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Social Media: The Star of the Catwalk

As another fashion show season has sashayed along the catwalks it was impossible to miss. Regardless of whether you are a follower of fashion or not, there are key names that you will have come across New York, Paris, London, Milan, Vivienne, Tom, Victoria, Kate, Cara and Anna. It was impossible to escape from any information. How is that?

Gone are the days where it was the be all and end of all of a brands new fashion line as to whether or not you featured in the big name fashion glossies. These days, many designers are solely at the mercy of fashion bloggers and new media outlets such as Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook. You can watch London Fashion Week shows on your laptop on the train or in your pyjamas in bed. Catwalk shows no longer have the exclusivity once reserved for the fashion hierarchy.

Collections are commented on and seen globally within a few seconds of the models strutting down the catwalk. Live blogging and press hubs are now common fixtures at catwalk shows. As this infographic from shows (below), the social media statistics for London Fashion Week on twitter, count for an enormous amount of publicity (regardless of whether it is good or bad).

PRs are often left face palming as damage limitation seems to be out of their hands. Now it seems it isn’t just designers who have to let what will be, will be. Celebrities are now ditching expensive PRs in favour of social media and are choosing to elevate their profiles themselves. This  was exemplified by Kelly Brook recently, not shy about posting a ‘selfie’ on Twitter, she has openly stated that she uses social media as a way of saving money on expensive PRs.  It seems to be effective too.

However, as a brand, do not make a fatal mistake like YSL who in the Autumn of 2012 rebranded but offered little communication about this and instead chose to lambast bloggers and tweeters who incorrectly published their new moniker. If you are a building a brand then trying to gain a hold on social media could be your death knell; this is your publicity and the people who will give you the yay or nay on your collections. You will also spend your time chasing your tail, trying to mask a medium over which you have no control.

Imran Ahmed Editor at ‘Business of Fashion’ goes to great lengths to discuss this incident in her article ‘A Wake-Up call for YSL’s PR Team’

“Ultimately, this kind of behaviour is not only arrogant, it also reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how winning brands are built in today’s world. Successful brands aren’t defined by a set of rules conceived in the control tower of a company’s headquarters and broadcast to the world. They are ideas that live in conversation with the world. They can’t be dictated. They must be nurtured.”

It’s a serious wake-up call for a PR team that is clearly living in the pre-digital age.

So with YSL trying to gain overall control of their brand in a social market which is growing by the day, with bloggers, tweeters and anyone who wants to have their say – which must leave their marketing person feel like a dog chasing its tail.

Poppy Dinsey, fashion blogger and founder of clothing social network What I Wore Today commented on the strength social media has in the fashion industry.

“The power of social media within the LFW shows is huge now,” she says “I see everyone from editors to buyers, and the whole room is always full of people taking photos on their phones, Instagramming and Tweeting.”

Obviously there is still a bit of ego and competition between the front-row people as to who can tweet their images first. This naturally goes onto get several re-tweets.

So for all the facebooking  and tweeting you do, like everyone else,  the clever social campaigns will be fruitless. No need for a PR to do this for you when all you need is a comprehensive social media strategy…  Unless you want to chase your tail.


Info graphic courtesy of Signature9 Runway Report

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