Social Media and Fashion
This world-wide phenomenon has not spared even a small country like Fiji due to our dependence on modern technology. “Whether you like it or not, we have to accept that social media is the fastest way to get information around,’’ says Fiji’s leading fashion designer Hupfeld Hoerder. Gone are the early days of struggling to advertise your products the old fashion way through paid advertising or fashion editors. Or even having to pay for spaces in boutique stores to sell your fashion lines. Social Media has boosted the fashion industry in Fiji and given struggling models and designers a platform to help market themselves. “Over 10 years ago, we used to struggle to find affordable space to showcase our items or to even afford advertising or get access to information which before we had to pay for,’’ says Hupfeld. “Today we don’t need of that, the traditional methods of trying to set up our business which usually costs money is something we can go without now.” Hupfeld once operated out of boutique stores and even hired spaces to help sell his products, “but the overheads were a bit too much and people back in those days would like turn their heads in admiration for our designs but never spend or buy.” “Today we do most of our marketing online for free via facebook, twitter and we have some rally talented bloggers who help us market our lines and events and its all for free. Today Hupfeld operates from his home in Lami and only attends major events to showcase his work. “But my customers come to me online so I really don’t need an office or shop to operate from unless I go out on a bigger scale.” Social media has totally changed how things operate beyond the cat walk says Hupfeld. “Through social media now we can create followings for brands and products and even get people excited enough to follow you just because other people are following you – that’s how it operates. “And its quite funny because being on social media itself is fashionable.” Hupfeld said whats also changed in the last 10 years is people’s sense of fashion in Fiji. “People in Fiji have always had a unique sense of fashion, its because we try to mix it with our cultural heritage which often determines how we the local designers create our own line. Hupfeld is confident that with the kind of fashion landscape Fiji Fashion operates in, social media would be the best avenue to drive their business forward. “Everyone in Fiji now is dependent on technology especially phones, in a way this has changed how we dress, talk and act because of what we see on Social media – that is fashion. Hupfeld says the last 10-years since Fiji Fashion Week was established was an inspiring journey. “I thank people like Ellen Whippy-Knight and Donna Whippy who had the vision and were willing to work hard to get this platform set up.”
Hupfeld with his winning design last year.