The future of fashion

And how Alexander Wang is using social to get ahead

By Katie Noble

Alexander Wang spoke at the world’s biggest tech conference, Web Summit 2018 last week of how the fashion industry has dramatically changed in recent years and why he has decided to embrace social and encourages open dialogue with his consumers to get ahead in the fashion world.

A few years ago, the fashion industry was solely focused on the catwalk and designers connected with their consumers through product and seeing someone walking down the street carrying their latest bag or wearing their shoes. However, in the ever-evolving world we live in and the advancements of digital and the growth of social media, designers such as Alexander Wang are now able to engage with their consumers and expand the elasticity of how they think about story-selling as a brand.

“The conversation is so important for me… the constant feedback… that dialogue is something I go back to constantly” tells Alex, where he uses his social channels as avenues to communicate with his consumers, instead of just using the likes of Instagram as a visual mood board. What’s more, with Alex’s 4.5 million followers on his brand Instagram account and nearly half a million on his private account, that is a lot of first hand, instant consumer insights and feedback that other brands would kill for!

Asked if the growth of social media has meant losing control of his brand story, Alex replied “I think it comes back to having a unique point of view… if you have a unique point of view, and you’re committed, and you’re dedicated to that. You’re never going to be able to control it in its entirety, people will always have an opinion… so for me it was always important that there was an opinion and to allow for that opinion to be discussed and to create impact”. So, whilst it’s important to gage consumer reactions to his latest collections and ensure constant feedback as a two-way dialogue, keeping true to his brand and ensuring his story telling and every piece of content produced stays on brand is key to Alex achieving success in this new digital fashion era.

However, working with celebrities as brand ambassadors in the fashion industry can create more potential pitfalls for brands. Using influencers as a platform to grow brand awareness and image means sharing these celebrates with other brands, whereby the celebrity in question is only your brands’ muse for a limited time. Looking for a way to mitigate this risk in the future, Alex is looking to embrace AI and create his own Aviator, “if we had someone that I could create… what they look like look, what they would do day-to-day, that would be the ultimate muse, the ultimate representation of the brand”.

So, whilst the fashion industry has been slow to adapt to the digital economy, with designers such as Alex fully embracing the digital world, we could be seeing some exciting developments in the future.

Nb:

Alexander Wang was born in San Francisco and attended the Parsons Design School in New York before he debuted his first runway collection show at New York Fashion week in 2007, going on to receive a list of fashion awards including the highly prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund-prize. He then went on to release his main line, has worked on countless collaborations including H&M, Adidas, Uniqlo, Pepsi and Samsung and had garnered an incredible celebrity following, including recently dressing Beyoncé and Janet Jackson, and working closely with Kyle Jenner.