So we have come full circle- my blog has discussed media, travel, fashion and now this post specifically talks about how one has had an effect on the other. To be more exact, how social media has impacted fashion and the world as we know it today.
Growing up fashion magazines were my bible and the idea of ever being front row for a runway fashion show would make the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up in excitement. I couldn’t wait to open the newest edition of TeenVogue, then Shape and Elle, as well as Paper and Vogue as my taste aged. The days of glossy magazines being set on your bed by your mom, and catwalk shows first hand seem outdated to many young millennials. “Instagram, for example, functions as a live magazine, always updating itself with the best, most current trends while allowing users to participate in fashion rather than just watch from afar” (The Fashion Network). The children of the generations younger than that of my own are growing up with a fashion industry easily accessible through their phones, anytime, anyplace. No more folding down the corners of magazine articles in your newest addition of Vogue or cutting out the “how to’s” and “latest trend” sections of different magazine- all you have to do is click open an application like Instagram and your favorite models, designers, and brands are constantly updating you with what they are up to daily.
When a designer puts out a collection on the runway, you can watch the show in its entirety from your very couch with easily accessible livestreaming platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or YouTube. Killing an element of exclusivity which the live show would encompass was a small price in the eyes of many fashion designers when choosing to livestream their events. In the past, the controlled channels of invite only fashion shows and high fashion magazine subscriptions limited those who could enjoy the saintly products which the fashion industry had to offer. This evolution in how fashion brands are able to connect with their core audience was transformative for the entire industry.
Then came about the niche of marketing ourselves as social media influencers for others. Multiple sources online have written tutorials on how to do so, such as: Inc.com, (click here, for the exact article) BuzzFeed, and high power house editorial pieces like Vogue and Forbes Magazine (click here, for the exact article).
Individuals everywhere are capitalizing on this high-speed availability by branding themselves in such a way that they influence the fashion choices, and even lifestyle choices of their following audience. “For fashion brands, the backbone in the approach of influencer marketing involves working with influential social media accounts and “personas” to increase the awareness of the brand and widen the reach of their market. Additionally, these social media accounts can influence the purchasing patterns of brands target audiences and bring credibility to individuals whom which they hire. “They [fashion brands] pay influencers to review and market their products. Therefore, the influencers act as puppets for the brand, and the brand reaches millions of subscribers through the vloggers mouths” (GreenBuzz Agency).
This “third party” influencer could have the same if not more success in selling a product then that of high end super models on the runway. According to the Independent “Instagram is the eighth largest social networking platform in the world. But in the fashion world, it’s probably number one” (Kiki Georgiou, Independent). While a runway models look is seen by an exclusive 50-60 individuals in a show, an Instagram post by an Instagram influencer with a high social following can reach millions in minutes.
“Fashion is a visually based industry, so using a trendy photo-driven app like Instagram is a perfect match. With over 800 million active users, there is massive brand reach potential” (Green Buzz Agency). What bloggers and Instagram influencers are wearing in their social media posts sparks the interest of thousands, even millions, in a matter of seconds after pushing the “share” button. Seeing people who we “follow” and admire on our social media accounts, wearing or promoting certain products is boosting the confidence which we may have towards that brand. For brands it is imperative to choose social media influencers who ensure that their following is aligned with that of the company because with greater confidence, comes a greater chance of purchase, and in the end comes greater success for the company. “The brands are relying upon the fashion bloggers for the feedback on their products and they are serving as a link between target consumers and the company” (The Research Gate). Brands are hiring Instagram influencers to wear their products to promote a more genuine take on advertising to the general public. Additionally, they are asking everyday people to post themselves in their products, creating a realm of inclusiveness amongst consumers of certain companies and products. This user-generated content allows people to feel greater comfort in the fact that “everyday people look great in the clothing, and so will you” mantra. This being said, I must mention that in my opinion, this takes away from the luxury of the fashion industry of which I do adore. However, the results of brands traffic and sales has been undoubtedly responsible for greater numbers in sales for a variety of fashion brands via social media.
Creating a more accessible conversation among companies and consumers gives brands a greater chance of selling their products to a more loyal fan base. This conversation and relationship between a company’s brand and products is one of the most striking reasons to why many fashion brands have incorporated this new influencer marketing feature into their digital strategies. Through the act of “following” your favorite companies, brands, and influencers, you gain a sense of trust in the people and company. “According to statistics reported in the Fashion Monitor and Econsultancy report, The Rise of the Influencers, just 27% of US, and 23% of British consumers reported that their purchasing choices were “influenced by ‘great’ brand advertising”. What’s more, fashion marketers reported allocating between 30% and 75% of their total marketing budget to influencer marketing. Fifty-three percent said that they spent “a sizable chunk” of their budget on “social media community growth and engagement” (The Social Element). “Following” an influencers account makes each of their actions seem more personal to your own life- you follow their meals, their purchases, their travel, and a little part of you is then able to live vicariously through this fantasy life that they may put forth to their following. An example of one of my favorite social media influencers is a woman named Arielle Noa Charnas, who started her own fashion blog and with its popularity came her opportunity to start her own company which is known as Something Navy, now sold in big name stores such as Nordstroms and Bloomingdales. (Click here, to view her collection on Nordstrom).
So, when major Instagram influencers are posting their latest purchases and advice, you are retrieving them with the mindset that these recommendations are peer based. Peer recommendations are much more valued by most than ambiguous advertisements on the television or in your magazines. You are able to look back on certain posts and pictures which your favorite Instagram influencers have posted and re live that moment with them to your hearts content.
Applications like Instagram have created a false hood of intimacy between user to user interactions on their forum- giving users a fake sense of trust when it comes to that of which Instagram influencers may be promoting to their audience. Many social media users look for peer validation through every action they carry out on their social media accounts. Recently, an option known as Instagram Shopping has become available to Instagram users. This launch has made it available for influencers and companies to directly link the clothes that users see on the models in their ads or on the bodies of your favorite influencers to the company website to purchase. Brands are able to tag each product in their post and directly navigate users to the point-of-sale…revolutionary.
I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Messinger, 21, from Long Island New York- and see what his opinions and experiences with social media and the fashion industry consist of.
Fashion companies need to capitalize on their online image in order to stay relevant to a vast amount of the public. The social media takeover of the fashion industry as we know it cannot be ignored. Even luxury brands that once rejected the commoner aspect of social media have done away with their fear of cheapening their brand and felt it vital to jump on board the social media movement. Social media users can’t help but be influenced by what they see on their social media accounts, which is why brands are beginning to use third party influencers to market their message. We create bonds with these influencers, and with that trust comes a greater chance of purchasing their recommended products. Social media has hit all time high levels of engagement with each generation of people, opening a whole new world for fashion marketers and creating countless unexplored outlets waiting to be discovered by different brands. Don’t get me wrong, Haute Couture fashion shows, high budget magazine photoshoots, and timeless covers of Vogue are like a classic Chanel bag, timeless. The days of magazines and catwalks will never fully be in our past, but for now, the social media movement has definitely pushed non-digital marketing to the backseat.