Rise And Rise Of The Fashion Influencer

Long reads

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In late 2009, a 21-year old law student launched her personal style blog 'The Blonde Salad' from the quaint town of Cremona, Italy. But fast forward to 2018 and Chiara Ferragni is signing lucrative deals with the most sought-after labels in the world, as well as launching her own line of shoes that are exclusively made in Italy. But what is the formula for profitability? Société magazine examines how fashion bloggers pave their way to success in a very complex digital stratosphere.

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Chiara, like many other popular bloggers around the world, represents the new face of fashion brand marketing. An image captured, posted in real-time across a diverse number of online platforms and shared, yields quick, direct results.

It's been roughly 10 years since fashion blogging gathered momentum with internet-savvy young women establishing their own personal style blogs which became an outlet for its author to express themselves. 

As a result of our constantly evolving digital age, the concept of marketing has been transformed. Where luxury brands were once battling each other for a double-paged spread across the pages of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, the contest has taken on a new dimension. Instagram's image dimensions of 600x600, to be exact. 

This change in direction has led digital influencers to monetize their platforms through various mediums. While brands supply bloggers with valuable sample clothing to wear during fashion week, posting a picture on a bloggers Instagram can cost the brand anywhere between $1,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of followers the blogger/influencer/celebrity has. Kendall Jenner- although a celebrity supermodel- partnered with Calvin Klein who reportedly paid her $50,000 to post a single image (pictured below) while wearing the latest underwear by the label across her social media platforms.

Kendall Jenner in Calvin Klein's Spring 2016 campaign

Kendall Jenner in Calvin Klein's Spring 2016 campaign

In 2015, L'Oreal named Swiss blogger Kristina Bazan of 'Kayture' as its first e-spokeswoman, while in early 2016, Pantene announced that its latest global brand ambassador would be none other than Chiara Ferragni in a reported multi-million dollar deal. Where once hair care giants partnered with A-list celebrities including Julianne Moore and Eva Mendes, they've now turned their eye to influencers, harnessing their ability to reach a wider audience across a multitude of social platforms.

Kristina Bazan for L'Oreal

Kristina Bazan for L'Oreal

Of the many lucrative formulas bloggers so often use, affiliate links are the simplest way of monetizing their platforms. Sites including ShopStyle and RewardStyle use partner links on blogs to directly link to apparel that the influencer in features in their published images. In return, the bloggers will get paid based on the number of clicks or a percentage of total sales made from their posts.

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Brand extensions are another form of self-promotion when a blogger has established themselves within the industry as highly influential. In 2012, Chiara Ferragni launched her namesake label consisting of everyday quirky graphic shoes. The blogger turned designer sells her products on her blog theblondesalad.com as well as several key luxury boutiques all over the world. According to reports, Ferragni's shoe line turned in over $10 million in revenues by the end of 2015.

For many an aspiring blogger, it may seem as simple as posting pictures online to attain real success. But as our report details, it's the audience and the blogger's business acumen that truly defines an influencer. Being in tune with what their followers and sponsors want to see is the key to winning big in the industry.

Once again, the final word lies with the consumer.