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Following my rather bleak post on Fashion Week that I wrote in 2016, until yesterday, anyone that so much as mentioned it filled me with cynicism. The idea of it brings to mind bloggers milling around the venues hoping to get papped by street style photographers (some of which aren’t actually legit) and dropping into lounges to take selfies. All the while making claims on social media that they are ‘doing #LFW’. Here’s a clue to figure out whether someone actually is – if they haven’t posted any shows on Insta Story or on their feed, they’re not really attending. Product launches and blogger events don’t count.
Now moving on to what this post is really about: how much value does going to FW actually add? Personally I go to establish face to face connections with PR people and once I’ve introduced myself, taken a few snaps of the presentation or event, I’m done. In and out in under 30 minutes. Any more than that and you’d expect I know someone there that I got chatting to because why else would I lurk around? For industry people it’s a work event and although there are the after parties, goodie bags and the slim chance of getting featured on vogue.com, attending has very little impact on their personal lives. Why should it be any different for bloggers?
Understandably, as a blogger we have to establish ourselves and increase our credibility as much as we can. Our market is as saturated as a fish in water and it’s not slowing down any time soon so setting yourself apart from the rest of the crowd is essential. I spent some time reflecting on this angle rather than simply brushing off bloggers’ use of the #LFW as a vanity project and decided to ask a few people outside of the game whether or not they were impressed when they saw an outfit on Instagram with a caption claiming to be at the shows. Most of them said yes but I had to probe for more detail. For the sake of the obvious, Instagram is very much based on an impulse and attention-grabbing images, think about liking a picture for too long and it’s likely not going to happen. Our thought process when we see an image is whether or not it appeals to us and images tagged with FW are no different. However, when I pushed for an elaboration, some interesting points came up and they are as follow:
Firstly, those that responded expressed that they wouldn’t question the authenticity of the image. They would be less impressed if the image wasn’t taken anywhere near the venue but nevertheless, the tag itself seems to hold some value. In case you’re thinking, who would be so silly as to fake it and not do it properly? Trust me there are a lot of people out there. And before you say to yourself that perhaps it is a good idea to tell a few white lies for a little reputation boost, here’s a caution. Although for that period of time, it may look good, if the pictures don’t tell a story or the individual isn’t wearing anything inspiring, all that effort means very little. This brings me to the next point that during the week, when the fashion crowd are out in full force donning their signature style, your outfits will be compared to others. The hashtag is not a substitute for style and if it doesn’t measure up, frankly no one will give a shit whether or not you claim to be at FW.
Secondly I asked whether claiming to be attending FW has a knock on effect, negative or positive, on a follower’s outlook on a blogger. Again it seems that unless the photos were impressive, no one cares enough to refer back to your blog or feed in the near future. What does ‘impressive’ actually translate to in terms of pictures? That’s the difficulty with something as subjective as images but one thing that can be agreed on is that getting featured by a recognisable publication is definitely the top prize of the week, even though it won’t do much for your numbers.
Lastly, and perhaps most critically, there are a lot of people out there that simply don’t care about the effort bloggers put in because to them, FW is just white noise. If bloggers without credentials post about it too much, this group of people actually find it off-putting. Interestingly, some of the top London based bloggers that I’ve been following haven’t been harping on about LFW half as much as ‘microinfluencers’ have. Whether or not it’s because they’re at the level that they’re paid to publicise the events, they simply find it unprofitable or they just don’t feel like attending, that’s for another post – and only if I can get my hands on one to speak out.
If an influencer is showing off their LFW programme (legitimate or not) for all the wrong reasons, judging from my little desk research, it isn’t worth the effort. If it’s to share an experience with your audience and use visuals to bring them to places that they wouldn’t otherwise access, then FW isn’t that special, don’t we do that day in day out as content creators? Okay in this instance, there’s more publicity, peacocking is made relatively acceptable and ten times more effort is required for your outfits. But otherwise, it’s like any other work week!
Photos by Chrystal, @chrystlm
ASOS swimsuit (worn as bodysuit)
Peggy Hartanto shorts
Lack of Color hat
Charles and Keith shoes