While last year's spring season was characterised by media-effective moments and spectacular productions, designer debuts and star power were on the agenda for spring/summer 2024. Viral showmanship was forgotten again for the first time this season, with brands instead focusing on a star-studded cast - both in the front row and on the catwalks.
The PR and image agency Karla Otto analysed in a report the extent to which this change in strategy has affected the social media appeal of fashion houses.
Striking actors as a goldmine?
According to the influencer marketing platform Lefty, which Karla Otto worked with for the report, the spring/summer 2024 season generated an earned media value (EMV) of more than 829 million dollars. This corresponds to an increase of 50 percent compared to SS23. In particular, the video platform TikTok, or rather #TikTokFashion, grew from 1.5 billion to a total of 9.5 billion views this season. However, unlike last year, designers were unable to rely on top model Bella Hadid to drive EMV - the model was absent this season due to illness - but found lucrative alternatives in athletes, screen heroes and TikTok phenomena.
Earned Media Value:
- To define the most outstanding shows of this season, Lefty and Karla Otto analysed Instagram posts and TikTok videos from influencers with more than 10,000 followers. The platform looked in particular at the respective impressions and engagement of the influencers' Fashion Week posts. Lefty then calculated the earned media value (EMV) of the respective posts and brands. Earned Media Value is a key indicator for brands and influencers to understand the impact of their publication. As part of the report, Lefty defines earned media value as the equivalent of the advertising spend a brand would normally have to make for the impressions gained. For Instagram and TikTok, a price of 100 dollars per cost-per-mille (CPM), also known as the cost-per-contact price (CPM), was calculated.
Of the 200 brands analysed in the report, 189 opted for actor presence as part of their marketing strategy. According to Thomas Repelski, co-founder and CEO of Lefty, one reason for the strong presence of actors and actresses at Fashion Week is the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike in Hollywood, which fashion brands now seem to be capitalising on. High-profile celebrities contributed a total of 610 million dollars to the season's overall EMV. Among them, actors generated the highest average EMV at 450,000 dollars per person.
However, the highly anticipated debut of designer Sabato De Sarno at Gucci proved to be only the second biggest show during Milan Fashion Week, despite all the hype and a front row featuring stars such as Jessica Chastain, Ryan Gosling and Paul Mescal. At the end of the day, the Florentine fashion house was only the fifth most media-active brand of the entire season. Gucci and its brigade of stars generated an EMV of 35.4 million dollars, growing by over 139 percent compared to the previous year, yet couldn't hold a candle to either Prada or Dior.
The five strongest brands of the spring/summer 2024 season
- Dior: 57.1 million dollars); Growth of 1.6 percent year-on-year (SS23)
- Prada: 50.8 million dollars; Growth of 70.4 percent year-on-year (SS23)
- Louis Vuitton: 44.9 million dollars; Growth of 156 percent year-on-year (SS23)
- Schiaparelli: 41.1 million dollars; no previous year’s value
- Gucci: 35.4 million dollars; Growth of 139 percent year-on-year (SS23)
In fact, the divided attention on different talents could have worked "against" Gucci in this case, because while the strong focus on one person does harbour a risk, the strategy can certainly generate the desired attention if the right choice is made. A prime example of this was the appearance of US actress Zendaya at the Parisian luxury brand's SS24 show. Pictures of the Louis Vuitton brand ambassador not only flooded social media, but also brought in an EMV of 15.3 million dollars. This means she was responsible for 39 percent of the brand's total media volume.
In addition to well-known personalities such as Zendaya, the presence of Asian actors was also significant. Among the five actors who attracted the most attention during SS24 Fashion Weeks, three were from Asia. Brands are increasingly capitalising on the talents’ high profile, especially their remarkably high engagement rates on social media and extremely loyal following. The report also states that the luxury market in Southeast Asia is expected to grow by 10.25 percent between 2023 and 2027, making the region a new playground and opportunity for brands.
Dior has already recognised this opportunity and once again secured first place in the ranking of the most media-effective brands this season. The French fashion house recorded an EMV of 57.1 million dollars, but only a relatively low growth of 1.6 percent compared to the previous year (SS23). This could be due to the brand's influencer and brand ambassador strategy, which has been in place for several seasons now. Dior has been relying on Korean pop stars and various TikTok and Instagram celebrities for some time now. This season, however, it was the up-and-coming Thai actors Nattawin Wattanagitiphat (9.7 million dollars in EMV) and Mile Phakphum Romsaithon (7.2 million dollars in EMV) that caught everyone's attention.
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner, however, has not been able to hold a candle to anyone this season. The 26-year-old was a guest at Schiaparelli and Acne Studios - two short appearances that generated a total EMV of 22.6 million dollars.
The five most important personalities of the spring/summer season 2024 (on Instagram)
- Kylie Jenner: 22,6 million dollars
- Zendaya: 15,3 million dollars
- Enhypen (Band):11,1 million dollars
- Nattawin Wattanagitiphat: 9,7 million dollars
- Momo: 8,2 million dollars
TikTok phenomena and athletic masterpieces
The fashion industry has also found a strong ally in sport this season. Beyond the boundaries of menswear, brands are increasingly capitalising on the appeal of athletes from different sports to adorn their front rows. This strategic move not only expands the circle of talent, but also attracts a broad and diverse audience, says Karla Otto.
In spring/summer 2024, however, the trend for collaborations between fashion brands and athletes reached new heights, with as many as 35 brands teaming up with a total of 68 athletes. These collaborations resulted in a total EMV of 14.2 million dollars.
At the centre of this fusion of sport and fashion are David and Victoria Beckham. Their new documentary series, which was unveiled during London Fashion Week, has catapulted them to new heights of cultural relevance. This documentary not only led to a surge in EMV for the SS24 season, but also cemented David Beckham's status as the most relevant athlete of the season. He achieved an EMV of 6.5 million dollars.
The five most important athletes of the spring/summer season 2024 (on Instagram)
- David Beckham: 6,5 million dollars
- Liz Cambage:931.000 dollars
- Achraf Hakimi:892.000 dollars
- Son Heung-min: 761.000 dollars
- Bukayo Saka: 544.000 dollars
In a seamless transition from one pop culture phenomenon to the next, nowhere is the influence of popular culture more evident than on TikTok. The hashtag #TikTokFashion recently racked up 9.5 billion video views in a single month, surpassing SS23 season views by 2.4 times, according to TikTok.
Fashion houses were quick to recognise the booming TikTok trend and capitalise on it. Gucci, for example, collaborated with social media luminary Amelia Dimoldenberg, who is known for her ‘Chicken Shop Dates’, a video format in which she interviews celebrities, in the run-up to the show. This included a conversation with influencer Emma Chamberlain, who has hosted prestigious events such as the Met Gala.
The rise of Sabrina Bahsoon, also known as ‘Tube Girl’, one of the latest TikTok sensations, is another example of the social media platform’s far-reaching influence. Bahsoon became famous on social media for short videos of herself dancing on the crowded London Underground. Her presence has now expanded beyond digital platforms. The dancing influencer has been a guest at various shows in New York and Paris. Her influence goes beyond users' screens and has generated an EMV of 1.6 million dollars via TikTok and Instagram, generating more than one million impressions for brands.