How social media has impacted PR in fashion
Social media has become a big part of everyday life, and it is constantly shifting. Over the last decade, social media has become an essential tool to build brand awareness and connect with audiences.
“When social media first became a 'new media' opportunity more than 10 years ago, many brands were hesitant or unsure about how to create an effective social media presence,” said Michelle Chila, lecturer at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM) and CEO and Founder of MC Squared Marketing. “At first, most Marketing Departments only made it a small percentage of their media budget or PR efforts, and continued to focus on traditional areas such as print, TV, and radio.”
Chila also emphasized how much things have changed in a decade. “Today, the media landscape of 10 years ago no longer exists. Successful brands in every category have come to fully embrace social media and influencers, making it their number one priority for marketing and PR campaigns, with the dollars to back it up. For savvy marketers, it's become the ultimate source for storytelling and content generation.”
Although social media helps brands gain exposure and reach global audiences, it also has negative consequences. One of them entails the issue of overconsumption in fast fashion and the harsh impact that micro-trends have on the environment.
“I think the trend cycle has exceeded rapidly with social media, and it’s actually so much more harmful than people realize,” said Kimberly Lee, TikTok social media coordinator for Rag Report. “Since everything is so instantaneous and brands lean into the fear of missing out, people are consuming at a rapid rate, which is harmful to the planet and garment workers.”
Social media has contributed to the fast fashion trend, but it really took off once TikTok became popular in 2020. Fast fashion brands such as SHEIN will copy the design from another website and mass produce it and sell it for half the price. As a result, many consumers are quick to buy because it is what is considered “trendy” at the moment.
With most things, there is always a positive and negative aspect that comes from it. On the one hand, trends on social media have had an impact on the environment and contributed to overconsumption. On the other hand, social media has been a useful tool for PR practitioners, promoting brands, and creating new opportunities to work with influencers. Social media has become a considerable part of a brand's identity, and it is crucial to have a strong social media presence these days to succeed.
By: Marlise Sanchez
Marlise Sanchez was born and raised in San Diego and is a fourth-year student at San Diego State University majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. After graduation, she hopes to move to LA or NYC and hopes to work in PR within the entertainment or beauty industry.