‘Fashion used to be so easy back in the day’ is becoming a defining phrase for another generation! Remember when SATC’s (original) Carrie famously said that she used to buy Vogue instead of food because it felt it fed her more?
Yeah, well… not anymore! Fashion’s on-paper media feel so antiquated, it should change the newsstand for auction houses & collectors markets! It’s like relying on the landline telephones when everyone is using smartphones. But who’s taking Vogue’s place in the trendsetters elite? Social media! Instagram & Twitter, Facebook & Snapchat! How’s fashion now that different from ‘back in the day’:
1. Fashion’s ‘democracy’ or social media dictatorship?
Fashion used to be such a magical land! Designers and editors would be the only ones to hold the key to a beautiful world full of magic promises you’d only be allowed a glimpse at through the written word and the printed fashion photography. Now the balance has switched considerably and fashion power is with the people: no ‘followers’, no fashion!
Fashion magazines used to explain their huge influence by crunching epic numbers of issues printed and sold. Those were the golden days of marketing teams! Now they have to collect and compare so many stats and numbers, so many sources, you’d need an MIT intern just to sort those out!
Models are booked for magazines spreads if they have an important social media reach, ads are contracted if the magazines has a strong social media impact and so on. If you have less than 1 Million followers on Instagram, don’t even bother showing your portfolio for important castings. You won’t get the call back!
2. Fashion Insta-shopping or social media uniform?
Sifting through and choosing what to buy/wear next has become so much more a business than years before! Printed media was the main fashion reference and the advertising pages in magazines would have been the only advertorial content – not now! More sponsored articles than genuinely compiled info in the many fashion magazines pages (US Vogue’s prestigious September issue counts no less than 832 pages this year – the same month’s issue back in 1995 counted 616 pages).
Surprisingly, internet advertising as we knew it is also going down by the millions each month. One in three average internet users blocks the ads served through the visited websites every day. Publicity, however, is the heart of commerce and you ain’t heard nothing about the (marketing) industry slowing down – so where is advertising hiding? Instagram – social media!
Celebrity endorsements are growing huge by the image with some famous people being paid by famous brands up to 5-figure checks for a single Instagram product-picture! Wait, there’s more: a special app allows users to know and buy the items shown in a certain Instagram picture! Insane, I know, but that’s the new devilish branding way – through social media!
3. Fashimagery democracy or the self-ie insecurity?
Remember how you used to pick up those crisp new magazines from the newsstand and go through their pages with trembling hands, marveling at every pictorial, at every perfectly staged photo-op sometimes even more than you sought after the actual clothes? I used to do that a lot.
See also: 10 style quotes to dress and live by!
Nowadays, more than once – I’m sure – you asked yourself like I did, where are all the dirty dishes in a kitchen blog’s postings! Where are all the upside-down wardrobe days in a fashionista’s blog articles? So you shamefully looked back at your –real – life and concluded that you’re not good enough cook because you have dirty dishes and chaotically ranged cabinets!
… that you’re not fashionista enough because your wardrobe doesn’t look like in one of Ikea’s catalog pictures! That even though you’re trying, like once a month, to squeeze in a little wardrobe cleaning or kitchen cleaning, those Insta pics look way cooler, brighter, better ranged, better styled, better furnished. Better.
It’s all but smoke and mirrors! People who blog for a living know how to avoid the chaos and usually stage a small area where they take their pictures or even relocate in a boutique’s fitting room to avoid their own wardrobe chaos – have you not heard about social media outfit pictures in fitting rooms increasing alarmingly in the past months? Why would that be, huh? (wink) – more: did you know that women (and men) now purchase outfits based on those fitting room outfits social media harvested likes?
4. Fashion Insta-delivery or speed over style?
There’s no difference between a social media account and a pizza delivery boy when it comes to streaming fashion shows or spreading the news! You uploaded your fashion show video or tried to blow the horn about a new designer being named at the helm of a maison – you either do it in the first 30 seconds or you’re not getting paid for that pizza! 30 minutes in pizza delivery time equals 30 seconds in fashion delivery time!
Sure, it’s amazing to be so connected, to be in the know, so much, so fast! The days of closed doors, super-exclusive fashion shows are over, now social media makes it possible for the entire world to watch the fashion show as it happens through live-streaming from the very venue! Now we hear about on-invite-shows behind closed door and we raise our eyebrows and think ‘wow! Such snobbery!’. But there were days when we would only see the catwalk pictures in magazines supplements once a year! And still people would dress well and made proof of excellent taste and style!
5. Fashion gadgets or Gigabytes over stitches
Your smartphone is how your fashion & style travel these days. Remember when the Vogue Paris editors revolutionized the world of catwalk spectators by walking in a venue with just their invite and their smartphone? Designer bags are all optional, however, attending a fashion show without your mobile phone is a social faux pas!
If you don’t tweet or Instagram while models strut on the catwalk, you don’t exist in the current fashion reality. Blurry pictures, hasty caps, 140-characters reviews, that’s how you write about fashion these days! The ancient times when one would only rely on its built-in neurons are long gone and forgotten! Who would want to trust the dusty, subjective human memory when your D-gigabyte sdcard can store memories so much better?
Who even knows about the tremendous Haute work poured into every tiny detail from the Couture collections when a smartphone camera’s insta-capturing a flat, unworthy image of weeks long embroideries? Everyone is marveling at the ‘details’ just because the photo shows a catchy caption on their social account feed/timeline! The herd spirit of the social media generation works in collective ways celebrating what everyone is praising and following the latest ‘must’ accounts because it’s the fashion…
Now these are just 5 ways social media changed the way we used to ‘consume’ fashion, from an outsider’s perspective. Insiders would use numbers, graphs, would tell you all about the benefits of social apps and a click-away accessibility, about the limitless resources available and the welcoming, interconnected communities exchanging information and knowledge, about the revolutionizing platforms changing the course of (fashion) history and so on and so forth.
Do you know: What fashion is to you?
But what would that mean to the bystanders, the end-users of any and all social media channels, accounts and platforms?
What does all this social media mumbo jumbo means to you and how did it changed your fashion perspective?