By Natasha Baker
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Guests at some New York Fashion Week shows and others watching online now have a new way to identify the looks they see sashaying down the runways.
The app called Made Fashion Week is companion app for people attending the shows, delivering instant content including images of models, item information and designer biographies in sync with what is seen on the catwalk.
"The moment that a model appears on the runway, there's audio sent through the public address system, delivering the photo that is snapped when she gets three feet (one meter) out of the actual curtain," said Jonathan Glanz, the CEO of Sonic Notify, which developed the technology.
"The turnaround from the time the model hits the runway to the time the photo turns up on a device is three seconds."
It also allows attendees to take notes on items, create custom lookbooks and to share favorite designs on Twitter.
Glanz said the aim of the app is to serve as a communication channel for designers to engage viewers during the show, but it can also be used beyond the runway, for example to notify a shopper as to when an item has finally hit stores.
"Because you were at the show, your phone will go off four months from now saying you can go buy these clothes today at Barney's or Macy's," he said.
The content is streamed through high-frequency audio signals that are delivered along with the audible sound one would hear at an event. The technology is plugged into a venue's mixing boards, and content is encoded and transmitted to mobile devices without relying on GPS or WiFi.
"We're a passive solution for delivering instant content that's in the actual sound coming out," he explained.
Glanz said that Sonic Notify is working with other companies and musicians to create more engagement during live events by sending multimedia content, like songs, coupons or advertisements, to mobile devices.
"A lot of live events have become manufactured. It feels like they're coming out of a printing press," he said.
He believes that this type of presence-based content will become more mainstream at live events, where attendees are looking for more engagement.
For example, the technology might be used at a concert to trigger voting for the encore song.
"You really create the interaction that nothing can provide today in that exact timed, orchestrated way. It just engages at a whole different level," he said.
New York Fashion Week which runs through February16.
(Reporting by Natasha Baker; editing by Patricia Reaney)