LONDON — Earlier this year, TikTokers took over the London Fashion Week front rows for the first time, shifting industry dynamics and bringing a fresh, youthful perspective to fashion week content.
Next month, they’ll be taking over the red carpet at the Fashion Awards, too, the British industry’s most high-profile event, as TikTok extends its partnership with the British Fashion Council as the event’s principal partner.
This means a new crop of attendees, “TikTok-first performances” and “the world’s first vertical red carpet” — as the platform prepares to livestream the event to viewers around the world on Nov. 29.
“The real motivation has been to think about what happens when a red carpet and all the great things about the TikTok community collide,” said James Stafford, head of partnerships and community at TikTok in the U.K. “We’ll be bringing our creators, almost all of whom will be attending this kind of event for the first time. So we’re thinking of ways on how to make the red carpet much more like TikTok and add value to it rather than take anything away. We are looking at how we can inject TikTok’s sounds, effects and approach to creation on traditional formats like interviews and step-and-repeats.”
While details are still being ironed out, Stafford said the platform is working alongside Henry Holland as its main red carpet host. Holland will host red carpet interviews alongside a “big fashion creator.”
The aim is to engage the diverse set of fashion creators on TikTok — who have so far mostly being engaging with the fashion conversation and creating content from their bedrooms — and introduce them to the establishment.
“As we get further and further into our fashion vision, we’re thinking about what is the essence of fashion on TikTok. We’re hoping who we bring really reflects that,” said Stafford, who is confident TikTok creators can bring a refreshed perspective to the glitzy ceremony, opening it up to new audiences — just like they did at the Met Gala, where not only did they take viewers on a journey along the red carpet, but also injected plenty of humor into the event.
“We weren’t a Met Gala partner, but so much content came out of it. The most compelling and popular content, aside from traditional red carpet coverage, was all about the little details. Creators were talking about what the cutlery inside the gala looks like or how posh the toilet paper is. There’s something really fun about TikTok bringing out all those details from events you’d always watch but never got the chance to experience from that perspective,” he added.
Now with TikTok more heavily involved in the ceremony, Stafford said audiences should expect “a real show” with new kinds of performances at the event and content creation stations that will see some of the platform’s most popular trends and effects come alive.
This will also be an opportunity for the platform to recruit more traditional industry players, who might have been hesitant to join the platform in the past — originally reserved for digitally savvy Gen Zers with the confidence to sing and dance in front of their iPhones like no one’s watching.
“When it comes to fashion industry people or some of the public figures and celebrities we’ll be hosting on the tables, we’ve heard a lot of ‘I must join TikTok but I don’t know how or where to start.’ They want to embrace it, so a lot of our focus will be helping those people take advantage of the Fashion Awards momentum and doing this with us,” added Stafford.
This year, fashion has been TikTok’s fastest-growing areas of content in the U.K. and the platform has been hard at work in increasing its industry stake.
The Fashion Awards tie-in follows on from the platform’s first major London Fashion Week partnership last September, which ended up a success according to Stafford.
“We want to recognize the fashion creators on TikTok, bring them closer to fashion and help people in fashion understand where trends are coming from or be a bit more playful than they have been comfortable doing maybe elsewhere on the Internet,” said Stafford, adding that this has also resulted in new fashion advertising opportunities on the platform. “Our partnerships have been about building our community and bringing new types of content to the platform, but one of the added benefits has also been that advertisers have suddenly started seeing TikTok in a new way and realizing that there’s a huge community of fashion creators they can work with. We hear consistently from brands how playful fashion on TikTok is and how it injects a bit of fun into their campaigns.”
Caroline Rush, chief executive officer at the British Fashion Council, added that the tie-in with TikTok will help the BFC in its mission to turn the event into a “global entertainment platform, expand its reach and keep up with “the changing nature of fashion, innovation and technology.”
In the same spirit of change, the ceremony will also present 15 Leaders of Change accolades, alongside traditional awards like the Designer of the Year and Outstanding Achievement Awards.