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How Technology Evolutionized Fashion Week

How Technology Evolutionized Fashion Week

High fashion, like all other art forms, is in a constant cycle of innovation. Whether you’re a designer preparing for next season’s big show, an agency looking to sign America’s next top model, or a model working towards that breakthrough gig, the pressures to be and create the next big thing are high. On the surface, fashion as an industry presents itself as an untouchable world full of money and beautiful people, but anyone who is invested into this world knows that fashion is a business just like any other and its success depends on maintaining the public’s interest. Throughout its evolution, the industry managed to cultivate societal standards on fashion trends, celebrity gossip, and body image within numerous forms of media including billboards, magazines, and editorials. With the growing popularity of the internet and social media, interest and sales capture traditionally have drastically declined and designers, agencies, and models now depend on interaction within their socials. This shift in marketing strategy not only advanced industry reach out, but also introduced a shift where the public has been able to change the fashion world itself.

How The Fashion Industry Utilizes Social Media

Although, the industry's marketing on socials is relatively the same in the sense of editorial shoots and attempting to sell products, their accessibility to the public’s views on fashion has grown immensely. Fashion is notorious for being stubborn in only presenting a certain look—more specifically—an extremely tall, slender, white woman. In recent years, women have begun to rebel against the industry's lack of race and body type diversity, making many turn away from the entire fashion world altogether. Due to this empowerment and frustration, women on social media have sparked a change in the industry's marketing strategy. This new inclusion of more diversity was most apparent throughout 2018-2019 and the trend continued into the 2019 Fashion Week, which occurred in September.

Vogue is recognized as one of the most popular names in fashion history. With the decline of print sales, Vogue began a Youtube channel where they present articles in the form of video. Some of their most popular styles of videos include ‘Get Ready With Me’s, ‘73 Questions’, and ‘A Day In The Life’s involving models and actors combined. While their content features the typical famous supermodel every now and then, the majority of what they produce involves models representing diversity in their profession. They even have a few episodes that have models discuss issues that they have experienced and overcome in the fashion world. Many of these most recent ‘A Day In The Life’s on their channel involved following models to their shows during this year’s Fashion Week. These videos provide a unique viewing to the behind the scenes of some of the week’s most important shows and also showcases how modeling is not as easy of a career path as it looks. This approach to bringing their magazine to the digital social universe has made this seemingly unattainable world more personal to the viewers, which helps them identify with the industry more. This trend toward showcasing the humanistic side of the fashion world has given rise to models who are no longer content to be viewed as little more than walking mannequins--they themselves are now helping to drive and create change in the industry.

Following the industry's use of Youtube channels as a form of advertising, models themselves have utilized their socials to gain a following and present themselves for any future jobs. Modeling has a long-held reputation as a tenuous career; it is difficult and competitive and sometimes brutal--with high-profile jobs that have literally thousands of models to choose from. Every model has certain characteristics that are unique and can help them stand out in a field that now competes on the features that can set them apart--and they now use social media to advertise that. A large following and high "like" ratings on a model's socials may present a recognition value that can preserve their careers in the long run. Even modeling agencies, such as Wilhelmina and IMG, post their models on their socials in hopes that their followers will be inclined to follow and support their models.  Not only is mastering the art of Instagram algorithms a skill models have to master, but some have even started Youtube channels to gain traction. This year especially shows an influx of models creating content for Youtube, and this self-marketing strategy seems to be paying off with large subscribers and views, due to the public’s constant curiosity of what really happens in the fashion world. Some of these model Youtube channels include Victoria’s Secret models Romee Strijd and JOJA, a collaboration channel between Josephine Skriver and Jasmine Tookes, Emily DiDonato, and a bunch of smaller models all giving their users an inside look into the fashion world. Through this platform, models can showcase their personality, look, and a behind the scenes perspective on the mysterious modeling industry while also gaining a following that can help grow their careers. 

Another prime example of social media establishing a change in the fashion industry would be the cancellation of this year’s broadcast of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This fashion show started off as an innovation in and of itself being the only fashion show the entire world could view from the comfort of their home. It created a rise in their sales and produced many supermodels we know and love today, yet their company’s refusal to abide by the public’s wishes of more diversity on the catwalk made this once-loved fashion industry tradition crumble. A few topics involving their refusal would include girls above a size 2 on their stage, diversity in race, transphobia, and even some models filming themselves jumping rope outside of an In N’ Out. 

It seems that fashion’s major demographic doesn’t feel the need to support a company that refuses to change with the times, especially when major designers and agencies are also conforming to the movement and representing diversity on their socials. Although the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was one of the firsts to broadcast their show on television, this year’s Fashion Week filled the gap by live broadcasting many of their shows over Instagram Live. More specifically, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show became a spectacle that brought diversity in all forms to the catwalk, live performances, and even was available to view on Amazon Prime Video. Some may say it has officially taken place of The Victoria’s Secret Fashion show by virtually presenting a similar show, but actually including real ideals and comfort with its viewers. While the fashion world is changing at a slow pace when it comes to inclusion, there is no doubt that the introduction of social media was the key aspect to this change in marketing strategy. 

Technology Re-Sparked Fashion’s Social Influence

As stated above, at the end of the day the fashion industry is a business trying to sell products to their consumers. Before it was hard for the consumer to vocalize their problems involving fashion’s marketing strategies, but with the easy communication that our socials provide, the business has changed the way they present their products to gain sales and peak interest. Socials now provide endless ways to broadcast towards an audience with live feeds, streaming platforms, and even Instagram’s IGTV. With the fashion world completely disposable at one’s fingertips, the industry's societal influence has gained even more power than it previously did. Even legendary high-fashion brands such as Gucci and Dior have experienced re-ignited interest; they've embraced social media trends--viral memes that feature these brands cement their reputations as a status symbol that everyone who follows fashion wishes to possess. The slow change occurring within such a desirable business has its viewers excited for the future of fashion and what it could become. Fashion is an artform in living designs and business tactics, and there is no doubt that modern-day social media has influenced this constantly changing industry.


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Sierra Joan Sierra Joan

 @Sierra Swanson  @sierrajoan  @sierrajoan_  @sierrajoan_