Christina Najjar, best known to her 1.3 million followers on TikTok as Tinx, has grown up on the platform with her videos about her love life, her affinity for edibles and, as she calls it, the rich culture of mothers. This isn’t internet fodder that might traditionally appeal to labels seeking influencer partners for New York Fashion Week. But this season, Najjars’ outspoken and comedic online presence has earned him an invitation to presentations and shows such as Five Seven, Ulla Johnson, and Brandon Maxwell.
It’s always fun when it’s someone for the first time, so I really leaned into that, my first impressions as a guest, Najjar said. My followers are so excited for me and they want to know all the details, from what I’m wearing to what the food is behind the scenes, the schedule and the celebrity smell.
Najjar is one of many new faces at New York Fashion Week this season, the first in-person version of the event since February 2020. TikTok influencers, in particular, are a new presence, thanks to rapid growth platforms since the beginning of social networks. media stardom at verifiable power during the pandemic, spawning a new generation of digital talent with millions of followers gained in the last 18 months alone.
The larger talent pool has encouraged brands to team up with designers who break the mold of fashion influencers, whose presence was ubiquitous during pre-pandemic fashion month.
Brands have vaguely experimented with TikTok in the past. Prada asked Charlie DAmelio to post videos from his Fall / Winter 2020 show in Milan, with mixed results, while talent firm IMG signed on influencer TikTok Wisdom Kaye, who specializes in men’s fashion content, in August 2020.
But this season marks the first time that TikToks’ emerging power in fashion has been put to the test in real life, marking a shift in the way designers and brands approach partnerships and Weekly content. fashion. Static city-style images that once worked no longer resonate, while short videos gain traction. It also prompted other platforms that may not have had a strong fashion week presence, like Pinterest, to rethink the opportunity.
TikTok takes over
This year, the number of brands looking for TikTok talent has grown significantly, said Vanessa Flaherty, partner and executive vice president of influencer marketing agency Digital Brand Architects (DBA). Any look around the runway shows in New York this season confirms this, as Noah Becks’ schedule seems to be as busy as that of typical mid-level fashion editors. TikTok talent now makes up a third of the DBA roster, with the majority of those signings occurring in the past 12 months.
We weren’t seeing those kinds of requests in previous fashion weeks or even before 2021, she said. I suspect the front lines are going to be very different this season.
TikTok’s rush for talent has also caused a shift in the content that brands and platforms seek to produce during Fashion Week as they open up opportunities for a wider range of designers, with interests and specialties. various.
Brands are now open to partnering with designers outside of fashion and beauty, said Cece Vu, head of fashion and beauty partnerships at TikToks, adding that the demands for TikTok talent this year were overwhelming.
One example is Serena Kerrigan, a prolific United Talent Agency creator on TikTok who comes forward as an actual version of Sex and the City character Samantha Jones. On Wednesday, she attended the Prabal Gurung show, an invitation she got not because of her fashion chops, but because she hosted Gurung on her Instagram Live show, Lets F-ing Date, which attracted five million views across 50 episodes in 2020, Kerrigan says.
I did fashion week before the pandemic, but now I feel like people are a lot friendlier, a lot more open to dating, and it’s less intimidating, Kerrigan said.
With this, short TikTok style videos also emerged as a leading media trend, surpassing previous content standards, such as dress-of-the-day posts and street style photos, which may have done well. worked in previous fashion weeks.
Video content is king right now, said Caroline Vazzana, a content designer partnering with Pinterest for Fashion Week. So far, Vazzana has seen a mix of old school influencers and a new generation of influencers that have sprouted up over the past year at trade shows.
It has also changed the dynamic between designers and the brands they work with. This is especially true for brands that joined the app late and may not yet be familiar with its intricacies.
Brands allow a lot more experimentation on TikTok, Flaherty said regarding content strategy. They really trust the creators of this platform a lot more than anyone else.
For its part, TikTok is also highlighting content focused on fashion week. He presented a list highlighting popular designers in the fashion and beauty space to create content for the week, partnering with brands such as Tatcha, Tory Burch and Staud, as well as the fashion site Rag Report to produce video content on their personal style and fashion week coverage. .
An article by TikTok star Victoria Paris, for example, shows her posing in her bedroom with products from Tory Burch and Vince Camuto, yelling at a friend between the list of every brand she wore to a show.
TikTok has also provided hashtags and a series of prompts that users can engage with when it comes to covering fashion, from outfit rating to dress-up challenges with themes like cottage core and Y2K, which the app helped produce.
Bigger social changes
Other platforms are also taking note of this change and adjusting their approaches to Fashion Week accordingly. Pinterest and YouTube are among those this season focusing on collaborating with creators who can create video content at shows and events, which is then shared exclusively with a platform audience.
This year, for the first time, Pinterest is an official sponsor of Fashion Week. The platform has set up a lounge in Spring Studios with a branded Creators Studio that gives creators a place to create original video content and promotes its idea pins feature, Pinterest’s video content offering. .
We weren’t looking for influencers, we really partnered with inspiring creators who have concrete ideas to share, a Pinterest spokesperson added.
In identifying designers to work with this season, Pinterest has gone beyond typical types of fashion and is working with a range of personalities, including hairstylists and nail artists, to teach users about the different sides of the industry. . The platform hopes to differentiate itself by providing creators with lasting value in their content: the posts they create will live on beyond the week and be available for users to find later when they search for content. fashion inspiration.
Pinterest is that expert-led content that you know people can come in and really learn from people, said Marta Topran, head of beauty and fashion designer management. I was looking for inspiring people, who teach you how to do things.
How to work with TikTok Talent
How to build an influencer marketing team
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