What do you get when you send technology journalists to London Fashion Week?

It’s not often we get VIP access to the fashion show of one of Britain’s hottest designers at one of the most important fashion events in the calendar. It’s even less common for technology journalists to be storming the catwalk, but this was one collaboration they just couldn’t miss. We have the pleasure of working with Visa Europe’s international innovation hub, Visa Europe Collab and brand communications agency, The 10 Group. And in a world first, Visa Europe Collab launched a collaboration with Henry Holland’s House of Holland to weave the latest payments technology into the excitement of the catwalk to deliver a truly different retail experience at London Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2016 show. UPDATE: This campaign won FinTech Marketing Campaign of the Year at the 2016 FinTech Innovation Awards – you can read about it here. Visa Europe Collab worked with Henry Holland and his team to create a series of NFC-enabled bug-shaped rings as part of the House of Holland collection. These were handed to VIPs on the front row, including fashion favourites, Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe, who were able to purchase pieces from the collection directly from the catwalk by interacting with a payment receiver tag attached to the clothes and accessories linked via Bluetooth Smart technology to a virtualised terminal using the power of Visa’s payment network. Check it out in action below: So, what happens when you mix technology journalists, fintech, and A-list celebrities at one of the biggest fashion events of the year?

The Devil wears…. Leather?

As Spencer Hart of T3 points out in his article, fashion shows aren’t usually frequented by technology journalists, so the outfit choice was everything: “I spent all of Saturday deciding what to wear; chinos and a shirt, chinos and a different shirt, or maybe an edgier look, chinos and no shirt at all, just a leather trench coat. I was definitely putting too much pressure on myself, who cares what an unknown tech hack was wearing? But I know how the fashion scene can be, I’ve seen Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada.” For those interested, the Octopus team went for all-black non-leather outfits. If we know fashion, and we think we do, minimalism is key (and definitely safe).

Celeb spotting

Alexa Chung at the Henry Holland House of Holland collection at London Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2016 showAside from the cool technology on display, fashion shows are often frequented by the cream of the crop in fashion celebrity. This was certainly the case at the House of Holland SS16 show. Not only were the journalists mingling with Henry Holland himself, they were also shoulder-to-shoulder with UK’s ‘IT’ girls, Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and Poppy Delevingne, as well as Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts and Nick Grimshaw. Not only were Chung and Lowe in attendance, they were part of the show. Both models were chosen to trial the NFC and Bluetooth Smart enabled ring and purchase items directly from the catwalk in a collision of innovative technology and fashion. Of course, the Octopus team remained totally cool and didn’t freak out and Snapchat all the celebrities. Of course. The result of this, as well as something different from the day-to-day product launches, was a great experience for our journalists and fantastic coverage with the likes of The Daily Telegraph, Wearable, T3, Forbes and Mail Online, among others. Check it out below: View my Flipboard Magazine.  

Images via The 10 Group