NYFW 2021: How Brands Went Beyond the Runway to Engage Consumers

Brands like Revolve, YSL Beauty, Pepsi, Grey Goose and Yahoo, among many others, took their activations to the next level at this year's New York Fashion Week.

NYFW 2021: How Brands Went Beyond the Runway to Engage Consumers

NEW YORK—After COVID-19 restrictions forced many fashion houses to host virtual shows during recent seasons, New York Fashion Week returned this month, with designers showcasing their Spring-Summer 2022 collections on IRL runways.

From Sept. 8-12, NYFW: The Shows, which is produced by IMG, featured 90-plus shows over the course of the five-day event, taking place at venues that spanned boroughs including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Empire State Building. As for the health and safety measures, attendees were required to show proof of vaccination.

The tentpole event’s comeback also included some notable new sponsors such as Australian buy-now-pay-later app Afterpay, which footed the bill for 11 shows this year. The funding was part of a new initiative called the IMG Fashion Alliance, which is co-created by Afterpay and IMG. (Afterpay also hosted Australian Fashion Week and has signed a two-year deal with the British Fashion Council to be the principal partner of London Fashion Week for 2021 and 2022.) Alo Yoga signed on to be the event’s first official wellness partner, while long-time sponsor Maybelline New York decided not to return for the shows.

Keep scrolling to see how brands activated at New York Fashion Week 2021.

Yahoo

"For the fall season, Yahoo returned as the official innovation partner, creating consumer-facing tech experiences for designers Christian Cowan and Rebecca Minkoff. When Cowan’s QR code dress is scanned, it activates a unique, Yahoo-built augmented-reality hologram of the designer speaking about the inspiration behind the gown. Photo: Courtesy of Yahoo"
For the fall season, Yahoo returned as the official innovation partner, creating consumer-facing tech experiences for designers Christian Cowan and Rebecca Minkoff. When Cowan’s QR code dress is scanned, it activates a unique, Yahoo-built augmented-reality hologram of the designer speaking about the inspiration behind the gown.

Photo: Courtesy of Yahoo

 

"In partnership with Minkoff, Yahoo created an immersive NFT gallery and sale to raise funds in support of female-run businesses. The AR museum-like experience allowed consumers to purchase photo NFTs, digital garments and more. OpenSea hosted the sale, of which all proceeds will be used to fund a grant for women-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic in New York. Photo: Courtesy of Yahoo"
In partnership with Minkoff, Yahoo created an immersive NFT gallery and sale to raise funds in support of female-run businesses. The AR museum-like experience allowed consumers to purchase photo NFTs, digital garments and more. OpenSea hosted the sale, of which all proceeds will be used to fund a grant for women-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic in New York.

Photo: Courtesy of Yahoo

Revolve

"The fashion retailer for millennial and Generation Z consumers hosted an interactive multiroom gallery experience, produced by Blue Revolver, featuring brands and designers. Set in a 17,000-square-foot space at 20 Hudson Yards, each brand had a designated room that was transformed to reflect their vision and inspiration. Attendees were able to shop on-site via the Revolve Gallery IRL pop-up shop, presented by Afterpay, or via QR codes. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Revolve"
The fashion retailer for millennial and Generation Z consumers hosted an interactive multiroom gallery experience, produced by Blue Revolver, featuring brands and designers. Set in a 17,000-square-foot space at 20 Hudson Yards, each brand had a designated room that was transformed to reflect their vision and inspiration. Attendees were able to shop on-site via the Revolve Gallery IRL pop-up shop, presented by Afterpay, or via QR codes.

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Revolve

 

"As Revolve’s official makeup sponsor, Charlotte Tilbury debuted a custom exhibit room that transported attendees to the red carpet with a megawatt camera installation, along with the brand’s Super Nudes makeup collection inspired by the ‘90s supermodel era. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Revolve"
As Revolve’s official makeup sponsor, Charlotte Tilbury debuted a custom exhibit room that transported attendees to the red carpet with a megawatt camera installation, along with the brand’s Super Nudes makeup collection inspired by the ‘90s supermodel era.

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Revolve

 

YSL Beauty’s The House of NU

"To celebrate the launch of its new skincare-makeup hybrid collection called NU, YSL Beauty hosted a one-day launch experience, produced by Industria Creative, on Sept. 10 at Cooper Square Plaza. Photo: Courtesy of Industria Creative"
To celebrate the launch of its new skincare-makeup hybrid collection called NU, YSL Beauty hosted a one-day launch experience, produced by Industria Creative, on Sept. 10 at Cooper Square Plaza.

Photo: Courtesy of Industria Creative

 

"Guests were able to get their makeup professionally done before being photographed by a fashion photographer with YSL Beauty visuals as a backdrop. Photo: Courtesy of Industria Creative"
Guests were able to get their makeup professionally done before being photographed by a fashion photographer with YSL Beauty visuals as a backdrop.

Photo: Courtesy of Industria Creative

 

Afterpay

"This year Afterpay, which specializes in short-term financing options, signed on as an official partner and presenting sponsor for NYFW: The Shows. As part of this season’s programming, Afterpay also partnered with New York-based designer LaQuan Smith to offer a "See Now, Buy Now" show, which was held at the Empire State Building on Sept. 9. Plus, to help kick off NYFW, the iconic landmark was lit in a Bondi Mint Green, Afterpay’s signature color. Photo: Courtesy of empirestatebldg/Instagram"
This year Afterpay, which specializes in short-term financing options, signed on as an official partner and presenting sponsor for NYFW: The Shows. As part of this season’s programming, Afterpay also partnered with New York-based designer LaQuan Smith to offer a "See Now, Buy Now" show, which was held at the Empire State Building on Sept. 9. Plus, to help kick off NYFW, the iconic landmark was lit in a Bondi Mint Green, Afterpay’s signature color.

Photo: Courtesy of empirestatebldg/Instagram

 

Runway 7

"Runway 7, a new vertical platform and fashion incubator for independent designers and brands, produced a slate of shows this season, which were held on Sept. 9 and 10 at Sony Hall, in partnership with Mount Sinai’s Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. (The organization received half of all virtual and live door proceeds.) Runway 7's director of operations Diane Vara said, “We want to do our part in supporting MS research and use our platform to bring awareness to this widespread and, at times, debilitating neurological condition.”  Pictured: Susanne Bartsch hosted the official Runway 7 closing night party where she debuted her new collaboration with UGG. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Runway 7"
Runway 7, a new vertical platform and fashion incubator for independent designers and brands, produced a slate of shows this season, which were held on Sept. 9 and 10 at Sony Hall, in partnership with Mount Sinai’s Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis. (The organization received half of all virtual and live door proceeds.) Runway 7's director of operations Diane Vara said, “We want to do our part in supporting MS research and use our platform to bring awareness to this widespread and, at times, debilitating neurological condition.”

Pictured: Susanne Bartsch hosted the official Runway 7 closing night party where she debuted her new collaboration with UGG.

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Runway 7

 

NYFW: The Talks, Presented by BMW

"On Sept. 9 at NYFW: The Talks, designer Joseph Altuzarra sat down for a conversation titled “The Future of Fashion and Luxury – Altuzarra’s Return to NYFW,” which was presented by BMW. After four years abroad, Altuzarra returned to NYFW, and during the chat, he spoke about the future of fashion and how his French-American-Chinese background influences his work. Photo: Getty Images"
On Sept. 9 at NYFW: The Talks, designer Joseph Altuzarra sat down for a conversation titled “The Future of Fashion and Luxury – Altuzarra’s Return to NYFW,” which was presented by BMW. After four years abroad, Altuzarra returned to NYFW, and during the chat, he spoke about the future of fashion and how his French-American-Chinese background influences his work.

Photo: Getty Images

 

The Pinterest Creators Studio at Spring Studios

"Pinterest hosted the Creators Studio, an interactive space where attendees were able to create custom videos. Pinterest pros were also on hand to show guests how to use Idea Pins and create stand-out content. Photo: Courtesy of NYFW/Instagram"
Pinterest hosted the Creators Studio, an interactive space where attendees were able to create custom videos. Pinterest pros were also on hand to show guests how to use Idea Pins and create stand-out content.

Photo: Courtesy of NYFW/Instagram

 

Alo

"Alo Yoga, the first official wellness partner for NYFW: The Shows, hosted the Alo Wellness Dept., an immersive, invite-only event at Spring Studios that offered programming including a Kundalini yoga class, a rooftop meditative sound bath, ear seeding acupressure, intuitive readings, astrology readings, aura photos and custom wellness lattes. Photo: Courtesy of aloyoga/Instagram"
Alo Yoga, the first official wellness partner for NYFW: The Shows, hosted the Alo Wellness Dept., an immersive, invite-only event at Spring Studios that offered programming including a Kundalini yoga class, a rooftop meditative sound bath, ear seeding acupressure, intuitive readings, astrology readings, aura photos and custom wellness lattes.

Photo: Courtesy of aloyoga/Instagram

 

Grey Goose

"On Sept. 10, Carine Roitfeld hosted a party at the newly opened Casa Cipriani that included a collection of Grey Goose signature martinis curated by Roitfeld herself. Designer Prabal Gurung also teamed up with Grey Goose to host a private dinner at American Bar in Soho on Sept. 8. Photo: Madison McGaw & Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com"
On Sept. 10, Carine Roitfeld hosted a party at the newly opened Casa Cipriani that included a collection of Grey Goose signature martinis curated by Roitfeld herself. Designer Prabal Gurung also teamed up with Grey Goose to host a private dinner at American Bar in Soho on Sept. 8.

Photo: Madison McGaw & Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

 

Pepsi

"As the official soda beverage sponsor of NYFW: The Shows, Pepsi partnered with Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan to create The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection. As part of the Pepsi “Made for Football Watching” NFL campaign, the soft drink brand and Dapper Dan created the limited-edition collection featuring pieces including a lounger, hoodie, bucket hat and collectible Pepsi can. Photo: Courtesy of PepsiCo"
As the official soda beverage sponsor of NYFW: The Shows, Pepsi partnered with Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan to create The Pepsi x Dapper Dan Football Watching Capsule Collection. As part of the Pepsi “Made for Football Watching” NFL campaign, the soft drink brand and Dapper Dan created the limited-edition collection featuring pieces including a lounger, hoodie, bucket hat and collectible Pepsi can.

Photo: Courtesy of PepsiCo