Naomi Campbell interviews Christy Turlington on her YouTube channel

LONDON — Consumers’ lifestyles and priorities have changed overnight amidst the coronavirus pandemic, creating a turnaround in how social media is consumed, too.

Inevitably, screen time is up, but there’s a newfound need for less glossy and more raw content anchored in reality.

To that end, video has overtaken static imagery and many are turning to Instagram Live, a previously overlooked feature, or to TikTok, now the most downloaded video app in the world.

But YouTube’s head of fashion and beauty Derek Blasberg argues that YouTube has been fulfilling the need for more approachable, engaging content from the get-go.

Since joining YouTube two years ago, he has encouraged some of fashion’s biggest personalities, including Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham, Doutzen Kroes and Alexa Chung, to launch their own channels and open up to their audiences through the platform.

Here, Blasberg discusses how they are all finding creative ways to connect to these audiences and how the platform, whose fashion vertical is the biggest style video aggregate, can play a key role in reimagining fashion weeks, in a post COVID-19 world.

 On the future of fashion weeks and YouTube’s role in facilitating change:

“As we all know, the June and July fashion weeks have been canceled. Questions we’ve been wondering: Will designers want to do a small show in a confined space that they can live-stream around the world instead? A short film? A digital showroom? Is this a moment to experiment with virtual reality? The industry’s biggest challenge remains the unknown.

“But more people will continue to turn the focus on digital after the COVID-19 crisis. So, what can we do to elevate the digital experience? Live commentary and [access to] pre-orders could be the answer. We can take cues from other industries, like sports and the NBA, which has a great live product and a compelling digital offer, too.

This is an opportunity to reimagine one of the core tenets of fashion, which will directly shape the industry, consumer experiences, and what it means to be a luxury brand in the post-2020 landscape. “

On how content creators are adapting to the times:

“For 15 years, people have been doing things ‘alone, together’ on YouTube. But now people have been getting even more creative: Naomi Campbell launched a daily live show last week because she always dreamt of being a talk show host but was never in one place long enough to do it. So far she’s interviewed Cindy Crawford, Marc Jacobs, Nicole Richie and Ashley Graham. She wanted to do this for two weeks but after the response she has received I think she’ll go longer.

“People are also becoming more introspective: Check out Olivier Rousteing taking a walk down memory lane in a video, where he reflects on his iconic fall 2014 show, which brought us the #balmainarmy. And one of my favorite videos that we’ve seen recently was Violet Chachki’s review of her RuPual’s Drag Race audition tape.”

On the platform’s response to increased engagement:

“As you can imagine, watch time is up on all digital platforms, and we’ve seen incredible activity in style content searches on YouTube. We’re encouraged by these numbers, but our goals are supporting the style industry, our beloved creators and viewers turning to YouTube daily. YouTube created #stayhome #withme to remind our viewers that the best thing they can do is stay home and stay healthy and remind them that we’re all in this together.”

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