Social Medias Effect on the Fashion Industry

via @voguerunway on Instagram
via @voguerunway on Instagram

As outlined in my previous post about my research plan, I am an avid social media and fashion consumer. I have great knowledge in this area, therefore I recognised it as being a simple and exciting way to discuss how media is spatial in nature, with a specific focus on social media and its worldwide effects on the fashion industry. The best way for us to start it to simply and plainly discuss how media is spatial. To start, geographer Doreen Massey (2013) had the idea of space not just being a place that we live in.

A lot of what I’ve been trying to do over the all too many years when I’ve been writing about space is to bring space alive, to dynamize it and to make it relevant, to emphasise how important space is in the lives in which we live, and in the organisation of the societies in which we live. Most obviously I would say that space is not a flat surface across which we walk; you’re not traveling across a dead flat surface that is space: you’re cutting across a myriad of stories going on. So instead of space being this flat surface it’s like a pincushion of a million stories: if you stop at any point in that walk there will be a house with a story”.

In my understanding of Massey’s idea of space, space is all the little things that happen in between life. Relating this to media practices, it matters where you are, access to media and society (Bowles, 2015). I think that these aspects closely relate to my idea of the spatial relationship between social media, fashion and audience.

Social media has always been my main access to information about the fashion world, simply because it’s easy to use and access. I believe this is due to current technology, such as smartphones, where social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope are incredibly easy to navigate. In a time where online activity is growing, it is important for brands to follow the trend and move advertising online, and fashion is one industry that has successfully done so.

@louisvuitton

A post shared by Anna Dello Russo (@anna_dello_russo) on

Let’s Talk The Basic Stuff First

In a time where people want everything now, the instantaneous effect of social media has only increased people’s needs for everything straight away. Every year, twice a year, Fashion Week occurs. This is where the latest trends are shown on the runway. Before Instagram, people relied on magazines like Vogue to get their Fashion Week news. Those people who consume these magazines generally were wealthier than most. Then news moved online to websites and until only recently, blogs. Even though blogs are relatively new, Instagram is already taking the original role of blogs. With easier access, the status of the consumer does not matter, as it is free.

“Through the Web 2.0, new ways of communication have been developing, with the goal of making the purchase no longer an acquisition of status, but an experience that, when shared, may multiply significantly the awareness and cultural relevance of the brand, fostering a process of identification by the public” Marianna Boero (2015).

Fashion, Space and Social Media

The effect of social media has had more than an influential impact. It has changed the way we watch fashion and has even changed careers within the industry and this is medias spatial effect. Just recently I was watching the live Balmain x HM show that was happening in New York while I was sitting at home here in Sydney. I was watching this on a new app called Periscope which only live streams events that you can’t go back and watch later. Similar to this would be the live updates on Instagram of other shows during fashion week. Snapchat is also another app which has taken over the live streaming of Fashion Week, with multiple stories detailing every show and every model, people are able to see what is happening as it happens.

#GigiHadid and #KendallJenner backstage at @balmainparis 💙 #KenGi

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Because these live streaming apps are so popular now, traditional forms of news have had to step up their game to keep up. For example Voguerunway.com (was style.com) aims to live update their website of each new show with professional photographs of each look, and another website like this is nowfashion.com. These website have had to understand social media to keep up with it and to keep audiences coming back to their sites. I discovered this quote from a research project by Iris Mohr (2013), a professor in marketing and self-proclaimed fashionista, where her findings indicate that there is a “significant effect of fashion related media, including social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace), magazines, newspapers, and blogs in intensifying fashion week attendees views about fashion”. She also adds “the influence of the media identified was essential and important in evaluating the quality of the shows and/or designers”. From this, I take that without the videos and photos from the shows, the audiences cannot clarify whether the designs and show was great or not. With the addition of social media platforms, those who did not attend are able to comment and give their opinion therefore gives the clarification of the importance of the show.

The change in popularity of viewing apps has completely changed the way audiences operate and has had effects on business operation. Brands have had to implement new teams in the companies solely to focus on social media promotion. This is an example of how media is spatial, as it has completely changed the dynamic of the office from new marketing aspects to gaining loyal customers. This change is not limited to the fashion industry either as companies like Woolworths and McDonald’s pay for sponsored ads on these apps.

“The usage of social media technology by luxury brands surged in 2009. Technology encourages customers to interact with brands. These customer interactions build the brand by increasing awareness, involvement, and engagement; thus, adding to brand recall and stimulating purchases. Tweets, blogs, and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest offer fashion brands ways to connect with audiences” Iris Mohr (2013).

Recently, I conducted an interview with my friend Lyndsie who is completely obsessed with the idea of fashion and social media, like myself. Here is how she feels about the impact social media has had on the fashion industry.

  1. Do you think social media has changed the way we consume fashion?

Most definitely!

  1. In what ways do you think so?

I believe that retailers, brands and designers utilize social media in such a way it has become one of the key aspects in which consumers view and learn about particular brands. Social media platforms allow communication between both the brand and the consumer as they provide consistent information about emerging trends and styles. These platforms have shaped the way in which society consumes fashion, as social media access is simple, quick and easy. This factor is a catalyst for the increased online traffic and sales, meaning social media effectively contributes to the shift to online shopping and the way society views brands. Brands expanding their marketing to social media ultimately influences what society wears.

  1. How do you think the instantaneous ability of social media has affected consumers of fashion?

By society embracing social media platforms and identifying the influential ability they have, the fashion industry is successfully becoming a more open and shifting to a more personal approach to their followers through social media. Eradicating what once was an exclusive industry where only front row attendees to fashion shows were able to experience, now everyone is instantly able to watch as styles change and as new designers emerge all through the likes of social media. Viewers are more intrigued and feel more welcomed to contribute to the fashion industry, becoming more inspired and are able to feel more empowered and confident about their style and who they are.

Lyndsie’s answers agree with my opinion of social media and also with the research I came across, particularly in question 3 about the change of audience in fashion. Fashion is no longer for the elite but for those who are interested in it, no matter if they can afford it or not. This all comes down to the barriers which social media has overcome for us regular folk to enjoy.

If you would like to read more about the links between social and media, click below.

Fashion in the Age of Instagram 

Is Instagram Killing Personal Style Blogs? 

The Digital Runway: How Social Media is Changing Fashion

References:

Boero, M 2015, ‘The language of fashion in postmodern society: A social semiotic perspective”, Semiotica, no. 207, pp. 303-325,

Bowles, K 2015, Week 1 Lecture via Powerpoint, BCM240, UOW, viewed 31st October 2015, https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/462145/mod_resource/content/1/BCM240%202015%20week%201.pdf

Mohr, I 2013, ‘The Impact of Social Media on the Fashion Industry’, Journal of Applied Business and Economics, vol. 15, no. 2, pp.17-22

Social Science Bites 2013, Doreen Massey on Space, Social Science Space, viewed 31st October 2015, http://www.socialsciencespace.com/2013/02/podcastdoreen-massey-on-space/

Final Reflection

Retrieved from https://gescis.com/brainstorming-ideas-for-writing-blogs/
Retrieved from https://gescis.com/brainstorming-ideas-for-writing-blogs/

Since starting my blog almost two years ago for my Media and Communications degree, my entire blog layout has been the same. I hadn’t changed my blog theme, I only hashtagged the subject code, they were put into subject code categories and my writing style stayed the same. After receiving a review back on my first few posts this semester, while the comments were positive about my writing style, it was the skeleton of the blog that needed to change. This semester I was pushed to do more than just write. I needed the think about this blog a creative piece in its entirety. I needed to find the perfect theme that represents me but did not have too much going on to confuse the reader. Playing around with the colours on my blog, pink just didn’t seem to sit right. Having a pink background really was going to limit my audience to predominately females. I had to remember to not get caught up in the design though, because as Janine Warner points out in her book Creating Family Websites for Dummies (2005) “A great site design and technical gimmicks are no replacement for developing an interesting, readable writing style”.

Having had a review on my blog in week 5 really helped me evaluate what needed to be changed. Now reflecting on my work I submitted a mere 5 weeks ago compared to what I am submitting now, I believe has completely changed. The importance of self-reflection on a project like this is learning how to improve and listen to and implement constructive criticism. While some students may view reflection as “pointless”, Monash University perfectly describes the importance of self-reflection as a tool for the real world by saying “As well as facilitating learning and monitoring learning, the intention is to produce graduates who have acquired the habit of reflection as a means of continuing to learn and grow in their professions”. I feel like this statement is true as you reflect on yourself you understand your values and how you take on information given to you by others. It shows whether you’re willing to learn or not.

One of the things I learned was how to engage a bigger audience. I had a closed mind as I was mainly writing to my peers who would understand what I was talking about. What I really needed to do was to make my topics appealing to anyone who came across my blog. I found I could do this by making my blog more personal so people would know about me and not only about what Hagerstrand said for example. Warner (2005) points that it is important to have your own writing style and voice. She says to write like you’re having a conversation, avoid jargon and consider your audience. In my writing, I tried to make my style as personal as possible by trying to add parts of me to it. For example, in my post about public photography I tried to make it as me as possible. I love fashion so I spoke about street style photography. I felt as though this truly made my readers understand a bit more about me and what I love. By broadening what I was talking about, I then needed to think about how I could capture a bigger audience. Previously only hashtagging subject codes, it really didn’t bring much traction to my blog. It was suggested to me that I hashtag more than just subject codes. So on my first post after this advice I hashtagged things that were sprinkled throughout my blog. Within 5 minutes I had 5 likes which I had never had before and that post is still my highest viewed post.

It was extremely important that I took on the advice given to me as it really did broaden my audience. Although I was getting better at using WordPress as a tool to widen my audience, I still struggled with using Twitter as way to navigate my audience to my blog. I found that Twitter never really gave me much traction. I would regularly post links to new posts and hashtag BCM240, but reflecting on this now, maybe that was my downfall. I should have been tagging other tags that were alike to my post instead of closing in my audience to only my peers. Hines (2015) says that it is very important to promote your posts on social media if you want a large audience. Maybe if I had extended links to my blog via Facebook and Instagram I may have received more viewers but I personally didn’t see those platforms as being particularly helpful or relevant. Another thing that Hines (2015) says is that you need to post regularly to keep your audience coming back. I tried to do this by having posts completed by Sunday every week, also partly because I didn’t want to be swamped with posts at the end to write. I knew if I wrote posts at a good pace, I might receive comments on my posts or more views, as people would wish to come back and read what was new. I would like to compare the views on posts of people who regularly space out their posts compared to those who write them all at once.

Lastly, I found that for me it was really important to read my peers posts. In reading them, I could establish myself on how I felt towards a particular topic and what I wanted to write about. I found that reading other posts made me consider options I had never considered and also it was good to see what my peers thought of different topics. As we are looking at ethnographic research, it became a good way for me to have those personal insights into the ways people functioned regarding the media and I could conduct ethnographic research of my own. I had some advice on needing to engage readers so I decided to use my blog browsing to my advantage. Every post I would add my favourite blog post by one of my peers for that week’s topic and sent a link to the post so my followers could read it. I think that this was a great way for readers to find out more information about certain topics. This task has been challenging at times as I found it difficult to write about my thoughts and myself and also adding other sources and references. I believe blogging has made me become a better writer and has allowed me to better understand the topics that we have learned about throughout BCM240.

References:

Janine Warner 2005, Writing a Good Blog from Creating Family Websites for Dummies, For Dummies, viewed 3rd October, http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/writing-a-good-blog.html

Kristi Hines 2015, 6 Ways to Grow your Blog Audience, Social Media Examiner, viewed 3rd October, http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/grow-your-blog-audience/

Monash University N/A, The reflective learning process, viewed 3rd October 2015, http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/medicine/reflective/3.xml