Why Luxury Fashion Brands Need Influencer Marketing

October 2019

Influencer marketing has proven a major—and necessary—component of beauty and fashion brands’ marketing strategies. From product sends and brand trips to full-fledged collaborations (e.g., Revolve x Aimee Song), more and more beauty and fashion brands are recognizing and harnessing the power of influencer relationships, giving these impactful players key roles in their developing brand stories. 

Luxury fashion brands, on the other hand, have been slower to adopt this strategy. These prestige heritage brands—built around distinct creative visions and an air of exclusivity—have been more reluctant to hand over the reigns when it comes to who’s driving their brand narrative. When luxury labels do look for brand ambassadors, they tend to gravitate toward high-profile celebrity partnerships. But what’s important for luxury fashion brands to recognize is that social media influencers are becoming the new authorities in fashion.

Woman sitting in floral-print dress wearing red Gucci fanny pack.

Influencers are typically the most prolific content creators for high-end fashion houses, and what makes their content most powerful is the fact that it’s largely organic: fashion bloggers frequently tag their favorite luxury brands in their OOTD (“outfit of the day”) Instagrams, demonstrating authentic brand affinity that resonates with their followers. And while luxury fashion brands can passively benefit from such organic mentions, the brands that actively build relationships with these influencers and furnish them with additional opportunities for impactful content creation (did someone say Fashion Week?) are often the ones that come out on top. 

Here are a few examples of how this year’s top luxury fashion brands—Chanel, Dior, and Gucci—invited influencers to become part of their story—and inspired impactful content as a result. 

Chanel 

Invites Influencers to Emotional #ChanelInTheSnow Show

Model walking fashion show runway with audience members taking pictures.

Chanel wowed Paris Fashion Week attendees in March, honoring the late Karl Lagerfeld’s final collection with a poignant “Chanel in the Snow” show at the Grand Palais, re-imagined as a snowy village. The brand invited influencers including Camila Coelho, Brittany Xavier, and Chriselle Lim to the event, all of whom created effusive content around the “magical” and “emotional” runway show and thanked Chanel for inviting them to take part. By including influencers in such a personal chapter of the brand’s story, Chanel validated these content creators as important members of its family, in turn inspiring authentic and impactful content. #ChanelInTheSnow garnered $1.4M in Earned Media Value (EMV) from 118 content creators in March, helping the brand claim the No. 1 ranking in luxury fashion brands that month.

Dior 

Makes Memories in Marrakech for #DiorCruise

A white Dior gift box next to white roses on a fuzzy blanket.

In April, Dior hosted a stunning, lantern-lit show in Marrakech, Morocco, to showcase the label’s Cruise 2020 collection. The brand curated an “unforgettable” experience for its brand family members, including bloggers Leonie Hanne, Negin Mirsalehi (@negin_mirsalehi on Instagram), and Tamara Kalinic (@tamara). Not only did Dior invite them to the show, it also treated the influencers to welcome luncheons and lavish dinners, where they bonded with one another and learned more about the creation of the Cruise collection. The attendees shared prolific content expressing their appreciation to Dior for allowing them to be part of the experience: Tamara enthusiastically documented her “first time in Marrakech, attending my first ever Dior Cruise show,” while Leonie said the event was “the most beautiful and inspiring show I’ve ever attended.” #DiorCruise generated $1.5M EMV in April, and accrued a total of $2.6M EMV between January and August, ranking as one of the brand’s top 10 hashtags this year. 

Gucci 

Enjoys Shoutouts From Jeffree Star

Person with Gucci sweatpants standing outside with white dog on leash.

Beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star (jeffreestar) has proven a longtime fan of Gucci, and the brand continues to build upon the influencer’s organic interest, developing a strong personal relationship that has inspired consistent content creation. In 2018, Gucci gifted Jeffree Star a custom pink luggage set, which the influencer featured in a subsequent video, and in January, the brand took Jeffree to his dream concert, Elton John. Throughout 2019, Jeffree regularly sported Gucci in his content and hosted several Gucci giveaways on his social channels. As a result, the influencer ranked as one of the brand’s top influencers in 2019, driving $3.2M EMV across 29 posts between January and August. 

The bottom line is this: social media influencers are driving significant engagement for luxury fashion brands, and the brands that invest in influencer marketing and proactively build relationships with these powerful content creators are reaping the rewards. 

To learn more about how luxury fashion brands can best leverage Fashion Week to curate meaningful experiences with influencers and encourage effusive content creation, check out our recently published Guide to Fashion Week report. 

Read our Guide to Fashion Week Influencer Strategy

And to keep up with the latest goings-on in luxury fashion, click here to see how August’s Top 10 luxury fashion brands drove earned media success.

Topics: Fashion, Luxury