Social media began in 1997 with the website Six Degreeswhich allowed users to create profiles and then friend other users whom theywished to. By the year 2000, over 100 million people had access to the internetand social media was on the rise as people, more frequently, began using avariety of chat rooms to make friends, date and discuss a wide range of topics.It wasn’t until the year of 2003, after the creation of the social networkingwebsite Myspace, that social media began to grow and attract more peopleleading to the creation of Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006 and Instagram in2010; to date, Facebook is the leading social networking site with around2,070,000,000 monthly users, followed by Youtube with 1,500,000,000 monthlyusers and Instagram with 800,000 monthly users.
Over time, social media has begunto influence and help develop a variety of different industries in the modernworld with its accessibility to large numbers of people, of all ages, at onetime. Social media has had a large influence on 3 trillion-dollar fashionindustry helping to promote products and boost profits. Even though on the surfacethe impact of social media on the fashion industry may appear positive, it hasdestroyed many businesses, some leading to violence.
This is essay will addressthe use of social proofing, choice of models, false advertising and racism withinthe industry and how the use of social media has impacted it. For this project, I used a range of sources from the internetincluding articles from BBC news and Vogue. Founded in 1983, many of mystatistics are from the British Fashion Council, an organisation with ‘aims tofurther the interests of the British fashion industry and its designerbusinesses by harnessing and sharing collective knowledge, experience andresources of the sector’. In an era dominated by social media marketing, social mediahas a positive influence on the fashion industry and holds the power to boostprofits for many businesses through the psychological and social phenomenon ofsocial proofing. Social proofing is where people assume the actions of others reflectcorrect behavior in a given situation; this is arguably one of the largest psychologicaltriggers in marketing as, no matter how strong minded a person may believe theyare, social media has the power to impact without people being aware. In thefashion industry, brands use it to their advantage in order to promote trends asfashion is all about the visuals and trends. One way this is done is throughthe use of celebrity endorsements as well as using social influencers to modeltheir products.
Celebrity endorsements have been viewed as successful as, the fastfashion retailer, Boohoo reported that its profits doubled after payingcelebrities to promote its products on Instagram to 16- to 24-year-old fans;this demonstrates social medias positive impact on the industry through it’s abilityto boost profits. It is not only the fast fashion industry that has used socialmedia to boost the amount millennials spend on fashion as designer brands, suchas Dolce and Gabbana, casted bloggers, celebrity children and influencers, allwhom have a large social media following, to walk their fall 2017 show. Accordingto an article written by the BBC, Domenic Venneri, founder of digital marketingagency Vokent, says his firm always looks at the social media profiles ofpeople before deciding who to use in a campaign. The industry uses theirplatforms in social media to vastly promote their businesses to their followerswho, because of social proofing, buy into the brand, increasing profits. Even though the useof social media influencers may appear to be positive, it can have a negativeimpact on the modeling agencies.
As stated by Vogue the focus has ‘shifted fromthe quality of a model’s work to their ability to produce likes, clicks, andonline buzz’. Modeling agencies are beginning to suffer due to brands choosingthe influencers with a large following over professional models who work withagencies as there following may often be a lot smaller. When this is done, basicmodeling skills like having a model walk can fall by the wayside and ultimatelythe industry at large. However, one may argue that the destruction of modellingagencies through the use of social media may have a positive impact on the industryand society itself as it results in the focus on measurements and an idyllic imageof perfection beginning to fade as social media influencers are less restrictedby the modelling agencies themselves.