#Instagram, #Instafashion, #Instagood: A Fashion Foray into Instagram
Despite its reputation for over-filtered pictures, fashion blogging on #Instagram has moved the needle and compelled the fashion industry to welcome a group of #fashionistas that traditionally have been considered the plebeians of the fashion world. The rise of the fashion blogger phenomenon, coupled with consumers’ insatiable desire for more personalized shopping experiences, has resulted in the genesis of curated retail that has revitalized the relationship between retailers and consumers. On their fashion pilgrimage from amateur blogger to aficionado of style au courant, #Instagram #stylebloggers have attracted from hundreds of thousands of followers (@menstylepro, @onedapperstreet and @articlesofstyle) to millions of followers (@chiaraferragni and @negin_mirsalehi) on their #Instagram accounts. In doing so, #fashion-bloggers have created a groundswell of customer engagement.
For established and up and coming brands alike, collaborating with a #styleblogger is a smart bet to increase “word of mouth” endorsements and is a penny-wise method of interacting with their target demographic. Most importantly, it is perceived by many as being more genuine than traditional marketing efforts, mainly because #stylebloggers have established personal and fun rapports with their followers based on candor and inspiration for daily fashion. When such collaborations are transmitted through social media such as #Instagram, a brand can broadcast its story from a different viewpoint while also tapping into the #stylebloggers’ loyal following. Bloggers give brands a new social medium to interact with their consumers in a very authentic way. Essentially, #fashion-bloggers express a brand’s vision in the blogger’s own voice that may ring more true with consumers than traditional advertising. Because readers often develop impassioned and trusting connections with #fashion-bloggers, they are more likely to wear clothes that are specifically recommended by bloggers and validated or “liked” by their peers, proving that peer validation reigns supreme for consumers.
With their celebrity-like qualities, such as strong personal branding and a devout following, #fashion-bloggers are very appealing to brands due to their direct ties to consumers. The fashion industry has long had a reputation for ignoring entire groups of people and body shapes, with the common response from consumers being that they can’t see themselves on the pages of these glamour lookbooks wearing these clothes. Followers of #fashion-bloggers, however, often feel closer to them because consumers perceive bloggers as real people with whom they can identify. By creating a real world experience for consumers by exposure of clothing through bloggers, a brand can realize strong customer growth. Brands like Burberry (@burberry), Urbanstox (@urbanstox) and AlexanderWang (@alexanderwangny) have used first-rate trendsetters to showcase their clothing and, as a result, realized increased consumer engagement and growth.
Today, many people first discover brands through social media. Given that fashion is a world based upon aesthetic artistry, it’s hardly surprising that #Instagram, which allows users to alter photos to best advantage, has garnered much respect from the fashion industry. Numerous retail brands have recognized the buying power of Instagram users, and, as a result, adopted trend-arousing #selfies and branded hashtags. With the popularity of @Instagram ever-increasing, it’s clear that amateur fashion blogging is the next form of social media to be exploited by retailers seeking to boost their market share.