Is Social Media introducing a change into the Fashion Industry on a Generational spectrum?

Generation Y, a generation spanning the last two decades before the 00’s has seen a vast change in may things, but more than anything the boom and expansion of the technological industry, which has in its wake effected everything we now do and have. The boundary of creativity and people expectations is constantly on the move; we expect new things every day. The rise of home computers had only started in the 80’s, but 1997 saw the first ripples of social media coming to the surface, through a company called Six Degrees, where people could create a profile, upload a photo and connect to friends through it.
1999 was suggested as the year ‘blogging’ became a ‘thing’ and people became interested in posting what they thought on the internet, after this social media began to take its gigantic first steps with sites such as Linkdin, Myspace and Youtube were created and became an instant hit within the first few years of the 00’s. From this surge of enthusiasm from Generation Y, other sites were created which are now the table leaders such as Facebook and Twitter, quick connecting sites that a majority of the world now uses on a daily basis, not soon after due to demand niche marketed sites came along such as Spotify and Pinterest.
Generation Y were born into what people have now started to refer to it as a ‘disruptive mindset’, having mobile phones always in your pocket, to being able to access the internet pretty much anywhere, it has encouraged individuality, creative thinking but also increased demand in everything we do. The influx of freethinking and uncapped potential has resulted in people expecting limits to be pushed.
It’s difficult to decipher consumerism from the rise in change of the marketing industry due to its similarity in the demand for more of everything. Looking into studies and also from personal understanding, millennials have become one of the largest spending generations ever, and are beginning to change the idea of the term ‘luxury’. It has now become the generation of ‘experience’ rather than physical items. Studies, facts and figures all have begun to point toward any social media platforms being a positive starting point for many brands to promote themselves and their products. Millennials have been proven to be ‘social shoppers’; from the comfort of wherever they are in the world they now have access to what they want to buy and also are able to see what others are buying, what’s on trend as well as what’s not. A lot of the decisions made on purchasing something now come from the influence of what friends and connections have purchased and why, with 89% of the whole two decade generation using social media this is a major turning point for companies marketing strategies. But on an alternative side a study recently from Ipos suggests that ‘To lump all Millennials together as one group… would be a mischaracterization, and a mistake for marketers’, so what does that leave us with?
Staying focused on just the influence this has on the fashion industry it begins to point toward millennials have become a visual generation. Key social media platforms such as Instagram, Pintrest and also Facebook, the first two are biggest in their niche markets focusing just on imagery, people post or rather upload images that are then accessible to anyone, its proven that there has been over a 400% increase in posts on Instagram that relate to fashion brands and trending items than before. It’s a quick way for anyone to see a snap shot of products, experiences and brands.
Through a peephole and as an example the surge in Youtube and the rising popularity of vlogging and blogging has met the need of our ‘nosey generation’, as a generation interested in ‘experiences’ being able to see a cut down and ‘pretty version’ of someone lifestyle, day to day experiences have been on the rise. Fashion marketers have started to realize and discover that this is the a way of reaching out to their customers, through endorsing and featuring their products or brand with these Youtube celebrities who have a huge following that watch them daily it has resulted in a large online audience all being visually introduced to the products at once.
The rise in social media has resulted in a change, lead by the millennial generation, Future Cast created 7 key trends that have affected the retail industry and changed the marketing strategies and mechanics on many fashion brands, after looking closely at the facts and trends it seems there are a few key running elements through the ‘experience’.
1. Social – Blogging and Vlogging is on the rise, it includes networks and a range of image sites that have resulted in a change of what shoppers think as social.
2. Expression – The logos you were match the individual personality you want to express through your clothing.
3. Experience – Purchases are thought through usually with an idea of what, where and why the items will be worn, but there is also a tendency of occasional splurge of shopping
Fashion is everchanging. Marketers have now produced ingenious strategies to utilize social media to connect with millennials, endorse social engagement and gain a strong following of loyal customers. ‘Brands now know that social media is based on word of mouth online and offline’.

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Rogue Notes Creator & BA Hons Fashion Media & Marketing Grad