By Dhawal Shah
Impact of Social Media on Fashion
Image courtesy of Aj's blog
The fashion industry has had a long history of keeping its product creation behind closed doors – wow-ing consumers only on debut of fashion lines each season. The emergence of social media has transformed the way the fashion industry operates today, how fashion is introduced and our interactions with fashion.
Impact 1: Merging Facets of Fashion Industry
Before social media - fashion designers, media outlets and emerging stylists were separated entities in the fashion industry.
With tools like YouTube, designers serve as a human voice for brands by consistently posting videos, commercials, behind-the-scenes footage and fashion shows for mass consumption, making customers feel like a part of the brand’s extended family. The interactive elements like commenting and receiving replies further deepens that relationship.
Online media outlets no longer serve as an extension of print magazines, but rather as an interactive source for constant fashion news coverage. Members of online style networks are becoming the “new professionals” of the industry, where posted images serve as sources by major brands as well as online social media outlets.
Impact 2: The Rise Of the Fashion Blogger
First emerging in 2002, fashion bloggers have created a unique celebrity-type following for themselves with the use of social media. An article in the Financial Times notes that being a style blogger is a perfectly respectable career for someone in the fashion industry now. Brands now collaborate with these bloggers to launch and in some cases, even design new collections.
Impact 3: Direct Communication
Facebook Pages has destroyed barriers between consumers and brands, with allowing brands to open direct lines of communications. Social media is increasingly used as a marketing platform to reach customers directly online and reignite brand passion and customer loyalty.
The establishment of open fashion communities on platforms like Tumblr spurs communication between brands and their consumers. Niche communities developed by fashion brands serve as invitation-only communities that sponsor branded contests to create opportunities for brand affinity development and establishing relationships with the next generation of shoppers.
Facebook and Twitter are used by brands to monitor consumer sentiment, provide real-time customer service and used for mass marketing.
Impact 4: User-Generated Content
Tools such as Pinterest and Tumblr give designers opportunities to capitalize on user-generated content (UGC) and benefit from social engagement. Zara, for example, uses real-world photos from consumers as part of their merchandizing strategy.
Impact 5: Social with Mobile
Mobile apps, on improved smartphones such as the iPhone, allow users to shop brand sales, receive style tips, and customize fashion trend news feeds. Geo-location technology provides a meaningful way for brands to connect with shoppers at the point of purchase, giving them the ability to check-in and find tips, recommendations, offers and prizes, resulting in stronger brand loyalty and spread through word of mouth.
Source: ‘Transparency in the Fashion Industry: Social Media Use in Public Relations Strategies’ by Teri Akahoshi
Dhawal Shah is the co-founder of Hucklebury, a vertically-integrated online fashion label selling better fitting men's shirts, and co-founder of 2Stallions, a digital agency specializing in web development and social media management.
Official Website: www.hucklebury.com