Community is sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common. In the fashion industry, the term ‘community’ can mean many things. As a narrative it is always changing. Community is found in the design and making of clothing and in the social aspect of fashion events. In the digital age the term has taken on a new meaning, as social media has facilitated new digital fashion communities. We are more connected now than ever, to each other and to our hobbies and interests.
Before apps like Instagram, fashion communities could be found through blogging. Bloggers shared their opinions on fashion with a highly-engaged audience on a singular platform. However, the way we consume fashion-related content has changed. Whilst blogging is still popular, it has had to adapt to compete with an influx of new platforms.
YouTube is a window to the fashion industry
As a visual platform, YouTube is a window to the fashion industry. High-end brands can provide new insight to consumers. Creators invite viewers into their worlds through vlogs. Fashion vloggers on YouTube have risen to popularity in the last few years. From clothes hauls and style tips, to ‘get ready with me’ videos, there is infinite content to consume. Fashion videos can influence how we dress and what we buy.
Creators build communities of followers through consistent posting. Viewers can feel a connection to creators because of shared interests and likes. A sense of community can create loyalty to a creator. Through YouTube, people can find style advice, fashion tips and be in the know when it comes to the latest trends.
Facebook is a platform to connect people. For most, it isn’t the first place they would look for fashion advice. However, there is a growing community of groups designed to give fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips. Popular in particular with the older generation, these groups create a sense of community for the people participating. It becomes more than fashion advice. People can form friendships, be inspired and keep up with fashion trends.
Instagram is changing how we participate in fashion
Instagram has become a driving force in the fashion industry. Liked for its visual layout, it is popular for brands, consumers and influencers alike. Instagram is changing how we participate in fashion. It has created digital fashion communities for big brands, small businesses and anyone looking for fashion #inspo.
Although there is a downside to influencer culture, many of them are ordinary people. Fashion psychologist Carolyn Mair says, “This means the fashion imagery is far more representative than we have seen in traditional fashion imagery”. If consumers feel they are being represented, they are more likely to engage in content and feel a sense of community with that creator or brand.
Instagram has also made it easier to participate in fashion. Hashtags are a quick way to find something we like and attract people to content. Hashtags like #ootd (outfit of the day) have 325 million posts, #fashioninspo has 9.2 million and #fashionblogger 127 million.
TikTok is creating new digital fashion communities for the younger generation
TikTok is a video platform for creators, it is short-form, unlike YouTube. Fashion is very present on TikTok, popular topics include fashion ‘hacks’ and shopping hauls. Like YouTube, fashion accounts on TikTok build communities of followers through consistent posting. TikTok is creating new digital fashion communities for the younger generation. Teenagers are in the loop when it comes to the latest styles and trends.
In order to connect with a younger audience, brands like ASOS have taken to TikTok to create product awareness. ASOS has even launched the branded hashtag challenge ‘#AySauce’ which encourages users to show off their outfits. By engaging with consumers on social media, brands are making their customers feel seen and important. This can create a sense of community between brands and consumers.
In the digital age of fashion, finding community is just a click away
Even apps like Depop can create digital fashion communities, uniting eco-conscious people who are making fashion less wasteful by buying second-hand. The app encourages people to ‘be part of the community that’s transforming fashion one item at a time’. Others use the app to sell clothing or accessories they have made, connecting creators with other creators and their buyers.
In the digital age of fashion, finding community is just a click away. It is in the interactions we have online, and the friendships formed. The information learnt and shared. It is about connecting, and makes us feel part of something bigger.