The Age of Influencers


Via Instagram @Songofstyle

Fashion influencers. If you are one of the few people who don’t follow them, I guarantee your suggested feed is working to change that. We’ve all heard it a million times: social media has changed everything. Gone are the days where magazines were the go-to for women to find fashion inspiration. How many of us follow Kendall Jenner or Kaia Gerber to know what’s the latest in fashion? As a result, fashion companies are relying on influencers to do their advertising. One of the pioneers of this marketing strategy is Revolve, is now a billion dollar fashion company. You’ve probably seen their hashtag “#RevolveAroundTheWorld” in the insta feeds of Victoria’s Secrets Angel Romee Strijd, Brazilian influencer Camila Coelho or Forbes’ “Top Influencer”  Chiara Ferragni. As the brands vice president says, “Rather than opt for the route of shooting traditional fashion editorial ads, Revolve began regularly hosting getaway trips from Palm Springs to Croatia, inviting influencers to relax, hang out and have fun while posting images of themselves wearing Revolve clothing (oftentimes with links to purchase the items) and the hashtag #RevolveAroundTheWorld Out of the $1 billion the company made in 2017, 700 million of it was from sales driven by influencers.This strategy is clearly working for them and many other brands followed suit. In 2017, 94% of companies reported influencer marketing was successful

Why do these influencers have so much power? The answer is simple – social media. Where as before an actor, singer or model had to go through an inconspicuous amount of steps to release a simple statement through social media, they now can discuss Lady Gaga and global warming all in one tweet! (link to perhaps the most zeitgeisty tweet ever ). Social media enables famous people to have a connection with their followers and therefore influence them in a way that wouldn’t have been feasible a mere decade ago. There’s another word for the influence these people have over their fans: power. They have power over us because a single Instagram picture with a tagged store can immediately make us spend our parents’ money on a brand we have never heard of before. Justin Bieber just recently released his own line of clothing which includes a plain beige hoodie valued at $98! And guess what? They sold out almost immediately after they were released. Nevermind that you can buy an identical hoodie for less than half the price, Justin Bieber’s hoodie is endorsed by him making it way cooler than any other normal hoodie. This is the mentality we currently have. If a Kardashian has it, I want it. I’m not in any way judging that mentality because I have it too. Do you really think 14 year old me wanted a Lumee phone case with embedded selfie lighting? Not really, but the Kardashians had it so I bought it. 

Due to social media, celebrities and influencers, micro or mega, have complete power over our consumer choices and brands have started to take advantage of that. Theoretically, any of us can create an Instagram account go public and suddenly have influence over thousands of people. I believe that’s perhaps one of the greatest yet scariest realities of the world we live in today.