Never has fashion photography been more important. Throughout decades, fashion photography has been a celebrated type of art form, and the photographers as celebrated as the fashion designers themselves, and new styles are finding their way due to our changing ways of living. Instagram and street photography have updated the paparazzi style of the past and are the exact opposite of the more constructed photo shoot that you see in magazines. While Photoshop and beautifying filters have made anything possible, the raw and authentic photo is just as important. Often tendencies work like this; when you have a strong trend of something, you often also see its exact opposite as a counter reaction. So what’s new in fashion photography?
The line between professional and amateur photography is being blurred, as technology is being easier to use. This is perhaps the biggest change to what’s new in fashion photography. You don’t need a fancy camera anymore, as your phone takes very decent pictures. You can crop photos on most laptops, and adding a filter will make anything look good. This is very entertaining, as obtaining a good result is always fun. You don’t even need to have a webpage today, as you can easily share with your friends on Instagram, Facebook, We Chat etc. Previously webpages and photo sharing were reserved for companies and famous people, as they were the only ones of interest to the public, but today we want to publish information about ourselves, and we want to find information about other people. Technology is creating a parallel reality, where we all have an identity. Normal and personal is the new black.
Selfies are another type of pictures, and together with our constant documentation of our lives (what we eat, where we are, how our cat looks when it sleeps etc.), they change how we live. It goes hand-in-hand with our habits of using social networks – or is perhaps the direct effect of it. The mania of Documentation is relevant to fashion, because when our habits change due to new technology, this will influence anything, also fashion.
Perhaps you remember when Coca-Cola a couple of years ago started writing names and titles on their drinks. Mass consumption needed to find a new formula for winning over a customer, who wants to have a personal relationship with consumer goods. It was a huge success, increased the turnover and created a fuzz and lots of attention. People spoke about it, people took pictures of it, and people posted it. And people thought it was really fun.
What is interesting about these more recent habits and marketing tools are that they tell us something about, what the consumer wants. Previously fashion designers needed to have photos for the campaign, lookbook, webpage and perhaps some ‘behind-the-scenes’ photos, if someone wanted to feature an article about your work. Today, though, you also need to find your own way of expression, when it comes to portraying your everyday life and work. The reason for this is that customers demand and expect to see it. They want to feel that they have an authentic and personal relationship with the designer.
Deciding how you want to portray your work in a professional way, is part of the marketing strategy, and this goes whether you’re a multi-billion brand or an upcoming designer. Also deciding on the media is important, but that’s a different discussion. Your Insta-designer-life is a very powerful way of communication, and an important way of building your brand. It’s situated somewhere between authentic and spontaneous photography and carefully studied situations, of how we get our message across. As with all other communication, the important thing is that it gets the right message across, and that’s the reason, it’s seldom as authentic as it looks.
You can actually buy followers and likes on the web, and again it’s a parallel reality, where things aren’t exactly as in real life. Information can be distorted, and it’s hard to know what to trust. With all this sharing, though, you can still get a relatively good idea, if something is popular and appealing or not, and it’s a good barometer for understanding your own popularity. If you’re just the least bit commercial in your approach to the market, I imagine you want to be successful, and therefore this is a useful barometer, as well as being an important part of your strategy.
Cover photo is of Fashion Stylist Filippo Picardi and myself, made by Luxury Marketer Fabio Ciquera.