Paris Fashion Week closed its doors last Tuesday, after nine days of innovative experiments that showed how the industry embraces technology, allowing us to take a glimpse at the post-pandemic approaches of world-renowned designers.
Of the 97 houses registered in the event calendar, a third opted for face-to-face parades. For the first time since the beginning of 2020, during the Spring-Summer 2022 Fashion Week in Paris, the number of physical events exceeded that of digital ones. Many brands have taken advantage of this return to normality, to present their men’s and women’s collections, organize receptions but also to try to reinvent the catwalk show.
The transformation of fashion
As a part of the Paris Fashion Week, Maison Balmain presented its new Spring – Summer 2022 collection, marking its first in-person show since the start of the pandemic, as well as the 10th anniversary of the 36 year old creative director Olivier Rousteing – celebrated with a parade merged with a music festival. Surprisingly, the festival featured areas open to all at La Seine Musicale, a large concert hall on the Seine river in Paris, including the Balmain pop-up village. The village included selections of food and beverage stands, shops offering the festival’s limited-edition fashion merchandise, and even blow-dry bars.
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The celebration was a mix of Rousteing’s best moments in Balmain, with his army of models, and a series of concerts by groups such as Franz Ferdinand and Doja Cat, among others. Although not physically present, Beyoncé was featured in a pre-recorded video form as a tribute to Olivier Rousteing.
Referring to Rousteing’s determination to open the podium to all and not just the elite, her message was quite personal and sincere:
“Once you made it through that door, you did not shut it behind you. For 10 years, you have been determined to keep pushing that door open wider, making sure that others can also have opportunities for reaching their dreams……”
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Far from a typical fashion event and accessible not only to those in the fashion industry but to international audiences as well, Balmain’s festival marks a radical shift in fashion.
But how did all this happen?
The power of the audience
Like many other industries, the fashion industry has had to adapt to the changing landscape of social media. Once upon a time, fashion and trends were largely dictated by industry experts. It was up to them to decide whether something was in season or not.
Well, that was in the past. Those who are into fashion have now turned to social media and have started to reflect their own style on their own Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok accounts. Some have even managed to gain thousands or even millions of followers and oust traditional opinion setters.
The Rise of Influencers, a Fashion and Beauty Monitor report in association with Econsultancy revealed that only 27% of US consumers and 23% of British consumers make purchasing decisions based on brand advertisements. That’s why fashion marketers now allocate 30% to 75% of their total marketing budget to influencers.
Designers and fashion houses are beginning to realize that their audiences have ideas of their own and are willing to share them in increasingly creative ways. So, yes – social media has indeed caused a radical shift in the fashion industry. Fashion is no longer under the control of a handful of designers, but rather those who actually buy from brands.
The once elitist industry that allowed participation in parades only for a select group of special guests, had to reinvent itself as a result of the advent of digital platforms and social media. Those interested in fashion want to be more involved in it, and as with this year’s Paris Fashion Week, brands are starting to heed the call.
There aren’t many industry figureheads left in the front rows of runway shows brimming with influencers. Last year we saw Charli D’Amelio, who now has 125 million followers – and counting – invited to Milan by Prada for their Fall/Winter 2020 Womenswear show. Despite having little to do with fashion, Charlie D’Amelio’s presence brought a new audience to the Italian fashion house and positioned Prada as a brand that the youth would desire and yearn for.
The presence of influencers has undoubtedly changed the way people interact with fashion. Through content that makes the Fashion Week accessible to everyone, influencers have brought their audiences closer to exclusive experiences that were until recently reserved only for elite guests.
Every fashion season brings new looks and trends, but one topic that never seems to go out of style, and get us talking, is the future of fashion week. The possibilities are endless when it comes to how influencers can boldly reinvent the runway.
How impactful do you think influencers are in driving conversations around fashion and gaining attention for brands? Could influencers really have changed the fashion world forever? Leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow our socials!