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The "Bella-Effect" and the K-Pop-Phenomenon: Fashion week SS23 on social media

By Jule Scott


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The "Bella-Effect" Foto: Coperni

Spring/Summer 2023 was a season of extremes: Spectacular productions, designer debuts and larger-than-life collaborations collided with a national period of mourning in England in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away just before the start of London Fashion Week. Despite the postponement of several shows, including what would turn out to be Riccardo Tisci's final show as creative director for Burberry and Raf Simons' return to the English capital, the overall mood seemed relatively positive - perhaps because most of the shows returned to an in-person catwalk experience this season. Many designers focused on show-stopping moments with international celebrities, not so much to attract buyers and journalists but rather to cause a stir on social media.

The PR and image agency Karla Otto has now published a report detailing the impact of the Spring/Summer 2023 season on social media. FashionUnited has summarised the extent to which success on social media is relevant in the fashion world and which brands attracted everyone's attention this season.

Earned Media Value:

    To define the highest-performing shows of the season, Karla Otto collaborated with the influencer marketing platform Lefty for their SS23 report. Lefty analysed posts published by influencers with more than 10,000 followers and looked at the impressions and engagement rates of the influencers' Fashion Week postings. Whenever a person actively perceives a post or advertisement on any platform, social media marketing speaks of impressions. Engagement refers to the interaction with a posting. Lefty then determined the so-called Earned Media Value (EMV) for the posts or brands in question. Earned Media Value is a key performance indicator for brands and influencers to track the impact of their output. As part of the report, Lefty defines Earned Media Value as the equivalent of the advertising expenses brands would have to invest for the number of impressions gained. For Instagram, the company calculated the EMV with a price of 100 US dollars (100.35 euros) per cost-per-mille (CPM).

The power of celebrity, the rising dominance of K-Pop and the “Bella Effect”

How does a young French brand manage to outdo the establishment? In the case of Coperni, there are two explanations: Kylie Jenner's front-row-attendance and Bella Hadid, who had a dress spray painted on her nude body in a fifteen-minute-long performance on the runway. Considering Coperni's Earned Media Value of 27.7 million US dollars (27.80 million euros), it is noticeable that 13.47 million US dollars (13.52 million euros), almost half of it, can be traced back to postings on the Instagram-Accounts of Jenner and Hadid. These numbers offer the first insight into the importance of celebrities for a brand's success on social media. Gucci is currently considered the "hottest brand" in the world according to the British online fashion search engine Lyst. However, with an EMV of 13.6 million US dollars ( 13.69 million euros), the brand does not even make it into the top 10 of the most successful brands on social media this season. Only Dior, Saint Laurent and Fendi could outdo Coperni's designers, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant when it came to EMV this year.

While Fendi's mega-collaboration with designer Marc Jacobs and Tiffany and Co. is the most notable reason for the brands' high EMV, the two Parisian fashion houses rely on one phenomenon above all else: K-Pop. Jisoo, a member of the Korean girl group Blackpink, who tops the list of the season's top Influencers with 22.4 million US dollars (22.48 million euros) EMV, was a guest at Dior. Bandmate and Saint Laurent brand ambassador Rosé follows in third place with 21.7 million US dollars (21.78 million euros) EMV. Separating the two is Kylie Jenner, who boasts 22 million US dollars (22.08 million euros) EMV.

Bella Hadid, who already made a splash at Coperni, not only cemented her status as a supermodel this season. With just 13 posts the model generated a total EMV of 15.3 million US dollars (15.35 million euros) for the 19 designers whose runways she graced this season. According to the Karla Otto Group report, Hadid's presence increases a brand's Earned Media Value by 29 per cent on average. For Jil Sander, the model proved particularly lucrative. A post on Hadid's Instagram accounted for 90 per cent of Jil Sander's total EMV and helped the brand increase its Earned Media Value by 1170 per cent compared to the previous season.

New-York shines, London mourns and Milan stagnates

On average, SS23 generated 10 per cent more Earned Media Value than the previous one, but there were clear winners and losers, as only New York was able to achieve a significant increase with 82 per cent more EMV compared to the previous autumn/winter season.

Fashion Week – Earned Media Value at a glance

  • Paris Fashion Week: 284 million US dollars (284.99 million euros)
  • Milan Fashion Week: 117 million US dollars (117,41 million euros)
  • New York Fashion Week:75,06 million US dollars (117,41 million euros)
  • London Fashion Week: 11,1 million US dollars (11,14 million euros)

The main reason for this is Fendi, a guest brand at NYFW, which celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the iconic baguette bag in the US metropolis under the creative direction of Kim Jones. Paris and London both stagnated by 5 per cent. Nonetheless, Paris retained its spot at the top of the list of the four cities. Meanwhile, London, already the smallest of the fashion weeks, came in last. Milan, despite Moncler's and Diesel's fashion shows of superlatives, with 17,000 and 3,000 visitors respectively, recorded the most significant drop with 11 per cent less EMV.

The bigger the better

The number of influencers present at the various fashion weeks isn't officially known. However, most of them are micro-influencers with a following between 10,000 and 100,000. Micro-influencers are responsible for about 2.3 per cent of the EMV of the fashion weeks. 86.5 percent of the earned media value can be attributed to so-called mega-influencers with a follower count of one million or more. The remaining 11.2 per cent are distributed among macro and top influencers. Looking at the geographical distribution of EMV, it is once again striking how essential the Asia-Pacific region is, as it is the second most important driver of Earned Media Value.

Fashion Week – a geographical look at Earned Media Value:

  • America: 146 million US dollars (146,51 million euros)
  • Asia-Pacific: 139 million US dollars (139,48 million euros)
  • Europe: 30 million US dollars (30,10 million euros)
  • Africa: 1,5 million US dollars (1,51 million euros)
  • The Middle East: 0,5 million US Dollars (0,5 million euros)

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de and has been translated and edited into English.

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