As Instagram continues to evolve and the reign of influencers grows ever stronger, New York Fashion Week is trying to keep up.
From designers opting to eschew runway shows altogether in favor of showing collections on Instagram, to creative directors ditching models to cast influencers in their shows, Instagram’s impact is ubiquitous. Even the hordes of bloggers mobbed by street style photographers, wielding both professional cameras and iPhones, is indicative of the power of Instagram as a marketing tool for fashion brands and fashionistas alike.
While catwalks continue to be a fixture at NYFW, designers are also turning to innovative presentations with elaborate decor, special guests and music — events practically begging to be shared on Instagram. Now, with features like Instagram Stories, Live and shoppable feeds, designers have even more at their disposal to engage with consumers, and this is bleeding into their fashion week strategies.
We spoke with industry insiders, influencers and show-goers at the Alice + Olivia spring 2018 show on Tuesday about the biggest ways they feel Instagram has altered NYFW. Their answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
Stacey Bendet, CEO and creative director, Alice + Olivia
Instagram has made statement clothing more important than ever. People look to social media to learn, to inspire and to be inspired. Items like [a shirt from the spring 2017 collection that says] “The World Needs More Sparkle” are really appreciated by people on Instagram. They allow designers to have a voice. We’re in this moment in time when people are constantly shocked by the world and, whether you’re an artist or a designer, it’s a moment to use your voice to tell your story in a really uplifting way. I personally run the @aliceandolivia account to show what I’m doing, where I am and what’s inspiring me. It’s really organic and not about selling things. And then we have @aliceandoliviaworld, which is more for shopping and product. We felt it was important to differentiate the two.
Kristopher Fraser, freelance fashion editor and stylist
Now, a lot of designers are keeping social media in mind when they’re curating their shows and thinking about the concepts for their shows. We saw this with Dolce & Gabbana, which tried to do the whole #DGmillennial thing: Instead of getting the typical supermodels they’ve been using for years and years, they used big-name Instagram influencers. Fashion week has turned into a social media spectacle.
Gergana Ivanova, fashion blogger, Fashion Is My Forte
The biggest thing is social media makes the collections so quickly accessible. It allows you to see collections right away. People you follow can be live-streaming shows or posting to their Instagram Stories — so you can see it there, instead of waiting. The videos and photos on Instagram feel more authentic — it’s not from a professional photographer’s or magazine’s perspective, it’s more real and authentic.
Cheryl Gorski, photographer, Fashion Maniac
As a professional photographer, I feel Instagram minimizes the quality of photography. A phone does not compare to a professional camera. But Instagram is great for instant gratification as a news source. I look at Instagram as a resource to say, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening. This might be cool.’ But Instagram is better suited to a younger audience.
Alicia Saavedra, fashion blogger and influencer
It allows for more fashion week exposure, because all of the bloggers come here and post on their social accounts. It’s like a huge marketing party. Instagram is the most important platform now. NYFW doesn’t even need marketing because bloggers and influencers do all the work for them.
Dennie Bryant, physician and fashion fan
Instagram definitely tells me what people are wearing and what they feel can be integrated into their personal style. It gives me a visual of how well something works with different body types, shapes and skin tones. I look at it as an electronic magazine. I live in Houston, so it allows me to virtually be at the shows, and see what’s current and what’s going on right now.