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TechnologyFarfetch CEO says influencers will run the future of fashion

13:30  10 august  2019
13:30  10 august  2019 Source:   qz.com

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Farfetch (FTCH), a luxury online fashion retailer that went public last year, on Aug. 8 announced its second acquisition in the streetwear space: New Guards Group (NGG), the exclusive license-holder for high-end streetwear brands like Off-White and Heron Preston. The deal follows Farfetch’s 2018 purchase of Stadium Goods, an online sneaker and streetwear marketplace.

Farfetch CEO says influencers will run the future of fashion© Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. Influencers

Farfetch billed the latest deal as an investment in “brands of the future.” What defines a brand of the future? First and foremost: access to a powerful influencer.

“The brands of the future will have three core elements,” Farfetch chief executive José Neves said in a statement. “First, a creative tastemaker able to leverage digital channels to engage a global community; second, best-in-class design, planning and manufacturing; and third, direct-to-consumer global online distribution, complemented by a connected wholesale presence in the most prestigious physical boutiques.” (Emphasis mine.)

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In 2019, it’s hard to imagine a “creative tastemaker” who can “leverage digital channels to engage a global community” as anyone other than a celebrity with social-media clout. Indeed, embracing fashion influencers—formerly known as bloggers—has been a slow but steady shift for the aspiration-oriented luxury fashion industry, which has historically eye-rolled that crowd in favor of models, celebrities, and fashion editors.

Few can afford to keep rolling their eyes. Marketing via social media—through influencers and micro-influencers—is now a big business (Quartz member exclusive). As Fashionista noted, “with mobile shopping, peer-to-peer e-commerce, and influencer marketing continually on the rise, social commerce is finally becoming the next wave of retail.” What’s more, utilizing social media is a crucial way to reach Gen Z customers, the first wave of consumers who effectively grew up online. At last count, they account for some $44 billion in buying power.

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Some fashion labels have already made their influencer partnerships core to their brand. Take the e-commerce site Revolve, whose 2018 IPO filing referenced its 2,500-strong network of influencers, and used the actual word “influencer” 79 times. As Marc Bain wrote for Quartzy last year: “Influencers figure into the company’s observations about its present success and competitive advantage in fashion, in its future plans, and in the potential risks it faces.”

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