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How the fashion world are leading the way in social engagement

Last updated September 20th, 2014

By Miriam Blakemore

Social Media and Fashion

The London and New York shows may be over but the social media buzz has certainly not died down. It might have taken a while for the fashion world to embrace “all things online” but the two are now firmly and inextricably best friends, and it looks like that’s the way things are going to stay. The question is; what is so perfect about this relationship? Has social media brought the passion back to the fashion world? And why do the two work so well together?

Brand and audience

Blog and media websites such as Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram were slow to take off at first in the fashion world because brands believed it would weaken the market, and detract from what was traditional, but for a while now major industry companies have been embracing these forms of social media and this is really changing the way Fashion week looks and feels. The shows are live-streamed from the website, readers and followers of blogs and twitter feeds can get instant access to the new styles and designs straight off the catwalk, and news bulletins can be send out to followers within minutes, keeping everyone completely up to date, even if they aren’t on location. This means that what was once a closed off, invitation only event, has been made available to anyone out there who thinks of themselves as a ‘fashionista’, or anyone passionate about the fashion world in general, and who wants to take an interest. Rather than having to go to a lot of hard work to find out information, people are being provided with news from the source, and with the industry’s blessing. The catwalk shows are still the main focus, there’s no doubt about that, but the events or “happenings” that are going on alongside or pre-show are creating an opening for more talk and more publicity. Some people may have preferred to keep the fashion world exclusive, but doing that would only cause stagnation. The audience is growing, because the event is now more accessible to people. And simply by making themselves accessible to more people, brands are encouraging loyalty, and through loyalty creating passion.

Audience participation

A voice that might otherwise never be heard, can be picked up by highly influential people, who then see the value in what that person has to say and see how that can then be used to bring greater creativity and inspiration to the brand. Influential bloggers are attracting the interest of the promoters, and are now being invited to take front row seats at various shows, in order to be able to tweet and photograph direct to their followers with first not second hand information. These blog writers started out as part of the audience themselves, and they have been chosen to bridge the gap between the industry and the market. Check out these pages to see an example of up and coming influential fashion blogs: and If the fashion designers can engage the most renowned social media users, then this has a huge impact on their reputation, and therefore their popularity. Social media outlets are where the buzz is created, and from one small comment, or gimmick attracting the attention of a blogger who then shares it with their followers, a huge amount of publicity can be drawn. Tweets and blog posts are connected by official hashtags (e.g. #LFW)linking them all together and creating a full overview of all the news and information out there. Last year the London Fashion Week hashtag was used in a quarter of a million mentions, and over 750, 000 images were uploaded and tagged with the London Fashion week heading on Instagram.

Taking the event outside the event

Daisy by Marc Jacobs, has, in the past used Twitter competitions to build up interest. For the best Tweet on an event or for the best picture on Instagram, the winner would receive a free perfume sample. It’s a good idea to offer people a chance to take something away from their moment of participation, as it makes the whole experience more real and more engaging to them. It makes them a part of the event themselves, not just a spectator.
American Express is also currently running their own event deliberately organised to coincide with and be part of New York Fashion Week and which you can check out on their Instagram account ( They’ve one of the first big companies to have chosen to run it solely via social media. They’ve gathered together up and coming bloggers to promote and report straight from the event to the readers, rather than using traditional methods and then allowing social media to carry it to the next step.
Fashion is a visual art form, and social media thrives in visual form.
This year at New York Fashion Week, Gareth Pugh organised his show completely out of the area, streaming it from Pier 36. He had to rely on forms of social media to reconnect the show with Fashion week and ensure that people talked about it. At the same time Mulberry opened up the whole city by creating a Manhattan wide search for model Cara Delevingne’s bag. Both of these ‘happenings’ started off as undisclosed events where the information was shared by a select few to a greater number. The best analogy for this method of sharing would be ripples in a pond. For those following the right streams, blogs and accounts, the information is passed on and shared, and as information becomes more widely known, participation and enthusiasm grows.
It could be that in the future promotional marketing tactics could move completely into the social media sphere and change the way everything is publicized. And it makes sense that it would be revolutionized in the fashion world where creativity is rewarded and new ways of doing things are constantly sought after. Social media channels are not static and not restricted to being one way or another. It’ll be exciting to see where things go from here.

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