New Media: A new platform for fashion industry

Social media has opened doors to new and emerging designers with small budgets to push their creativity and contribute to the fashion world by actively staying plugged-in. Designers and brands now market themselves directly to clients through the social media and gradually build brand loyalty because of the user-friendly and accessible nature of social media, write Mahesh Shaw and Mehak Mittal.

New Media is a catch term of the 21st Century. Very broadly, new media is something related to the internet and the interplay among technology, images, and sound. It is about making things digital, and has characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible and interactive. The various forms of new media are internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMS and DVDs. The population of internet users is increasing at a very fast rate. According to a nationally representative survey by the Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life Project, some 70 per cent of American adults aged 18 and older have speed-broadband connection at home as of May 2013. India has the 3rd largest internet user population after China and the US as per the report NASDOC: SCOR, 2013.

The internet is one of the forms of new media which we use extensively. We say humans are social animals. We now say humans are digital animals. We tweet, re-tweet, share, post, upload, comment, like, follow and update 24/7. For us, being social means going digital in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and LinkedIn which are the most commonly used social media networks. Not only is our social life getting digitalised, our entire lifestyle is also getting progressively influenced by the internet. People chat, have online discussions and forums on micro-blogging sites, read books, magazines, and newspapers on the web, shop online, email, and surf various search engines for anything and everything they want to know either on their phones or tablets. Social media is the most popular form of new media used for virtual communication, which allows us to stay connected to all of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances with the click of a button.

Social media and fashion

The fashion industry uses social media as a promising platform to connect with consumers directly. Social media is used by brands of all categories. It has also played a major role in helping the fashion industry reach out to a much wider customer base with lesser costs and more presence in the digital world. All fashion brands and designers have a Facebook page, and a Twitter and an Instagram accounts. Brands have also started previewing their collections exclusively on Pinterest.

To drive growth, to be more exclusive, and to augment the user’s online brand experience, luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry have launched their own social networks. Chanel along with its social networking site has also launched an application with Apple where it allows users to catch up on the latest news, watch exclusive ready-to-wear shows, browse through looks, and also locate stores nearby. DKNY used Instagram to interact one-to-one with fans.

Burberry used Snapchat to reveal its spring/summer 2016 collections a full day before it hits the catwalk. Tommy Hilfiger posts 360 degree videos to Twitter.