NEW YORK: Fashion brands have web-streamed their shows for several years but New York Fashion Week has seen an explosion of brands using Periscope live streams.

Just over half way through the event, Digiday cited figures from SocialBakers showing that designers had so far shared a total of 47 live streams, including major brands such as Tommy Hilfiger. And it reported that Ralph Lauren was expecting 10m people to view its show.

"This is the first New York Fashion Week for which the new live streaming channels will be a major play for brands," said Tim Dunn, director of strategy at Isobar US.

Where fashion runway shows were once shop windows for fans who would then have to wait several months before being able to buy a version in-store, they are now becoming direct-to-consumer channels, he suggested, with live streaming acting as an advertisement for that.

The advent of Periscope has also altered previous notions of exclusivity. "Trying to hide behind a magic curtain of mystique no longer plays so well now that younger generations of luxury buyers are used to access-all areas," Dunn noted.

And it is the case that many brands are not limiting their streaming to the catwalk but are also showing what's going on backstage and at pre-show events.

"The fashion community was one of the first to embrace Periscope when it launched, and now for fashion week, we're seeing designers, fashion brands and models creating a multitude of engaging Periscope broadcasts to bring fashion closer to their fans," said Rachel Dodes, head of fashion partnerships at Twitter.

"Watching a video on Periscope is unlike watching a video on any other platform," she added, "because it's live and the audience can engage and, in some cases, influence the outcome, which is powerful."

There are also significant cost-savings for designers when compared to the expense of setting up a live stream – $20,000 per show on one estimate.

And while they may forgo the data gathered from such streaming, designers – and buyers – can get an instant view on what people like and don't like.

Data sourced from Digiday; Additional content by Warc staff