Why these Gen Z fashion critics are tearing up the rulebook
And for Chabbi, it opens up an important dialogue, rather than a top-down relationship. “I have so many people who are like, I disagree with what you’re saying. It’s fine, but at least it’s a human with another human. It’s an open conversation, rather than a one-way conversation between a magazine and a person, for example.
Work with next-gen fashion commentators
Content-rich social media reviews can have benefits for brands. “While style can be easy to see and scroll through quickly, journalistic content requires more engagement from the audience, leading to longer video watch times,” says Rob Jewell, chief growth officer at Power Digital, a technology-driven growth marketing company. “Story-driven content ultimately helps generate more brand recall,” he adds.
TikTokers like Lee want to move beyond the way brands traditionally work with fashion commentators — the “here’s a product, go buy it” model. For this SS23 season, she is pivoting her content to a more editorial video series, rather than her more typical green screen videos, to differentiate herself from the growing social media review community and potentially attract new brand partners.
“The success of influencers like Lee is a clear indication that brands should provide influencers/creators with more than just a product –– taking them behind the scenes, how products are made, the story and how people experience their brand — to give them content to work with,” says Jewell.
Brands can also harness the power of fashion critics as consultants, using their deep insights to educate and inform strategy, Karassoulis says. Phin, for example, is now a consultant for companies such as fashion tech app Idoru.
Coverage by critics and commentators often refers to talents like Hildreth and Lee as “fashion underdogs”. However, the majority of reviewers have industry experience and ties. “I never want it to be insider versus outsider, because what does that mean?” said Lee. “I think using terms and viewing TikTokers as outsiders is elitist. The platforms are powerful and even though I don’t work at Hearst or Condé Nast, I know they are listening. (Business in vogue belongs to Condé Nast.)
Hildreth has now started working for Paper magazine on a freelance basis during NYFW as a writer, which she will do in addition to publishing her own commentary. For her, it has always been her ambition to use TikTok content as a stepping stone to traditional media. “I definitely don’t want to be controlled by sponsors and stuff like that and not be able to say what I want to say,” she says. “But, on the other hand, there’s a power that comes with having a titular magazine behind you.”
Chabbi, on the other hand, believes in the power of the individual. “There were fashion commentators before us. And there have been platforms that tell people about fashion, like Diet Prada. But I feel like today we’re held to a level of responsibility where people want to see your name, your face, and your thoughts. People want to be able to define who is behind those thoughts and put them in context. »
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