The rise of the celebrity Frow is now dominating fashion weeks around the world with social networks going crazy for famous faces spotted beside the catwalks. But should fashion brands be paying more attention to who they invite to sit in next season’s front row?
One Direction’s Harry Styles helped Burberry generate more than 21,000 mentions online over London Fashion Week, across Twitter, Facebook and blogs, with comments about the teenage crush contributing to more than a third of this total.
Styles certainly seemed to work for Burberry with news of the pop star’s presence at the show sending waves across Twitter, and his attendance may have opened up the luxury brand to a whole new market.
My 12 year old cousin, for example, has “liked” Burberry on Facebook after seeing Styles went to the show. She may not be able to afford anything now but hooking consumers in at a young age can lead to brand loyalty later down the line.
But luxury brands must be careful that the celebrity does not overshadow and eclipse the show itself. Lady Gaga’s attendance at the Philip Treacy show contributed to over 5,000 mentions for Gaga – 2,000 more than Treacy himself.
It is also important to use celebrity associations wisely. While the likes of Styles are hot property this year, 2013 could see them being bargain bin material and Burberry and other brands must select their guests carefully to avoid devaluing the label as a luxury designer brand.
Burberry has already learned the hard way, shaking off its reputation as a “chavvy” brand that plagued it in the days when the likes of Daniella Westbrook was dressed head to toe in Burberry. But it took time and many to reinvent itself – not all of which are available to everyone.
Indeed it pays to work ahead, and be wary of the damage that a star can do to the brand as much as the benefits. Last year American casualwear giant Abercrombie & Fitch offered compensation to one of the stars of MTV’s hit reality TV show, Jersey Shore, to stop wearing its clothes, worried that his association with the brand would damage its image.
Let this be a lesson to all brands out there that while some celebrities may help labels climb up the social networking ladder not all publicity is good publicity.