2014-09-11_011740 copy

Instanistas: Fashion, Fame & Social

Fashion houses, after years of brooding over the “democratization of fashion,” are finally embracing the power of the masses, self-identified fashionistas and user-generated content.

More than ever, fashion brands’ digital campaigns and initiatives are relying on consumers to serve as compelling, authentic brand advocates.

Coach is one of the latest to recognize consumers’ potential, asking fans to submit photos of their Coach shoes using the #CoachFromAbove hashtag as part of an ongoing campaign.


 On the Coach website, visitors can like, share and shop using the photographs — a direct integration of social media with the purchasing cycle. Post-launch, the campaign contributed to a 2% increase in average order value and 5-7% rise in conversion rates.

Naturally it was Burberry, the digital savant of the fashion industry, that ushered in this trend. In 2009, the British retailer launched the “Art of the Trench” microsite to serve as a global street-style blog, powered by photographs of customers clad in the iconic trench coat.


It appealed to existing clientele as well as the aspirational shopper, allowing users to share, like and comment. Within a year, the site had over 7 million views from 150 countries and Burberry’s Facebook page had grown to more than 1 million fans.

The brand continues to find success with other user-driven experiences like the Google-powered “Burberry Kisses” campaign, which showcased the new beauty line by inspiring residents of over 13,000 cities to share virtual kisses in its first 10 days.

Neither Burberry nor Coach offer incentives or rewards for submissions; it is the chance for public brand acknowledgement and the desire to interact with the brand that drives participation.

From the customer purchase pageantry of luxury e-commerce giant Net-a-Porter’s #TheNETSet to the dressing room fashion show of French Connection’s #CantHelpMySelfie, the relationship between brand and consumer grows closer as they work together to satisfy a singular desire: To see and be seen.