Leaf Greener is a fashion writer, stylist, creative consultant, and founder of LEAF WeChat magazine, and writes a column on Fashion Statement every month. Check out her studio’s website at www.leafgreener.com.

Images have become a full-fledged force as of late, stirring up storms of commotion across social media platforms. This new form of socialisation benefits everyone from controversial politician Donald Trump to well…controversial celebrities like Kimye (see how Kanye is shaking up the fashion world with Balmain). As an important way to interact with one another, imagery has never been more influential in human history – especially images shared on social platforms, which are infinitely magnified, and their impact is oftentimes beyond imagination.

22-year-old Cameron Asa from California has made himself a superstar on Twitter by simply retweeting others’ images. His Twitter account ‘Like A Girl’ is followed by over 1.5 million users. One of his ‘retweets’ has a record of being further retweeted over 50,000 times. So why is it that even ‘forwarding’ existing photos, instead of posting ‘original’ created content, can be so influential? One of the many advantages of using a social network is that it provides a ‘free’, interactive experience and conversation between users who know (and don’t know) each other. Like my friend Eva Chen, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, said, ‘Dialogue is very important – respond to your followers and ask them questions.’

social media fashion dkny dazed kids new york featuring soo joo park 600 x 600

Images have become a full-fledged force as of late, stirring up storms of commotion across social media platforms. This new form of socialisation benefits everyone from controversial politician Donald Trump to well…controversial celebrities like Kimye (see how Kanye is shaking up the fashion world with Balmain). As an important way to interact with one another, imagery has never been more influential in human history – especially images shared on social platforms, which are infinitely magnified, and their impact is oftentimes beyond imagination.

22-year-old Cameron Asa from California has made himself a superstar on Twitter by simply retweeting others’ images. His Twitter account ‘Like A Girl’ is followed by over 1.5 million users. One of his ‘retweets’ has a record of being further retweeted over 50,000 times. So why is it that even ‘forwarding’ existing photos, instead of posting ‘original’ created content, can be so influential? One of the many advantages of using a social network is that it provides a ‘free’, interactive experience and conversation between users who know (and don’t know) each other. Like my friend Eva Chen, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, said, ‘Dialogue is very important – respond to your followers and ask them questions.’

Every time I check out an official social media account of a luxury brand, they each post the same celebrity photos, stills, campaign photos and runway photos, which strain my eyes. What should be on social networks – genuine, valuable photos that speak about a brand’s unique identity – are nowhere in sight.

Historically, the development of cultural innovation was always steered by marginalised groups, such as those involved in social movements and in artistic circles. They uphold sub-cultural ideologies that confront the mainstream, leaving a huge impact on brands and mass media. After that, those smart Mad Men draw on these new ideologies and introduced them to the general public. But this has changed with the emergence of social media. Social media is the most effective experimental base for these sub-cultural ideologies to reach the general public directly.

Young sub-cultural fashion labels are growing rapidly in the fashion industry, such as Off-White, Hood by Air (read more on how the independent fashion brand is impacting men’s fashion), Gosha Rubchinskiy and Vetements. These labels use their social media accounts to spread the influence of their brand while redefining how the fashion industry communicates. For instance, at a recent event, Demna Gvasalia, designer of Vetements, revealed that the images he posted ‘actually contain no messages; they are to let the wearers do the talking.’ So how does Vetements do that? Right from the beginning, the label posts photos of ordinary consumers wearing their products on their official Instagram account. Those seemingly spontaneous-looking images are actually a well-planned dialogue between the label and its consumers. Such consumer-generated images from their everyday lives are more effective than product shots posted by traditional brands. It’s the most direct way of promoting these young subcultural labels by building an interaction of ‘affection’: you like us? We love you too. Besides this, it also hints at a new way of living. These images are young, authentic, unpretentious, and most importantly, they are not cliché. But rather, they are ‘Do It Yourself’. This new format of images has become a new way to socialise.

Every time I check out an official social media account of a luxury brand, they each post the same celebrity photos, stills, campaign photos and runway photos, which strain my eyes. What should be on social networks – genuine, valuable photos that speak about a brand’s unique identity – are nowhere in sight.

Historically, the development of cultural innovation was always steered by marginalised groups, such as those involved in social movements and in artistic circles. They uphold sub-cultural ideologies that confront the mainstream, leaving a huge impact on brands and mass media. After that, those smart Mad Men draw on these new ideologies and introduced them to the general public. But this has changed with the emergence of social media. Social media is the most effective experimental base for these sub-cultural ideologies to reach the general public directly.

Young sub-cultural fashion labels are growing rapidly in the fashion industry, such as Off-White, Hood by Air (read more on how the independent fashion brand is impacting men’s fashion), Gosha Rubchinskiy and Vetements. These labels use their social media accounts to spread the influence of their brand while redefining how the fashion industry communicates. For instance, at a recent event, Demna Gvasalia, designer of Vetements, revealed that the images he posted ‘actually contain no messages; they are to let the wearers do the talking.’ So how does Vetements do that? Right from the beginning, the label posts photos of ordinary consumers wearing their products on their official Instagram account. Those seemingly spontaneous-looking images are actually a well-planned dialogue between the label and its consumers. Such consumer-generated images from their everyday lives are more effective than product shots posted by traditional brands. It’s the most direct way of promoting these young subcultural labels by building an interaction of ‘affection’: you like us? We love you too. Besides this, it also hints at a new way of living. These images are young, authentic, unpretentious, and most importantly, they are not cliché. But rather, they are ‘Do It Yourself’. This new format of images has become a new way to socialise.

Additionally, flawed images are taking attention away from perfectly produced, professional images. This explains the success of Snapchat and why glitzy celebrities and models are now more inclined to post un-retouched, ‘bad’ images. I always think a successful brand must build a defined lifestyle with its consumers, and it must create positive interaction with them. Take Nike’s ‘Running’ campaign, for example. Everyone fell in love with the healthy lifestyle it represented, and therefore fell in love with Nike’s line of running gear. Avid runners wearing Nike became their own circle, and that circle became a culture, and that culture eventually infiltrated outsiders. Nowadays, would you still worry about Nike’s new products not selling?

Not long ago, renowned New York fashion brand DKNY was restructured. Joining the team as creative directors was the designer duo from Public School, and one of their strategies to rebuild the brand was through word play. DKNY, which originally stood for ‘Donna Karan New York’, was reimagined into ’Don’t Knock New York’, ‘Designers Know Nothing Yet’ and ‘Dazed Kids New York’, which were emblazoned onto cheeky sweatshirts.

During FW16 Fashion Week, catwalk models were handed these sweatshirts, and they not only wore them for their final walk down the runway at the show, but in selfies and street style snaps that circulated on social media. This quickly made these tees and slogans a hot topic amongst fashionistas, and therefore DKNY’s new, revamped brand image was made publicly aware.

social media fashion gucci gram featuring kelbin lei

Additionally, flawed images are taking attention away from perfectly produced, professional images. This explains the success of Snapchat and why glitzy celebrities and models are now more inclined to post un-retouched, ‘bad’ images. I always think a successful brand must build a defined lifestyle with its consumers, and it must create positive interaction with them. Take Nike’s ‘Running’ campaign, for example. Everyone fell in love with the healthy lifestyle it represented, and therefore fell in love with Nike’s line of running gear. Avid runners wearing Nike became their own circle, and that circle became a culture, and that culture eventually infiltrated outsiders. Nowadays, would you still worry about Nike’s new products not selling?

Not long ago, renowned New York fashion brand DKNY was restructured. Joining the team as creative directors was the designer duo from Public School, and one of their strategies to rebuild the brand was through word play. DKNY, which originally stood for ‘Donna Karan New York’, was reimagined into ’Don’t Knock New York’, ‘Designers Know Nothing Yet’ and ‘Dazed Kids New York’, which were emblazoned onto cheeky sweatshirts.

During FW16 Fashion Week, catwalk models were handed these sweatshirts, and they not only wore them for their final walk down the runway at the show, but in selfies and street style snaps that circulated on social media. This quickly made these tees and slogans a hot topic amongst fashionistas, and therefore DKNY’s new, revamped brand image was made publicly aware.

Street style images are an effective way to promote an ideology. Its accessibility and authenticity are welcomed and loved by the masses; this is the most common form of DIY content on social media. Remember those coveted, signature Kenzo Tiger Head tops? And at Givenchy, their bestselling items are not from their luxury ready-to-wear collections, but instead, their wolfhound printed products –
as seen on social media.

So, how can a luxury brand maintain their high status and still get the most from such brilliant opportunities? Besides just letting go of their arrogant attitude, I think they also have to put extra effort into the art of posting images on social networks. A good example is the rebranded Gucci. The luxury brand, with over 100 years of history, recently launched the #GucciGram campaign on Instagram. They collected original Gucci-inspired images from users and artists and ‘regrammed’ them on their social network. Luxury brands love to use art as a starting point because it is seen as being highbrow. But what is special about Gucci’s campaign is that they start with user-generated content, which creates originality for Gucci’s social network, and a new kind of media that ties in with the characteristics of social networking – they did not turn their Instagram account into another version of corporate Gucci. They made it accessible, highbrow and down-to-earth at the same time.

In other words, if a museum’s official social media account only posts images of their collections, this, I reckon would be a waste of their social resources. I would rather look at the real pieces in a museum than browse them on their social media accounts.

For more riveting articles by our columnist check out The Fashionista: A lesson in humility

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