The Crossover of Luxury Fashion and YouTube
Words by Georgie Blank
Self-isolation sucks! However, if there is one thing I am enjoying about self-isolating, is the daily episodes of “No Filter with Naomi” hosted by the one and only Naomi Campbell.
In each episode, Naomi chats to one of her famous and powerful friends. The guest list is exciting and includes Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs, iconic Supermodels Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford as well as sports icons Serena and Venus Williams. VOGUE’s Anna Wintour has also made an appearance. The episodes are livestreamed on YouTube. Watching this series has got me thinking about the power YouTube can have within the fashion industry.
YouTube is over a decade old and is one of the worlds’ most watched platforms. YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users, localised in over 100 countries and 80 languages. The power and reach that YouTube and YouTubers have is still very much underestimated. It is perplexing to believe that people creating videos from home, have such great power and reach billions of people worldwide.
YouTube has been embraced by fast fashion brands such as Fashion Nova, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing who, over the years, have regularly hired YouTubers to generate and promote their brands. However, the luxury fashion industry has only recently begun to slowly embrace the power of YouTube and Youtubers.
In September 2019, YouTube themselves launched a fashion and beauty YouTube channel. This account is overseen by Derek Blasberg who formerly worked for publications such as Harper Bazaar, Vanity Fair and VOGUE. He is truly a well-connected person. Derek Blasberg’s official role is Director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty. In his own words, his aim for the channel is to:
"feature original content from the biggest names in the industry, as well as the popular content that users have come to expect from the world of YouTube. The goal is to provide an ultimate destination for style content that bridges both our fabulous endemic creator community and the more traditional worlds of fashion and beauty."
Derek Blasberg admitted that persuading people within the industry to participate in YouTube, has not been a walk in the park;
"When I meet with fashion people, I commonly hear, “We get a lot of success on other platforms”.”
Although people within the industry may not understand the power of YouTube, one luxury fashion brand has begun to. During Paris Fashion Week last year, Louis Vuitton invited Emma Chamberlain, an 18-year-old YouTuber, to sit front row at their runway show. Emma Chamberlain is famous for her unique editing style and unapologetically authentic attitude.
For the male apparels, they invited Ethan and Grayson Dolan, better known by their YouTube channel name ‘Dolan Twins’ and being “the internet boyfriends” to sit front row at the menswear collection.
In the last year Emma Chamberlain has formulated three different videos in collaboration with Louis Vuitton. These three videos combined have received over 17 million views. A video the Dolan Twins posted received 5 Million views. In total within a year, 22 million people have been exposed to the Louis Vuitton brand, from just 4 videos. To say that is a lot of exposure would be the understatement!
There was a bit of confusion surrounding their attendance at the show. Many were confused as to why they were even invited, as fashion shows are usually reserved for “A-list” celebrities and industry professionals. The whole idea of brands inviting celebrities to a fashion show is to gain attention.
A YouTuber is able to garner as much attention as a traditional celebrity and possibly more. A YouTuber attending a fashion show entails a video, compared to a celebrity, who will just produce a photo. A video of the experience that most do not have the privilege to access, will gain more traction in comparison to a photo upload from the event.
More confusion surrounded the Youtubers fanbase, whom cannot afford Louis Vuitton. The brand has not created the relationship with Emma Chamberlain or The Dolan Twins with intent of getting their fanbase to buy Louis Vuitton, they are inviting them to increase their digital presence and, in this day and age, a digital presence is incredibly important for any brand, no matter how big or small the entity is.
Technology is changing the world. I believe in the next few years between YouTube launching their own fashion and beauty channel and Louis Vuitton inviting well known Digital Influencers/Youtubers to attend their shows, there will be an increase in luxury fashion brands utilising YouTube and tapping into YouTubers to help grow their digital presence.