In 30 seconds:
- The next generation of fashion influencers are building huge audiences on TikTok – where innovative fashion houses are already live streaming their fashion shows.
- The biggest fashion brands have 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.
Last year, for the first time, TikTok influencers were amongst those on the front rows of London Fashion Week‘s shiny runway shows.
They appeared alongside established fashion powerhouses – and not just in London. 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.
This season, the biggest fashion industry brands are hoping to repeat their previous successes, and capture even more of the Gen Z attention that saw the #TikTokFashionMonth hashtag drive over 5.5 billion views in 2021.
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 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 that 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.
Following that narrative, it’s 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 within the Gen Z 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.
Tip #1: Dress them
The hashtag #OOTD – that’s “Outfit of the Day” – appears on every fashion influencers’ Instagram account, and it has over 39 billion views on TikTok.
Dressing fashion week influencers who are attending shows – or even those who are 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.
It’s also true that 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.
Tip #2: Try channel takeovers
A way of making the most of an influencer’s online expertise, social media channel takeovers mean handing over the reins of your brand’s social accounts for a period of time – like over the course of a show, or even the entirety of Fashion Week.
For example, this year sees Copenhagen Fashion Week handing control of its social media channels to four of the Nordics’ “most exciting creators”, with the hope they’ll document all aspects of the shows.
Since they’re likely to bring their dedicated followers along with them, channel takeovers are one way for brands to increase their own followings, and generate content that they can use after the takeover time period has passed.
Plus, “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.
Letting an influencer have control of your social platform and giving them access to special content creates buzz, 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 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, 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.
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.
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. It’s clearly a strategy that works: Hugo Boss recently hit headlines again after the brand signed Khaby Lame in a multiyear deal; the face of their 2022 rebrand.
Tip #5: Make use of Live Streams
Gone are the days of the written fashion blog. Now, video content is key. 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. In 2020, the platform partnered with fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton to live stream a number of shows during New York fashion week.
TikTok’s Fashion Content Partnerships lead CeCe Vu described how the live streams were “just another way for 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.”
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.
For more insights on influencer marketing, check out the links below: