As I finished dinner with some friends near the Trocadéro plaza, we rushed over to get a glimpse of the YSL show for Paris Fashion Week. Before we knew it, we were just another one of the faces in the crowd pushed up against the barriers. I kept joking about how it felt like The French Revolution 2.0, with us as the peasants and the elites of fashion week as the bourgeoisie. “Let’s storm the bastille!”
I mean, it was totally worth it though. I saw Anna Wintour a mere 10 feet away from me. Joe Keery (Steve from Stranger Things) waved at me. We also caught a glimpse of Hailey Bieber and Rami Malek. So, we walked back to our hotel super excited at all we had experienced.
The next day I was reflecting on everything I saw.
Why are we so obsessed with people? People who are just like us but rich?
I would venture to say it’s human nature. We admire, add perceived value to, and aspire to be like those people because it’s glamorous (amongst other reasons).
The conversation continued when I sat down with LA photographer (and newfound friend) Jason Renaud in a Paris café a couple days later. We discussed celebrity culture, fashion week, social media, and everything in between. Here’s what he had to say about it all:
“As a photographer for 6+ years now, it’s been interesting to watch the phenomenon of influencers explode (and begin to wane), especially having only been on the fashion week circuit for just a little over a year now.
With the rise of Instagram and overall accessibility to fashion in general, it opened up a new market–a market for people. The day-to-day person is so busy, so influencers became a way for someone to open their phone, and go to a trusted source for fashion advice, trends, and soon enough, fashion week itself.
While there’s no inherent problem with people sharing fashion week and the experience of fashion week online to their fans–it soon became clear that half of the influencers going were only there for the “clout,” to make money, and to just show off outfits that they were wearing. And as more and more influencers emerged, it became even harder to tell who was genuinely there for the love of fashion, and who was there to capitalize on the trend of influencing in general.
Having worked directly for many influencers before, I’ve seen both the good and the bad–those that care about fashion and have followed it since they were young, and those that just liked the prestige of going to shows and getting their photos taken. In order for influencers to be viable long term, I think something has to change.
In order to truly influence someone (the term influencer I think has been taken far to liberally in the past couple years), you need to have true care and understanding behind wherever it is you’re coming from.
Which doesn’t mean that you know the most recent Gucci make up and go to its event. It means you understand the overall ethos and style that Gucci Beauty has tried to curate over the years.
The term influencer needs to be redefined and reshaped, by those who truly care.
It’s slowly begun to change I think. The over-saturation has begun. There’s only so many angles of a fashion show you can watch in a row. And with that comes fatigue and, soon enough, disinterest. With a lackluster AW20 season, I think brands will be forced to reconsider the role of influencers in overall brand messaging. It’s a crossroads, and I think next SS21 in September will be the true indicator of where this influencing culture is at, or if it’s time for fashion to move on.”
What are your thoughts on celebrity/influencer culture? Leave a comment below! Featured image by Jason Renaud. To see Jason’s work from PFW, check out his Instagram here.