Coachella: An Influencer’s Paradise

Featured Photo Credit: Thaddaeus McAdams, Getty Images

I went to Coachella via my Iphone and Macbook this year.

 

If you’re anything like me, your social media from the past two weekends was bursting with Coachella pictures/videos/boomerangs from your favorite celebrities, models, musicians and influencers. The two-weekend long music festival based out of Indio, California is one of the largest and highest-grossing in the world. A Fashionista article states that since the relaunch of the festival in 2001, attendance has doubled in the past seven years alone. But with this attendance surge comes a different type of concert goer and a sense of declining exclusivity. What are the benefits and consequences? I discuss.

I (And The Other 1 Million Followers) Want That Jacket

Gone are the days when paparazzi pics of Diane Kruger sauntering around Coachella in Alexander Wang or Florence Welch in Gucci were style inspirations for the non-Coachella public. Now anyone can feel like they’re in the middle of a giant H&M sponsored pool party or between stages with Instagram, Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, Instagram DM’s, Instagram Virtual Reality…ok the last one doesn’t exist but you get me. Social media at Coachella has created a surge of a public that prestige designers do not prefer, but lower to mid-price brands do. And appealing to this public they have! Parties hosted by Victoria’s Secret, PopSugar, and H&M (to name just a few…there were plenty) had celebrities and influencers promoting free dinners, concerts and products to their millions of followers on all channels of social media. I am not ashamed to admit that after I saw my favorite influencers posting their embroidered and airbrushed denim jackets from Levi’s, I commented “Are these available online? NEED.”

I saw a ton of other people commenting the same thing….BUT THEY AREN’T AVAILABLE. However, these comments prove the point that influencers posting on social media do drive customers to the brand. I may not have gotten my embroidered “Not Your Baby” denim jacket I wanted (I will someday) but I still have begun to visit Levi’s more often because I’ve seen how great my favorite influencers look in Levi’s and how they make the denim trendy and fun.

THE Event.

The ultimate influencer event from Coachella was hands down #RevolveFestival. I give major props to the Revolve PR, Brand Partnerships and Marketing teams because this event was over the top in just the right way and extremely well executed. According to another Fashionista article (they were really on top of the Coachella coverage) this was Revolve’s biggest branding activation yet. You’ll get why with this lovely list of what Revolved covered for their influencers’ presence:

  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • VIP wristbands (FOR THE BFS & PHOTOGRAPHERS TOO!!)
  • Clothing allowances (so influencers could be wearing Revolve brands)
  • Appearance Fees

There was a performance by rap star Migos, appearances by Drake(??) and Leonardo DiCaprio(???), a pink skating rink, unlimited free tequila and so many more bougie things. IT WAS A GREAT PARTY! Followers (including me) got to watch guests pose with the pool floats, boomerang their squad, and show off their festival wear. I paid for nothing, but still got to feel included in the party. AND #RevolveFestival had 10,000 Instagram posts at press time. For Revolve, that is thousands and thousands of dollars in free marketing and ROI.

But there’s the issue.

Have you noticed something? Besides Migos, I have not mentioned anything about The Coachella lineup. Or really music in general. With prestigious brands fleeing and the mid to lower-price brands taking over and producing all-day influencer events, one could entertain the claim Coachella has edged into a marketing ploy rather than an opportunity to see many amazing artists in one place. But I believe that fashion week is no better than Coachella in that sense. One goes to fashion week to see amazing artists display their talent in the form of clothing. But there are still parties, influencer events, dinners, and concerts all set around this art form. WHERE IS THE BACKLASH? There is none…because it these events are so tightly integrated with the fashion week culture.

Overall, I believe that Coachella is still about the music. But with the rise of social media, influencers and interconnectivity, it is inevitable and so easy to create a marketing event around it. It is only good business to integrate digital publicity when there is such a high demand to attend Coachella and the rising popularity of festival wear. The future is digital, and I hope to see prestigious brands return to Coachella and develop their digital branding and marketing platforms…or risk being left behind.

What do you think?

xoxo,

@TheBlondeGing

 

P.S. I livestreamed Porter Robinson and Madeon’s Coachella performance and it changed my life. Click the link to change yours.

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My Fav Street Style Looks from PFW

Feature Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel Price

 

Fashion month has come and gone (but not forgotten),

Because I’m finally here to recap my favorite looks from Paris Fashion Week! A lot of big things happened this past PFW:

  • Chanel launched an uber-chic rocket at the end of their show bc Chanel.
  • Balenciaga fired their casting agency after a rumor that they left 150 models waiting on a dark staircase while they ~lunched~ but at least they celebrated their 100th anniversary!
  • Balmain boasted the highest social engagement during their show WITHOUT ANY KARDASHIAN OR JENNER IN THE FRONT ROW. (Kendall was still on the runway though, relax)
  • The best street style of the entire fashion month as follows…

 

Thassia Naves

To me, wearing velvet is like eating cupcakes. It is a treat that you should savor, because if you eat too many you’ll get sick of it and never want to eat them again. This past winter I felt like the fashion industry ate entirely too many cupcakes. But Thassia’s dress is a fresh take on the velvet trend, with a unique color and vintage cut. She uses the velvet as a “neutral” base for her boots and amazing Chanel bag…and was bold enough to add unexpected textures like patent leather and fur. Thx for giving me faith that velvet isn’t completely overrated yet.

 

Olivia Palermo

Olivia Palermo or Blair Waldorf? The socialite took prim and proper pieces like oversized bows, satin headbands and regal prints and added a bit of edge to make an amazing look. ICYMI: Black ribbon has been declared the accessory to watch for Fall 2017, whether it’s as a headband, tied a low ponytail or a as bow clip.

Karlie Kloss

Queen Karlie does it again. She takes the popular mesh/tulle trend and shoots for the stars with a major Dior upgrade. I’ve always been fascinated by the night sky and ethereal beauty, and stars have been a major standout print recently. Maria Grazia Chiuri, lead designer of Dior, continued this celestial trend in her Fall 2017 RTW collection. She strives to develop Dior into a popular designer for street-style stars. With Karlie on board, she’s doing a good job.

Evangelie Smyrniotaki

One can never go wrong in an all-black ensemble, especially with these amazing leather pants and such a clean, streamlined silhouette. But what I really want to focus on is Evangelie’s earrings. Statement earrings were THE accessory of Fashion Month, and she creates the perfect androgynous canvas to display the turquoise drops. Bye dainty layers, hello earrings as statement art!

Lena Perminova

Another example of clean lines and perfect layering. I tend to stay away from all-over nudes and whites because it ends of washing me out or blending into my skin and hair, but my fellow blonde Lena pulls it off seamlessly. The block of darker color as well as the beading and texture help keep the outfit from blending in or becoming boring. She reminds me of one of those cupcakes from my velvet analogy…in the best way possible!

Chic Girl on Bike

Getty didn’t get her name…but maybe that’s a good thing. To me, this girl is the culmination of Parisian style. She’s effortless in her baroque coat that reminds me of the $8,000 Balmain one I wanted in the 9th grade. She’s also riding a bike around before the CHANEL SHOW. Sweaty? No…it’s just ‘disheveled chic.’ 10/10 that’s also a real Longchamp and not one of those knockoffs you see on a questionable online store.

 

Sara Sampaio

Yes, I added Sara’s outfit to the list because it is Carolina Blue and white. I need outfit ideas to watch basketball games in and show my support for UNC when I’m not in college anymore! Overall, Sara continues to exemplify the duster coat trend in a new, unique color. Added points because is able to walk in the rain…while texting…and still have an awesome candid pose.

 

Alexandra Lapp

Alexandra is giving me a very Charlotte York vibe that I love. (With a hint of Charlotte’s braless Irish nanny). Neck scarves have been a thing for a while now: as statements of unity, Coachella must-haves, and the mundane activity of keeping you warm. Her flared culottes are fun and far beyond the culottes I wore from Limited Too in the second grade. *Shivers*

 

Winnie Harlow

Winnie has been a prominent face in the fashion industry lately. She’s been an ambassador of Desigual, walked in H&M’s first see-now buy-now show and is a advocate for Vitiligo and embracing imperfections in the modeling industry. Her outfit is easy to recreate and lets your choice bag do the talking! Also, thank you Winnie for smiling and looking natural bc I was getting exhausted with these forced street style poses.

This Dog

This dog is more fashionable and more wealthy than I’ll dream to be. It probably has a job lined up post-grad too!!

Sorry, my angst came out because this is my last fashion week post. FOR NOW! Stay tuned for September!! Fingers crossed for more great fashion and me getting my dream career!!

 

xoxo,

 

@TheBlondeGing

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A Case of the Blogger Envies?

 If I had to estimate, 75% of my Instagram feed consists of runway models, my fav designers/magazines, street style photographers, Sex and the City quotes, and fashion bloggers. 

 

My Instagram timeline is the oasis of my social media. I wake up knowing that I will find an outfit I love or new fashion campaign. I adore Romee Strijd’s and Taylor Hill’s OOTD’s. But I am most excited to discover a new fashion blogger that inspires my style. A few of my favorites are Caroline Daur, Leandra Cohen, Negin Mirsalehi, Olivia Culpo, Amber Fillerup and Nicole Warne.

There is such a talent in creating the perfect outfit and voice while standing out in an oversaturated industry. All of the bloggers I mentioned above have these skills and immense success, but most if not all of the clothes they feature are from luxury designers. I love admiring their Instagram photos, but my chances of integrating their exact looks into my wardrobe is slim to none unless I find a low-price lookalike.

 

What is gained, what is lost?

But I can’t help but wonder (SATC reference anyone??)…in a time where the noise of the industry is so loud, do bloggers have to ditch the relatability factor for high-priced designer digs and a lavish lifestyle? Is this the only way to gain significant blogging success and become a true digital influencer?

I know that I don’t have to copy every piece of a blogger’s look. I love being inspired and trying to find my own version of the piece. But if I really love an outfit, it disappoints me to find every article of clothing and accessories is $500 and over. These exuberant prices lead me to have less of a personal engagement with the blogger, and more of a case of the blogger envies.

Queen Chiara

My biggest case of blogger envies has to be with Chiara Ferragni. Chiara is a heavyweight in influencer marketing, with 8.5 million followers on Instagram, 14 million page views to her website a month, a major shoe collection, and has graced over 55 magazine covers. She is, hands down, the most successful fashion blogger in the world right now.

Ok reader, obviously I know that with this success she will be wearing the crème de la crème. During this past Paris fashion week, Chiara simultaneously advertised Maserati while wearing Dior in her Instagram posts. It was beautiful, but just a lot for me to handle. Her posts did not want to make me go out and buy a Maserati (even if I could afford one), they just made me want to…unfollow. And so I did. Fashion bloggers are supposed to be inspirations, yet I felt less connected with her and her brand than ever.

Then I began missing Chiara and her over-the-top outfits. Her medieval-esque red velvet cap outfit from PFW Day 1. The really nice Maserati. So I followed back again. Why? Because Chirara’s style of luxury influencer marketing is exactly what draws her more followers. She uses her talent of curating beautiful fashion as an art form rather than a “like to know it” opportunity. Those that can afford her top-designer looks will purchase them, those than cannot, can still feel a little like Chiara with her lower-priced shoe collection (It’s not Forever 21 lower-prices though, be wary). She is not just a great fashion blogger, or a great digital influencer, but a great businesswoman.

 

So In All….

To answer my “Carrie-Bradshaw” question from earlier….no, I don’t think you have to go high-fashion to be highly successful. Each fashion blogger has their own unique personality and sense of style – it is up to them to choose what brands they choose to market. Having expensive clothes isn’t going to gain you followers if it isn’t genuine to you brand. Take it from Chiara, who makes $8 million a year off fashion blogging so she knows what she’s talking about:

 

“It has to feel natural and transparent. For me, selection is everything, it has to be something that my followers will be happy to know about. I can’t lose my credibility – you can’t put a price on that.”

 

What do you think?

xoxo,

 

TheBlondeGing

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How Kendra Scott Is Transforming & Taking Over The Jewelry World

It’s Kendra’s World, and you’re just buying her jewelry in it.

 

 

 

That’s okay though because my blog is here to convert you into a superfan! This past February, I celebrated my one year anniversary of working as a sales associate and brand ambassador at Kendra Scott Streets at Southpoint. I have loved every single day as I get to help customers of all backgrounds pick out beautiful pieces of jewelry.

I must admit that the selection of pieces that I thought fit my style was a little limited at first. After coming back from my exchange in Sydney, Australia, I had garnered a more edgy urban vibe that I combined with my love for runway models’ off-duty style. Kendra Scott was founded and has her headquarters  in Austin, Texas and was generally known for Southern, preppy pieces. However, as time passed and I grew in experience, it was amazing to see the company develop as well. Kendra Scott has successfully forged a beautiful balance of maintaining classic pieces for their core customer base while creating and marketing upscale, trendier pieces for a new fashion-forward base. Here’s how its happening.

 

Enter the Influencers

Remember Simone Biles, the amazingly talented Olympic gold-medalist? She has been a fan of Kendra Scott before and after her Rio rise to fame. You can find Grammy-nominated country princesses Maren Morris and Kelsey Ballerini wearing the jewelry in their instagrams. Actresses Mindy Kaling and Sofia Vergara were also early fans of Kendra. But the brand’s decision to market digital influencers helped them jumpstart growth for a trendier customer target.

For the Winter 2016 collection, Kendra brought in top model and Instagram darling Scarlett Leithold, who boasts 1.5 million followers on the image platform. Since her campaign, she has posted multiple pictures wearing and mentioning her Kendra Scott jewelry. 74 percent of customers use social media to make purchase decisions and 92 percent trust recommendations from individuals over brands. So, 1.5 million more potential customers were exposed to Kendra because of a much less direct, pressured form of advertising.

The marketing team of Kendra Scott also has made the smart decision not to place all of their “eggs” into one type of “influencer basket”. In the past year or so there has been a rise in “micro-influencers” on Instagram. Markerly, an influencer marketing platform, released a survey finding that the best range of followers for the top engagement is around 10,000 to 100,000. While Scarlett may have millions of followers, a majority may not be specifically interested in jewelry. Gifting pieces to fashion bloggers like Sivan Ayla (52k) and Sophie Elkus (108k) will garner you a more focused customer base and a higher percentage of potential purchasers. Plus, the micro-influencers will gain greater exposure from being featured on Kendra Scott’s social media. It’s a win – win!

And for all my reality TV fans…Kendra Scott gained even more influencer publicity with their color bar booth at Bachelorette star Becca Tilley‘s Youtube Launch party!

Scarlett Leithold and her Diamond KS Lisa Necklace

Personalizing and Expanding on Trends

Sure, everyone has a choker. It’s the “it” piece right now. But do you have a choker that comes in four different metals and can be adjusted in length based on your outfit? Can you in some cases actually customize the stones put into the choker? Such versatile, large and unique offerings of jewelry is how Kendra is banking on trends. In terms of the adoption curve, I feel as if they watch early adopters for stand-out fads that will maintain into an early majority phase. With quicker product releases, they are able to provide the trend pieces to the early majority and catch some late majority as well. If the early majority fans find that Kendra is providing these trendy pieces quickly, they are going to become return customers and influence other early majority customers.

But you don’t want to forget about your core customer either! Those who favor more of the original large-stoned, colorful Kendra are still treated to “signature pop” color updates every season. This allows customers that love the original styles a bit of extra trend.

And take it from me…there are some amazing pieces coming in the future that fit an edgier style like mine perfectly. As I spend my last months working at Kendra Scott before I graduate, I can’t wait to see how the company will continue on their path of success. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up in public relations with them someday? A girl can only hope!

 

 

What Do You Think?

xoxo,

TheBlondeGing

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Influencing the Runways

Happy Fashion Month!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I wish Fashion Month was every month. My social media feeds are especially filled with beautiful new clothing lines, my favorite models, and amazing street style. (Check out my current fav street style photographer, Jose Martinez.)

But as I scrolled my Instagram, I kept noticing a strange trend. Not only were major digital influencers and celebrities sitting on the front row of fashion shows, they were walking in them as well.

Dolce Begins the Trend 

My first hint at this trend was Dolce and Gabbana’s Fall/Winter Men’s runway show. Actually it wasn’t a hint…it was a giant neon billboard. The famous fashion house opened the show with Vine superstar Cameron Dallas, followed by influencers like rapper Tiny Tempah and Youtuber Marcus Butler. German blogger Caroline Daur and Slyvester Stalone’s daughters Sistine and Sophia walked too. It was topped off by a performance by Justin Bieber-wannabe Austin Mahone.

I was very confused…was Dolce and Gabbana’s target audience now wealthy millennials that wanted their parents to buy them a D&G suit/dress for prom? Honestly, I think so. But engaging with millennials is a great investment for Dolce & Gabbana in the future.

Capturing young customers’ attentions early with their favorite influencers is going to keep the brand at the forefront of minds. As millennials age, they will remember D&G as a brand represented with the coolest people of their young adult lives.

 

 

LA: The City of Angels (And Influencers)

I thought that Dolce’s millennial/influencer fascination was a fleeting trend until February 2017 Los Angeles happened.

Rebecca Minkoff’s gorgeous Spring RTW 2017 collection shown in LA on February 4th, a week before NYFW even began. (You bet LA is the new NYC.)

This “see now, buy now” show featured top blogger Aimee Song of SongofStyle and actresses Jamie Chung and Victoria Justice, to name a few. After the show, the collection (whose looks were based on what retailers and editors had already chosen) were immediately available in pop-up shops only a few hundred yards away. Now that is fast and convenient, factors that millennials have come to expect from fashion today.

 

Only a few days later, Tommy Hilfiger debuted his second TommyxGigi collection on Venice Beach. In comparison of influencer impact, Rebecca Minkoff was just an opening act. This show had major Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show vibes, with major publicizing on digital platforms, a private Tommy Hilfiger airplane and social-supermodel Gigi Hadid fronting it all. It was live too…I watched via my laptop. Other top supermodels that walked were Bella Hadid, Devon Windsor, Joan Smalls and Romee Strijd. Together, these girls have over 45 million Instagram followers…and that’s only on the runway. Lady Gaga, Fergie, Kris Jenner are only a few of the major influencers watching in the audience. Oh, and Cameron Dallas.

 

Looking Towards The Future

I am excited about the trend towards using influencers over runway models in major fashion shows, but still have some reservations. I believe modeling is an art form, and runway models are scouted and chosen by designers for their talent in posing, walking and overall aesthetic. Bringing in Instagram stars and influencers for their ability to generate successful ad revenue and customers seems to me like a commercialization of this art.

However, I do understand why an audience may find digital bloggers and celebrities more relatable and engaging than a 18-year-old girl from Eastern Europe. As technology continues to develop and advance the fashion industry, the old traditions will be replaced with the new. I am thankful to be able to watch this change over and experience such a hybrid of influencers and models on the runway.

 

What do you think?

 

xoxo,

 

TheBlondeGing

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Let Them Eat #Cake: The Influencer Queen

Marie Antoinette found a way to become famous without social media.

Seems impossible in today’s time right? Though her time was not without vicious gossip, (She did not tell French peasants to eat cake…sorry) Marie gained “followers” in-person with her charm and charisma. She managed to influence French fashion and lifestyle without a Twitter mention or hashtag. I see her as the 18th century equivalent of Kylie Jenner. Both learned how to take control of the limelight and use it to their advantage and develop their brand.

However, the only images created of Marie Antoinette during her lifetime were highly formalized portraits. Though they make great #OOTD’s, do these oil paintings represent the true teenage queen? What are the aspects of Marie’s brand that made her followers love her….before they hated her?

The Brand Comes Alive With Coppola 

Though it has been critiqued for its “historical inaccuracies,” I believe Sofia Capolla’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette encapsulates Marie’s brand. I have been in love with this movie since my 8th grade influencer days, even asking for the CD soundtrack for Christmas. (Hint…it is amazing.)

As a response to critics, Sofia claimed she wanted to show “the real human being behind the myths.”

“My goal was to capture in the design the way in which I imagined the essence of Marie Antoinette’s spirit…so the film’s candy colors, its atmosphere and teenaged music all reflect and are meant to evoke how I saw that world from Marie Antoinette’s perspective.”

Indeed, any still frame from this film would serve as a perfect Instagram post. The palace of Versailles and its gardens have a permanent filter reminiscent of Clarendon. This filtered existence gives rise to the notion of Marie’s desire for hiding the flaws of her life with a vivid public image.

 

#SquadGoals

The queen takes a strategy from Taylor Swift’s branding playbook with this one. With her arranged marriage failing and no family in Versailles, Marie gravitated towards her new French friends for emotional support. This is especially prevalent in Coppola’s film, with Marie appearing with her ladies-in-waiting more than her husband. The trio is seen escaping to Paris for some fun at a masked ball, gambling for Marie’s 18th birthday, popping champagne in the gardens while watching the sunrise, or relaxing by the river at Petite Trianon.

Coppola makes Marie and her bff’s the girls you want to hang out with. During 18th century France, such heavy female camaraderie spawned rumors debating Marie’s sexuality, but her friends helped define her brand as independent from her husband and genuinely charismatic.

And the Fashion, Of Course

I left the best part for last. At the center of Marie’s branding is her clothing. The film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and it is easy to see why. Each dress, hairstyle and accessory represents a gradual step in the evolution of her brand, and she never repeated an outfit. She begins her time in France as a naive young princess, awkward in the wardrobe of a different culture, and transforms into a fashion icon that recognizes her own keen sense of style.

Though it takes time, Marie is able to shed the identity France forced upon her and master her own brand. In the beginning of Coppola’s film, Marie is seen in heavy makeup and wide hoopskirts. While she is under pressure to conceive a child, she finds solace in frivolous dresses and over the top hair. But by the end of the movie, Marie has developed a much more simple style reminiscent of her Austrian roots. This hybrid of old and new gave Marie icon status, which I believe to be the pinnacle of a brand. Pictures speak so much louder than words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Think? 

 

xoxo,

@TheBlondeGing

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On Influencing: Do I Dare Try?

I must admit,

I am not the person to start a blog by my own choice. Writing my thoughts out for the public to read truly does unsettle me, as I am very self-concious. Before I publish my posts, I always have the same thoughts running through my head:

“Will people like this or even want to read this?”

“Will people think I’m a bad writer?”

“Wonder if people think I’m a fashion poser…if that even is a thing?”

“Why am I even doing this?”

On a surface level, I can answer the final question quite easily. I am writing for class. It is a requirement. However, as I have continue to write and post a realization has come to me. Sharing thoughts, talents, passions and inspirations are at the core of an influencer’s job. If these people did not have the courage to engage with the public, they would never be where they are today. And I never would be writing about them either. Do I have the strength to become an influencer in my career?

Granted, once you reach a certain degree of prominence and gain a follower base, the fear of lack of readership or engagement reduces. But then comes the pressure to perform at the highest level. And the requirement of sticking to your brand. No matter how famous one becomes, the drive for social validation persists. It is an influencer’s job to engage their audience for this validation in order to sell a product, lifestyle or brand. So you have to be passionate and genuine about it.

So I say to myself,

Do I have the talent or courage to be an “influencer?” Do I dare move to a city where there are thousands of these so-called people vying for the same job as me? Before beginning this blog, I would’ve outwardly said yes, but inwardly said I’m not sure. After four posts and receiving positive feedback (THANK U!!!) I realize that an employer will be able to set me apart from the rest of the crowd with my writing. Everyone may be trying to become an influencer, but not one influencer is the same. So I will continue to write on my weird hybrid of street style/runway models/social media and see where it takes me for a career.

I’m not saying I am the authority on a certain fashion trend/designer/model/whatever. In fact, I know I’m not. I am the equivalent of the dog sitting at a computer with the caption “I have no idea what I’m doing.” But I am passionate and genuine about what I am writing about, and I’m always eager to learn more. I hope to inspire others to shove those “what ifs” and “whys” out of their head and press the “publish” button. You’re already a positive “influencer” on yourself!!!

 

xoxo,

@TheBlondeGing

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The New VS Angels Are Strutting the Runway, Posting Fire Instagrams & Updating The Brand

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is like a holiday to me.

I start getting excited at least two months in advance of the December 5th air date, when my favorite rookie models begin posting about their auditions on social media and the world-famous lingerie brand announces the musical lineup. However, what keeps me and millions of others coming back every year for more are the Angels.

The Victoria’s Secret Angels are the brand’s contracted spokesmodels that are featured in all of the company’s advertising, store signage and promotional events. The Angels are also given the honor of wearing extravagant angel wings during the VS Fashion Show (This has changed recently…but will discuss further on). Famous past Angels include Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Giselle, Miranda Kerr, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Doutzen Kroes and Karlie Kloss.

Straight From Heaven

The earliest Victoria’s Secret Angels helped launch the brand into national recognition after an extremely successful commercial in 1997. By 2004, the ‘Angels Across America’ tour cemented VS Angels as worldwide stars. While many have come and gone, supermodels like Adriana, Alessandra, Behati Prinsloo and Candice Swanepoel have been Angels for seven plus years.

However, as time has gone by, Victoria’s Secret has had to make large branding decisions. All of tenured Angels I mentioned now have children, and obviously want to more family time and less rigorous contract requirements. Other Angels left to to pursue new modeling projects, academic endeavors, and become designers of their own.

By 2014, there were only five Angels left. Victoria’s Secret decided to make their biggest group hire in company history as they brought on ten new Angels. These angels were Taylor Hill, Elsa Hosk, Martha Hunt, Stella Maxwell, Sara Sampaio, Lais Ribero, Romee Strijd, Jac Jagaciak, Kate Grigorieva, and Jasmine Tookes. Jac and Kate have since left the brand, and were replaced with Josephine Skriver.

Social Media Superstars

Overall, I believe hiring of new angels came at an invaluable time. Victoria’s Secret wants to turn its branding focus towards millennials, with its CEO recently saying to CNN it would “integrate its business as a primarily digital channel in order to align with how customers engage with the brand.” All nine new angels have a prominent and active image on social media, with a least a million Instagram followers each. The girls regularly post adverts and behind-the-scenes photos of their Victoria’s Secret campaigns, flawless makeup selfies, and impeccable street style. They also interact with their followers on twitter, with angel Josephine Skriver gaining a Twitter fanbase called the “Subskrivers.”

I believe all nine new angels work hard in their positions and represent Victoria’s Secret well. They do align with the brand’s intent to integrate digitally. But this growing digital fame may not be fast enough for the Victoria’s Secret executives. This past fashion show, “social supermodels” Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner walked the runway with extravagant angels wings, though they are not contracted Angels. This goes against the norm of only wearing wings if given the Angel title, and the company faced heavy backlash. Though this move may signal Gigi and Kendall’s future promotions to Victoria’s Secret Angels, it still appeared to consumers as insincere and fame-hungry.

The company needs to realize that while Gigi and Kendall are social media superstars, (over 100 million Instagram followers combined) millennials desire an authentic engagement and are loyal to their favorite influencers. Continuing the tradition of wings to Angels only and letting the social supermodels work towards this achievements presents a level playing field and a genuine appreciation for the beautiful, hard-working faces on the company.

 

 

What Do You Think?

 

xoxo,

@TheBlondeGing

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Gigi, Gemma, Ginger

One of these G’s is not like the others…one of these G’s is me.

Though I am lucky to be five foot seven, this blog title may be the closest I come in my life to Gemma Ward and Gigi Hadid. I wanted to blog about Gigi and Gemma not only because they’re favorites of mine, but also to discuss how the recent rise of social media vastly changed the supermodel landscape and identity.

Let’s start with Gemma Ward. Gemma was “discovered” on accident at just 14 years old in 2002. Within a year she was walking in major fashion weeks and became the youngest model to grace the cover of American Vogue. By 18, Vogue Paris declared her one of the top 30 models of the 2000’s. Before the rise of social media, Gemma and other models gained success and the “supermodel” title through appearances in editorials, magazine covers, billboards and fashion shows.

In 2008, at the height of her fame, Gemma suddenly retired from modeling. She had a six year hiatus, and in a 2016 ELLE Australia article Gemma reported she quit modeling because she was told her looks were fading at only 20 years old. In 2017, Gemma Ward is married with a daughter, another child on the way, and 101,000 Instagram followers.

Enter Gigi Hadid. Gigi’s first modeling gig was as a toddler for Guess Kids, with promising talent from the start. By 18, Gigi became a 2013 Swimsuit Illustrated rookie and landed a Tom Ford campaign. Like Gemma Ward, Gigi walks in top designer shows and graces multitudes of magazine covers. However, Gigi is not just your average supermodel. (If there is such a thing.) Thanks to an avid following on social media (28 million followers just on Instagram) she has been deemed the title of “social supermodel.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Gigi describes how being a social supermodel is not just a career but a lifestyle: “It’s not a nine-to-five job. You’re on set for 15 hours and then you go home and make sure you’re posting the right stuff on social media…it never stops.” And she obviously isn’t going to stop anytime soon, landing three major campaigns in just the first month of 2017.

 

And here’s what I’m thinking…

Gemma Ward was my first favorite model circa 2008 middle school days. Gigi is currently my favorite model. I can’t help but wonder if Gemma would have retained her success if social media was prevalent in her heyday. Looks don’t fade with the help of filters, and popularity doesn’t fade when there is almost an oversaturation of a figure online. And the pay difference! Gemma made $20,000 to walk a fashion show, Gigi makes $300,000 per Instagram post.

There are opinions that Gigi does not have real talent that Gemma and earlier supermodels possessed. Rather, she has enough social media presence and insider contacts to make an impact. Hey, maybe Gemma does have the better runway walk or editorial pose (I agree). But in Gigi’s defense…she has proved to have the charisma and appeal to influence an online audience of millions. Today, this qualities may be equally – if not more – valuable than the perfect swagger. Overall, both models have majorly contributed to the fashion industry and my own inspiration. Gemma was the first model I recognized as I watched couture in middle school, and I try to channel Gigi’s street style in my entire wardrobe. And yes, I do follow both on Instagram.

 

xoxo,

 

@theblondeging

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An Introduction, an Untold Story, & an Ode to the “Influencers”

Hi!

My name is Ginger Melton and I am a senior PR major in the UNC School of Media & Journalism. After graduation, I am planning to move to New York City to pursue a career in Fashion/Beauty/Lifestyle public relations.

To begin my blog, I’m going to share the story of what sparked my love with the fashion industry, and how this spark still exists today.

It all started when my friend Mckenzie brought in a new purse to class in 6th grade. But this wasn’t just any purse. It was a Dooney & Bourke purse. (Today, you wouldn’t catch me fawning over any such D&B, but I digress.) To me, this purse represented a type of fashion I had never experienced before. It wasn’t your Capri-Sun-Pink-Boa-Handmade-Handbag or sequined Limited Too tote seen so often in the middle school hallways. It was luxury fashion, and I wanted to be a part of it. I bought Teen Vogue and Vogue just to look at the editorials and ads of beautiful models carrying beautiful handbags and wearing beautiful clothes.

By eighth grade I was watching my favorite designers’ Ready-To-Wear and Haute Couture shows online. (I’ve included my favorites at the end of this post!) The best part was that beautiful fashion didn’t stop on the catwalk. I soon discovered the OG of modern street styleThe Sartorialist. He featured candid snaps of my favorite models “off-duty” in effortlessly cool get ups.

I felt connected to the models and designer fashion itself with street style. There is something so personal with taking runway pieces and tailoring them to fit your own unique tastes and identity. As the social media age transforms the fashion industry, I am excited to see how influencers – bloggers, “social supermodels”, style icons – continue to inspire and connect with their audiences on a new level.

With that being said, I hope you follow along as I feature some of my favorite influencers (mostly runway models) that inspire me and my fav street style trends to boot!

xoxo,

@theblondeging


8th Grade “Influencers”

          

Left to Right: Christian Dior Fall/Winter Haute Couture 2008, Chanel Spring/Summer Haute Couture 2009, Runway Model and Street Style Star Sasha Pivovarova.

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