It was only back in September that the showdown between several Vogue editors versus fashion bloggers crowned Milan Fashion Week. The former criticized the latter as “embarrassing” and “desperate,” selling themselves out to brands and changing outfits multiple times a day for the eyes of photographers and Instagram followers. What ensued was an enraged social media debate, with numerous bloggers speaking out against the Vogue editors, characterizing them, in turn, as “jealous.” Being an influencer means converting oneself into a brand – and running one’s own business.
Now, at this year’s February edition of the same event, it appears the tables have turned. Dolce and Gabbana invited numerous digital influencers, fashion bloggers and it girls to walk the runway. Among them Aimee Song (@songofstyle), Negin Mirsalehi (@negin_mirsalehi) and Alexandra Pereira (@lovelypepa), who together total over 9 million followers on Instagram, not to mention their other popular social media channels, including YouTube and Snapchat.
Recruiting influencers to walk the runway is not entirely new; last January, D&G started a #DGMillenials and #DGFamily trend that already incorporated influencers such as Kristina Bazan, Marcus Butler and Lucky Blue Smith. It is a marketing tactic to reach the younger audiences, millenials, – even Justin Bieber got a major shoutout during the show,- and a (probably cheaper) alternative to hiring celebrities, such as Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger’s show.
This year, the family has expanded. There is a clear international strategy in place as well; Alexandra Pereira is the Spanish “surprise”, as El Mundo calls it, Negin Mirsalehi is an Amsterdam-based Persian Instagram star, and Middle Eastern influencer and fashion entrepreuner, Lana El Sahely (@larmoiredelana), was chosen to represent the region as part of the show’s line up, as Harper’s Bazaar Arabia reports.
To the bloggers, no matter their origin, it is the ultimate recognition; a dream come true as they state on their Instagram stories. The total number of impressions, clicks, likes, comments of the campaign has yet to be seen, as regrams can occur several days after the show. Not to mention all of the pre-show social media excitement that happened backstage; the line-up had been a secret, and to many of their respective followers, the bloggers themselves were in charge of announcing their appearance on the catwalk just a couple of hours ago. Perhaps in a very near future, “conventional” models will be asked to provide Instagram and Snapchat follower statistics, in addition to Twiggy measurements and an appealing lookbook? In other industries, checking out an employee’s social media profiles is certainly already the norm.
Meanwhile, the demographic of the front row evolves. The editors of traditional, glossy magazines sit in the crowd, take photos, and report on the influencers they called “pathetic” just last season. The D&G hashtag for the show? #DGRinascimento. Oh, how trends change. Or should we say business as usual in the fashion industry?