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?