A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s no question the global crisis has disrupted just about everything in the fashion world, from how we dress, to how we shop, to how the industry itself operates. The widespread cancellation of in-person Fashion Weeks in 2020 and 2021 forced luxury brands to radically rethink their collection debuts, as labels sought to translate their traditional runway shows into virtual experiences. But creating engaging digital shows is just half the battle: prior to
the pandemic, Fashion Week was beginning to represent a massive influencer marketing opportunity, with backstage passes, front row seats, and exclusive parties prompting high-impact social content from bloggers. Now that jet-setting is on hold, brands have had to get more creative when it comes to inspiring influencer conversation about new collections. With one digital fashion week already under their belts, many luxury labels approached February’s fashion week with a renewed understanding of how to make their collections pop on social media. Based on Tribe Dynamics’ earned media data, five brands, in particular, managed to stand out amid last month’s parade of online events thanks to influencer marketing strategies that did their shows justice. Here are some of the tactics Prada, Burberry, Moschino, Miu Miu, and Salvatore Ferragamo used to galvanise their online fan communities in February, and the takeaways for other fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands eager to maximise the value of their digital activations. Luxury fashion it-girls dress up for Prada’s ready-to-wear debut If you’re ready for re-openings, so is Prada. The top luxury brand’s Fall 2021 ready-to-wear digital fashion show nodded optimistically to the end of the pandemic, as models freely walked through doorways and onto an open blue circle. But hopes of returning to normal life didn’t stop Prada from stirring up ample online conversation about the live-streamed event. The label invited powerhouse fashion bloggers including Devon Lee Carlson (@devonleecarlson on Instagram), Claudia Sulewski (@claudiasulewski), and Leonie Hanne (@leoniehanne) to chronicle their experiences viewing the show from home, prompting a wide range of content: while Devon shared artful outfit Instagrams, Claudia posed with her Cleo handbag, and Leonie created a sensual video of herself getting dressed in head-to-toe Prada for Digital Fashion Week. Prada’s willingness to grant influencers creative agency over their posts led to activity as widespread as it was impactful: in all, 79 influencers tagged content with the associated #PradaFW21, collectively driving $1.7 million earned media value, or EMV (Tribe Dynamics’ proprietary metric for quantifying the value of digital earned media). The luxury brand accrued $22.8 million EMV from 2,300 content creators in February, achieving a 10 per cent month-over-month increase in its average EMV per influencer ($9.8k EMV). Burberry invites influencers to take a seat One advantage of a digital fashion show is that you can watch it from anywhere—and you’re always in the front row. That was the message Burberry sent to influencers like Nathan Hopkinson (@curlyfrysfeed on Instagram) and Aleali May (@alealimay), when it gifted them branded deck chairs prior to debut its Fall 2021 menswear collection, inspired by the British countryside. Dressed in Burberry, recipients posed with their comfy seats in scenic outdoor locations, personally thanking chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci for the “invitation” to participate in the brand’s Fashion Week moment. Altogether, #BurberryAW21 won mentions from 29 content creators, accounting for $338,700 EMV of Burberry’s net $5.3 million EMV in February. Additionally, buzz about the menswear show contributed to Burberry’s 9 per cent month-over-month uptick in influencer posting frequency (2.0 posts per influencer) and 14 per cent increase in average EMV per influencer ($6.1k EMV). Moschino’s Jungle Red film spurs conversation Most of us aren’t exactly living large during the pandemic—but on the set of its digital Fashion Week show, a whimsical film titled Jungle Red, Moschino pulled out all the stops. Inspired by mid-century glamour and featuring stars like burlesque artist Dita Von Teese (@ditavonteese on Instagram) and supermodel Shalom Harlow (@shalomharlow), the opulent spectacle made a splash on social media thanks to high-impact posts from participants. Models shared content from the virtual show, with many writing about how much they enjoyed shooting the video: while Von Teese described it as “an absolutely dreamy day,” Harlow called performing a “pure delight.” Mentions of #MoschinoJungleRed generated $168,500 EMV of the luxury fashion brand’s $3.9 million EMV February total, helping Moschino achieve a 23 per cent month-over-month EMV growth fuelled by a 17 per cent month-over-month expansion of its influencer community. Miu Miu revives Women’s Tales film series As in previous years, Miu Miu paved the way for the debut of its Fall collection with a new short film from its female-directed Women’s Tales series, Shangri-La by Isabel Sandoval. While this season’s film didn’t see the exclusive screenings or parties that accompanied pre-pandemic Women’s Tales releases, Miu Miu ensured Shangri-La made waves on social media by styling celebrities including actresses Kiernan Shipka (@kiernanshipka on Instagram) and Alexandra Shipp (@alexandrashipppp) to view it at home. Campaign participants congratulated both Sandoval and the brand, with some emphasising the value of Miu Miu’s work in empowering women and people of colour in cinema: Shipp, for example, thanked the brand “for using your incredible platform to shine a light on BIPOC creatives.” Bolstered by support for the series’ progressive vision, content tagged #MiuMiuWomensTales garnered $466,100 EMV. Altogether, Miu Miu netted $3.8 million EMV in February, enjoying a 39 per cent month-over-month EMV growth and 43 per cent month-over-month increase in average EMV per influencer ($7,800 EMV). Salvatore Ferragamo embraces technology With references to Star Wars and Blade Runner, Salvatore Ferragamo’s Fall 2021 digital fashion show was all about the future—so it naturally followed that the brand took a similarly innovative approach to encouraging influencer activity around the event. In advance of the live-streamed show, Salvatore Ferragamo styled Instagram fashionistas like Madelyn Cline (@madelyncline) and Ella Hunt (@ellahunt) for Zoom photoshoots, leveraging editing technology to create the impression participants were on the runway. Content creators enthusiastically thanked the brand for including them in the creative initiative, with Madelyn calling the experience “a dream.” Meanwhile, Salvatore Ferragamo tapped a broader community of influencers, including Tessa Barton (@tezza) to hype the virtual event by showing off the outfits they’d be wearing to watch it remotely. Thanks to high-impact content from both campaigns, mentions of #FerragamoAW21 generated $747,800 EMV in February, 24 per cent of the brand’s $3.1 million EMV monthly total. The brand’s haul marked an impressive 206 per cent EMV increase from January, while its influencer community expanded 26 per cent month-over-month. As vaccine rollouts continue, we can look forward to in-person runway shows, and accompanying influencer festivities, returning—in fact, February’s events might just mark the last of the pandemic era’s digital Fashion Weeks. But let’s also hope that the forward-thinking spirit that permeated these virtual celebrations doesn’t fall away with Covid-19 restrictions. From offbeat campaigns to expressive films and Zoom photoshoots, fashion week’s transition online prompted brands to cater directly to content creators with impressive thoughtfulness and creativity, pushing the limits of what luxury fashion marketing looks like in 2021. By continuing to innovate and adapt to a changing world, luxury fashion brands can further strengthen their ties to influencers, and expand their presence on social media, in the years to come. Here are a few strategies and tips that brands in all verticals can use to level up their digital influencer activations and inspire impactful conversation: Engage your most passionate advocates Unfortunately, virtual events aren’t always as enticing to influencers as in-person celebrations. So when you’re planning a digital activation, invite content creators who have deep, time-honored relationships with your brand. These genuine fans can be counted on to enthusiastically chronicle their experiences with you, online or offline. Create opportunities for remote content creation The data’s in: Zoom get-togethers aren’t exactly Insta-worthy. Because virtual events don’t lend themselves to visually resonant content as easily as in-person gatherings, it’s helpful for brands to supplement digital event invitations with an Instagrammable gift (whether that’s a deck chair or a new product) that they can share on social media to commemorate their attendance. Don’t underestimate the power of fun As with in-person events, any virtual experience you provide should feel worthwhile to participants. At a time when many influencers and consumers are spending more hours than ever on their screens, plan something that content creators actively want to be a part of by catering to participants’ unique interests and preferences. Draw inspiration from shared values Increasingly, content creators are rallying behind brands with clearly articulated, values-driven missions, and embracing opportunities from brands to champion causes they care about. By building an initiative around an issue important to both influencers and your brand—from social justice to sustainability—you can give content creators a platform to propel forward a movement close to their hearts. Don’t be afraid to take risks There’s no formula for hosting a successful digital event, which means the sky’s the limit when it comes to how your brand unites influencers remotely. From Zoom campaigns to unconventional product sends, take advantage of the wide range of tools now available to brands to create one-of-a-kind remote experiences for your fans.