Social Media and the Fashion Industry: words and images

Fashion, as many other industries, is almost entirely image driven. Well, it makes sense to have images that speak by themselves when design, craftsmanship, style are sitting at the same table. Yet words still can play a relevant role in describing the mood and the context inspiring a collection. This third article introducing our extensive research on the Fashion industry and the Fashion shows is about the role of words.

How and why the fashion industry talks during the fashion weeks? To deliver the collections mood to the customers? To build awareness in their mind by gaining Share of Voice in the highly crowded environment? To deliver the dream by accurately show and tell their exclusive creations?

As the market is moving to become ecommerce-centric, the language will play a key role in transferring a mood able to convert. While the sales assistant may play the role of a physical translator in a real point of sale, on line this is lost. The language is then the hook to support a customer, actual or prospect. It’s not a matter to downgrade the purity of a message, it’s a matter of making the message clear enough to achieve the goal of selling. From the Twitter and Instagram posts published during the last four seasons in the four most relevant cities hosting Fashion Weeks, New York, London, Milan, Paris, we created a dispersion index. It measures how diversified is the language of posts and tweets for every single cluster of terms.

Most of the times the variety of language is ignored despite the potentially high range of terms available to describe clothes, fabrics, colours and accessories.

How articulate is wording to describe a collection

Since September 2014 Fashion Weeks, we may appreciate a limited usage of terms related to the industry. Editing of posts does not seem to be affected by the explosion of Instagram and its larger space for typing. Apparently the social media format focused on telling stories by sharing images and videos is valued as self-explanatory. Within a relatively low differentiation of language among all the categories of terms, the colours palette is relatively explored, while there are really high margins for the definition of clothes, fabrics and accessories.

Each location has its own approach

Locations like Milan and Paris seem to put the highest attention into the terminology used in posts and tweets. This may be due to the high concentration of historical and heavy brands of the Fashion industry, with strong tailoring and leather goods heritage and values to tell. Season after season the trend of variety among the category is almost consistent in the European locations. On the other side, it is clearly decreasing in New York, where the high concentration of celebrities active on social media may impact the result.

The margin to improve the vocabulary is very clear by looking at the breakdown per users group.

Brands, as the creators of shows and collections shown, are offering slightly more descriptive contents from catwalks, while they currently prefer to share moods through shots and evocative scripts. Magazines play the role of the experts of the industry, by using the most articulate language of the insiders’ arena.

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Editors are further away from delivering articulate contents of the FWs shows, as they are maybe more focused on sharing the mood of events and collections or their own personal mood. Bloggers seem to follow this trend mainly focusing on the personal mood. Stores’ contribution to reach brands’ sale objectives should benefit from the adoption of a more articulate wording; their contents seem not to be able to help consumers finding collections on the online platforms producing a slowdown in the sales funnel. Celebrities and models seem not to pay any attention to text, but appear to be keen on spreading front row, backstage, parties and catwalk pics and videos. They celebrate their glamorous life and sometimes they invite brands to contribute.

1-2_DRuVSqiE1ZxG1mngwkPwEven with a less pervasive Social Media presence than some Editors and Bloggers, Magazines may have a remarkable role in partnering Brands to support the collection awareness and to usher customers towards e-commerce platforms. Within the context of content curation, especially on ecommerce platforms, wording should be as pivotal as images in catching the customers’ attention.