Let’s be honest, we are all influenced by what we see. Influencers have become a ‘dirty’ word across social media, but the truth is they have the power to sell fashion to consumers.
The glossy magazine just isn’t making the cut anymore. Fashion had a place of exclusivity where you had to be plugged into fashion week and catwalks to know what to wear for the next season, but times have changed. The magazine editors and designers don’t have the same pull on the industry as they once did. Now, it’s possible to watch a whole fashion show that used to be only for the fashion elite, through Instagram while just following a hashtag.
Social media makes fashion more fluid and more interactive. Fashion brands have had to change the way they connect with their core audience. This bridging between brands and buyers encourages brands to be more inclusive with their advertising. They now have to involve different bodies, skin tones and different styles to come across as an inclusive brand. Brands are taking advantage of user-generated content which see’s ‘real’ people who have bought the clothes without endorsement showcasing their lines for the season.
Influencer market alone on Instagram is valued at $1 billion or more. When influencers are aligned with the right audience and brand, it can contribute to an incredibly successful digital marketing campaign. According to Forbes “Instagram images posted by influencers and celebrities earn an additional 4% engagement rate and 8% increase”. If the celebrity or influencer is credible for an audience, then it adds credibility to a brand.
What products are online retailers pushing this summer? What clothes have influencers been wearing that are sponsored by a retailer? It’s not surprising that brands are now focusing on Instagram to reach their market. Social media brings brands closer to their customers. Brands can have a direct connection with their key audience almost immediately. Of Instagram’s total audience of approximately 2 million people, each person follows at least one fashion account. You can get whatever you like the very next day who wouldn’t want that? This is why retailers like Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing are growing so fast, but that’s also why Fast fashion is a growing problem in the industry. People aren’t doing enough research into where their products are coming from and aren’t thinking about the sustainability of their fashion.
There’s a strong argument that young people who want to stay on top of the fashion trends, don’t have the disposable income to invest in long-term pieces. Once they get the picture from the night out, then they will never wear the dress again, so why should they pay more than €20? However, there is the type of consumer who will invest hundreds of euro into a coat that will last them years, making it a sustainable piece. Honestly, that isn’t always where the priorities of the consumer lie. They want the freshest look, for the cheapest in the fastest time.
Fashion brands need to use the two-way dialogue they can achieve on social media to create a conversation that matters, which is sustainable fashion. If we keep swiping up to buy are the newest look from our favourite influencers who are promoting fast fashion brands, how are we ever going to take a step forward for the environment? Before you swipe up, think about where these clothes are coming from and who is influencing you to buy them.
Image Credit: Róise McGagh