The Evolution of Fashion Influencers

The beginning of fashion journalism dates back to the mid 1600s and early 1700s in France when a publication titled the Mercure Galant created a specific edition solely devoted to the clothing of royals and elites. The issue of Mercure Galant covered what modern fashion publications do today, which is discuss and review products from brands for consumers. 

As time went on and the classic yet prominent fashion publications we know today such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue came about, consumers profoundly depended on fashion writers and advertisements to guide them in purchasing from the most favorable brands. Fashion writers made or break brands by giving them insightful and lengthy reviews. With such great power and influence, they were the oracles of what to buy and what not to buy.

Photo: Harper's Bazaar

The impact that notable fashion publications possess between consumers and brands may be approaching its decline. How so? You've probably heard the term "digital influencer" here and there and wondered what exactly grants someone the label. Social media provides endless opportunities for individuals to become a digital influencer through various channels such as images, videos, blogs, tweets, statuses and more. We have journeyed from Mercure Galant's elaborate approach of informing consumers on fashion to a simple Instagram photo of an influential individual with a brief promotional caption.

Many would argue that such marketing is a "cheaper" and "less tasteful" way of showcasing brands, especially haute couture. Although many designers and creative directors were and still are reluctant to resorting to social media for the sake of promoting their brand, marketing teams are embracing social media because they are aware that the media is one of the most efficient ways to reach consumers. 

Photo: LA Confidential
Digital influencers are considered a modern addition to marketing, especially since they are heavily engaged on social media and (for the most part) maintain a flattering perception in the public eye. If someone with a solid crowd of followers speaks out on a brand, whether in good spirit or not, they will have some type of effect on the way people perceive that brand. No longer will the notable fashion writer from a prominent fashion publication have a final say so regarding if a product is worth purchasing. Sure, fashion writers have expertise in the field and many would argue that a social media mogul is not credible enough in terms of fashion. Views speak volumes and though quality does matter, in the world of social media numbers mean everything. 

Consumers are more inclined to purchase a product endorsed by a person that they admire or feel as if they can trust. Why? Not many people read articles thoroughly these days due to the fast paced world we live in. Social media helps condense the elaborative, sophistication of reviews through medias that are less time consuming and easier to digest, while also maintaining a genuine essence.

Fashion writers are essential to fashion publications, because without them there wouldn't be much content about brands to provide to consumers. However, when the question of how much influence they acquire in determining what consumers should buy arises, its safe to say that digital influencers have a greater effect these days, especially among younger crowds due to their authenticity.