Make no mistake. French fashionistas and bloggers are true fans of American pop style, especially when the influence is on hip street styles sailing down the runway during New York Fashion Week. And they also love the sport of closely scrutinizing fashion makeup and hair design. But the style savoir faire is far from a mere spectator diversion. A new breed of French and American fashion consumer-influencers is now at the helm driving style in social media, creating new board games in Instagram, Pinterest and other social sharing channels in tandem with a community of like minded Twitter minions.
An industry fixture, global runway shows still attract the A-list, hip and Hollywood, but the real show is increasingly the one happening in social media, where fans, critics, designers and style conscious folks like you and me are unleashing our inner style personas to engage in massive fashion meetups. Even the much-coveted front row—once considered where the real show was happening, from whose perch fashion editors reigned supreme in dictating a designer’s fortune or a label’s fate—is showing signs of disruption. As French social media reveals in our NetBase social analysis platform, fashion, once the purview of the “happy few,” has completely changed.
A French favorite, Marc Jacobs, who recently left Louis Vuitton to focus on his own brand, used the economies of scale offered by social media to launch a new branding campaign during NYFW by setting up a social media fragrance “boutique éphémère” (pop-up store) where fans could “buy” a scent in exchange for tweeting #MJDaisyChain.
Other designers have also redefined branding relationships in favor of social engagement with their fans and customers. Tommy Hilfiger uses social channels not only to target his diverse customer base, but also to offer a personalized touch to the “feel” of his threads. No stranger to social marketing or consumer engagement, Victoria Beckham, reflecting her grasp of marketing innovation, created a unique Skype runway experience during NYFW to share her collection with her entire global market. Her gesture received widespread social acclaim.
Designers with the savvy to invest in creating social environments for their lines where fans, critics and consumers level the playing field, know the power of humility—a strategic move, certainly—lies in cultivating a social environment where people can nurture their own brand relationship without the external noise of most fashion advertising and marketing campaigns.
We can follow and engage in the blog conversations as they’re occurring in a real-time listening and analytical platform like NetBase—a huge advantage for brand showcasing at global events like NYFW—as we see in the chart breakdown below for February 13. Such precision tracking is a huge diagnostics tool for brand sustainability with the ability to detect missteps and inform corrective measures.
Perhaps even more significantly, as brands seek to identify top social media style influencers, NetBase allows not only real-time tracking of these influencer-authors, but also analyzes the scope and impact of their reach through granular lenses, right down to the time of day. As the chart below shows, Latina Magazine, which attracts significant social media engagement among readers, is in the top 10 lineup, along with Vogue on the last day of NYFW, February 13.
No longer the precious domain of a few, fashion has forever been changed by social media, where a new class of domains rules—populated by and designed by the global consuming public—now with a resounding collective voice that is being heard. Street smart fashion free speech has come of age. Vive la voix!