It takes more than perfect pins and chiselled cheekbones to make a supermodel now that the fashion industry is recognising the pertinence of social media to the catwalk and a model’s earning power is increasingly becoming proportionate to the size of her social media following.
With little previous connection to these platforms, the fashion industry is beginning to realise just how relevant they could become and as models use social media to boost their careers, industry experts are exploring ways to utilize the value of their follower base.
Having a household name has always been an advantageous resource to maintain supermodel status, although this was traditionally done through exposure in gossip columns and magazine paparazzi snaps. Today’s popularity and usage of social media enables people to put themselves out there and so the business and tech savvy models have begun creating brands for themselves through social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. Name recognition increases a model’s value – those who become celebrities in their own right, as opposed to being the silent face of a label, have much more to offer in return for a new or extended contract.
Social media lets models really communicate with their audiences and expose their personalities; by reading a model’s blogs and feeds, fans can truly get to know the person behind the clothes. This is beneficial for fashion labels as the models can create extra buzz for the brands they represent, by simply dropping a tweet or posting a blog about a show.
As models post behind the scenes photos on their pages and tweet about their favourite clothes, fashion fans are essentially gaining entry to the back stage fashion world they could never have accessed before. Also by providing this insight to the hidden realms, models are cultivating huge follower bases from all over the world.
“I realized there was an audience interested in what I had to say, not just the images from my work,” said model Coco Rocha. Now 23, Rocha is facing increasing rivalry for work as younger models enter the scene, but her fan base of more than 200,000 Twitter followers and 66,000 Facebook friends has empowered and extended her modelling career. Rocha writes personal posts mixed in with some fashion focused ones to highlight the brands and magazines she’s working with.
The industry is adapting the way they select models to include consideration for this, Michael Flutie – a renowned agent and manager said that “If you have 10 beautiful girls, you have to narrow it down somehow and you’re going to narrow it down to the four who can communicate really well digitally.”
Social media profiles are exposing models for who they are and the lives they lead off the runway, it is a way for chatty, likable personalities to shine through – altering the traditional method of choosing models purely by who is most photogenic. Rocha said “When I started, models were booked only for their cheekbones. Now I think I get bookings because people will say they respect me, or we stand for the same things, or they think what I have to say is interesting. It’s better to hear that than just, `You have gorgeous cheekbone structure.’”
On Twitter, at the time of this post, @cocorocha has 260,493 followers, nearly 40,000 on Facebook and just a brief look at these pages demonstrates how they can easily engage fans in fashion trends, news, reviews and even get them involved in ‘fantasy fashion’ where followers share their ideal fashion team.
For a more in-depth look at the fashion sector, click here for our sector report.
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