— Karinna Nobbs (@karinnanobbs) September 24, 2014
LCF’s Senior Lecturer in Fashion Branding and Retail Strategy, Karinna Nobbs, hosted two spectacular talks last week as part of Social Media Week: Pinterest vs. Instagram, and Digital Fashion Content and Gender. Students were encouraged to engage with an expert panel over a two-hour period at the RHS.
In the first talk, Karinna was joined by Creative Director of Ada + Nik, Nik Thakkar, Social Media Editor at Mr. Porter, Lauren Luxenberg, Marketing and PR Manager at Links of London, Lisa Henderson, Managing Director of Protein, Jo Jackson and Co-Founder of Olapic, Jose de Cabo.
The talk began with a presentation from Karinna highlighting a range of insights into Pinterest and Instagram. Chanel, for example, is the most hashtagged brand on both platforms, which segued neatly into the first question of the night: Why does social media and fashion fit together? “It’s a great way for brands to be more approachable,” Lauren began. Lisa added that it is much easier for shoppers to digest visuals, with Nik agreeing: “Visual content and fashion have always been intrinsically connected.”
So how do Pinterest and Instagram differ? “Instagram has a different culture,” Jo noted. The panel agreed that Pinterest is less focused on producing original content, and more so on organising and discovering things. “Instagram has made us all amazing photographers,” Jose said. When one audience member asked what the panel would miss about Pinterest if it were taken away, Jo revealed that her wedding lists would be one of them.
Jo was interested in seeing whether the introduction of sponsored posts on Instagram would have a detrimental effect on its users. When throwing the idea out to the floor, half of audience members indicated that they would stop using the platform because of this. It certainly appears as though obvious advertising is a turn-off: “Using too many hashtags seems desperate,” Jo said. Lauren noted that if Mr. Porter’s Instagram only promoted Mr. Porter it would be “really boring.”
How does the use of social media differ with regards to gender however? After a quick line-up change – Lauren was joined by Fashion Photographer, Jonathan Daniel Pryce, Blogger, Navaz Batliwalla (AKA Disneyrollergirl) and Reader in Social and Cultural Studies, Dr. Agnes Rocamora – Karinna was ready to pose this question. Jonathan argued that, with men, it is more of a “real-time” documentation of their everyday lives whereas, with women, it is about being in a fantasy world. This linked in to a discussion on the construction of gender, through behaviour, in a photograph: a man in a coffee shop looking pensive as opposed to a woman looking wistful in the sun.
The panel agreed that, thanks to social media, it is becoming less of a taboo for men to look at other men. “It’s becoming more acceptable for men to share selfies,” Lauren said. Agnes agreed, noting that Instagram “legitimises that a man can follow another man.”
One of the most important lessons that could be taken away from the night is the importance of having an online presence. The industry guests were unanimous in their opinion when asked of its importance: “I don’t know why you’re asking this question,” Jo deadpanned. Point taken.
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Words by Nicole Mullen, BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism (2014)