Welcome to Glossy’s New York Fashion Week newsletter, bringing you on-the-ground insights and analysis from straight off the runway. All week, we’ll be sending behind-the-scenes glimpses and interviews with industry members straight to your inbox. Sponsored by Shopify Plus.
Those attending New York Fashion Week this season no doubt spotted a celebrity or two, as well as a handful of fashion mega-influencers. But fall 2020 also marked a wave of new royalty attending the shows: content creators from some of the major platforms, including TikTok to Instagram.
This season, TikTok made its first appearance at New York Fashion Week, flying in and giving access to a group of the social platform’s creators to the event. For its first foray into NYFW, TikTok partnered with IMG ahead of the shows, setting up @NYFW, @FashionWeek and @MADE handles on TikTok and handing them over to three creators: @Cosette, @Ghosthoney and @Tayhage. The three were chosen for their interest in fashion. Cosette, for example, has worked with Walmart and Hollister on sponsored posts for the platform. Throughout the week, those content creators have been posting live updates from the event, favorite looks from the shows and behind-the-scenes looks at models getting ready to walk the runway.
“Fashion on TikTok plays into the creativity, individualism and elements of surprise that really resonate with our users. Whether it’s a peek into the latest fashion trends or style inspiration, TikTok supports the doers, makers and trendsetters whose expressions will inspire future creation on the platform,” said Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships at TikTok.
Collectively, the three creators attended shows for Tory Burch, Alice + Olivia, Rag & Bone, e1972 and Zadig & Voltaire. For TikTok, a platform that has been downloaded 1.7 billion times so far and has a large Gen-Z audience, a presence at NYFW can mean bringing fashion brands up to speed on the platform and why they should be using (and advertising on) the platform. Several brands like Tory Burch have already posted some of the creator content to their own TikTok pages. Being at NYFW also means TikTok can open up the event to its Gen-Z user base, giving them an inside look at what the event is all about.
“Fashion week used to be a closed-door event for society’s elite, only accessible to the general public through roundups, recaps and red carpet appearances, but with platforms like TikTok and Instagram, online access is growing tremendously,” said Ricky Ray Butler, CEO of influencer marketing company BEN. “Whether it’s partnering with Gen-Z stars like Emma Chamberlain, teaming with celebs to share on their pages or offering behind-the-scenes looks at the shows themselves, influencers are becoming linked with generating buzz and awareness.”
It’s still early days, but the official NYFW TikTok accounts still haven’t posted much. NYFW’s account has just five videos and 647 followers as of Tuesday morning. @Cosette (1.6 million followers), @Ghosthoney (295,700 followers) and @Tayhage (194,600 followers) all posted from the official fashion accounts, plus updated their own TikTok feeds with video from the shows and their NYFW adventures.
Instagram has had more of a presence at NYFW in the previous years, compared to platforms like TikTok. This year, Instagram returned to the shows, flying out two stars, Lexi Brumback and Gabi Butler from the Netflix show “Cheer,” to New York for Brandon Maxwell and Tory Burch. A team from Instagram has been capturing footage of the two stars backstage and the front row at the two aforementioned shows.
Instagram (and Brumback and Butler) will not be posting any of the final footage until Friday when the platform plans to share an exclusive story featuring the two to the @Instagram account. According to a report from WWD, there is a strict embargo for all media outlets on any content captured or interviews with the two influencers until Friday.
Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its NYFW activities.
Both platforms have recently pushed more into commerce — Instagram with Instagram Shopping and TikTok testing social commerce as of Nov. 2019. Though see-now-buy-now has fizzled, there could be opportunities in future years for these platforms at fashion week, on the shopping front, said Butler.
“Down the line, there may be opportunities to create shoppable runways via social media feeds by tagging influencers and models in live runway shows. Designers should pay close attention to internet and social media trends, too, and design their clothing and runway shows in a way that’s formatted to catch the attention of audiences on platforms like Instagram and TikTok,” said Butler.
4 Questions with Anna Sui
After her show Monday evening, Glossy caught up with the designer about her latest collection and the challenges that come with being a designer in 2020.
Where did you draw inspiration for the latest collection?
I went to a film festival that had Giallo films, Italian horror movies, and I loved the ’70s-glamour aspect of it. Then I started watching the Hammer [horror] films, too, and I loved that there were always women in peignoirs and negligees. I just wanted to take these elements of ’70s decadence and glamour that I miss, and play with it and make it [fit for] today. The [show] music was all the soundtracks from the movies I was watching.
What is the hardest thing about being a designer today?
There are no stores anymore. It’s scary.
How do you deal with that?
I have my own store, and there’s the internet. But there’s no structure anymore. When I started, there was a whole infrastructure of buying offices, fashion directors at department stores and buyers, and they were all very supportive. I don’t think I could have done it without that support. People would fall in love with a fashion show and come running back here, and be the first one backstage and say, ‘OK, I want looks No. 5, No. 3 and No. 2 for our window. You can’t give those to anybody else.’ That was the excitement that people had. Now everything has turned into a numbers game. I think that’s what is wrong with almost everything right now. Everything is owned by somebody else, and it’s only answering to numbers, and no one is appreciating the aesthetic of things and the inspiration.
How has social media helped you connect with new, younger customers?
Social media brings a new awareness that we can’t reach just on our own — especially in a market like China. I get a lot of press coverage in China for my Japanese following and my American following. Globalization has been great, but I think it’s also part of the problem right now.
Actress Jamie Chung dropped by Noon by Noor’s show this morning, dressed head-to-toe by the designer in a black strappy top and emerald greenpants. Also this morning, musician Lars Ulrich sat front row at Khaite.
Tonight promises to be a busy evening for fashion fiends. The evening kicks off with Rodarte, followed by Prabal Gurung. Christian Cowan closes out the night, at 9 pm.
Photo courtesy of e1972.