Fashion is an ever-evolving industry. Different fashion icons emerge and influence the fashion decisions of individuals. Each decade in the fashion industry is personified by a select of intellect fashionistas who act as a fashion reference point.
The 90s gave us the supermodels (mostly celebrities and catwalk models) who were dressed and showcased on both traditional and tabloid magazines and television screens. These were the few individuals that people looked up to for fashion inspiration, people would peruse magazines to check the latest trends and how to rock their outfits. Fast – forward to the millennial years, a new breed of fashion royalty known as the ‘influencer’ has been birthed. The digital revolution has brought changes to the fashion industry through the use of social media giving rise to the influencer. Social media is a whole new runway, a canvas of fashion expression.
An influencer is a personality with a large following on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, creates content, and can influence the opinion and purchase behavior of others. Influencers cover a vast number of niches with lifestyle and fashion having the most share. People always look up to fashion icons for fashion and style inspiration and influencers exist just to offer that. Fashion influencers cannot only reach millions of target consumers, but they also tell unique stories about brands and their products. They dress in designer clothes stylishly and take high-quality pictures to post on their Instagram feeds with hashtags to show the brands they are wearing. With literally millions of followers on their tail, influencers can move the needle on how, when, and what consumers search and shop for.
Fashion brands are constantly looking for new ways to reach their target markets and there is no better way than through influencers. A growing number of these professionals have come to stand toe-to-toe with the traditional fashion elite. Influencers are being paid by brands to become brand ambassadors, post photos and write-ups of designer clothes, to post sponsored content and affiliate links of the brands they work for. This is a type of marketing by brands that is lucrative as influencers target a niche audience who regularly follow influencer posts and readily take influencer advice on what to buy. Vogue estimates that in 2019, brands spent $8 billion on influencers, with sponsored posts claiming a fraction of that money, the rest spent on collaborations, and commissions. The audience readily shares with their friends, posts by the influencers they follow thus forming a chain of information about a brand.
Influencers are cum-trendsetters as they are often the start of a new style. People look for reality that is not portrayed by fashion magazines and influencers offer just that, a street style look of different brands. Like a new catalog, influencers have become a database of inspiration as they influence people on where and what to purchase from a store.
- Tatenda Shanganye is a freelance editor, a blogger and a features writer. She holds a diploma in development studies and first-class degree in Publishing studies from the National University of Science and Technology. She had the honor to work as a Languages and Humanities Intern in one of the major educational publishers where she gained vast experience and exposure in the publishing industry. Tatenda is a literary enthusiast and an avid reader. Hard work, determination, commitment and the hunger to make a success story for herself are her virtues.