Despite the dynamic transformations taking place in the fashion industry, one thing hasn’t changed: Fashion is and continues to be one of the riskiest businesses. In the fashion world, the key to becoming rich is not just having the most original ideas, but also having the ability to reduce uncertainty by acting fast or using logistics models. New prognosis models based on social media data are opening up new possibilities.
Heidi Klum has strongly criticized two of her top model candidates for their pictures and posts on Instagram, according to ICON, the lifestyle magazine of the German newspaper ‘Die Welt’. She believes that posting a stream of pictures could damage their careers. Heidi was not aware of the study published in August by scientists at the University of Indiana, which looks at the effects of social media activities on the chances of success of the so-called ‘New Faces’ or young models.
The results of the study refute Heidi’s warnings, concluding that the more the models’ pictures, posts and likes circulate around the net, the more likely they are to be booked for shows during international fashion weeks in NY, London, Milan or Paris. Therefore, the more active a model is on social networks, the more likely she is to succeed as a top model. The goal of the scientists under Emilio Ferrara is clear: Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry and the popularity of top models plays an extremely important role for its brands. International global players spend a fortunes on printed, TV and video advertising campaigns. Having the right face, the right person and the right setting to represent their brand can determine whether a fashion season is a success or a flop. Prognosis models that promise to minimize risks by evaluating comments and likes on social networks are welcomed and lucrative for big data researchers.
It is only logical to draw a link between this study and the latest news about Amazon. TW No. 39/2015 reports on Amazon’s efforts to expand its fashion sector by exploring new forms of presentation and convincing users of its fashion expertise. To achieve this, the online giant has had a huge photo studio constructed in East London. Since July of this year, this has been the production site of millions of pictures and videos for the company’s website. The studio of superlatives is described as a “factory for clothing photos”. It’s easy to imagine how many female and male models are needed to keep this operation going. Amazon managers are not exactly renowned for their gut decisions. They prefer to base their decisions on figures. They will therefore be keen to hear about the number-based prognosis model designed by the scientists in Indiana, and will also analyze any data delivered from social networks to their benefit.
The first Amazon print campaign has been launched in October. The protagonist is actress Suki Waterhouse, an eager user of Instagram and other social media with thousands of followers.
Social media activities not only boost the success of new models and online giants, however. Smaller players in the fashion business can also benefit from taking part. Kerstin Goerling, owner of Hayashi, a Frankfurt-based store for designer labels, posts on Instagram daily and writes her own blog. She mostly photographs herself in her latest looks, at events and on her travels. Thousands of fans follow her daily and like and comment on her posts. And, naturally, they buy her products as well. Lots of likes cannot replace creativity and original ideas, however.
One thing hasn’t changed: The majority of fans still prefer models to be tall and super skinny. In this regard, we are no closer to democratization. These traditional beauty criteria are also preferred by new forms of media.
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