkoff, Free People, Nasty Gal, Karmaloop and Juicy Couture.

“We like Snapchat because it’s one channel we can really use humor with,” said Kathryn O’Connor, director of PR, marketing and engagement for Free People. The brand joined Snapchat this past spring and debuted its intimates line on the app. “We love giving sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes action. We really like the conversations and engagement we have with our users. It’s fun. It’s quirky.”

Today Free People creates videos answering user questions and is experimenting with fashion how-to’s for the future.

Though Snapchat has yet to turn a profit, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. In August, the company got another infusion of cash from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The investors estimate the app is worth $10 billion.

Yes, you read that valuation right.

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