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The Reach of Social Media: From Runway to Twitter

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending a little known thing called New York Fashion Week, which started last Friday and runs throughout this week. Because of some amazing friends and once in a life time opportunities, I attended the Christian Siriano Fall 2010 Collection, as well as Naomi Campbell’s Fashion Show for Haiti Relief. But aside from shoes and dresses, everyone seemed to be armed with something that, until now, was unrelated to fashion: tools for social media.

Once inside the tents, I was amazed to see how much the fashion industry has grasped the digital era. Forget digital cameras: girls in stilettos snapped pictures on their iPhones, instantly uploading to Twitter. Members of the press were interviewing fashion celebs, recording  questions and answers on their cell phones instead of tape recorders, shooting emails to their editors simultaneously. I had a friend Google a celebrity’s name to see his picture, to ensure she was taking a picture of the right guy. There was even a section dedicated to fashion techy gurus, sitting on benches with their Mac books open, balanced on their thighs. Above them, a screen displayed a real time feed of tweets featuring the New York Fashion Week hashtag (#nyfw), constantly updating and changing.

But the fashion industry goes beyond just the diffusion of fashion week news through social media. This was the first year that typically industry exclusive shows like Marc Jacobs or Rodarte were being shown digitally, bringing access to anyone with a computer. Even more than that, designers are embracing social media on an entirely different level. As mentioned in this recent Mashable article, the industry has begun to accept “outsiders” by inviting them in, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or the blogosphere. They’ve become more open, tapping an a huge audience that had, until recently, been completely ignored and unheard.

Like in all other industries, some have chosen not to adopt social media as a new and influential practice. And just like in all other industries, they are going to be left behind. Those that adapt will stay relevant, and ultimately, in front of consumers.

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