Lowe’s hits the runway with fashion show streams, curated home decor

Brief:

  • Lowe’s is working with several fashion designers to showcase its products at next month’s New York Fashion Week, and the partnership includes livestreaming the runway shows for designers Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano on the retailer’s Twitter account, per a press release.
  • The runways shows will feature hand-picked items from the home-improvement retailer in the backdrop. Consumers can buy the items picked by the designers for their runway shows on Lowe’s website. The curated collections are inspired by each designer’s definition of home, and include lighting, patio furniture, flooring and building materials.
  • Lowe’s will reveal the items on Sept. 8, while New York Fashion Week’s shows are scheduled for Sept. 13-17. The retailer also will work with each designer on a community project to make design more accessible to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, per its announcement.

Insight:

Lowe’s collaboration with fashion designers on their New York Fashion Week shows is an unexpected way to showcase its products at an event most associated with celebrity, luxury and glamour. As the home-improvement retailer notes, it wants to demonstrate that stylish furnishings can be accessible and affordable. That message is aimed at people who are spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and want to fix up their living spaces on a budget.

“The intersection between home and style has never been more prevalent than it has this year, and partnering with some of the world’s most modern and visionary leaders of fashion to demonstrate how everyone can bring fashion ‘home’ is very exciting to us,” said Marisa Thalberg, Lowe’s chief brand and marketing officer, in the press release. Thalberg joined Lowe’s earlier this year from Taco Bell, which developed a strong lifestyle brand positioning during her tenure thanks to unique campaigns like the Taco Bell hotel.

By livestreaming the runway shows on Twitter, Lowe’s can reach a broader group of consumers than the limited number of attendees who will be allowed to experience them in person. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week permitted the event to take place as scheduled, though it is subject to safety measures such as hosting shows outdoors or without audiences. This year’s event will have more online content including livestreams and cultural programming, per an announcement from the governor’s office.

Lowe’s livestreamed presentation of products in fashion shows is another sign of how the pandemic has disrupted the real-world marketing efforts for brands, including those that sponsor events, concerts and festivals. Among the recent examples of companies that developed online events are Anheuser-Busch, which last month hosted its first virtual beer festival on its digital media channels to celebrate International Beer Day. Verizon, Pepsi and Fiat Chrysler also have sponsored livestreamed concerts and specials. Meanwhile, events like the Tribeca Film Festival this year showcased more virtual reality (VR) programming that viewers could experience while staying at home.

Lowe’s promotional effort at New York Fashion Week comes as the retailer experiences a dramatic surge in sales as homebound consumers focused on home-improvement and landscaping projects. Its revenue jumped 30% to $27.3 billion in the most recently completed quarter from a year earlier, as same-store sales surged by 35%, per an earnings announcement. While the retailer had withdrawn guidance for the remainder of the year because of pandemic uncertainties, management said sales trends going into August had maintained their momentum, CNBC reported.

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