Carlie Beard | Arts and Entertainment Editor
Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have created a space for people who are referred to as “influencers.”
An influencer is a term used to describe someone who can have an effect or powerful impact on other people. Influencers can range from high-profile celebrities to an average person who has thousands of followers on Instagram. Companies and brands take full advantage of this media exposure and use influencers to market their product to potential customers.
According to bigcommerce.com, “Influencer marketing is when companies partner with influencers in order to increase brand awareness or conversions among a specific target audience.”
The fashion industry specifically has used social media influencers to increase their brand exposure. For example, a famous person who has an Instagram profile could tag in their photo where they got their shoes from, and all their followers can tap that tag and instantly go to the brand’s page and see their product. This type of marketing does several things for brands, such as bringing in new customers, maintaining customer retention and keeping their brand relevant.
Fashion brands also hire influencers to be “brand ambassadors,” who are required to make several posts about the brand’s products for a certain time period. On the other hand, an influencer also can be contacted to just make one post without having the same commitment as the brand ambassadors.
“I believe that influencer marketing has changed the fashion industry in both a positive and negative way,” said Morgan Burns, a University of Memphis student and former fashion intern at Harlem’s
Fashion Row. “Positively, it makes it easier for brands to sell their product because of an influencer and [brands don’t] have to pay as much, if anything at all, for advertisement. On the negative end, it becomes so easy for companies to make knock-off versions of high-end brands.”
Another portion of fashion that is growing fast is “fast fashion.” Fast fashion can be considered stores that create trendy, affordable pieces at a fast rate. A large fast fashion retailer is online fashion brand Fashion Nova.
The trendy brand has been criticized for creating pieces of clothing immediately after a celebrity or influencer has worn the outfit. For example, in February 2019, Kim. Kardashian wore a Thierry Mugler dress, and one day later, Fashion Nova had a replica of the dress available on their site. This has continued to be a problem because they continue to re-create and steal designs away from designers who dedicated time and effort to create a concept or style.
Fashion Nova is also a retailer that benefits from influencer marketing. Fashion Nova has marketed itself to its more than 16.7 million followers on Instagram through influencers and what some call “Instagram models.” Fashion Nova was the first brand to tap into the market of using influencers on social media and uses personalities that range from the average woman to A-list celebrities such as Cardi B.
“Once the influencer marketing trend fades away, it’s going to be harder for the fashion industry to figure out how to stay modern,” said Armani Mines, owner of 3218, a brand that works to preserve the history of fashion.