Has social media improved how we share and interpret fashion?

September 15, 2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Nicole Colucci uncovers brand new trending styles in the digital age

Despite the long-term leadership of magazines in the fashion media industry, advancements in digital technology have led to a steady fall in demand for this traditional media, with younger generations opting for a more convenient approach.

Personally, I have always preferred old-style fashion journalism published on the glossy pages of a magazine. However, at present, it is undeniable that social media is dominating the industry by providing a platform for us to communicate our ideas about fashion (among many other topics). But why have we allowed ourselves to become so dependent?

Fashion brands, designers and the rest of society have become reliant on this form of media, and with good reason.

As a society, we have used fashion media as a form of communication and inspiration for decades, through outlets such as magazines, newspapers and television.

While these are still popular in their separate forms, social media has become the most prevalent, as it gives us the option to access many fashion media through one convenient platform.

Apps such as Instagram are a great example of this, as they offer a plethora of communication outlets, including fashion photography (in daily posts), official magazine accounts and brand campaigns, via IGTV (Instagram video).

Furthermore, the app uses tags such as #OOTD (outfit of the day) to encourage users to inspire each other, regardless of their background. In other words, you no longer have to be a celebrity or a model to share your style with others.

Careers in social media and influencing
It is fascinating to watch the career progression of people across the world (particularly with professions outside of mainstream media) accumulating huge followings across social media platforms and even being able to quit their full-time jobs to pursue an ‘influencer’ career.

These are the people who are replacing magazines and traditional media in terms of who inspires us and changing the face of fashion media, while profiting greatly in the process.

As well as saving time and offering consumers more variation, social media is also a convenient outlet for contemporary and high street brands to engage with larger audiences and promote their seasonal pieces.

Previously, if you wanted to purchase a fashion item from a magazine or TV campaign, you would essentially have to scout several stores to find it, or settle for something similar instead.

However, as fashion media is becoming more digitalised, it is now possible to directly purchase clothing via a link in the description. According to Instagram’s recent statistics, over a third of its users have purchased a fashion item after viewing it on the platform.

Essentially, having an appealing social media page is the best way for a brand to connect with millions of fashion-orientated users in this fast paced industry.

Are there downsides?
Unlike physical magazines – that compile a month’s worth of material into one issue – social media is continuously updated by anyone, anywhere in the world. This provides us with constant access to new fashions and fresh ideas from across the globe in a matter of seconds.

However, some may hold that this is not necessarily a positive. Rapidly-changing trends are arguably an excuse for fast-fashion. If something is deemed ‘out of fashion’ both consumers and designers may be more inclined to discard this old piece, therefore resulting in greater waste.

Furthermore, does accessibility worldwide mean more global and less western or indeed other styles? By having social media as a platform to share our style globally, we are arguably blurring the lines between cultures in fashion, as everyone is accessing the same sources and content for inspiration. Therefore, we are led to question, has social media removed culture and tradition from fashion?

Social and digital media is ultimately a revolutionary breakthrough in the world of fashion. It makes us more creative and expressive with our style, while also offering fashion brands the opportunity to communicate with society more rapidly.

However, is it reducing our originality and increasing our dependence on technology? Only time will tell.

Funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, distributed by CommUNITY Barnet Giving has helped us with this work. Thanks to National Lottery players for making this possible.

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