The democratization of fashion is a quote that everyone related to fashion has been hearing for quite some time now. The concept is simple, the stern bureaucracy has been removed from the world of fashion, the power has shifted from magazine editors to the common man. Obviously this has changed the landscape of Fashion shows and Fashion Weeks too. What happened behind the scenes in these events was once a mystery, it is now on Snapchat and Instagram for everyone to view .
How it all began you may wonder? It was Rebecca Minkoff who began a ‘See now Buy now’ movement. She decided she is going to show winter clothes in the fall Fashion Week and summer clothes in the spring Fashion Week. A move that now seems like an obvious choice. But for the longest time there used to be a gap of 6-8 months, in which fashion editors of the biggest fashion magazines used to evaluate, which clothes and designers will be featured in the magazine. They had the power to make or break independent designers and labels.
Rebecca Minkoff’s fashion show at NYFW spring 2016
The magazine editors and buyers were two hurdles that were between fashion week and the common man. More and more brands like Tom Ford, Thakoon, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Vetements, and Madewell have been inspired by Minkoff’s revolutionary idea to reduce the time gap between showing their collections in Fashion Weeks and making it available to the end user.
Social media changed it all. The funds that were once devoted by fashion brands to traditional media like TV or celebrity endorsements are now being diverted to social media marketing. Let’s face it, millennials aren’t watching TV anymore, For them it’s Youtube. They don’t want to read a fashion magazine either, hello!! they have Instagram. This major shift in consumer behavior has given rise to a new genre of celebrities, fondly known as the influencers. Influencers, some of whom have more followers than A-list movie stars, have either blogged, vlogged or photographed themselves to this celebrity status.
Fashion brands have reattained control over their brand by creating a buzz through influencer marketing campaigns. Fashion bloggers attend Fashion Weeks in hoards, their voice and opinions amount to something. Brands have finally accepted the fact that influencers can bring in real customers, thus are investing humongous amounts of money on influencer campaigns prior to Fashion Weeks. Observe ‘Tap for brands #NWFW’ in the above image. You can spot them in the front rows at these events. You may assume that this is good news for the big players in fashion. But many emerging labels too are relying on influencer’s services to create a buzz around their brand, during Fashion Week. If you are wondering how it all goes down, you can read this very interesting article by Harpers bazzar about what fashion bloggers exactly do in fashion week.
There is a clear shift in the perspective of designers and customers towards fashion week. To an extent that some of them are skipping on Fashion Week altogether. Designers like Rebecca Taylor are skipping Fashion Week and investing the time and resources saved into building a digital strategy, bringing tech in stores and the designing process itself. Brands are doing whatever it takes to redesign Fashion Week’s old image and customizing it to fit their goals and budgets.