Digital Fashion Influencers

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© Image captured from Business of Fashion article

Business of Fashion featured a very interesting and insightful article about digital fashion influencers in Asia in which my quote was included. Below is a more in depth expansion of thoughts from this quote. See the full article here

What’s interesting about the rise of social media network strategically being used as a tool to promote artists across all fields is that there is a sense of authenticity required in this world. If it’s staged it doesn't work. Social media exposes people with real stories and interests and inspires people to broaden their perspectives and try different things. Then there’s the beauty of being connected under controlled exposure that would be the purpose of any social media. In Korea, celebrities are super important because they influence people in many ways including the way people buy things. Celebrities’ choice of wardrobe has always been on the fashion radar but instagram gives you access to this information at a much faster speed and also makes its way into the newspapers headlines not to forget the digital platforms that will feed the news.

Product endorsement has been widely practiced by luxury brands and fast fashion brands alike in Korea, A product being sold out because it is endorsed by a popular celebritiy is no news. But the reason G-Dragon is special is because his choices are highly selective and fits him like his own and is in tune with what we see on the radar as global trend. He does what is unique to him and what he communicates is parallel to what is modern now. G-Dragon understands fashion very well. He knows what works and what doesn’t and he simply loves it, you can tell. So again there’s this authenticity about his passion for fashion. It’s not manipulated as a tool to bring up his value and name. Or so you are convinced to believe when you see him on his instagram. There are numerous examples of his social media fashion activities from him joining the ‘selected dozen or so crowd’ for the Chanel couture show to form the center stage to the very popular post showing his recent new acquirements(aka 'Shinsang' meaning new products) from global fashion brands' creative directors before they are available in store, being a regular front row guest to the Chanel, Saint Laurent and more shows.

YG Entertainment Group wants to make artists out of these musicians and we can see that they are taking a 360 degree approach to build them into a brand through collaborations and by keeping all activities open on social media on a real time basis. I think it is the perfect strategy. Actors and actresses are also hugely important, too and have a big following in the neighbouring Asian countries, China, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and more.

Other fashion-forward celebrities in Korea are the female and male models. They have a huge following in Korea at the moment and their global activities are thoroughly watched. Irene’s recent collaboration with Stella McCartney, Soojoo’s appointment for L’Oreal Paris, Hyun Lee for Sephora and Ji Young Kwak for Shu Uemura, the list goes on.

As a fashion consultant who connects different worlds it is absolutely amazing to see the trend move on to Instagram from Facebook with messages becoming even shorter as well as visually driven – it’s so much more fun and even more instant. It’s a very unique way of communicating your stories, emotions, experiences, knowledge, etc. I love that it’s simple and effective.

But absolutely, voices have to be authentic and spontaneous. That’s the beauty of social media. People want a taste of the reality of these celebrities! Image making is key to entertainers and fashion is an important tool. If they know how to use it well they will be successful in building a brand out of themselves. Nayoung Kim is a good example of this. She is a comedian who loves fashion and through social media established a whole new image as a fashion forward savvy influencer! How did she do it? By dressing up in beautiful clothes with a lovely smile glamorously attending designer’s shows in New York, Paris, Milan and Seoul, enjoying fashion.

In the social media world it’s all about the personal touch and taste whether the personality is officially involved under a contract or collaborating for a specific project as a one off. Touching on the subject of artists officially partnering with commercial brands, it is so important that in general the artist is good at what they are doing to bring synergy to the whole image building effect. There are rare exceptions, but normally your identity is what you do. If you are an actress or actor your acting has to be evolving and same for musicians and so on for a long lasting career in the business. So my advise for finding the right partnership is to look out for those who are strengthening their professional career be it in Korea or even globally as seen in models like Soojoo or rising star Sangwoo.

Written by Inhae Yeo
This article has been fitured in Business of Fashion.