Every year, it never ceases to amaze me that the front row at New Zealand Fashion Week is filled with people who have no experience, expertise or even a relevant job. Yet, here they are with their 1,000 to 100,000 followers – when we actually need buyers and industry leaders. We don’t need children who grew up on smartphones with their mates liking their photos. Where’s the international media and buyers? Can we get a little attention down here?
I was overseas, and someone tried to get into a fashion event by squealing: “But I have over a hundred thousand followers!” Short-story-short: they didn’t get in. And damn right. They shouldn’t be let in because their audience are consumers. As a b2b event (side note: influencers don’t even know what b2b stands for), designers are showcasing their AW19 forward season collections. Why? So, buyers can make orders, network and ultimately MAKE MONEY.
The bottom line is, how do influencers bring in money? Their followers and ‘reach’ does not automatically translate into sales. Organic reach doesn’t even exist anymore. You would be better off treating loyal customers who buy your clothing to a show, at least you would get some sales out of it.
This brings me to my second point: consumers are hungry for new. If an influencer is sharing the show live on their Instagram or other social media channels – it is immediately seen by consumers. They see it now; they want it now. So why show them something that is at least six months away? What happens is a consumer, let’s call her Brittany, sees a designer’s show on someone’s Instagram. She says: “Wow, that was great, I want that!” Brittany clicks through to the tag (if you, the designer, are lucky enough to be tagged) from the story, is redirected to the designer’s page and BAM. Disappointed and frustrated, Brittany can NOT buy the dress she wanted and now has to wait six months. Two weeks later, she sees a similar dress online and says: “Oh well, good enough.” Now she has the latest fashion and is six months ahead of her time.
Influencers are selling to the right audience at the wrong time. Their audience is immediate, rapidly fluctuates, and then as quickly as it appeared – it’s gone again.
Designers are left in a constant battle fighting consumerism and the urgent need for more.
It’s New Zealand after all; we don’t have giant influencers and superstars. We just have Richie McCaw and Lorde. I look forward to seeing who’s in the front row this month and what they can bring to the table.
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I saw a fantastic white coat at Kowtow and decided I just had to have it. Thoroughly enjoying my new Heritage Trench Coat in Ecru Denim, I strolled into Auckland Hospital. While waiting in line for a coffee, I realised I was getting a lot of looks from doctors and nursing staff. Understanding dawned as I realised I looked like a doctor, all I needed was a stethoscope or failing that – a thermometer. I thought that the chances of getting a stethoscope were remote, so I asked a nurse for a thermometer and tucked it into my pocket before going to see my father. He was reading the newspaper and had just got to his favourite part - the crossword. “Caitlan, do you have a pen?” I pat down my coat in search of a pen and pull out the thermometer, shocked. “Some asshole stole my pen!” I cry. The whole ward burst out laughing - success my job is done.