30 Mar Anti- Social
“The chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google.” Phoebe Philo
Amongst us all is the unforeseen pressure to post all our moments on social media or to join that group chat that has all your friends glued to their screens. Within this spectrum of likes and retweets, many fashion houses have fallen into this trap by creating commercially successful clothes rather than wearable art. Olivier Rousteing has tapped into the commercial side of Instagram by growing a buzz for his ‘Balmain Army’, consisting of those with similar following masses. Tommy Hilfiger fell into this trap of social media by creating a special ‘Instapit’ at his runway show, encouraging celebrities and bloggers to promote his show on their social media platforms. Furthermore, this move results in his customers gaining more of an insight to the clothing that they will be purchasing in six months’ time at a faster pace.
But many designers are not following this common norm.
Hedi Slimane, Phoebe Philo, Martin Margiela and Raf Simons, to name a few, are among the select couple of individuals in fashion that are the most influential, yet we do not know much about them. So maybe their less-is-more attitude is not a catastrophic disaster but actually a way to stay relevant, not just in the eyes of the media but the public as well. Daniel Saynt, the CEO of Socialyte, said “Mystery attracts – and personalities who maintain the allure can gain longevity in the industry”. As a result, the key anti-socials of fashion will always stay relevant as we know nothing about them but their talent, yet most individuals who are interested in fashion have seen every dimension of Oliver’s cheekbones.
Vetements may be the coolest fashion brand right now. Launched from Demna Gvasalia’s bedroom in Paris, after numerous rants about their lives in the fashion industry with his brother and five other friends. They go completely against… well… everything. Fashion Week schedule does not mean a thing to these designers, with showing their collections whenever its ready, as well as mainly casting their models from Instagram. The group of mainly anonymous designers have made their way to the top, not by hiring a group of supermodels to walk their shows or by becoming best friends with the Kardashians but having created clothing that grabbed the attention of the media all by itself.
Rei Kawakubo, creative director of Comme des Garçons, rarely shows her face anywhere and hasn’t been photographed professionally since 2005. The designer refuses to acknowledge her applause at the end of her shows, and hides behind the scenes (or shall we say seams…?) of her collections. She is notoriously shy and hates interviews, and when on the rare occasion that she does speak to a journalist she answers only with blunt short phrases. When it comes to her design process, she embeds this free-minded approach by never creating the norm, or the old. Kawakubo proves that fashion is not about the front row attendees, the endless ad campaigns or the celebrities wearing your clothing, but about the art of craftsmanship and the ability to let the clothes speak for themselves.
After Autumn/ Winter 2016 Fashion Week, Imran Amed (Founder and Chief Editor of The Business of Fashion) wrote a report on his favourite shows of the season. Amed called the Saint Laurent show a “genuine fashion moment” due to the lack of information given before and after the collection was shown. He wrote that the silence of the show was overwhelming striking as it drew the spectator in. Fashion is not about the show or the music but about feeling an emotion in the moment that the designer has set out to accomplish.
The silent strategy in fashion can help you gain more followers and attention than a post. The less people know; the more people want to know. But are these men and women who stray from social media fighting a losing battle against those designers tapping into markets with their Instagram posts, or is it the other way round, where the secretive designers that are topping the world by keeping their audiences at the edge of their seats due to the mystery of their character and collections, actually staying more relevant due to their talent?
Ad campaign courtesy of Comme des Garçon