Fashion and the social media age. This 3-part series looks at the key designers successfully embracing new mediums as part of their creative process. WGSN contributor Liza Darwin reports
Over the years, designers have learned to embrace social media as a way to communicate with fans while showing off their brand’s own personality. Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat or even Periscope, social media provides access in a way that wasn’t possible before: from the inspiration boards, to the earliest model castings, to the show itself (and the afterparty). And a hard-earned marketing lesson? The more creative you can be in using social media, the better.
In this three part series,NYC-based style writer and the former digital editorial director for Nylon.com, Liza Darwin interviews three rising designers who are doing social media right.
FIRST UP AREA NYC.
In a fashion climate beleaguered with logo-mania and pop culture riffs, Area feels like a breath of fresh air. The New York label stands out from the pack with clean lines and bold silhouettes, such as slip dresses and flared sleeves. But it’s the careful attention to details—like the Braille-inspired embossing on many of the pieces—for which the brand has become known over the past few seasons.
Designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk met as classmates at Parsons in 2011 and began their line in 2013. Since debuting at New York Fashion Week in September 2015, the brand has landed a retail spot in Opening Ceremony, and is steadily expanding its recognition outside of fashion circles. Part of this growth, of course, is due to Instagram.
The designers say that their social media presence is more of a “subconscious consideration,” rather than a deliberate one. “Social media is great for exposure, but it can’t replace or replicate the intimacy of presentations or shows,” they explain. And while they deny that they’ve actively made decisions based on their Instagram news feed, the visual inspiration has been important since day one. “We work with the same photographer and stylist each season (Charlotte Wales and Clare Byrne) who have helped develop our brand’s visual identity,” Fogg and Panszczyk note. In fact, Instagram and Tumblr—the designers’ favorite social platforms—even found its way into the clothes themselves. “Our F/W16 collection started with these amazing images girls had posted on social media after having a manicure,” they say.
Just like the Area aesthetic, the company’s Instagram is minimal. And, according to Fogg and Panszczyk, it’s curated by feeling, color or theme. The designers say they place the lookbooks at the core of their Instagram feed. “Designer lookbooks are usually more informative, but for us, we treat them like a campaign so that there is emotion behind the collection,” they explain about their strategy.
“We try to create a dialogue on our Instagram between this lookbook content, other editorials featuring our collections, and more intimate, immediate shots by us of fabrics or gestures.” It’s the next best thing to actually stepping into the dressing room and trying their unique pieces on yourself.
Final fitting goals A photo posted by AREA (@areanyc) on
The Area Instagram explained: “We wanted the FW16 casting to feel strong, aspirational and diverse, which is our idea of beauty. So we selected these two images for the casting director and hair/makeup artists. We were intrigued by how unapologetic their femininity came across.”
Liza Darwin is a seasoned editor who has contributed her fashion expertise to Refinery29, Elle.com, and most recently eBay.com.
She enjoys writing about how electronics have altered the way fashion is created and marketed. This profile is the first of a three part-article series examining the impact of social media on the fashion world. Look out for part two and three with designers Beaufille and Timo Weiland this week, analysing how each designer is embracing social media in their own innovative and inspiring way.