From the acquirers to the admirers, fashion has always been a status symbol. As much as we deny it, most people will always want to be carrying THAT Bottega pouch or be wearing THOSE Prada boots. Fashion has never been accessible to everyone, it was a place of exclusivity and in some parts still remains that, but what are the fashion houses doing now to make their luxuries, yours?
With the undeniable growth of social media and the power influencers hold in today’s world. It’s now, more than ever that fashion labels are reaching out to these influencers to single handedly become the marketing genius’ that would once spend months wondering how to create some fashion buzz around a brand. I guess all it takes now is one take, or two, depending on how good you are with a camera.
But no, it’s not Instagram’s tricky algorithm we’re trying to get our heads around, It’s how Tik Tok stars have become a major player in the fashion world. Let’s rewind and go back to a simpler time when brands would market themselves through fashion magazines, at fashion events and through the use of celebrity endorsements. The only people who would see this marketing would be those interested in fashion. It made sense, sell the merchandise to the people who would buy it, the people who were interested in it.
So let’s start with a single purchase, she feels pretty good walking around with her Louis Vuitton ONTHEGO. After a few months of compliments she becomes interested in the ready to wear and starts wearing head to toe. Her buying history racks ups and now she’s watching Spring/Summer walking down the runway after she was invited to her first show. Now she’s buying runway looks and again, buying history…its racking up. Soon enough she’s sat front row at a couture show.
She was interested in fashion, a poor first choice bag, but interest was shown nonetheless. She continued showing interest and began watching runways. She was dedicated and was willing to spend money at the label to wear their clothes. She knew what they meant and how they made her feel and she wanted it. She was invested in the brand, its history and its future.
This feels like a thing of the past, all you need now, is a huge online following and brands will happily let you sit front row at a show. It makes sense, one 15 second clip could sell out that risky boot you tried to push in every campaign. But what doesn’t make sense is the brands choice of influencers. What interest does a 19 year old soccer player from Arizona show in one of Frances oldest fashion houses? Apparently none, until he was invited as a VIP guest to watch the show and review the collection in a full look sent to him by Virgil Abloh. Prior to this, his apparel showed no connection to the brands identity, it was more of a boy-next-door look that Beck donned. He did mention in an interview his admiration for Virgil Abloh. But was this the right move for the label, Noah Becks personal style feels more ‘hype beast, than ‘high fashion’. Is this the right image for Louis Vuitton?
Other high fashion brands have also reached out to Tik Tok stars. Becks belle, Dixie D’Amelio was recently styled in Valentino by Nicola Formichetti. Most famously known for his work with Lady Gaga, his styling has now graced a much younger lady on a recent digital cover: THE METAMORPHOSIS OF DIXIE D’AMELIO for V Magazine. With 37 million followers its a no brainer, why wouldn’t you want this kind of exposure as a brand? But does it dilute the brands image, especially for a house like Valentino. So yes, it’s exposure, but is it good exposure? The editorial however was beautifully shot and the styling work elevated D’Amelios fashion to a place far out of the reach of what she could have ever achieved solo. Notice how the first image in the editorial is Dixie clutching Valentino’s ‘Roman Stud’ bag. With a large proportion of her 37 million followers seeing the editorial, was this simply a marketing strategy by Valentino, rather than an interest in the talent to make the ‘Roman Stud’ the next Gucci Marmont or Chanel Flap? Should they be marketing to everyone and anyone, if it’s purely about making money yes. But does a 30 something year old invested in the brand want to be seen with the same bag as a teen who saw it worn by her favourite Tik Tok star? Either way, it was an incredible editorial and beautifully styled.
When talking Tik Tok and fashion, one name comes to mind almost instantly, Wisdom Kaye! Someone whose interest in fashion has always been apparent through his Tik Tok and instagram accounts. Kaye has secured packages from some major fashion giants also including Valentino. Rick Owens and Dior have also been seen in his videos. Now, here is someone who has shown a keen interest in the industry, has been inspiring the same audience as the brands he wears and in my opinion is worth all the exposure he’s gaining with these brands. His collaboration with these labels make so much more sense. If anything it also strengthens the brands image to be seen on a younger ‘client’ especially if there is a younger audience watching. Is this the end game for the fashion houses, to be exposed to a younger audience, to make themselves more accessible? But once it becomes accessible its not longer exclusive. Surely when fashion is no longer exclusive, high-end will become high street.