5 Ways Social Media Changed the Fashion Industry

There’s no denying the impact social media has had on our lives in the past ten years. And its rapid rise has revolutionized the fashion industry. In the past, people found themselves on the outside looking in. Fashion, or what was in fashion, was transmitted to us through the magazines, and the runway was dictated by fashion editors and designers. But social media has levelled the playing field by bringing in a new, younger crowd.


Image courtesy of @danie.sierra via Instagram.

The Rise of the Fashion Influencer

Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter have made it easier for people to cultivate their own brands. You start with an account, after some time (and a lot of effort) you gain a sizable following, and you begin building a fashion community. Brands start approaching you about collaborations and endorsements, and the next thing you know, you’re a full-fledged fashion influencer! Take the leading ladies of the Hypebae community: Danielle Leguillou and Alani Figueroa, for example. No one is waiting to be scouted anymore—they’re doing it for themselves!


Image courtesy of @xgirljp via Instagram.

A New Marketing Frontier

Social media marketing is a two-way process. Brands typically produce creative content on their social media accounts with tools like Instagram Stories, TikTok challenges, YouTube videos, and so on. X-Girl, a Japanese streetwear brand, uses their main account to post teasers of their upcoming collections and collaborations. After a new collection drops, @xgirl_ootd posts OOTDs of employees rocking the brand’s latest, and gives 56.7k fans from all over the world new style ideas that they can incorporate into their wardrobes. This year followers waited with bated breath for the brand’s most highly anticipated collaboration to date: X-Girl x Evangelion.


Image courtesy of Vox.

New Pathways, New Circulations

Social media provides new pathways for trends and styles to circulate. An influencer or celebrity wears a pair of animal-print trousers with a crop top while recording a video for their instagram story. It’s seen by one, two, 5,000 people and the next thing you know it’s a new trend. It goes viral, reaching various parts of the world in a matter of hours!

The e-girl fashion trend is a perfect example of this. It first emerged in 2019 and went viral soon after. Heavily inspired by K-pop and anime, a typical e-girl look involves igari-style makeup, facial stamps and winged eyeliner. Most e-girls also switch up their hair colour: lime green, blue, or pink tresses, a regular sight on TikTok. And when it’s just too difficult to choose one colour, they go for both! Think: Cruella de Vil meets Melanie Martinez. Goth style clothing is a must (striped shirts are a staple) with cute accents like ribbons and delicate cut-outs!


Image courtesy of Arama Japan!

Innovative Media

In the digital age, traditional media can feel lacklustre because of changes in the way we consume information. Many mainstream and alternative fashion publications have moved away from print to digital in order to stay competitive.

Egg, the much-loved gyaru print magazine, now exists on TikTok. In print, Egg was full of street snaps (usually taken in gyaru mecca: Shibuya) as opposed to articles. Nowadays, it’s introducing the next generation of gyaru with fun videos on TikTok. Social media has allowed alternative fashion publications that would have had to cease publication to innovate and stay in the game.


Image courtesy of @moussyofficial via Instagram.

A New Way to Shop

Shopping has gotten so much easier! Gone are the days when you had to take a bus and a train to find the latest styles. Thanks to the smartphone, you can shop at your favourite high street retailer or buy secondhand on Depop without getting off your sofa. But social media has taken it a step further. Instagram shopping is a feature that allows instagrammers to view a brand’s products. Consumers can click through to the brand’s website, or checkout via Instagram if they want to purchase. No wonder Japanese brands like Milkfed and Moussy are being worn outside of Japan—they’ve taken advantage of this feature to expand their audience!


Written by Vania.
Featured image courtesy of South China Morning Post.

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