Over a decade ago, “Gossip Girl” costume designer Eric Daman scoured the grounds of private schools on the Upper East Side, browsing boutiques to curate the show’s fashion aesthetic.
The 2007 show was strongly defined by its showcase of elaborate brands such as Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Ralph Lauren.
Nowadays, Daman has shared with HBO Max a different tactic for the show’s reboot in 2021: social media.
The growing popularity of social media has dominated the 21st century. In 2020, about half of the world’s population uses social media. Along with the growing online crowd, digital ads have provided social media sites with a lucrative strategy.
While the company’s growing interest in digital has enabled social media platforms to reap immense benefits, the same is not true of print publications.
The increasing accessibility of digital publishing has forced many people to market themselves online. With print fashion magazines like Vogue, the transition was not easy. However, in an economy that has gone digital, magazines must embrace digital culture to remain relevant.
Platforms like Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube offer a variety of fashion tips, challenges, reviews, and visual entertainment. Even fashion brands and magazines have social media content to announce trends and products. These sites not only provide a space for consumers to discover their dress styles, but digital marketing has become a business strategy to sell to consumers.
With fashion brands and magazines recognizing the influence of social media, a new business strategy is dominating the fashion industry: influencer branding.
An influencer is the fusion of an entrepreneur and a celebrity. Influencers have a unique duty to influence, which they can do in several ways. In the fashion sense, influencers can post photos of their outfit on Instagram to support their brand sponsors, clothing videos and fashion-related humorous sketches (for example, the fashion challenge in the front row on TikTok).
Social media content that garners millions of views not only provides influencers, but also the fashion companies that support them, with significant revenue.
As we spend more time online, the influencer has started to become a cornerstone of our daily lives. Thus, the digital fame of influencers has become marketable for the fashion industry. Figures like Julien Calloway, a newbie fashion influencer starring in the “Gossip Girl” reboot, prove that influencers bleed in both fiction and reality territories.
Although influencers have progressed in the fashion realm, there has been strong resistance to their presence in the fashion industry.
Take influencers who have been invited as guests to the Met Gala, for example. The recent 2021 Met Gala featured figures such as Nikkie Tutorials, Emma Chamberlain, and Addison Rae. Their inclusion in the elite ball has been strongly reprimanded and criticized by many.
Often, these reviews were based on assumptions that influencer popularity was not fair to traditional guest public figures. The iniquity between influencers and traditional public figures has sprouted due to assumptions that digital media is low content content compared to other forms of media.
The similarities between traditional public figures and influencers are closer than most people realize.
In 1988, Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. In the years that followed, she revolutionized the magazine’s branding. For example, she replaced the magazine’s distinctive cover of close-ups of the faces of skinny models in her prime with full-bodied images of actors, athletes and musicians.
While his changes have been a source of contention for the stubborn people in the industry, his use of highly influential people to market their magazines and fashion brands has proven to be extremely successful.
Much like Anna Wintour did for the popular faces that graced her magazine, we’re starting to see the same for influencers. There is no influencer yet to have graced the cover of Vogue (US).
However, influencers are starting to flock to Vogue’s international editions and online content, like the cover of James Charles’s Vogue (Portugal), Addison Rae’s Vogue video of what she’s wearing in a week, and the Vogue video. 24 hours of Dixie D’Amelio. Even high fashion fashion brands like Louis Vuitton sponsor Charlie D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain. Clearly, there is a growing symbiotic relationship between influencers and the fashion industry.
While fashion influencers are viewed negatively by most, there are many positive changes that have resulted in their inclusion in this space. Just as public figures have changed Vogue’s beauty standards, the same can be said of influencers. Many influencers do not meet typical industry body standards. Their popularity is not based solely on aesthetics, but on a set of other qualities such as personality and talent.
In an industry that is often touted for its exclusivity and pretense, this exposure from influencers offers an incentive for inclusion. Today in the digital age we are increasingly starting to see people modeling clothes that match our body type or adorn makeup products that match our skin tone. We no longer rely on loose fashion executives to pick out what’s on trend; instead, influencers have the ability to market fashion as accessible to all consumers.
In a world where our standards and practices are changing rapidly, the influencer space in fashion is something to embrace.