Fash­ion blog­gers and in­flu­encers are tak­ing over the world

With brands pay­ing blog­gers up to £12,000 to post a sin­gle In­sta­gram im­age and in­ter­net fash­ion­istas ar­guably more pow­er­ful than their print ri­vals, a huge shift in fash­ion’s tec­tonic plates is un­der­way, dis­cov­ers Fiona Hen­drie

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

G one are the days of su­per­mod­els, celebri­ties and high-end fash­ion mag­a­zines dic­tat­ing what’s hot and what’s not in the fash­ion world. In their place has emerged a new breed of fash­ion e-cons; the fash­ion blog­gers. From their humble be­gin­nings up­load­ing sim­ple posts to their own lit­tle cor­ners of the in­ter­net, these dig­i­tal style gu­rus are tak­ing the fash­ion in­dus­try by storm and have brands snap­ping at their de­sign­er­clad heels, keen to get a slice of their new found fame.

Ten years ago the term ‘fash­ion blog­ger’ re­ferred to some­one who was just that; an in­di­vid­ual with an in­ter­est in fash­ion, who took time to post their out­fits on­line to a small fol­low­ing of fam­ily and friends. But as their au­di­ences have grown, of­ten into the mil­lions, to­day’s ‘blog­gers’ man­age mul­ti­ple so­cial me­dia pages as well as their blog and oc­ca­sion­ally, their own prod­uct lines. With reg­u­lar con­tent up­loaded across their In­sta­gram, Twit­ter and in­creas­ingly YouTube, many now re­fer to them­selves as ‘so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers’ rather than the, per­haps soon to be re­dun­dant, ti­tle of ‘blog­ger’.

Although the fi­nan­cial suc­cess of this new breed of fash­ion guru varies wildly, for those at the top blog­ging is usu­ally a full­time oc­cu­pa­tion. At­tend­ing Lon­don Fash­ion Week, par­ty­ing at de­signer launches, col­lab­o­rat­ing on fash­ion and beauty ranges and jet­ting off on VIP press trips all the while cre­at­ing posts de­tail­ing their ad­ven­tures is all in a day’s work for this new breed of celebrity, with the prom­ise of course, of a pay­day at the end from the brands they fea­ture.

As in­flu­encers have built up their loyal and de­voted au­di­ences, the qual­ity of the con­tent they cre­ate has also im­proved and now mag­a­zine-qual­ity pho­tos fill their In­sta­gram pages, quick-wit­ted copy pop­u­lates their Twit­ter ac­counts and pro­fes­sion­ally pro­duced videos lit­ter their YouTube chan­nels. Un­der­stand­ably, along with this in­crease in qual­ity comes a jump in price for those want­ing to ride on the coat­tails of their suc­cess. Charg­ing any­where from £50 to £12,000 for a sin­gle In­sta­gram post and from hun­dreds to thou­sands of pounds for a blog post or YouTube video, so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers, and the brands who em­ploy them, are very aware of what they are worth.

The rise of the fash­ion in­flu­encers shows no sign of stop­ping as, ac­cord­ing to Fash­ion Beauty Mon­i­tor, 66% of lux­ury brands ex­pect their in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing bud­gets to in­crease over the com­ing year whilst re­port­ing that, so far, the money they have spent has proven ef­fec­tive for 73% of brands with the im­pact these on­line in­flu­encers are hav­ing on sales trace­able through web­site an­a­lyt­ics.

The in­crease in in­flu­encer-brand col­lab­o­ra­tions is linked to the chang­ing con­sumer at­ti­tude and scep­ti­cism to­wards tra­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing. A re­port by MuseFind re­cently sug­gested that 92% of con­sumers trust the opin­ion of an in­flu­encer more than an ad­ver­tise­ment or tra­di­tional celebrity en­dorse­ment. Let's face it, the av­er­age con­sumer is far more likely to re­late to an av­er­aged sized, (rel­a­tively) down-to-earth blog­ger than the air­brushed, size-zero, multi-mil­lion pound world of celebrity pre­vi­ously re­lied on to push lux­ury fash­ion.

How­ever, not ev­ery­one is so en­am­oured by the rise of the so­cial me­dia fash­ion­ista. Most vo­cal are those who used to be con­sid­ered the fash­ion elite.

Sally Singer, Vogue’s cre­ative dig­i­tal di­rec­tor said fol­low­ing a visit to Mi­lan Fash­ion Week: ‘Note to blog­gers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear out­fits ev­ery hour – please stop. Find an­other busi­ness. You are herald­ing the death of style.’ Echo­ing her sen­ti­ment Alessandra Cod­inha, Vogue.com fash­ion news ed­i­tor de­scribed the ‘whole prac­tice of paid ap­pear­ances and bor­rowed out­fits’ as ‘gross’.

De­spite this high-fash­ion put-down, so­cial me­dia fash­ion­istas are prov­ing un­stop­pable and spe­cialised agen­cies to fa­cil­i­tate the re­la­tion­ships be­tween in­flu­encers and brands are also on the rise.

Glas­gow’s Colours mod­el­ling agency is one such busi­ness al­ready paving the way for this new wave of paid col­lab­o­ra­tions hav­ing re­cently launched a ser­vice rep­re­sent­ing top Scot­tish so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers, the first agency in Scot­land to do so. Agency founder Al­i­son Bruce ex­plained that the launch is a re­ac­tion to the de­mand from brands to work with these in­flu­encers and is an ex­cit­ing prospect, par­tic­u­larly for a Scot­tish-based agency.

‘Our agency is based in Scot­land but when it comes to so­cial me­dia, it doesn’t mat­ter where you are based, ge­og­ra­phy doesn’t count and we're ex­cited by the change.’

John Robert­son, whose blog Ev­ery­day Man is based in Glas­gow, ad­mits there are draw­backs to not be­ing in Lon­don where so much of the UK’s fash­ion in­dus­try is based, but says the perks of be­ing based in Scot­land out­weigh the neg­a­tives. ‘It’s a point of dif­fer­ence,’ he says. ‘I have ac­cess to loads of cool lo­ca­tions that those in Lon­don don’t. It helps me to stand out.’

Ten years ago, the no­tion that the sun­glass­wear­ing, cash­mere-swad­dled fash­ion ed­i­tors would be at risk of be­ing de­throned as the Queens of Cool by a band of bed­room blog­gers was un­heard of.

For many, this change is re­fresh­ing, but with new dig­i­tal plat­forms be­ing de­vel­oped all the time, who know who’s wait­ing in the wings when it comes to the next gen­er­a­tion of style icons.

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