26. februar 2020
There is no doubt that fashion influencers are leaving their mark on the brand of fashion houses. But is it a golden mark or a slow burning, Kraken-alluring black spot?
“In the Disney feature film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Captain Jack Sparrow is presented with a “black spot” by Davy Jones as a marker that the Kraken can track; in the film, the black spot appears as a large black boil-like swelling on the palm of his hand. The “black spot” is s mark of death to a pirate.” Some guy on IMDb
There is absolutely no doubt that the fashion influencer has become a very real contender for position as top dog in the fashion food chain. They are influential when it comes to the financial aspect of a company, the next trends both on runways and when it comes to digital marketing and social media movements and most importantly; they can be part of determining the popularity of a brand.
But as the high end fashion influencer is tipping printed media of their thrones using fast-moving elbows and general digital savviness, are they leaving a trail of discarded once-hyped brands in their wake?
In the era of Bottega Veneta, also known as Daniel Lee’s beige period, a question arise: Is the extreme influencer popularity actually – in the long run – a black spot for a brand? We saw it with Vetements, Balenciaga (in particular the brand baby, Triple S sneakers) and most recently the Dior saddle bag, which were part of a world ranging influencer campaign a few seasons back. For a short golden season all three had the interest of top fashion influencers and in continuation hereof the eyes and wallets of their loyal followers. But they all seemed to fade. Unless you look at Vestiaire. They are very much alive there.
I am not claiming that they are on the verge of bankruptcy (even though it isn’t going too hot for Vetement), but the presence of aforementioned brands and specific styles suddenly seem to be non existing. Some might claim that trends shift and new styles make their way to the top (opening up to the much bigger question of the use-and-discard culture that is the fashion industry), but it could be argued that this is happening faster and with a much deeper downfall when the brand has been through the meat grinder that is influencers and street style.
It seems like a clock starts when the influencer hype begins. Tik, tok goes the trendiness clock.
Influencers are – as their title indicates – people that influence the rest of us. So when the rest of us start to catch on, when the hype becomes too hyped, the influential flock moves on to the next fashion target, and the brand can risk being left with styles – or in worst case a brand – that is overexposed and highly affected by the tag; an influencer brand. Which, weirdly enough given aforementioned power of influencers, is a black mark for high end fashion houses.
Because influencers do not want to be associated with influencer brands (talk about self-hatred).
Taking this into perspective, what is the future for the incredibly talented Daniel Lee, who hasn’t only reinvented Bottega with his designs, but also raised the bottom line for the Kering-owned brand? You know the styles I mentioned earlier? The Triple S and the Saddle? Take that hype and multiply it times 1000 fashion influencers, and you have the amount of popularity of Bottega in the fashion world (this is a scientific calculation, feel free to quote). New bags are dubbed IT-bags before you can even spell unboxing, street style looks from all the fashion weeks could just as well be the Bottega Spring Summer look book and even the printed press (and their online sites) are using Bottega as much as they can.
On the Danish ELLE site 11 out of 27 images in their “Best streetstyle details from Milano fashion week” feature Bottega Veneta pieces.
All publicity is good publicity. But is too much publicity bad publicity?
At some point, the first movers must feel less like first movers, when they see all the movers moving in the same pair of padded Bottega sandals. And will they then discard the brand and move on, or will the strategic moves and talents of Daniel Lee end the circle of hyped vs. overhyped?
I hope so. Because there is actually a reason why everyone is praising the reinvention of Bottega. Influencers, press and award shows all over. He is good. Really good. And not only at creating IT pieces, but at branding in our age, at hitting the zeitgeist all while pushing us forward. And I really hope it will last. Maybe the brand will choose to pull back a little, go a little underground and regenerate the balance between hype and exclusivity. Maybe they will be the brand that proves me absolutely wrong. I hope so.
Because I really like this pair of aqua blue, open toe sandals, but I am afraid to invest in them, if the Kraken comes to pick them up next season.
Street style photo / Shutterstock.com
Creative Lab / Shutterstock.com