Navigating The Fashion Industry In The Age Of Social Media

Two years ago, Maria Grazia Chiuri dipped into the Dior archives, seeking to resurrect one of the most iconic pieces by the fashion brand, the Saddle Bag, which was originally created by John Galliano in 1999. Fashion is no stranger to resurrection of old trends, but what set this particular case apart was the social media blitz that followed. On the day the bag was released in the market, social media (read Instagram) was flooded with thousands of photos of top tier influencers around the world posing with their own Saddle Bags. Magazines like Vogue published videos of the bag being artfully crafted in the Dior ateliers. The fact that this was an extensive, meticulously timed campaign was made evident by hashtags such as #GiftByDior that some influencers used on their posts.

Today, social media has arguably become the most important channel of communication between fashion brands and consumers. People don’t wait for the latest issue of Vogue or Marie Claire to tell them what’s hot anymore. The new breed of consumers, especially millennials and generation Z rely more on what pops up on their feeds - Which colors are the celebrities wearing? Which bags the influencers are carrying? Which trends are brands pushing this season? Traditional advertising campaigns have almost become obsolete.
While social has definitely led to a greater reach in terms of target audience, it has also led to platforms becoming more saturated, with brands struggling to stand out in a feed that is crowded by rival brands, affordable fast fashion brands as well as celebrities and influencers. For instance, if you have 100k followers, how many of them are actually seeing your products on their feed? In addition to that, there are the constantly changing rules, with social media platforms frequently tweaking their algorithms, which considerably determines what shows up on the users’ feeds.

So, what does that mean for the fashion industry? Fortunately, even in a constantly changing and evolving landscape, brands can still make use of some proven methods to stand out in the crowd, like creating campaigns with shock value, embracing social issues through their work, working with industry-outsiders, promoting indigenous cultures and so on. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that social media is a world that is fraught with volatility and dynamism. Brands need to be careful about how they choose to engage with it, because even one small misstep can backfire.

Wish to learn more about the influence of social media in the fashion industry or how a brand can make the most of it? Come, be a part of FABCon, a fashion conference being held in Las Vegas in 2020. The event will see the coming together of stalwarts from the industry, including brand founders, designers, influencers and fashion consultants in Las Vegas. Check out our website for more information.