It’s no secret that social media is increasingly taking over our every day lives. Holidays can’t be enjoyed without documenting those travels through carefully-curated images on Instagram, views can’t be expressed unless done so wittily in 140 characters on Twitter, and no-one will know how health-conscious we are unless we post our gym sessions on Snapchat. Not that it’s a bad thing; social media is an endless source of inspiration, real-time news coverage and technological innovation, and will no doubt continue to grow in ways we don’t yet know.
It’s no surprise then, that fashion has taken to it in the way it has. It’s an industry that’s obsessed with the new, the exciting and the modern – and social media is all three. Fashion houses are running their campaigns through Instagram, models are chosen on the amount of their followers – and it’s all re-shaping the industry, including the fashion show.
Once an exclusive, invite-only affair, fashion shows are now instantly accessible by the masses. Where editors would once make their show notes with pen and paper, they’re uploading images from the designers’ new collections straight to Instagram, Snapchatting details and sharing their thoughts immediately on Twitter. We’ve got access to everything straight away, so the notion of seeing collections six months in advance now seems a tad old-fashioned. The consumer sees the new pieces instantly, and they want to get their hands on it instantly too.
Designers are starting to realise this and it probably won’t be long before this traditional, long-standing format is turned on its head. Burberry’s Christopher Bailey has already done it, swapping four annual shows for two that feature both men’s and womenswear, available to purchase immediately, and Tom Ford has recently followed suit. Copenhagen-based brand Ganni is capitalising on the social media effect too, making certain pieces from the shows instantly buy-able – SS17’s being the ‘Space Cowboy’ t-shirt.
It’s a move that makes complete business sense, and one that the sometimes too-precious fashion industry needed. How it evolves is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt that the fashion show will never truly be the same – and it’s got social media to thank for that.
Words by Angharad Jones. Images by Andrew Barber and Angharad Jones