How influential are fashion influencers?


There’s an interesting shift going on in fashion right now, that Fashionista summed up quite succinctly. It’s all about those stylish women whose job descriptions you can’t quite put your finger on because they morph so readily from one thing into another. It all stems from street style though, a certain fashion insider with a certain look, who gets a following on blogs then on her own Instagram (it’s usually a ‘her’) and then… lands her own collection.

Elin Kling arguably did it first (in 2011), followed by Garance Dore with her illustrations for Kate Spade in 2012. This season we’ve got Yasmin Sewell with her line for Barneys and Sandra Hagelstam’s shoe collection for River Island (launching in November). Then this week came the news of Caroline Issa’s forthcoming collection for Nordstrom.

“London has always laid claim to stylish women and men, and with the world so much smaller due to our Instagram accounts, street-style blogs and Twitter, I think that women all around the world can relate to a style point of view coming out of London,” Caroline Issa told Vogue, following the announcement. I often have the discussion with fellow bloggers about whether fashion bloggers and street style influencers are as powerful as we think ‘in the real world’. Are we misled in thinking people outside our Instagram bubble will know or care about these fashion tastemakers enough to buy their wares?

I think what it comes down to is this: some people will recognise the name and taste and want to buy into the collection because they connect with the person. And others will simply like what they see (helped by shedloads of PR and online chatter to aid visibility). It’s a much better tactic than the tired concept of celeb collections though, especially when all too often the celeb doesn’t have a discernible style.  But ultimately, it hinges on the design. However great the person and hype behind the collection, if the product is weak, everyone will know about it. And if that’s the case, all bets are off.

[Image: Caroline Issa]