When the Autumn-Winter 2016 fashion weeks were coming to an end I read an article by industry veteran Cathy Horyn that shocked and really made me think. “The rise of mobile fashion was making everything flatter.” The article stated that several designers have noticed “the need to reproduce a lot of clothes, and to sell them over portable devices like tablets, has produced flat-looking fashion, with pricey embroidery often used to grab consumers’ attention — call it mobile fashion.”
At first I was shocked. How could mobile devices, a platform that has done so much for the fashion business by literally putting the products at the consumer fingertips can be damaging to it as well? Of course, some brands were adapting their offer to the new ways they are going to be showcased on mobile devices.
Then I started to think. How could a brand better showcase its fashion products on mobile devices without having to resort to flatter designs? More specifically what could be done on Instagram? The answer is that in a mobile device the size of the pictures are what they are. A brand cannot change that. The good news is that there are many things a brand can do on Instagram to communicate the richness of a piece, to excite its followers, to broadcast the moments it makes possible in the life of its clients.
Let me explain with an example. This morning I happened to notice a fashion brand on Instagram where what I stated above was not only true but amplified. I won’t mention the brand’s name for obvious reasons. Their latest 20 posts on Instagram were pictures from their latest fashion show. I was sad to see that all of them looked the same. Tiny little figures on the catwalk, same angle, same background, same colour palette and fabrics.
Was that similarity the designers’s fault? Certainly not. This same brand is known for starting its business selling from sketches so they certainly know how to inspire and communicate its creations.
The problem is they are using the wrong material to communicate their message. They have not understood the platform; mobile devices. A brand cannot show their products as if they were placed in a magazine because it is not a magazine; it’s by far smaller on Instagram, on a mobile device.
So this arises the question: what kind of content is suitable for Instagram?
The right content is always the one tied up to the brand’s business goals. It also has to comply with the next requirements.
1. It has to be adapted to the platform
As we already saw it has to be tailored to the small screen it is going to be seen in.
Look this example from Balmain
2. It has to tell a story or inspire
As I already mentioned in this blog, brands need to share the moments they make possible in the life of their clients. Brands have to inspire. They need to tell a story. Offline and online too. That story is one of the key elements of a solid content strategy.
A catwalk picture pared with its design sketch; details of the fabric; make up of the models; the theme that inspired it; reactions of the guests of the show, are some examples.
Another sample from Balmain
3. It has to be exclusive, informative or interesting
A recent research from Iconosquare showed the top 3 reasons why people follow brands on Instagram are
- 62% because they love the brand,
- 54% to discover new things,
- 48% because they find the content interesting or funny.
To please the last two groups a brand has to create exclusive content.
These are all little pieces of a beautiful story very capable to inspire and move an audience.
Yes, the above requires a strategy specific to social media and certainly more work than posting the same images. So how do you work with your social media team to make build and execute that strategy? Here is a collection of posts on thoughts to make that happen.
The Cut article, “The rise of mobile fashion was making everything flatter” by Cathy Horyn.
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