Fifteen years ago, “thinking outside the box” when it came to fashion retail was quite literally the work of catalogue deliveries through the post and cardboard boxes at car boot sales. There is no denying that we are now in the midst of a social media generation, and there is little surprise that the fashion industry has used these new innovations to its advantage.
The likes of Instagram, Twitter, like to know and Depop have made the pace of fashion commerce and marketing quicken, with the trends themselves following suit. Instagram, as a photo sharing platform, has become the perfect place for fashion brands to show off their wares and to market new products. The use of ‘explore’ and ‘hashtag’ functions mean that consumers and browsers can search and find the product that they are looking for within seconds instead of hours, days or weeks.
Not only has this made fashion marketing quicker, but it has played into the hands of both the shopper and the industry. Conventional ‘advertising’ has become a thing of the past now that fashion bloggers, celebrities and influencers can snap flatlays of their new deliveries on Instagram, or record hauls on Youtube. It has given power back to the wearer of clothes, and fashion has become a lot more ‘bottom-up’. Where once it would take months, if not years, for a trend to trickle down from the catwalk to mainstream, a click of a button can launch a new collection to millions of followers. Call it ‘grassroots fashion’.
Source: Zoella via Facebook
Quick-paced and accessible, it is easy for a Saturday girl from New Look to become a fashion icon, with worldwide brands begging to work with her. Take Zoe Sugg, or ‘Zoella’ who has over 10.9 million followers on Instagram and is reported to earn a staggering £50,000 a month through sponsored posts and associated product lines. Once upon a time, live footage of street fashion would probably happen once a year – when Channel 4 would televise Ladies Day at Aintree, and hundreds of girls would compete to have ten seconds of daytime television fame in their new dress.
Nowadays, women at the races sit on their smartphones whilst scrolling through #LadiesDay2017. Just as they no longer need to queue up at the onsite bookmakers’ to place their bets, when they can simply check out the free bet offers from online bookmakers such as those compiled by Oddschecker, they no longer need to be interviewed by Gok Wan about where their outfits came from, when one photo carefully tagged and hashtagged and shared with friends can easily go viral on the internet. With social media, girls can share their fashion choices on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, receiving feedback instantly. They can sit at home and get a front row seat of races or festival fashion merely by logging into their social media accounts and checking their newsfeeds.
Source: Aintree Racecourse via Facebook
But how has the snap-taking, sharing generation changed the trends themselves? Celebrity fashion has become more affordable. The internet is inundated with ‘playsuits for £12.99’ so girls can see it, like it, upload it and not worry that their once-worn new outfit has broken the bank – because once it has been photographed, it probably will not be worn a second time. Celebrities, with their endorsements and encouragement online, can market their new ranges without the need for full photoshoots and ad campaigns. This, in turn, has made the products themselves more affordable. How about recent trends for contouring make-up and choker necklaces? It is no surprise that the ‘Generation Selfie’ has caught on to two trends that start from the neck up. Although a picture can tell a thousand words, a selfie with this season’s lip colour can mask the fact that the wearer could be sat at home in their pyjama bottoms.
It could be easy to conclude from this that sharing fashion choices on social media has made fashion ‘one size fits all’, stripping away originality. However, this is not true. It has given women the power and functionality to search and find their personal style or a fashion tribe to join. Every woman has the opportunity to be a fashion blogger now, all they need is a camera phone, meaning every trip outside of their house is a fashion show. From coffees with their friends, to date night with their other half, no outfit goes unnoticed and this has not gone unnoticed by brands and marketers.
Like to know encourages Instagram users to engage with the photo by pressing like before they are told where they can purchase the item of clothing. Savvy reality TV stars can quickly become entrepreneurs, using their social following and platforms to launch new collections, collaborate with brands and secure their future business. Megan McKenna for example, star of ‘Ex on the Beach’, ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Towie’ can boast about her own make-up collection, a fashion range and most recently a restaurant.
Source: Megan McKenna via Facebook
So, alike to car boot sales, however a little more glamorous, social media in recent years has given women and girls everywhere the power and the means to launch fashion empires and consume the products they want to. As social technology and trends continue to move more quickly than ever, it is clear that the link between social media and fashion will continue to grow and a generation of business savvy bloggers and shoppers will follow suit.