Fifteen years ago, there was no Twitter to help users follow their favorite brands in real time; no Facebook to keep them updated about the latest boutiques. Growing up in Connecticut meant my access to the fashion industry was limited to what the mall was selling; luckily, we could also turn to the glossies for inspiration. Brick-and-mortar stores were, and always had been, limited to those who could access them within driving distance. Social media has not only changed the way we currently keep in touch with our best pals across the country, but it essentially revolutionized the way brands are able to acquire a following—often eerily reminiscent to the cult-like following of Charles Manson–and reach the masses in every crevice around the globe.
These days, it seems as though the blogosphere is more saturated than ever. It can take hours to weed through dot coms before getting to that perfect street style shot that gives a designer the inspiration he needs for his next collection. With platforms that allow users to express their feelings through multiple mediums—with much ease yet zero cost—an influx of fashionistas began spewing out content quicker than they could survey the floor at Barneys. To quote one of the many tweets by the widely popular bar Blind Barber, “Grandma is the only person I know without a fashion blog.”
As of late, cyberspace has begun to see an insurgence of menswear. In The Oral History of Menswear Blogging, Michael Bastian says, “There are these guys in their 20s, straight guys in their 20s, who are very obsessive about their clothes. It’s so fascinating to me because I never realized this group of guys existed, who follow designers and clothing like a lot of guys might follow baseball. And it’s not an affront to their masculinity at all.” The reality is that this group of aforementioned guys has been able to utilize the internet to effectively create entire brands—opening up many doors not only for themselves, but also for the slew of rolled-slacks wearing gentlemen that would follow.
These #menswear bros who promote brands on their sites are living proof of how crucial social media can be to not only establishing, but growing one’s brand. Three years ago, Justin Bridges of Tucked was suiting himself up every day to face the mean streets of Wall, working for Goldman Sachs. Shortly after launching his successful WordPress, he is sitting pretty as the Menswear Assistant Buyer for a luxury retailer. He says, “Blogging gives you a platform to touch people that don’t interact with you in your immediate sphere. Social media provides a virtual path into the eyes of those you may never meet.” Justin was able to recognize immediately what would work, and what wouldn’t, in growing the Tucked brand. He started a Q&A series when launching efforts to link with the “fashion people” and pick their brains. In return, these people received free publicity. Not everyone is going to be a genius networker, but if approached correctly, networking opportunities often lead to friendships–and friends are as important in the fashion industry as water during a drought. He did not set out with a lengthy strategy or specific goals in mind, but he just started creating content. Ultimately, Justin saw that there was no defined formulation—he could create the rules himself—and in doing so, has created a brand that is taking the menswear world by storm. Mr. Tucked Style is just one example of the growing clan of #menswear guys who’ve refined the ability to build a brand revolving around social media.
These Pitti-going fellas like Justin might not have directly led to the creation of menswear-focused sites such as Park & Bond and JackThreads–and Nice Try, Bro was rocking kicks and gold chains in Staten Island when Styleforum began–but as a result, cyber space is starting to take major notice of the menswear realm. Kaleidoscope, an app that is becoming sort of an overnight sensation, teamed up with Details Magazine to curate street style found at Coachella and is selling fresh duds in a boutique-like atmosphere within the Details site–a huge collaboration which is sure to further the growing focus on menswear.
Katelyn Glass is a TWF contributor, focusing on menswear. She works at Gilt Groupe. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Image via MYPALMA.