Business beyond the Runway

  • Fashion
    Business beyond the Runway

Source: Vogue

Historically there has been an emphasis on quality, heritage and exclusivity, therefore reluctance to use social media for luxury brands in the fashion industry.  There has also been front row politics that has seen some editors, journalists alike calling the social media influencers attendance at runway shows ''unprofessional''.  However these men, woman and millennials seem to be oblivious to the hustle by industry heavy weights as they continue to be brand ambassadors for some of the world’s biggest brands.  Now they are not only attending exclusive fashion shows, they are helping backstage for major fashion weeks and walking on the runway themselves.

A recent study by Launchmetrics a company who provides fashion brands with data and insights, indicated that Social Media Influencers made up 5-30% of the front row seating at the recent New York Fashion Week runway shows and even if they were the 5%, they were responsible for driving 40% of the show’s digital traffic.

With the objective to bring customers closer to the brand we take a look at major fashion brands who are using social media influencers such as Rebecca Minkoff, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel.

Fashion house Burberry was one of the first luxury brands to embrace social media by incorporating Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and Twitter by engaging the everyday person within their campaigns.  In 2006 Burberry launched its campaign ‘’Art of the Trench’’ a microsite inviting people to share images of themselves wearing the signature trench coat. Furthermore in September 2016, Burberry partnered with Snapcat and created the first ever Snapchat show where viewers saw a preview of the Function Regalia collection allowing access to a traditionally exclusive collection by using images on Snapchat photographed by Mario Testino. Trail blazing the social media scene, other luxury brands suitably gave chase.

Rebecca Minkoff adopted the ‘’See Now Buy Now’’ business model by engaging social media influencers not only to be ambassadors for the brand but also to walk in her two most recent runway shows including New York Fashion week in September 2016 which was staged outside her Greene Street Soho store in New York and again for her recent February 2017 show which was held at the The Grove in Los Angeles.  These social media influencers included Aimee Song (Song of Style blogger and Capture your Style author) and Arielle Charnas (Something about Navy). Arielle Charnas had a one year contract with TRESemme’ which reportedly saw a payout for her, close to $250,000 one of the largest heists by an Influencer to date. For Rebecca Minkoff a direct result of the overall ‘’See Now Buy Now’’ campaign that Arielle Charnas and other influencers were a part of, was a 52% increase in ecommerce sales.

Dolce & Gabbana is 30 years old and the brand's intention is to merge the old world with the new. They have been using a selection of young social media influencers who along with their style and savvy use of Instagram were described by Stefano Gabbana as perfect to showcase the brand's latest Fall/Winter 2017 collection which had the theme of royalty. The chosen were selected from a broad range of industry including music, entertainment, fashion, beauty or celebrity children.  Teen Instagram celebrity Cameron Wall (with over 17.4 million Instagram followers) opened the show whilst other not so well known participants included Chinese idol Chen Xuedong who rose to fame as a character in a movie series called ‘Tiny Times’ and Avan Jogia a Canadian actor who starred in the movie A Girl like Me: The Gwen Araujo story about a transgender male.   The global diversity of these young millennials will no doubt ensure the brand can enter into international markets that would have been otherwise untouched.

Chanel reportedly has one of the most visual brands on social media.  The fashion house crafted social media videos to showcase their most recent shows.  In a savvy move, Chanel approached Polish influencer Jessica Mercedes Kirschner who has 697k Instagram followers and 672k YouTube followers to be one of their brand ambassadors.  She has ensured Chanel as a brand has an influence outside of the average fashion influencer.  In one of her first posts for Chanel she reaped 28.6k likes for a simple photo of the perfume Chanel No.5.

There is no doubt that social media influencers have become the new communicators for fashion brands, often eclipsing celebrities and editors alike. However long this may last, no one can say however it certainly seems the hustle is on!


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