Such industries as fashion have always been impacted by the media. Until recently, the most powerful of them were journals and television with the help of which one had an opportunity to take a look at new clothes collections and learn about the latest trends. However, nowadays, when almost everyone uses the Internet, fashion has become much more accessible. The Net has become one of the main means of communication, making purchases, and vogue promotion. Such social media as blogs and popular networks, like Instagram, have grown especially influential. The use of social media tells positively both on brands and customers, but it also causes negative phenomena.
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Before discussing the issue, it is necessary to consider what is social media, and what is fashion. According to Couldry (2012, p. 7), the term ‘media’ means “infrastructures that make and distribute particular contents… but ‘media’ are also those contents themselves”. As for social ones, they perform more functions than television, radio, journals, and newspapers, which merely spread information and form opinions. The distinctive feature of social media is that they serve as a means of person-to-person communication and, via the Internet connection, make the world smaller, a kind of global village (Couldry 2012). Besides this, network users are not merely passive consumers of information. They openly post their opinions, spread the news, and generate free discussions. As for fashion, it is a system of aesthetic tastes and values, which are characteristic of a certain social group and period. According to Nawaz (2016), the fashion industry uses networks to have a constant connection with customers. On the one hand, designers have received an opportunity to study the tastes of their audiences; on the other hand, online platforms help brands advertise, promote, and sell their products. On the Net, there are thousands of accounts and groups which serve these purposes.
As for the influence which social media has on fashion, firstly, they play a significant role in setting trends for vogue journalism and shows. The most prominent proof of this is fashion bloggers. According to Weiford (2016), people, owning blogs, have an opportunity to post a simple photograph, which, however, will collect thousands of likes. Thus, popular bloggers, who have millions of followers, become law-makers in the fields and issues they are interested in. Therefore, a usual blogger may influence vogue trends not less than a famous designer. It is significant that a person with a blog does not need to spend money and much effort on gaining popularity. The only thing he or she needs to do is show some creativity and take a photo which will draw the audience’s attention. Secondly, in recent years, one can observe growth in popularity among such platforms as Fashion Week on Snapchat. According to Hope (2016), the most successful online fashion events collect millions of photos during several hours. In this situation, brands have no other way than to follow the trend. In other words, they are forced to create and promote accounts on social networks. The popularity and significance of this kind of advertising have grown tremendously.
One of the most popular online services for sharing pictures nowadays is Instagram. According to Jenkins (2017), it helps fashion companies introduce their products and designs to a wider circle of consumers. It is significant that brands have more financial opportunities for promotion than ordinary users, that is why there are self-taught Internet-marketing specialists who make a living by doing this job. Further on, Instagram and other social networks suggest such convenient instruments as hashtags. With the help of them, it takes a user seconds to find all the posts, connected with his or her topic of interest. On the whole, Instagram, Snapchat, and other services of the kind are replacing catwalks, which, until now, have been a common attribute of fashion shows.
One more new tendency is that actors, models, singers, etc. have accounts on social networks. They download their pictures and attract millions of followers. According to Holt (2016), brands actively use celebrities to promote clothes, deodorants, shampoos, food, and other products. This approach is logical because, if a person is famous, it means that numerous individuals take him or her as an example of the fashionable style. Moreover, if an idol suddenly dresses ridiculously or negligently, he or she will cause much interest among fans, and an appearance, which, according to actual standards, looks silly, may suddenly gain popularity.
All the facts, mentioned above, demonstrate that humanity is getting more and more obsessed with social media. Networking services are invading such fields of cultural life as fashion and changing them according to new standards. One may get frightened by or suspicious of this fact as new trends in any sphere often cause fear and misunderstanding. However, on the whole, this tendency is positive. According to Collinson (2015), earlier, fashion fans had to wait for new journal issues for months while recently they have received an opportunity to get information about new trends in vogue any minute they want. On the other hand, this fact influences fashion negatively as volumes of photos and videos on the topic have increased enormously, and, for an ordinary user, it may sometimes be hard to define between real designer vogue and showing off.
That is not the only negative influence of social media on fashion. According to Fardouly, Pinkus, and Vartanian (2016), networking services create vogue standards, which many users want to correspond to. That is why many individuals change their nutrition habits and sometimes whole lifestyles to gain or lose weight, fix the figure, etc. Such experiments, directed at achieving the ideal, harm the organism and undermine health. Moreover, if a person does not consult a nutritionist before starting a diet, he or she will, with high probability, not achieve the desired result. Unlike most vogue magazines, social media press girls and young women to follow standards. One more case of negative influence is that brands lose their value, and, as a consequence, fashion standards grow less aesthetic and more vulgar. According to Holt (2016), many top accounts with millions of followers can easily compete with brands in popularity. Such users make clothes, hairstyles, and perfumes fashionable or unfashionable. That is why vogue in its old format, with its high-class designers and refined tastes, becomes useless and outdated. Moreover, according to Collinson (2015), although the impact of social networks on fashion is enthusiastically taken by consumers, changes, sometimes unexpected ones, take place every day. That brings a lot of chaos into the industry as designers have little time to reconsider standards and provide the market with high-quality and up-to-date designs. Clothes model patterns and whole trends may quickly go out of date, despite their former popularity or long-time demand. However, this fact may be considered as positive because the market is competition, and nowadays, designers have to face new challenges. This situation may bring about new effective commercial approaches to vogue and force designers to show more creativity (Collinson, 2015). Those, who can work in such harsh market conditions, occupy their niches and show impressive results while others, who do not correspond to new trends, leave the field. One should understand that social networks have become a significant part of reality, and a subject of the vogue industry has no chance to ignore this fact and reach success at the same time. Social media give Internet users a large number of new opportunities, and their impact on every segment of the market should be taken into serious consideration.
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Having discussed the facts, one should admit that, although social media have some negative effects, like forcing young women to follow standards and damage their health, networks’ general influence is positive. Firstly, they make people from all over the world, who are interested in fashion, closer to each other. Recently, they have got an opportunity to exchange information and conduct discussions freely, quickly, and conveniently. Secondly, social media give everyone a chance to become trend-makers without spending money, time, and much effort. In this respect, anyone can use his or her smartphone to share pictures, which may attract millions. Thirdly, networks force brands to improve their competitiveness and search for new ways to the customer. Finally, the impact of networking services causes more competition, honesty, and creativity in professional clothes design and marketing.
Collinson, A 2015, How social media has changed the fashion industry. Web.
Couldry, N 2013, Media, society, world: Social theory and digital media practice, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
Fardouly, J, Pinkus, RT & Vartanian, LR 2017, ‘The impact of appearance comparisons made through social media, traditional media, and in person in women’s everyday lives’, Body Image, vol. 20, pp. 31-39. Web.
Holt, D 2016, ‘Branding in the age of social media’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 40-48.
Hope, K 2016, How social media is transforming the fashion industry. Web.
Jenkins, T 2017, Untangling Instagram’s growing web of influence. Web.
Nawaz, A 2015, ‘The impact of social media on fashion industry: Empirical investigation from Karachiites’, Journal of Resources Development and Management, vol. 7, pp. 1-7.
Weiford, L 2016, Social media, regular folks are reshaping fashion industry. Web.