Why Social Media Fits for Fashion: An Overview

March 3rd, 2010
Author: Meghan Butler

Although fashion and social media are two industries that have always seemed to be very separate, over the past year, with the news of publishing powerhouses losing readership to their online counterparts and advertisers dropping like flies, the fashion industry, once ruled by magazines, has seemingly surrendered and is beginning to embrace digital media.

Survival of the Fittest

Big-name magazines like Glamour, Vogue and Elle now have their own blogs – usually connected to the publication’s website. Most major magazines including Vanity Fair and Vogue’s UK edition also have a presence on Twitter as do many of their individual employees. New York Fashion Week even maintains its own Twitter account with details of shows and Fashion Week events.

Technologically speaking, it was recently reported that Conde Nast, one of the industry’s largest publishers, intends to release some of their top magazines on the newly released Apple iPad. Conde Nast also announced that Vogue, one of the publisher’s largest and most well known fashion magazines, will be launching an iPhone application. This application will help user with shopping and styling. The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Brinkley calls it “part of the all-out rush in the fashion industry to embrace technology—most notably with blogging and tweeting.”

Power Plays

Bloggers, once considered lint on the tailored jacket of the fashion industry, have become a force to be reckoned with. Blogs such as Bryan Boy and Style Rookie creator Tavi Gevison have garnered enough respect to warrant star-treatment typically reserved for the upper echelon of style writers and editors.  In fact, Tavi, who is 13-years-old, was flown to Tokyo to cover a party with popular French label Comme des Garcons for Harper’s Bazaar.

Not only are these bloggers writing extensively about the industry, they actively participate in events including runway shows. This past month at New York Fashion Week alone we saw an influx of bloggers not only attending designer’s shows but sitting front row amongst fashion industry royalty such as Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and celebrities like the Olsen Twins.

To accommodate these bloggers, designers have also embraced the digital age. This past season, big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein made their shows available to home viewers by live streaming their shows.

Shares Well With Others

The fashion industry is traditionally based on a hierarchy of exclusivity and while some industry veterans disagree with the growing digital trends it seems that the industry as a whole is starting to accept that their target audience is paying attention to these mediums. What is the draw? Besides the obvious:  it’s cheaper and easier  to access –  interaction is key. Fashion bloggers are interacting with their readers; hosting giveaways and translating runway looks to the sidewalks. This accessibility is putting a different face on fashion – one other than models and style moguls.

The fashion industry has learned the same lesson as many other industries: shunning the online world will not make it disappear or lessen its influence. It seems, for now at least, that fashion publications, designers and editors are embracing digital media and learning to wield the powerful tools that are the digital world.

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