At the current moment the modern fashion is shaped by the social media in the considerable extent. The major argument in this field is that the media became the integral part of the human life. People discuss prominent events and figures, form their own behavior and image, and communicate with bloggers whose opinion they consider to be relevant. Some of them even check the fissionability of their look by the means of social media. The global opinion became more relevant than the opinion of the fashion critics, friends or relatives. In the same time, common people obtained the ability to influence on social media by station their own perceptions, making comments and interaction with each other and celebrities. The current work covers the influence of celebrities and different means of social media and the formation of the people’s perceptions concerning what is fashionable and not. Much attention is paid to the discussion of the reasons why people listen to advices given in means of social media and actively use them to become the part of global fashion.
At the current moment social media enters into almost all aspects of human life, including people’s fashion perceptions. Its influence became so strong that it can serve as the muse for the modern designers and form global trends. Moreover, it provides ability for the interaction between modern fashion makers (designers) with their target audience (current and potential customers) for the better understanding of the wishes of this audience. This distinct feature enables “building of online presence”.
The influence on designers is reflected in the fact that they have the greater ability to observe and understand the life of the audience and find the inspiration in it to create collection which would fully reflect not only their own inner state, but also the lifestyle and the behavior of the customers. In the same time, the social media can have the negative influence on the inspiration process, as being the secondary source it can “domb down” and “take away from its depth”.
The History of Relationships between Fashion and Media
The history of fashion is much longer than the history of media in its current understanding. In the very beginning it was formed “through face-to-face encounters, from visual observations of others” and interpersonal communication. The wealthy and royal individuals were the trendsetters of styles, colors, textiles and accessories. The set trends came further to common people. The conveyance was performed by the visual representation on the illustrations or in the form of clothes for dolls.
The situation changed after the development of the “multiple dissemination of messages with multiple recipients” that is currently known as media. It started the influence on the formation of fashion since the beginning of the 18th century mainly through the print media. They represent the bright visualization and even the description of most popular trends and designers. This influence became even greater after the invention of photography in 1820s and creation of the earliest fashion images in the 1850s. Since that time, media could more accurate represent the person image and make it more understandable to the reader.
Nowadays the dependence of fashion from the photography became even greater with the significant improvement of the popularity of Facebook and Instagram.
The additional attention should be paid to the further strengthening of the influence of the social media on fashion after the raise of popularity of movies and television on 1910sand 1950s respectively. Notwithstanding the fact that these means have the aim to tell the certain story to the viewer, the major heroes are observed by the audience and their style is usually followed by the viewers. Thus, their influence on the fashion formation cannot be overstated. Moreover, they played the considerable role in the fast movement of fashion trends from one region to another.
The further stage of the strengthening of the interconnection between social media and fashion is represented by the development of the World Wide Web and arising of the ability of small companies and unknown designers to represent their production on their own web sites and attract the audience with the help of advertising in the already wide-known media (like magazines). This was necessary because notwithstanding the fact that web-sites were easily accessible, they “could not thrive without traffic, without an advertising and promotions budget to steer individuals to its portals”. The further technological development is connected with the appearance of social networks and mobile phone applications which also shape the modern fashion. They forced the increasing of the influence of Word of mouth (WOM) on the fashion because of the facilitation of the interpersonal communication and discussion of the products. It is notable that both bad and good information an shape the audience’ perceptions.
The Evidence of Considerable Influence of Social Media on Fashion
The considerable impact of social media on fashion industry was evidenced in the works of numerous researchers. Namaz Ahmad, Atif Salman and Rubab Ashiq (2015) studied the in which extent the fashionable perceptions of 130 respondents are influenced by social media. They reviled the significant interdependence between them and calculated that “an increase in social media by 1 % will lead to an increase in fashion industry by 20.6 %”.
The outcomes of the research presented by Caroline Mcguire (2014) showed that the female’s fashion perceptions are influenced by numerous factors in different extent: celebrities (48 %), best friends (31 %), mothers (14 %), street style (13 %), TV programs (11 %), siblings (11 %), partners (9 %), bloggers (6 %), and advertisements (4 %). Since the majority of these factors are the integral parts of the modern social media, it can be considered that it shape the individual’s fashion attitude. In the same time, these figures evidence that significant lowering of the influence of advertising and the fact that “celebrity is becoming increasingly intertwined”.
The additional attention should be paid to the fact that youth pay much efforts to gain “social media proof their wardrobe”, i.e. avoidance of appearence in the same outfit online. The research of TK Maxx shows that this fear becomes the purchasing driver for the 28 % of responsents, and the observation of the new outlook of others in the means of social media forced 37 % of respondents to renew their own image. The significant role of modern social media platforms (like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) in the life of the modern audience is also reflected by the fact that 18 % of respondents always ensure their stylish look by using these means of communication.
The Role of Social Media Platforms
The above stated researches evidence that the way people dress and feel themselves in the particular clothes are greatly influenced by the modern social media platforms. This is caused because the audience “is constantly being introduced of what is trendy on a global scale”. This is made through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterests, popular blogs and Youtube. On these platforms fashionable men and women share their secrets of the brand image. The mass audience also intends to become the fashionable and recognized and follow these pop figures. Thus, the desirable look and fashion is spreader through social communities. This strategy is successfully used by JCPenny, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and etc. In the same time, social media platforms are widely used not only for spreading, but also for the assessment of the audience’s reaction on the introduced production and collecting feedbacks. This is usually made through Facebook and Twitter, or specially launched social networks (like, Burberry acoustics).
These platforms grant the people almost unlimited space for self-expression in the form of blogs which can be created by fashion critics or common people who know little about trends and just want to express their opinions. In the same time, they are considered to be rather effective due to their “strong individual, personal, popular, and elitist point of view”. Through blogs common people can challenge fashion critics and question the generally stated opinions concerning fashion. Bloggers became some sort of journalists who can influence on the demand. They have high para-social interaction (some form of illusion of a face-to-face communication) with their users and more sensitive to the readers’ perceptions. On the one hand, readers observe the life and emotions of their bloggers, and on the other hand, bloggers can respond on comments of readers. That is why recommendations of bloggers may be considered more reliable than the information provided in various means of mass media, like magazines and newspapers. In the same time, the influence of bloggers depends from the way they are perceived by their readers, i.e. in which extent their word can be taken as a guarantee of something.
The additional attention should be paid to the influence of the popular YouTube bloggers (also known as vloggers) on shaping the people’s perceptions. These people made their own videos and address directly to their viewers which represent the certain audience with the particular interests. The feeling that vloggers are talking directly to viewer makes these bloggers closer to the audience compared to common celebrities. Moreover, they can easily connect with their audience through comments and subscriptions. All these factors put them on more personal level with the common people and enable to have the greater influence on the formation of fashionable perceptions. However, Stuart Dredge (2015) noticed that video blogging is has not got the significant influence on the formation of fashion perceptions, because it is “still associated with entertainment, comedy and advice”.
The considerable popularity of the mobile applications is connected with the fact that they can make the life of customers much easier. People do not obliged to spend hours in the shops already. Nowadays they can order the clothes online that is more convenient in the busy modern life. Moreover, mobile applications enable users to track and use immediate sales of the brands they prefer. All the fashion experiences (like, shopping, styling and showing) became available in any place and time for almost any brand or combination of brands. Thus, users can not only purchase the clothes, they can style their future appearances “until they get the perfect look”. So, being stylish becomes easy and convenient.
Celebrities as the Major Shapers of the Modern Fashion
The outcomes of the study presented above showed that celebrities have the greatest influence on the formation of modern fashionable perceptions. Among the most followed stars are Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, and Cara Delevingne. The items of their clothing and accessories are sold out within an hours after they were represented on the photos of “pictured at a public event”. Not the things or clothes make these people recognized and popular, but the clothes and accessories became fashionable and desired because they are worn by the icons. Thus, they can be considered as the creators of modern fashion and the inspiratory of the future trends.
Usually these trends are set by the clothes that is shown on the big events, also known as “red carpets”. The examples of such events are Emmys, Grammies and Oscar. They are highly expected by the millions of people all over the world which desire to see their idols and later discuss their images in the social networks. Their outlooks are reviews by common audience and fashion critics for a long period after the actual happening of the event. They decide “which outfits dos and which are don’ts”. The first one form the fashion trends for the nearest period.
It is notable that the influence of celebrities is realized through various means of mass media, like social networks and social media. The majority of them are target – oriented, i.e. they are focused on the audience of a particular age, engagement, behavior, interests and etc. For example, magazines (like Seventeen and CosmoGirl) have the considerable influence of the pre-teen and teen girls. This happens because this audience is “trying to figure out their place in the world”. The views of celebrities help them to realize their newly found natural sexuality and to place some role in society. The prominent figures show them how to dress, behave, and reflect themselves. Numerous advices are provided in social medias which enable to create the image of a model. These images are also shown in the special shows devoted to the subject of fashion. They act as the educational manuals for the viewers of all ages and genders.
The example of the celebrity that not only reflects the modern fashionable trends, but also forms them is Kenye West. Being the famous rapper, producer and writer, he also established his own clothing line and accessories. He created fashionable trends for hipster subculture and broadcast his clothes by himself. New “brightly-colored plastic glasses that have no lenses but instead have plastic blinds” became the trend for the youth all over the world within short period of time. Kenye West also introduced the use of the mixing style in clothes reflected in the combination of casual and formal wear (dressing a shirt with a suit coat).
The Average People and the Fashion Formation
As it was noted above, social media enables common people to shape the global fashion on the manner they like. For example, “ZAC Zac Posen’s Spring-Summer Ready to Wear 2015 Collection [was] influenced by comments and suggestions from his over 640,000 Instagram followers”. The designer posted the images from his vocation in the means of social media (Instagram) and the comments of his followers brought him an idea to create the collection with the prints of the sunset. Thus, the comments of common people created the background for the inspiration.
The enormous popularity of social media and the constant communication about fashion there enables common people to make the unknown designers popular and to question the popularity of the major brands. Thus, it created the “push to unknowns” as these people can become well-recognized because of their unique ideas supported by millions of followers, but not only because of the long presence on the fashion market.
Fashion industry became more open to common people because they can share and discuss photos from the top fashion events. This rings feelings of active participation, enjoying and appreciation (or condemnation). Thus, fashion became less “closed off and secret”.
To summarize, in the current moment social media has the significant influence on the shaping of people’s perceptions all over the world. The printed means visualize the fashionable clothes and reflect the popular image. They help to spread the fashion all over the world and to shape the view of the readers. Mobile applications make the process of purchasing fast and easy. Social networks enable to observe, analyze, and discuss the current trends. Blogging enables establishment of close relationships between blog makers and readers or viewers by means of comment, reviews and direct referrals. These relationships have even stronger influence on formation of fashion than the articles in the printed media, because they are considered to be more reliable. However, in the current moment the fashion is affected in the greatest extent by the modern celebrities. These people not only introduce modern trend, they create them. The clothes and accessories became fashionable because same were weared by the pop icons. Some of the prominent figures even use their popularity for the promotion of their. Their significant influence has its roots in the fact that celebrities create the image that is desired by followers. The audience also wishes to be successful, recognized and beautiful. Thus, people pay many efforts on dressing in the same manner. Modern social networks not only help to form the personal image and analyze the existing ones, they enable to take the active part in the formation of the global trends. Thus, any person can become the integral part of the global fashion.