Twice a year, the biggest names in fashion and A-list celebrities gather in New York City to view collections from the world’s most exclusive labels. However, this past Fashion Week, guest lists looked quite different as invites were granted to a new class of celebrity: influencers. Influencers—we know them, we love them, we bought the pair of shoes they wore in their Instagram post last week! They have taken the fashion industry by storm and are changing the way clothes are marketed and sold. Spotted filling the front rows at shows this past fashion week next to A-listers such as Anna Wintour and Gwyneth Paltrow, many seasoned attendees were left wondering if influencers really deserved a spot at fashion week or were they better suited for their social media world on TikTok and Instagram?
As the fashion industry evolves, it is important to acknowledge that influencers are an asset to many brands today. While us TikTok junkies wonder how our favorite 20-something year-old influencer is clad in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton on the regular, most everything we see on social media from our favorite influencers is not organic. Influencers are gifted products to share with their followers or have their content sponsored by certain brands. While it may look normal for young people to live uber glamorous lives, it is all a business; it is smoke and mirrors. For luxury brands and influencers, the marriage is a true win/win. Luxury brands realize the value of inviting influencers to their shows to document and share content directly with their large and impressionable followings. While some may claim that they are not “couture purebred” or have an impressive resume to secure them a highly coveted spot, brands recognize influencers’ ability to target consumers as liquid gold.
During NYFW, TikTok “For You Pages” were flooded with videos capturing “A Day in the Life: Fashion Week Edition,” or “Get Ready with Me for New York Fashion Week.” These types of videos highlight the glitz and glam of NYFW, in addition to the not-so-fabulous reality of these fashion events. Many exposed the problematic nature of Fashion Week; from the lack of plus-sized and diverse models to the disrespect shown towards influencers. While we all sat in the dark about what really goes on behind the scenes year after year, influencers exposed these issues, shining a light on the elitist hierarchy that has always been present. While shows are more inclusive than past years, their critics claim there is still much progress to be made. Having more casual content about fashion week cracked open a space for critiques like these to be vocalized.
As an avid social media user, it was interesting and fresh to see Fashion Week from influencers’ perspectives, because until now, I’ve only seen a highly curated profile of luxury brands and their collections. Fashion Week felt closer to home and more attainable than ever before. Fashion is truly in the eye of the beholder and gives each one of us the freedom to creatively express our individuality. Seeing how each intimidated influencer approached fashion week helped viewers to deal with their own imposter syndrome.
Love them or hate them, influencers are paving the way for generations to come. You don’t need to have worked at Vogue or a couture fashion house to be someone at Fashion Week. And thanks to these new kids on the block, we got to witness more looks than E! or glossy magazines could ever show us—and isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?
Cover Photo: CNN