The democratisation of fashion has proliferated over the last number of years, due to the inflating amount of fashion designers presenting worldwide, compounded by the rise of social media. First influencers rose from the depths of Instagram before they dominated Explore pages and cultivated viable career paths for themselves in the industry—albeit the ethics behind it are questionable. Designers, too, are now able to present their works without leaving their bedroom. In fact, they can be anywhere from a nightclub to a cinema, allowing their work to stratospherically rise by just clicking a few buttons.
In New York, designer Wes Gordon forewent an expensive fashion show or static presentation in favour of posting the lookbook of his Fall 2016 show to Instagram. It signalled the changing face of fashion presentation. Things were taken to new heights recently by the marketing genius of the Kardashian-West clan of Calabasas who simultaneously touched on the exclusivity of yore and the democratisation of today with the release of impresario Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 6.
Yeezy Season 6 was expected to be shown at New York Fashion Week but a PR representative announced it wouldn’t be ready in time and insiders revealed it would be likely Mr. West would present at Paris Fashion Week, the pinnacle of high fashion, a city with a troubled past for the Kardashian family. In Paris, industry folk began receiving a pair of socks emblazoned with ‘Season 6’. It was a red herring—a Season 6 event never materialised.
To her 105 million followers on Instagram, Ms. Kardashian West, Mr. West’s wife and entrepreneur, began posting paparazzi photos of herself dressed in subdued, muted neutral tones—yoga pants and hoodies: Calabasas chic—over a week ago. Again at a petrol station a few days later, as Ms. Kardashian West stepped into her Bentley, she wore a duck egg blue stretch-fit top and tracksuit pants. More images followed of the reality-TV star at dinner, shopping, stepping out of a Back to the Future-inspired car or on television show recordings. (They didn’t advance the aesthetic in anyway, at this stage Mr. West has carved a minimal passage for himself in the industry, perfecting his fabrication as he goes and catering to the hypebeasts and luxury sportswear customers around the globe.) Ms. Kardashian West eventually announced to the masses that she was wearing “All Yeezy Season 6”. On December 5, via her Snapchat, the 37-year-old directed followers to a website which has Season 6 available for pre-order.
A new advertising method is born. Photographic expense is covered, the seedy paparazzi pack did all the work—just an average day for them; earning upwards of ten thousand dollars for a photograph of the reality-TV personality, as she goes about her day in the affluent neighbourhood of Calabasas, California. Simply purchasing the stock photographs for a minimal price, the marketing team behind the release of Yeezy Season 6 simply allowed Ms. Kardashian West to wear the clothes as she pleased. (The paparazzi pictures add an element of voyeurism to proceedings. Mr. West famously dabbled with voyeurism in the music video for his controversial song ‘Famous’, in which life-size wax figures of Bill Cosby, President Donald J. Trump, Taylor Swift, Mr. and Mrs. West lay nude on a California king bed. It’s signifies the cultural shift, one obsessed with the cult of celebrity.)
In a way, it’s child’s play, an ingenious feat and PR coup. Posting the images to her personal Instagram for millions to behold, not only does she advertise herself, but the all-important clothing, which Mr. West wants so desperately to be taken seriously. In posting the images to her personal account, Mr. and Mrs. West take the control from the magazines and online publications who formerly shared advertising campaigns with the world.
One also must consider how the images of new clothing were published over the space of a month, as the designer’s wife promoted her new beauty line KKW Beauty. The slow-release of this imagery, in a way, challenged the immediacy of fashion. In a bygone era, clothes were presented and the public didn’t see them for six months. This is that on a very small scale, with a quick switchover, however their is sufficient time for the clothes to pervade the minds of many, some 105 million and counting.