How Retailers Can Navigate the Changing Social-Media Scene


Amelia Castellanos, Ilse Metchek and Aaron Polk of Bank of America

Fashion trends come and go, and the way to communicate with customers has been turned upside down.

“There are no seasons. We’re wearing white in September,” said Ilse Metchek, observing that a once-important fashion rule of not wearing white after Labor Day has all but disappeared.

Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association, was the moderator for a March 11 seminar about “Reaching the New Consumer,” held during the Label Array show at the California Market Center March 11–13.

To bring everyone up to speed, Metchek went over a little recent fashion history. In the past decade, there’s been a top-to-bottom transformation of the fashion-business model. One of the most visible changes is that the once ironclad fashion calendar has changed. Seasons are not as important to designers as they once were.

Fashion trends play out sooner where they once took a few years to go through a lifecycle, often championed by trendy people who study the latest in fashion and wear the trending styles.

Also, ways of communicating with consumers have changed. At the top of this new fashion-communication world are social-media influencers, notably the Kardashian family, who promotes products on social-media channels such as Instagram and other outlets. Influencers’ cultural cachet commands attention from many demographics, and retailers want to reach them.

According to a 2018 Klear Marketing report, the number of social-media posts created to promote a product doubled between 2016 and 2017.

Panelist Amelia Castellanos, vice president of digital media for Grass Monkey, a Los Angeles–based e-commerce consulting company, cautioned that retailers need to become well versed in the rules and laws regarding what images they can post on social media. If a celebrity is photographed wearing a brand, it doesn’t mean that the celebrity is endorsing that brand. Retailers should confirm what images they are able to post when it comes to a celebrity wearing a specific brand and choose the right social-media platforms for their audience.