The global fashion industry is a prolific user of social platforms.
From high-street to haute couture, all are embracing the visual interplay of daily “broadcasting” channels such as IG and Snapchat to showcase collections faster than they can reach the end of the runway.
The connection between millennial audiences, products and fashion influencers has never been easier - hashtags, tags, IG takeovers, live streams, who’s wearing what, swipe to shop… These are just some of the daily social media hacks used by brands and influencers alike, often resulting in FOMO fuelled purchases and an explosion of brand awareness and social validation - often all happening in the palm of the end consumer’s hand.
When I was a teen, flicking through Vogue and in idolising my fashion savvy London-living friends (yep, c.150 years ago), the likes of Suzy Menkes, Dame Anna Wintour and Caryn Franklin achieved their fashionista status through journalistic prowess, a stint at fashion college and 25 years of blood, sweat and dedication to the industry in some way, shape or form.
Fast forward to 2017 and social media/online blogs have completely changed the fashion influencer landscape. Whilst the likes of Winter remain and reign, the fashionistas and fashions are a differing breed.
Fashion Influencers are emerging from all corners of the social media planet - we have Devin Brugman the original bikini model, now socially validating and triggering minutely sales for brands such as Revolve and Guess, Slovene blogger Maja Malnar inspiring us with her daily offering of Gucci bags and Taylor Morris sunnies, whilst Aimee “songofstyle” Song encourages her 4.3m following to buy her shoes and taunts us with her weekly runway movements.
Simply, the need for provenance has changed. Heritage has been swapped for hashtag. It’s less about worth and more about #winning. Somewhat sadly, styled bloggers are courting more attention and offer more social sway than our foundational fashion forefathers (and mothers).
I wonder, can the current trend of instablogging and 'insta-fashion' really last forever? The rise in pop-ups/fashion outlets shows a growing trend for tangible connections between brand and consumer. 2017 is also a year for investing in offline stores; both Alibaba and Amazon are shifting offline, creating retail stores for tactile client experience.
Could it be that we are trending away from the Instagram facade, preferring to immerse ourselves in actual offline experience? Shouldn’t our future fashion influencers be more creative with how they present their products IRL? For me, @TashOakley is leading the offline way with @abikiniaday popups in glamorous locations, connecting with her followers in a truly real way. So perhaps the next collection of cool is 'offline influencers'?
With all that said, who am I to comment? As a self-proclaimed “micro blogger”, I happily torment you with my daily visual witterings; in my schizophrenic styled world, you would all wear nude Skin Swatches and Gucci mules.
Candidly, IG is quite simply an outlet for my creative brain, a space to release the inner stylist self.
Although if the day comes when Suzy likes my post and Dame W gives me a follow, I will be sure to know that I’ve reached the truly coveted status of #blessed.
But to meet with them offline? Well that’s got to be (wait for it)…