This weekend, I headed to the Vogue Festival at the Southbank Centre for a day of serious, well-informed, contemplative and thought-inspiring discussion from respected and admired public figures at the top of their respective fields. It was also a day of outfit envy, fangirl-ing, nails and make-up, but that, for all intents and purposes, is beside the point, and probably something best left to my Instagram feed…
I attended the talk ‘Fashion, Beauty and the Digital Revolution’, with Russian social media mogul, Street Style icon and Editor of Buro 24/7 – Miroslava Duma, internationally-adored genius designer -Mary Katrantzou, fashion photographer and ShowStudio founder Nick Knight, and model and accessories designer – Pixie Geldof of FunkyOffish.
The progression of the digital world has had a seismic effect on the fashion industry. For a world that was very much secretive and closed off to consumers, the internet and social media have played an integral part in opening it up to a multitude of people who would never have had the opportunity before, and making it suddenly accessible and attainable (it is hard to imagine a world where I’m not hunched over my laptop at 2am during New York fashion week and watching a stream of the shows as they happen), and we have Nick Knight and his contemporaries to thank for that – his revolutionary backstage catwalk live streams transformed an industry which was, as he put it, “bad at articulating itself to the public”.
Then there are also the entrepreneurs such as Miroslava Duma, who is understandably enthused by the concept of digitalisation reaching into realms which we “cannot even imagine” – being as some would suggest, the epitomised personification of the power of social media and digital promotion –a woman who can post an outfit on Instagram and guarantee interest from at least five international editors within an hour. Pixie Geldof too, launched her accessories brand chiefly through social media with great success, and Mary Katrantzou, who has been known to secure sales as a direct result of Instagram.
What about social media then – that uncensored, unedited, unairbrushed realm where opinion is very public, and at times very harsh? This, the panel asserted, was an opportunity to be grasped – a much-needed critical platform for the fashion industry, which was in the past sycophantic and damagingly so. It is a way to start a conversation about your brand, and to take control of your public image, through engaging and carefully-curated content.
So what’s next? According to Nick Knight, it’s virtual models. (Insert binary code-related joke about size 01010111010111)
Stephanie is a Consultant at Publicasity.