Fashion Week Influencers: 6 Innovative Ways to Use TikTokers Now

Working with fashion week influencers is a great way to gain Gen Z attention and loyalty. We’ve got 6 tips for fashion brands for TikTok presence ahead of the shows.
Fanbytes | Fashion Week Influencers

In 30 seconds:

  • The next generation of fashion influencers are building huge audiences on TikTok – where innovative fashion brands live-stream their fashion shows and are building engaged online communities.
  • The fashion world has recognised the potential of collaborating with top fashion influencers, and this Fashion Month will see more influencer involvement than ever.
  • So from channel takeovers to sponsorships, here’s how fashion houses and labels can leverage influencers in their Fashion Week marketing.

Fashion week influencers are synonymous with street style photography, “get ready with me” and behind-the-scenes content, and showcasing their personal style at fashion week events. But whereas Instagram once held the crown for the fashion world’s top content creators, now there’s a new breed of influencer in town.

In 2020 for the first time, TikTok influencers were amongst those on the front rows of London Fashion Week‘s shiny runway shows. TikTok influencer fashion week appearances included Paris, New York and Milan, where TikTok star Addison Rae alone reportedly drove around $400,000 of earned media value for Versace. Last year, TikTok influencers’ power grew even more, with the #TikTokFashionMonth hashtag driving over 5.5 billion views. 

In 2022, Fashion Week is getting even more TikTok platform presence, with the app’s fashion month initiative.

Clearly TikTok is a space where engaged, fashion-conscious audiences are gathering. And with over a billion active monthly users, and an audience that’s primarily Gen Z, TikTok represents more than an advertising opportunity: it’s a direct route to the trickiest-to-reach consumer generation. 

Why should fashion brands care about TikTok influencers?

Here’s a fact: Gen Z is shaking up the fashion industry

It’s well-documented that this generation cares deeply about social causes – and they expect the brands they support to do the same. A survey undertaken by Vogue Business found that the pandemic has also had a significant effect on the way the younger generation approaches fashion – stating that 6 in 10 are now more conscious of the items they buy

Add to this: 70% of Gen Z trust influencers more than “traditional” celebrities. 

One more fact: nearly two thirds of Gen Z follow an influencer online. 

It’s therefore clear that influencer marketing is key to establishing a successful brand presence amongst Gen Z consumers. When it comes to fashion content, Instagram and TikTok – and social media in general – is where Gen Z goes to find their inspiration. In fact, a huge 97% of Gen Z consumers claim that social media is their main source of shopping inspiration. 

Jacqueline Smith, Fanbytes Fashion & Beauty Senior Campaign Manager says “Tiktok has really highlighted the fact that Gen Z turn to influencers and their favourite online personalities for inspiration, not only for fashion but for general lifestyle and self care.”

“It’s so important for fashion companies to position their brands as a “lifestyle”, not just a clothing brand, as Gen Z really commit to brands they believe in. This is evident in the way they engage on Tiktok. Promoting a lifestyle comes from the influencers you choose to work with, the style of content and the overall tone of voice”.

Engaging with the right fashion week influencers can therefore establish your brand as a relevant force for Gen Z within the fashion industry – directly impacting this all-important brand recognition and sentiment, as well as sales

We’ve gathered together 6 tips for brands who want to engage effectively with influencers this fashion month

How fashion brands can master TikTok

The landscape of fashion is changing – thanks in no small part to TikTok. How can fashion brands use TikTok now to inspire new audiences and drive revenue? Check out our guide via the button below to start converting your TikTok presence into sales and more.

Tip #1: Dress them - with a difference

The hashtag #OOTD – that’s “Outfit of the Day” – appears on every fashion influencers’ Instagram account, and it has over 71 billion views on TikTok. Dressing fashion week influencers who are attending shows and creating Fashion Month-themed content online is a surefire way to raise awareness of your brand. 

Plus, #ootd posts are accessible and relatively easy to create, meaning you’re more likely to find a range of influencers willing to create this content with you. 

By working with influencers to wear and style your pieces, you’re helping their audiences to see the potential in owning them themselves. No longer are Fashion Week looks reserved only for professional models on the catwalk: influencers are different clothes sizes, and show the clothes in more contexts. Dressing these more dynamic personas adds both personality to the garment, and a heady mix of aspirational vs. relatable styling that models can’t always offer.

Unlike Instagram, which is built around a social graph, TikTok is built on a content graph: users see videos from users that they may not know, but whose content is of interest to them. The algorithm also prioritises content agnostically of a user’s follower size. This is important, because it is disrupting the “trickle-down” of beauty and style standards and is encouraging more points of view.

Fashion brands should reassess their concept of what a fashion influencer should look like, and the kind of content they create. On TikTok, influencers embodying many different styles, body shapes, abilities and perspectives flourish. Consider who you are dressing and the story you want to tell.

Tip #2: Layer influencer storytelling

TikTok is heralding more kinds of fashion influencers, so embrace this new ecosystem of content creators by layering the kinds of storytelling they can offer your brand.

One way to include influencers is via social media channel takeovers. A way of making the most of an influencer’s online expertise, this means handing over the reins of your brand’s social accounts for a short period of time – which is a great way to get another perspective on Fashion Week

Another way is to invite influencers to your shows and give them creative freedom for the content they create. For example, this year GANNI’s Copenhagen Fashion Week show was attended by many TikTok influencers, who each created TikTok videos in their own style. Additionally, the brand partnered with highly sought-after influencer Emma Chamberlain to front their latest campaign, which debuted right after the show. Emma’s attendance – and the strong aesthetic on the catwalk – caught more than just influencers’ eyes: many users took their own videos and saw their content go viral too.

“Behind the scenes”-style content is very popular on platforms like TikTok, where users enjoy feeling involved with brands 25% of TikTokers said they’re more likely to promote one they feel involved with. 

Because TikTok’s algorithm can send videos viral regardless of the content creator’s follower size, it’s by creating more opportunities for different influencer content – and influential TikTok content created by casual TikTok users– that you’ll find more of your community joining in and creating a buzz.

This sense of lively conversation and egalitarianism adds an extra dimension to your Fashion Week content, and gives a fun touch to your socials that will help them to stand out during the noise of fashion month

Tip #3: Host Influencer-led Events

There’s no point pretending that social media influencers are just on the sidelines of big events anymore. Especially not wIth the likes of TikTok’s Wisdom Kaye walking at Balmain, and comedy star Rickey Thompson attending several Paris shows, including the Balenciaga event. So why not make them centre stage? After all, if you want to engage with the most fashion talent possible in one go, events are the best route to take.

Just like channel takeovers, fashion week events are opportunities for influencers to create a ton of content about your brand, and if you create an exclusive event that attracts multiple names? That content will be easier to post about – equalling more brand exposure for you. 

These VIPs won’t just be creating valuable content for you: their followers will be making their own social media content, too. Consider the TikTok influencer Matilda Djerf: her personal style is so well known on TikTok, that she can spawn trends on the platform (for example, people copying her look), even without her presence. Pop a heavyweight influencer on stage with your creative director to talk about the future of the brand, and you’ll unlock untold media value and social reach.

Events are also a great chance to build a rapport with individual creators, which can make it easier to work with them on further campaigns in the future. 

Tip #4: Cast Influencers in your shows

What’s one step further than inviting influencers to document your show? Casting them in it, of course. 

With all the benefits of dressing and events, having an influencer actually walk in your show has the additional guarantee of creating a definite buzz on social media. Just ask Hugo Boss – the fashion brand worked with TikToker Khaby Lame at a baseball-themed show last year, where his involvement generated $282,000 in earned media value during the event.

And now, of course, Khaby Lame is the face of Boss. So casting an influencer in your show – and seeing the reaction online – can also help identify opportunities for valuable future partnerships

With increasing catwalk inclusivity and diversity becoming a huge talking point at Fashion Week shows, casting influencers in their model lineup gives brands an opportunity to modernise, while adding guaranteed press coverage.

Tip #5: Chat through Live Streams

Fashion bloggers are moving to TikTok too. On TikTok, it’s not just “people who look good in clothes” who can be TikTok influencers: individuals with a unique perspective or well-informed opinions regularly go viral for their insightful fashion videos.

Gen Z are the most likely age group to watch video content on social media – and 91% of them prefer it to traditional marketing formats. 

Taking that one step further is the rise of the live stream. It’s reported to drive the biggest return on investments of all social media formats, tapping into Gen Z’s desire to feel involved with brands and online communities. 

TikTok has itself used live streams in past fashion marketing campaigns. The platform partnered with fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton to live stream a number of shows during New York fashion week over the pandemic. TikTok’s Fashion Content Partnerships lead CeCe Vu described how the live streams helped “our brand partners to leverage the platform’s authentic and community-driven approach to showcase their art, creativity, and personalities in a unique and truly TikTok way.”

Work with influencers to level up your livestream. Brief your TikTok blogger influencer on the inspirations behind the collection and take time to show them the interesting details – then get them to talk through your fashion week show on a livestream. You’ll attract the most engaged fashionista followers, and you can use the ‘best bits’ of their commentary for your own channel too.

Tip #6: Opt for sponsorship

A tried-and-trusted way of engaging with big events, sponsorship requires a significant budget – but it promises significant pay-outs in return. 

And if your brand chooses to sponsor an element of a show during fashion month, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll also be able to benefit from influencer activity. 

By ensuring that your brand is repped throughout an event, with visible logos, products, and more, you’re creating opportunities for influencers to include you in content they generate around the event. Just like Mercedes-Benz do when they provide sponsorship for London Fashion Week, and therefore feature prominently in social media posts – for example, an Instagram post from influencer Jim Chapman which collected 29,000+ likes. 

Fashion week influencers: keeping brands fresh?

Gen Z expects a lot from brands. They’re socially-conscious, environmentally aware, and they expect the brands that they support to display a similar awareness. 

The fashion industry, in particular, is one in which their collective attitude is highly visible, as young consumers attempt to balance their desires for both affordability and quality – without compromising their values. 

Luckily for brands, influencers are able to provide not only a trusted voice for their audiences to follow, but an inherent understanding of those audiences and the platform they engage with them on. 

For established fashion brands without a huge online presence, influencers represent a path to Gen Z consumers in more than one way; their expertise and new attitudes to marketing will mean a refreshed brand image – and one that appeals to Gen Z much more than any traditional campaign would. 

Talk to us about how we can help you work with influencers to skyrocket your brand across social media

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