Once again, technology is changing fashion in a deep way; not manufacturing or design but the marketing side of fashion. Before, it was virtual sizing rooms and catwalks revolutionizing the way we see fashion, now it is the turn of social media to create the upset.
The traditional gatekeepers of the fashion business were experienced, trained designers and fashion editors, but this appears to be changing now as more and more younger, digitally savvy people are being employed.
Burberry, for instance, admitted that they hired David Beckham’s 17-year-old son to photograph their campaigns because of his 6 million followers on Instagram.
This change is happening because 35% millennial women in America and the rest of the world have said social media is the main influence when they decide to buy fashion; but who is behind social media? It is not just everyday users but also an army of fashion bloggers and social media celebrities, some of whom very successful, indeed: Chiara Ferragni’s blog is worth 8 million dollars and she has over 7 million Instagram followers; having her as a testimonial can change the destiny of a brand.
But even for fashion bloggers things are changing fast and the trend is being killed by its own success. The market is so saturated with fashion bloggers that -according to a study of Social media and Society- brands nowadays expect to pay little or nothing for the services of all but a handful of influencers. Besides, bloggers and influencers are sought after because “getting advice from a blogger instead of a company gives the customer the authentic feel that they really crave but what most customers don’t know is that behind a seemingly casual post goes hours of thinking and crafting. The post may give an impression of spontaneity. In reality it is anything but.” (Huffington Post). Because one of the rules of fashion blogging -and vlogging- is that if you disappear for a week, you have gone forever, most fashion bloggers will have to respond to comments to their post around the clock and very few of them can afford to pay a team of copywriters to do this.
Plus, fashion houses are worried that influencers may take the control of what a brand sells and are moving fast to reclaim this power. Once again it is technology to bring the change: Google is launching a programme to allow brands to control what consumers see first in Search Result Pages and social media are now providing insights in how users engage with them, which will oblige fashion bloggers to provide evidence of their real influence to justify the fees they ask.