Social Media: The New Horizon or Just a Fad?

Since it has became clear in my previous blogs that film is a dying influence in the realm of fashion, for this News Catch I decided to broaden my research and begin to contrast film with a look at a newer and more up to date medium: social media.

  • In May of 2013, a study was created by Netbase and Edison Research Group to determine whether or not social media platforms influenced women’s buying decisions in regards to fashion. After surveying 1,005 adult women, the results were that although platforms like Facebook (which ranked highest of the formal social media platforms) and Twitter do influence buying decisions, what fashion-forward women really look to before making fashion related purchasing decisions are fashion blogs, forums, and message boards. Here is a helpful infographic of the findings produced by Edison: http://www.edisonresearch.com/home/archives/2013/08/how-social-media-influences-fashion-purchases.php
  • According to an article in Social Media Week, initially large scale designers were hesistant to enter the social marketing world because they believed that fashion was an experience that was too personal to document and promote on a platform as faceless and anonymous as social media can be. A few brands that initially broke the social media barriers and proved it to be a financially profitable medium were TopShop and American Apparel.
  • According to Jenn Beswick in an article written for Social Media Delivered, the influence social media has on contemporary fashion is so acute because social media has erased the need for a middleman: the traditional journalist figure. Now teenagers (a favored target market) can speak, or type, directly to the designers and fashion editors working at huge, established fashion houses like Burberry or more trendy clothing like Forever 21.
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An Ambiguous Relationship in Simpler Terms.

As Adrienne Munich writes in the introduction to her book Fashion in Film, which you can preview here: (http://alturl.com/hdg26) “fashion is an essential tool in the craft of conveying meaning through film.” Fashion and film play interchangeably among each other to present new styles to the masses while also reminding them of previous styles to further adapt and rehash.

The history of the influence between film and fashion goes back to the days of Louise Brooks and Al Jolson. In the 1930’s, the Hollywood costume designer became an influence on fashion for the masses. Before this time, Hollywood didn’t have a stable high-fashion industry, so instead, movie producers looked to European designers to create the proper prestige and elegance these movies warranted. Eventually, the Parisians went home, and an industry was born (http://alturl.com/pc3a6).

The influence film exhibits over how we look doesn’t end with merely clothes. Other categories include hairstyles, like Louise Brooks’ iconic bob or James Dean’s perfect pompadour, and body types, such as Marilyn Monroe’s curves or Rita Hayworth’s legs (http://alturl.com/57oer).

Academic disciplines that study the relationship between fashion and film include fashion studies, film and theatre studies, and the University of Arts London has a Masters of Arts program specifically for Fashion and Film (http://alturl.com/f7dqm).

People, or generations as a whole, are affected by film’s influence on fashion because, as Adrienne Munich writes, “film provides a democratic medium of access to Looks.” People in the early 20th century were suddenly inundated for the first time with hundreds of new trends, hairstyles, and ideas every time they went to a movie. Ideas of changing fashions, changing times, and a rapidly progressive society into which they had to try to assimilate. Film is an avenue to democratization (http://alturl.com/ucnqf ).

Mystique of Fashion in Film Wanes as Internet Takes Precedence

My primary Info Journal post will be centered around a post called Fashion and Media by Anneke Smelik. You can find a link to the PDF document here: http://alturl.com/nmncn. The main point of this article is that from the very beginning of movies, fashion and film have been very much intertwined, but in the advent of fashion blogs and social media, the silver screen has fallen out of vogue when it comes to spotting and emulating the latest fashion trends. Notably, Smelik states that although couture on the big screen isn’t as prevalent as in times past, the making of films about the process and creation of fashion itself has become a very popular and financially rewarding genre.

The site that this article is posted on, http://www.premsela.org, is informational. It is a site that promotes a school for design and fashion located in the Netherlands. I think this site is a credible host for this article because the article is directly related with the site’s purpose, which is promoting an education within fashion and design. Premsela’s online presence highlights a diverse selection of publications stemming from scholars involved with the institute, as well as photographic overviews of exhibition events held in their design house in the Netherlands.

The author of this article, Anneke Smelik, is a professor of Visual Culture at the Radboud University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. You can view her website highlighting her scholarly achievements here: http://www.annekesmelik.nl/index.php. I think Smelik is a credible source for an article about fashion because she has a pH.D. in film and theatre studies and is currently focusing on fashion studies. Both of these fields are intertwined together in the article I chose to focus on.

The currency of Premsela’s website is adequate. The Institute merged with two other design schools, NAI and Virtual Platform, in January of 2013. All of the information posted on this website is from 2012 or before, and there is no date on the article in question itself. I don’t think this affects the quality or the accuracy of this article because the information presented in the article isn’t necessarily concerned with up to the minute currency. It is based more upon decades of blended media and fashion culture at a time. The popular culture references in the article make it known that it was written some time within the last 5 years, making it an accurate portrayal of the current culture.

Fashion and Media is an accurate portrayal of a popular opinion among fashion enthusiasts and scholars. Since this piece was written by a woman with a pH.D., no obvious mistakes or typos can be found. Another piece that is similar in opinion and equally as credible is the article I used for Assignment 3 by New York Times columnist Ruth La Ferla. The article can be read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/fashion/04COSTUME.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

The point of view of Smelik and the article as a whole is opinionated, but the author has presented sufficient evidence to back her claim. Smelik’s point of view is that film’s influence on contemporary fashion is waning, which she supports by offering examples of movies from both supposed eras: the era of influence and the modern day of multiple influential mediums. In a field of knowledge such as fashion, most research will never become fact simply because most conclusions can’t be proven.

Smelik supports her claim by showing the exchange in influence. She states that film once influenced fashion in the same way that the combination of fashion blogging and television series’ geared toward millenials do today. Smelik hypothesizes that the reason for this is the democratization of fashion. Where there used to be only one major influence there are now many outlets. This expansion much emulates the evolution of ways in which we as consumers and citizens obtain information as well as merchandise.

In summation, if I were an expert consultant to a communications firm, I would recommend this article as a credible and entertaining reference. The information is posted by a woman with a doctorate in studying both of the article’s topics: film and fashion. It is posted on an academic, informational website promoting an education in an area relating to the topic of the aforementioned article. Fashion and Media explains the shift from film’s influence on fashion to fashion’s influence on the making of films, notably The Devil Wears Prada and the Sex and the City movies. She explains that moviegoers in the 1950’s followed fashion by way of the silver screen in the same way that current fashion enthusiasts read popular fashion blogs or watch reruns of Gossip Girl. In the digital age, there are more competing outlets, causing film to become an obsolete and delayed medium of conveying fashion trends.