Social media and the internet have sped up the fashion world, like everything else, and made it more democratic. As WWD wrote about bloggers this year, “It is a sign of the times when anyone with a computer and something to say can attract the attention of designers such as Marc Jacobs or the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte and inspire a bag, or be seated in the front row of a fashion show.”
Thanks to social media, now anyone can publish, connect with like-minded others, share, collaborate and develop an audience or a market. Fashion now travels around the world as quickly as a live-streamed runway show, a tweet from Lady Gaga to her fans or a street-style photo posted on the virtual crossroads. And brands are having to adapt to new ways of communicating directly to their customers, in real time.
“I think digital technology is changing the way all of us shop and explore and get information and get inspired and get excited,” Burberry chief creative director Christopher Bailey told WWD in September, as his company took the lead in live-streaming its shows around the world. A consumer can be a designer, buyer or retailer on dozens of sites. A fledgling designer can finance a collection on Kickstarter.
Or, in the words of crowdsourced shoe company founder Jeff Silverman, “There’s a new sheriff in town—it’s called the consumer.”