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Fashion Does Digital
By: Jennifer Stack
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The fashion industry has embraced social media better than any other industry. From brands to event coverage to niche social networks, the integration has been seamless.

Luxury brands like Burberry, DKNY, and Oscar De La Renta are quick to utilize new platforms and trends. Burberry gets special recognition for its active use of Instagram, a mobile photo tool and network. DKNY takes the honor of most active and engaging Twitter handle and humanized brand on Tumblr. Oscar De La Renta takes Pinterest with snaps for their Sh*t OSCARPRGIRL Says. Major Kudos to Dolce & Gabbana as well for capitalizing on the Sh*t _____ Say meme.

Fashion lives and breathes on an array of niche social networks. Most notable are Lookbook.nu, Chictopia, and Polyvore. These communities thrive on a multitude of creative expressions from across the globe. All networks focus on the clothing items individualls vs. collectively and the process of how an ensemble is made. The members are passionate and concentrated. Brands range from low-end to high fashion and across the socio-economic spectrum. The common theme across these networks is creation rather then curation. The networks have created different functionality to allow users to validate each other’s contributions to the sites. These validation actions result in a communal approval for each member, which gives them a sense of fashion clout; an emotional equity similar to that gained on other more mainstream social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

While no statistics have been made public, the general population of these networks appears to be skewed 30 and under, which implies that the future of social network is highly entrenched in fashion and image. Personal branding is nothing new, but the Internet and these specific networks have orchestrated how highly image focused and emphasized the concept is for youth. The need to document individual fashion is inherent in the user bases of these networks and reflects upon both today’s paparazzi culture and the digital age’s ability to document everything forever.

The final and most interesting counterpart to these networks and fashion within the digital era is the acute attention to detail vs. the abstract scale explored by all. The texture, the color, the brand, and the source of an item are all integral to the perception of its worth and its story for some within these networks. For others, short or extended antidotes, lyrics, or quotes are meant to provide context or resolution to the visual images in the most meta sense. This type of socially ingrained involvement individuals have with fashion has enabled the industry at large to actively participate in online communities without objection. The ability for brands and retailers to personify themselves in these realms is the X factor in largely being well received across the digital board.

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About the Author
Jennifer Stack is a Social Media Strategist at a digital advertising agency. She was a 2011 Notable.ca YP Social Media Finalist. International Marketing Communication, MA. International Marketing Strategy, MSc. LinkedIn + Twitter.
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