A Shift Towards De-influencing Fashion

Men’s Milano Fashion Week: A New Direction?

In a notable turn of events, Men’s Milano Fashion Week has revealed a shift towards de-influencing fashion.

During the three-day event, we noticed a decrease in the prominence of social media influencers. This shift appeared to be an attempt to redefine the role of fashion influencers, suggesting a potential change in the industry’s dynamics.

Yet the “pandoro gate,” which involved Chiara Ferragni (read more here), appears to have prompted a reconsideration of brand strategies. So far, whether brands liked influencers or not, they felt compelled to invite them. Now, something has changed.

Distinguishing two influencer categories

Examining the influencer landscape reveals two categories:
1- traditional celebrities who attain fame through acting, music, or wealth (they are just rich, so they automatically ascend to that state).
2- social media celebrities who build their public personas through continuous self-representation. They employ tactics to grow their audience, such as the unnerving follow/unfollow, bots or purchasing followers (even fake accounts).

Historically, the fashion industry maintained ties with conventional celebrities, although navigating their involvement with different rules. However, brands seeking cost-effective alternatives to traditional endorsements contributed to the rise of influencers – social media celebrities. Most importantly, this phenomenon transformed fashion into a carnival show and, in some instances, portrayed it as a vocation for those without substantial merit.

A shift in focus at Men’s Milano Fashion Week

The recent Men’s Milano Fashion Week has showcased a departure from the influencer-dominated scene. Shows like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana shifted the spotlight to traditional celebrities – actors, musicians, and rich kids – sidelining the ubiquitous Instagram influencers. No Instagram fluff!

While the “pandoro gate” may have played a role in brands reassessing their associations, it is evident that the symbiotic relationship with social media influencers is undergoing scrutiny. Brands, once content to profit alongside the “insta-fluff” phenomenon, now appear more discerning.

We have always been curious about why people buy products based on influencer recommendations, knowing they get paid to promote these products. Essentially, people contribute to fund their luxurious lifestyles by purchasing sponsored products. Just why? Aren’t they capable of independent thinking?

De-influencing fashion: the impact on audience dynamics

The strategic decision to feature traditional celebrities over showy influencers at Men’s Milano Fashion Week revealed a perceptible transformation in the event’s ambience. The shift towards established figures lent an air of sophistication to the audience, aiming to elevate the overall atmosphere. Also, it paved the way for a revitalised focus on the garments themselves.

With the spotlight redirected from ostentatious personalities to the garments, the runway presentations assumed a more cultured and nuanced tone.

A deliberate departure from the influencer-centric narrative would contribute to reviving an appreciation for the sartorial value and creativity that often take a backseat amid the fluff of social media-driven communication.

But is this shift towards de-influencing fashion a calculated, long-term strategy or a momentary pivot? Will it extend to Women’s Fashion Week?

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Prada / Simons: What went wrong?

FW 22-23 men’s fashion show – Consistency “did not report”

Consistency is a fundamental value in designing a product. And also in contributing to keeping it alive over time, shaping a recognisable aesthetic. Which evolves, but its DNA is always perceivable.

Some brands become a one-hit-wonder, a flash in the pan. But it takes hard work to remain on the market (and a lot of money too).

For this purpose, as a strategy, brands follow what’s popular, doing what other designers already did. In this way, they hope to sell more and thrive. But, doing so, they lose their core image, their identity. They lose their face.
Therefore, the message sent will lack that fundamental value – consistency.

We saw the Prada Fall-Winter 22/23 men’s fashion show. And we were very, very surprised. Though not in a good way.
The silhouette recalled Balenciaga so much that the point of the direction wasn’t clear. Also, underlining – “we do luxury, they do Slavic thrift shop” sounds like an excuse.

What went wrong?

There’s no evolution in terms of style. The runway was just a reproduction of things already seen.
And not that we do not appreciate oversize clothing. On the contrary, baggy was part of our selection long before it became popular.
We just gave up trying to understand Balenciaga’s nonsensical extremization. But we cannot see why the lady who has launched the ‘aesthetics of the ugly’ – now carried over by everyone, undoubtedly not with the same refinement – could ever take the decision to follow the mainstream.
That is a surprise! The biggest news! Instead of making a trend, Prada follows the trend.

Where’s the Pradaness?

If the presence of Raf Simons was supposed to bring fresh air in co-designing the brand, it was better when she was doing by-herself-herself-alone-her-own-brand.

With hindsight, Mrs Prada searching for support in co-designing sounds like ‘Hey, I cannot cope with the new trends.’
Did she have to cope with the new trends? No. She simply had to be herself. Be consistent by giving her own vision of ‘the new.’

But this is the love for fashion that speaks. What really counts are numbers. So, let’s finance rule the game. And say goodbye to consistency.

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