How has the influx of digital media affected stylists?
It’s helped, for sure. Instagram is an amazing tool for stylists, it’s so easy to find new up and coming brands now. Also Elizabeth has a huge Instagram following and because of that a lot of people know who she is. It’s crazy the number of people that you can reach.
Regarding magazines, though, it’s a little bit less beneficial obviously, but I think print will always exist in some form. When I was at Teen Vogue it was all about growing their online presence. I think it’s more of a learning curve than necessarily a negative. I don’t think print will ever completely disappear because people will always want to hear from the experts.
Agreed. With this industry becoming increasingly democratized, it’s important to also listen to the people who’ve studied fashion versus the general public's opinion. Anyone can be an influencer. So a balance is good and print definitely holds that one side in tact.
Of course. I think the expertise and reputation is what keeps publications alive. I think also the extreme influx of fashion bloggers and influencers has a negative effect on their power. With so much dilution it’s hard to know who to trust or which accounts to follow so consumers turn back to the experts.
True, magazines have built up trust, which has followed into the digital era because it’s so unknown.
Right, exactly. That's basically what magazines exist on is that they are the most knowledgeable in their field. Also print can feed back into digital. I know People Style Watch has this feature where you can scan the print page with your phone and then you can click and actually buy what's on the page, so I think they can work together like that.
So do you think digital can help print survive?
Yes totally! A lot of the time magazines will post one photo from an editorial on Instagram and it gets me excited, and I’ll want to buy the issue.
How has the influx of digital media changed fashion illustration?
I think it's been so great for it. I wasn't really aware of it before but it has allowed everyone to showcase their work and make it accessible to anyone. For example, I did a drawing of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid and they both regrammed it because I tagged them and, by chance, one of them happened to see it which I think that's so cool. Digital media gives you potential access to anyone, the coolest word of mouth is the explore page.
How has the influx of digital media affected fashion show production?
Yes, so we have to take social media into the consideration now when we’re working on lighting and sets. Some brands want a more Instagram-able set, and others want backstage elements for Instagram. The shows used to be for private, exclusive groups who got to see the collections before everyone else, but now they can be seen around the world within seconds.
That's what led to kind of the see-now, buy-now model. Everyone’s seeing the clothing right away, within seconds of a show, so it almost makes sense to start selling the clothes amidst the excitement of all the new collections.
What effect has the influx of digital media had on makeup artists?
Within two years it's extremely changed. Now I feel like it's not enough just to do makeup. To be successful, we have to put our work on social media. Backstage beauty used to be a big secret. Nobody wanted to share anything, and everything was very closed off. Now, suddenly everything's started to be very open to the world. If you use it, it can give you a lot of opportunities.
You can learn everything from the internet now, which is fantastic. For example, I do my tutorials, which I make and edit myself, which I learn how to edit from YouTube. If somebody really wants to find and learn something, it's so accessible. Everything is there. If you search it, you can find it.
How do you think the influx of digital media has affected the role of a stylist?
It’s affecting new stylists and how they showcase their work, and which platforms they use to do so for sure. No one can deny the incredible power social media has to sell their work. There are obviously still so many magazines out there right now and print is so beautiful. It is particularly difficult though, for newbies like me to find a middle ground print magazine to showcase their work in. There's definitely a gap regarding midway print magazines; there’s not a lot of really good ones out there, which is frustrating. No one wants to put their work in a bad magazine, there’s only so many mid level print mags that you can work with and then the higher level ones we just don’t have access to yet.
Do you think that’s changing though?
I hope so! It’s just about putting more magazines at that level I guess. But then it’s a catch 22 situation because the market is currently so so saturated. I'm currently working on a little project that's quite close to my heart. It’s a magazine called Zine Mag. Sarah Louise Stedeford and I have just shot a lengthy men’s casting story for it and it was all shot on film and hand printed by Sarah.
Ahh I’m excited to see it. There's a real push in the industry towards going back to film. Why do you think that's happening?
I think a lot of it is because people are craving a slower pace in the industry, plus the images are just so much more beautiful and interesting. It’s also about taking back the art of it, you have to learn the craft to shoot in film, and there’s a lot of respect that comes with doing so.
For styling, do you prefer your work being shot in film or in digital?
For me personally, I like the idea of working with somebody who works with film because the whole process is more considered. You have less bullets to fire, so you choose wisely with how and what you shoot.
How do you think being introduced to technology later on in your life impacted you instead of the generation that follows who were introduced to technology at a younger age?
I think I had it lucky.
I love Instagram and seeing all these images and knowing what’s going on etc.
But I’m happy, grateful even, that I spent my teens and student years delving into and cherishing the things that interested me.
I used to be such a technophobe! I only got an email to apply for Uni/BA and my first USB once I started. I didn’t even have a smartphone or wifi at my student house throughout my BA. But now I have to use it all the frickin time! So I’ve adapted. I know how to do the things I need to, but it’s boring to always be online, on emails, and working on a digital screen. So in my work, I love to keep an element of modern craftsmanship and work created using hands, or old school processes like silk-screen, hand-collaged heat transfer prints, hand sewing in applique, heat-pressing on my machine in the studio, etc.
Yeah I agree. What effect is digital having on the fashion industry?
Everyone gives me that same look when I ask that question.
It changed the entire fashion industry and how people view your work and interact with it. Everything is so fast now. Everything is accessible.
I think it's really good in a way because there are more outlets to show your work but at the same time, the industry is becoming much, much more commercially focused. This obsession with Instagram followers; I think it’s quite ridiculous. It's a shame because when you’re at a magazine, sometimes you're looking at models just because they have a lot of followers, and I'm like, "Why?"
It drives me crazy.
It's not because she has an interesting look, it's just because she has the most followers.
I understand though because it is a business, and if a model has a lot of followers then it’s that many more people viewing your work when she posts it to social media. But because of this way of thinking we’re losing some really good talent.
Also, all of these reality TV stars too. I mean I watch the Kardashians, I think they’re hilarious, but I see more and more reality TV stars all over the fashion industry when maybe it should just stay funny and entertaining on TV. It’s getting to be too much.
I agree. There're a time and place for everything.
How has the influx of digital media affected magazines?
It’s been good and bad. I think it’s been good because it will eventually narrow the selection of magazines to only the ones that are actually worthwhile and interesting.
I think a negative aspect is that everything is over exposed. You’re constantly seeing imagery and old references that people are re-referencing. I hate it when people copy stuff. They'll look through a Tumblr page and see these great 90s campaigns and then they’ll do the exact same thing. My mind is constantly over-saturated with imagery.
It's obnoxious when places are dependent on constantly churning out new stuff where it becomes fluff, and none of it is interesting because the turn around has to be so quick.
Yeah, totally. Today in our office meeting, Nowness was talking about how they used to put out a video out every day of the year, but now they're cutting it back to 3 per week. Not because they're doing poorly or because they’ve cut funding, it's just because people work so hard on those videos. If there’s one every single day, you don't pay attention to it for long enough to respect it and appreciate how much work went into it. I think less content, but better quality is key.
Things are becoming more accessible and can reach a wider audience. It’s easier to become inspired and be aware of upcoming stylists, photographers, models, etc. which I really love. I think the negative side is that there is an elevated need for instant gratification, and often I think that makes the industry lose its magic.
I’m no expert, but my understanding is that it’s causing an insatiable hunger for the new. This may also manifest somewhat indirectly when consumers become sick of a product before it even becomes purchasable. If a shoe, say, is circulating Instagram, the web, etc, from the moment it has been livestreamed, very often its desirability withers within that six-month waiting period. So while the frequency and familiarity of the digital world make fashion accessible, I think it simultaneously depletes the desirability of a product.
You see a lot of these Instagram models, trying to look like Kim Kardashian and you see a lot of-
Kill me. I deleted all of my social media.
If you have a million followers, you'll get a place on a magazine cover as opposed to a model whose well deserved, working their ass off, going to a million castings just waiting for that 1 person to say yes like, that shit is hard. I feel like there was a time when real supermodels held that place. That was their job. Now the real talent is being overshadowed by these Instagram models- It’s sad.
It’s sad for magazines because print is already going out of business so it’s like do we put Gigi Hadid on the cover who we know is going to sell or do we put Molly Bair on the cover who might not.
Who’s fucking awesome by the way!
Incredible! She’s my favorite model. I love her look.
Me too. A lot of things just seem so glamorous and it’s not. I know that from working in fashion. It seemed so glamorous before you’re like, “Oh my God! I just want to do that. It looks so cool”.
You chill that day at work. You're around pretty clothes all day. This is probably what my parents think that I'm doing everyday but I'm like, no, there's hard work that goes into it and it's not pretty. Trucking around garment bags, running around, making sure everything's good to go.
The model, when you call their agent, "Oh, the model's sick. She doesn't feel good." Oh shit, we need to move all of the other stuff. You need to get a van in two seconds, and throw all this shit in here. It’s long hours that goes into it. It’s interesting to talk to models, and they’re like I just ran to 20 different castings, I barely got to put on my shoes, I didn’t get to eat today. My agents yelling at me because I’m late!
It’s interesting because you hear these model stories, but I wonder if celebrities turned models are experiencing the same thing? Probably not, they have a car waiting for them outside, and they can arrive when they want to and it’s all chill.
I think blogs became so exciting when it became accessible to the everyday person and you were able to do it. But I think it got to a tipping point where everybody had a blog and nothing felt original and nothing felt fresh anymore. It influenced the self-importance of our generation; a lot of social media made us really value what people think of us more than we should. It made us think that we are bigger than ourselves. On a positive note, it also changes the way we see ourselves in relation to the rest of the world. We are so easily able to talk to someone in a country that we have never visited and I think that is a really exciting thing to do. But I think that there is going to be a push back in the sense that, we need to get back to our everyday in real life conversations and focus less on how we are projecting ourselves.
I think in a lot of ways it is great that it's democratizing. Places like Man Repeller wouldn't exist without it. I think those are really great places where digital media is really helping out the industry. Direct-to- consumer startups like Glossier are really exciting. The one thing that I'm not super in favor of is the churning out of content constantly. In a perfect world, we should have really good features written by really good writers, and not all of the fluff that's out there.
Huge, but I'm not happy about it in every sense. I'm still an old-school nerd who likes to physically buy magazines and books, hold the pages, and not look at everything online. I also think it's made it a lot more efficient. The ability to just sit and search anything like motorcycle jackets and red lips. You're going to have endless results show up. Also accessibility. Before, you had to be invited to see anything and now everything is online.
Is it becoming less exclusive or more exclusive because everyone wants it now?
I would say it's becoming less exclusive in a sense that it's exposed to everybody. A girl sitting in a Montana cabin with a laptop can look at what's happening at Paris Couture live. I think it also made those, who are the elite, even more closed off if that makes sense.
More famous and even harder to get to just because they're maybe thinking, "Oh, everyone can see my life on Instagram, my runway shows, they see where I like to eat, whatever," but to actually get to know them and be personal around them is even... everyone has another life than what they put on Instagram.
They almost feel like, "I'm giving you all this, but I still have my personal life that you have no idea about. Don't even come close to me."
How has digital media affected stylists?
Anyone can be a stylist now, which is a horrible thing and a great thing. If you go on Instagram or Tumblr people, say they're stylists all the time and maybe that's true. Maybe that's not. Digital media has definitely opened a lot of people's eyes. Tumblr has helped me with references and being inspired, but also too much knowledge is not a good thing. Having all of these things that you just know about can't always be a good thing. So many people think they know everything, but really they don't.
It's always a matter of execution and talking the talk and walking the walk and I think a lot of people like to talk the talk on social media, but they don't walk the walk, which is fine. I think it's great that everyone has such a huge interest in fashion now because of the Internet.
Then how has digital affected the fashion industry in Amsterdam?
People want to get their news by digital media. Then Vogue, the print, is more about inspiration. It’s the coffee table book that you will have forever. Print is never going to go away because people always want to have something to read on the couch or in the bathtub, or lay on the table just to have. Whereas for online, you’re just updated on a daily basis.