By Eliza Rawson
In the 21st century, everything we need is at the touch, swipe and click of a button. Flicking through a magazine to find the latest trends seems to be an old-fashioned concept now when apps such as Instagram and Pinterest exist, giving users an endless portrayal of the bags and shoes of their dreams. Online fashion journalism (especially blogging) seems to be the ‘new-in’ thing at the moment, with fashion bloggers and influencers posting left, right and centre. Are these fashion influencers changing the meaning of the fashion industry?
Young influencers amass thousands of followers, dictating to them what the ‘in’ looks are, how to dress for your body, but also opening up the platform for more diverse content creators.
Fashion blogging kicked off back in 2007 when the fascination with social media apps soon became immensely popular. The ability to post photos on an app to share with the world was a concept which everyone wanted to be a part of. Instagram was founded in October 2010, generating over 800 million users to this date. The app is a central hub for fashion bloggers and influencers to post and share their daily outfits; often tagging ‘ootd’ (outfit of the day for all you unaware) creating flat lays and sharing their current favourite outfits. Now, fashion is everywhere we turn, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, the list could go on. It seems that fashion was once an enclosed industry but now has become digitally embedded.
Back in the day, fashion was a sealed envelope, a gateway in which only the elite and fashion designers were involved with. Fashion shows were private and the trends being showcased were released to consumers months after being on the runway. Nowadays, catwalks for specific brands are live streamed on Facebook and Instagram, with Tommy Hilfiger live streaming their Gigi Hadid collection at London Fashion Week this year on Instagram to their thousands of followers.
Influencers are incredibly strategic about posting content, choosing the time of day when most people are online, and using popular hashtags to gain more likes and comments.
Gigi Gorlova, London based fashion blogger and designer, owner of Instagram account ‘Gigiscloset’ and blog http://gigiscloset.co.uk/, started up her blog over four years ago and now to this date has 19.1k followers on Instagram, Gigi Said:
“To me, blogging is very personal, it’s a diary of my everyday fashion styling. Sometimes brands send you clothes and it’s fun trying to style a certain piece. For me, blogging helps me get clients as a freelance social media manager. It’s a great way to show off what you are about and if you are creative at your work.”
Because of how powerful the fashion industry has become online, brands owe much of their success to promoting their products through bloggers promoting their products online. Bloggers can get paid thousands just for showcasing a product through a photo and posting throughout their socials. Selena Gomez, for example, can earn up to £500,000 for each promotion post on her Instagram. Brands could do this through magazine advertising, but it would take more time and essentially more money; social advertising seems to be the only answer in this current digital world, offering instant access.
“I get asked to promote products often but sometimes the products do not suit my niche. I will not post about tooth whitening or any of those cliché products just for money. My niche is fashion and that’s what I’ll promote. I’ve promoted for Quiz, Motel Rocks and LaSula.”
Vogue released a very topical article in 2016, titled “Ciao, Milano! Vogue.com’s Editors Discuss the Week That Was”, harshly shaming fashion bloggers as “Pathetic” and “Embarrassing”. Vogue writer Sally Singer stated,
“Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style”.
It seems that the popular fashion magazine that has been on the scene for over 123 years haven’t quite got their heads around how social media plays a vital role in the fashion industry in the 21st century.
With phones at your disposal every moment of the day, we are constantly logged onto social media platforms, unable to get away from the constant notifications. Back in the day, to get the latest news and features, one would have to visit a shop to collect a physical print, with some of these only being produced weekly or monthly.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean to say that fashion magazines and the print industry are dead:
“I personally read magazines but because they are only printed once a month I go to social media as I need more fashion inspiration daily. It’s a good idea for magazines to stay digital as well as print. I want both!” Gigi adds. Magazines still hold that appeal of holding a good quality, glossy magazine in your hands that nothing else beats. It produces monthly issues of the greatest fashion trends and celebrities that maybe hasn’t been covered on social media.
“Magazines aren’t going to disappear, people still like to have something tangible to browse – the book industry was predicted to collapse in the wake of the Kindle, but it has rebounded.” Bronwyn Cosgrave, a former features editor, says in British Vogue. (Above article).
It seems that the world is now tech-savvy, orientated around the use of social and digital media. Yes, social media has changed the fashion industry, making it current and constant 24/7. But the fashion industry lives for the publication of high-end magazines such as Vogue and Elle that it couldn’t possibly put these out of business for good.
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